Open Letter to Recruiters

Dear Recruiters,
I do get quite a lot of mails and phone calls from you. It is flattering to be offered new opportunities weekly, but that also means that the competition between you and the other recruiters is devastating. Fortunately for you who are reading this, there are a few quite simple things you can do that would set you apart from the rest of the lot. Oh, by the way, most of the items in this post also applies to software consultancy sales, so if you’re into consultancy sales, please continue reading.

Basic Research

I quite often get unsolicited mails on LinkedIn from recruiters. That’s great, because that’s what LinkedIn basically is about and as my profile on LinkedIn is quite complete it is possible to get a basic understanding of what I’m doing and what I’ve done even before sending a mail. Yet, every now and then I get a mail from a recruiter that looks something like this:

Dear Anders,

I have a very exciting opportunity for a skilled developer at XYZ corp. If you are interested in discussing this opportunity, please send me your Resume (or CV).

Best Regards,
John Doe

Those mails go straight down the drain because my LinkedIn profile already is a complete resume. So the first advice to set you a apart from the other recruiters is to actually read my profile before mailing me.

Reading my profile includes reading the “Advice for Contacting Anders” section at the bottom where I’ve actually stated quite clearly what I expect. Out of all the mails I do get, I remember the one that followed the advice. As far as I could find out, he hadn’t even read the advice. He just did what I expect because he was a professional.

So to set you apart from 80% of your competitors, just read my LinkedIn profile before mailing me. That’s quite simple, isn’t it? So let’s move on to some more advanced and slightly more demanding skills.

The Continuous Improvement Mindset

Following Hakuna Matata or always striving for perfection are two very different ways of living your life. In the short term Hakuna Matata (which means “No Worries”) looks tempting, but there’s also happiness to be found in the strive for perfection through a continuous improvement mindset.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this year I went on a skiing vacation for a week. Looking at the people in the slopes, there were many different styles of skiing. Some were good, some were bad. Some looked concentrated, some looked happy. But I think that everyone enjoyed being there. During the week I thought about different mindsets for skiing (mindsets that are also applicable to programming, don’t worry – this post is about programming and not only skiing).

I think that by just watching the people skiing, they can be grouped into four categories that reveal their mindset. Are they living by Hakuna Matata or are they continuous improvers that always want to learn? Those different mindsets are important when you form a software development team.

Can you Handle an Elite Performer?

Employers ask for elite performers, but they should be careful – they could get what they ask for… If they find an elite performer, do they have the elite organization required to match the new hire?

I recently read a great post by Kelly Sommers: Challenge Addiction. I’ve been following Kelly on twitter for some time and I do read her blog posts. To me it is clear that she really is a challenge addict, but not only that: She’s probably one of the smartest programmers on this planet. She should be a dream for any team to hire. Unfortunately I think many teams would quickly find it a nightmare to have her on the team. That’s not because of Kelly – but because of the team.

I’d better make it clear that I’ve never met Kelly and definitely not worked with her. I can’t even say that I know her online, more than what I get from following her on Twitter. Nevertheless her post is what inspired me to write this one. This post is not specifically about her, but rather about what it means to bring a challenge addict on the team.

7 Programmer Recruiting Mistakes

We’ve all met them. The programmers that can’t program. They can hardly write anything that compiles on their own. Producing quality quality code is way above their skills. Somehow they still get hired. Trying to find out why, I’ve listed 7 common mistakes made during recruiting.

The Seven Mistakes

  1. Focusing on years of experience.
  2. Trust peoples own assessment of their skill.
  3. Don’t ask the candidate to write code.
  4. Recruiting for “the other team”.
  5. Be forgiving to spelling mistakes in the CV.
  6. Focus on technical skills and not communication skills.
  7. Fear of hiring someone better.

Software Development is a Job – Coding is a Passion

I'm Anders Abel, an independent systems architect and developer in Stockholm, Sweden.

profile for Anders Abel at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

Code for most posts is available on my GitHub account.

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