Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear CR: Why Aren't Recruiters Calling Me?

DEAR CAPTAIN RECRUITER,

Here is a question for you in response to your blog post about the guy who got 136 calls, 46 voicemails, 115 and emails in three days.

I'm a programmer with 20+ years of hardcore development experience w/ C and C++. I have spent my career writing extremely complex, multi-threaded, high performance, high capacity engineering software. I was even the founding member of a publicly traded company in the 1990s.

Despite my accomplishments, glowing professional references on LinkedIn, and living in the SF Bay Area, I am hardly ever contacted by recruiters. I currently have a good position and despite wanting to make a change to finding new opportunities in other software development area I haven't posted my resume any place but LinkedIn. I know that C and C++ are not the sexy hot languages like Ruby, but with all the reports of shortages of programmers (especially in the SF Bay Area) you would think that company's would be interested in a highly motivated experienced developer even if they were not an experienced in the language-du-jour. Or am I wrong about this?? The few recruiters that have contacted me have generally never followed up with me once I have indicated that I may be interested in the position they contacted me about.

So my questions for you are:
  • Am I over-qualified?

  • Do I appear too successful as being the a founding member of a large software company?

  • Am I too old?

  • Or do I just need to market myself better and re-educate myself in those technologies that are in high demand today?

  • Should I submit my resume in response to job postings that look fun and interesting despite I may not have the skills that are required?

THANKS!
C++ GUY

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DEAR C++ GUY,

First, let's make a few assumptions:
  • You are a great programmer in general.

  • You can learn the basics of a new programming language within a week or so.

  • You are genuinely interested in non-C++ programming jobs.

You're not too old. You're not over qualified. You do have a marketing problem, and you should be actively working on development in areas you are truly interested in.

Given that Captain Recruiter is actively developing it's own Ruby on Rails web application, I'll speak to you directly about why I might not hire you.
  • Have I met you at a Ruby on Rails related event? I'm not hanging out at C++ events. It's hard to recruit you randomly if we never meet in passing.

  • Are you interested in web development? It sounds like you're interested in C++, but I don't see momentum in anything related to Rails, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, yada yada. Letting you learn those things on the job will cost me tens of thousands of dollars and force me to be very patient. Help me out by showing me that you do this stuff even when I'm not paying you. My investment in you should be to help you turbocharge what you're already learning, not buy you a cruise ticket on a voyage of self discovery.

  • I'm not calling you because C++ doesn't usually show up when I search for developers proficient in Ruby on Rails. I know a lot of companies like that their web developers understand C/C++, but it's not what they seek out. Populating your resume with keywords does help, but don't overdo it.

  • Recruiters are looking for people who are experienced in a company's current need. If I need a Ruby on Rails Engineer, even if I found your resume, I'm only going to call you after I've called all of the other people with more Rails experience than you. But if you find me and write me a short, humorous note about why you'd like a shot, I'll probably give you some of my time.

HOPE THAT HELPS!
CAPTAIN

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