Ravi Mohan's Blog

Monday, June 04, 2007

FAQ (from my mail-box) #3 Can we hire you ?

Probably Not.

Some context. Every single day, I get 3-5 emails from people trying to offer me a job. The obvious form letters go into the trash can immediately, but I'm old fashioned enough to write a response to any mail that looks as if it has taken a human being some time to compose (Examples of both type sof mail at the end of this blog entry). Of late however, I find myself writing the same thing one too many times, hence this blog entry.

So, you are company X . Will I work for you ?

If your business model depends on body shopping (where body shopping is defined as "we don't care what projects we work on or for whom and the business model is x number of developers farmed out to random clients for y $/hour"), no, I'll never work for you. Been there, done that, got the T shirt. There is nothing you can offer that I want. I don't want to be an "architect" who does "high level design". I don't want "extensive travel" or "green card sponsorship". I don't want to be a Project Manager type and "lead enterprise changing teams for Fortune 500 clients". I do not want to be an "Agile Coach" (yuck!).

Please don't write to me. You are wasting your time and mine.

If you are a product company with a strong technical focus or even a tiny startup with an interesting idea, while I don't promise to work for you, I'll give your email serious consideration. I don't promise to accept your offer, but you'll get a reply.

Here is an example of a recruiting mail that goes straight into a the trash bin.

Dear Candidate,

I saw your resume in out database and would like to talk to you about some positions with our Direct Client in Naples , FL. If you match to any of the below mentioned positions then please mail me your resume with the job title in the subject line.

Location: Naples, FL, USA

Duration: 2 years +

Start Date: ASAP

Requirement : Java Architect

* 8+ years of software development experience

* Strong OO concepts

* Experience with RDBMS (Oracle and SQL Server)

* experience in leading a development team and working with Fortune 500 clients.

* Good problem solving skills

Please email me your resume if you are interested on [email] or call me at [phone number] if you have any queries.

Regards, [Name]

It boggles my mind to imagine that people expect responses to emails that begin with "Dear candidate"(!!!).

Here is an example of an email that gets answered in the polite negative.

Hi Ravi,

I hope you remember me. We worked together in [company] where I was working as a recruiter. Well I've moved on to [Outsourcing company] and we have a desperate need for senior people. Compensation is not a problem and even if I do say so myself, we have an interesting culture and great projects. if you are looking for a change, do touch base with me.



This is the kind of email to which I hope to forestall having to reply by writing this blog entry. Let me repeat, if your business model is built on selling developer time by the person hour, I am not interested.

Lastly here is a mail I got from a recruiter in a certain company head quartered in Mountain View. It is still very much a slightly customized form letter and if I wanted to work for the big G, I'd probably ask someone I know who works for them to reccommend me, but this letter got a reply.

Hi Ravi,

I would like to introduce myself. My name is [Recruiter Name] and I am a technical recruiter with Google. I came across your profile online and I thought you would be a good fit for one of our Software Engineering roles on our test tool development teams. If the proposition sounds interesting and you would like to learn more, please contact me directly via e-mail or phone. I would love to share with you the exciting approach Google takes to software testing and the amazing advances we are making in test tool development.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you and talking to you about a career with Google. Respectfully,

-- [Recruiter Name] Google Staffing [Recruiter Phone Number]

1600 Amphitheater Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 [Recruiter Phone Number]

Product Company? Check. Technical focus. Check. So I spent about 10 minutes thinking about it and then wrote a "Thanks but no thanks" email. I don't want to write testing tools, (though I know a few people who are) and I am not sure working for Google now is a good idea. Their stock prices are at unheard of levels and Bangalore (where I am located) is probably very far away from the real technical action in Google, if the "Bangalore centres" of other companies I know (and are competing with Google) are anything to go by. I could be wrong, but I've never come across anyone who worked for Google Bangalore. If I knew someone I admired who worked in Goog Bangalore, then yeah sure I'd consider it. I also hear on the grapevine that the old "Google culture" is fading a bit. I'd rather work for a startup with 5 smart people than for Google.

Which brings me to an interesting point. Beyond a certain level of expertise, I doubt if recruiters can be very effective at all in hiring good developers. Most developers are pulled into new jobs by their network of fellow developers / people they worked with before. So here is a hint for recruiters trying to hire good developers. Ask the best developers you have to contact the best developers they know. Beyond a point, I suspect that's the only way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"If your business model depends on body shopping (where body shopping is defined as "we don't care what projects we work on or for whom and the business model is x number of developers farmed out to random clients for y $/hour"), no, I'll never work for you. "

I wish I had the courage to say that (and live accordingly). My job sucks! My LIFE sucks!!! boo hooo hooo!!!!!