Ryan Bigg

On Hiring

25 May 2012

My previous blog post got very different replies. On one hand they were like this:

Others were humourous:

And others really hated it:

Others suggested I just hit ignore:

Everyone's entitled to have their say about this, and I'm sad that so many people took offense to something that I genuinely believe should have been done.

To make it clear, I don't like being cold-called. I think it's invasive and generally a waste of everyone's time. In the case of hiring, for a business person to cold-call a whole bunch of programmers shows that they don't care about who they hire. They just want somebody to fill their position.

I think that they should care. Why? Well, the business person is going to spend months, perhaps years of their life with this person. How do you know that person is going to be the right fit for your job? What if that person is a complete douchebag who will post most of the conversation on his blog and laugh about it?

All I ask is that people who are looking to hire other people do their research first. Find out what they love doing and appeal to that, if you can. Invite them out for a lunch discussion or if that doesn't work, a post-work drink or two. Cold-calling just anybody is most likely not going to land you the right person for your job. Go to meetups, programming events and meet people. Don't meet them just for the sake of seeing if they're wanting to go work for your company, but meet them to understand what their type is like.

To not do the research first shows a blatant disregard of care for the person that you're contacting, and I honestly think that contacts made in this fashion cannot work out. Find common interests, discuss them in polite ways and see if you're a fit. If you're not, move on. Do your research on the next person.

I agree that I started the email thread wrong. As I said before, I felt invaded by this email. Sure, I could've ignored it and sent it to the Archive/Trash, but that's not my style. If I am sending an email to a person, I expect a reply. Not an instant one, of course. Perhaps it would take a week or longer. But still, a reply is always nice.

Replying in the way that I did was most certainly wrong. Cold-calling someone without doing any level of research before is wrong also. We were both wrong. Replying to somebody validates that "Yes, you are worth my time". That's the essence of why I reply to every single email that is personally addressed to me.

I want to make it so that recruiting in programming doesn't suck as much as it does now. Companies just want bodies, and while that makes sense in a business fashion, how do you know if the new hire will be a good fit for the team or not and secondly if the work is interesting to them. If the new hire doesn't fit with the team, then there'll be conflicts and inevitably someone will have an ego bruised, or worse. If the person doesn't enjoy the work, then they're probably not going to work as hard as they could. Both of these things are absolutely vital to making someone fit in at a company, in my opinion.

I know all too well how fucking great we have it in this industry. I can announce on Twitter that I'm leaving my current job and within the day I have at least 5 companies saying "Come work for us, please". I know how well we have this because I've seen what happens in other industries, in a second person fashion.

Recently, both my mum and her husband were out of work, and were struggling to find jobs. They weren't able to put out on Twitter (or Facebook) that they were looking for a job and get picked up by a spectactular company within the same day. They had to work damn hard to find new jobs, and they've done just that. Even with all their experience (they're in their 40s), it was still a struggle for them to find a job.

So yeah, I know how great we've got it in this fantastic industry of ours.

I'll practice not being an arrogant asshole, and I'll expect people who are in the business of hiring others to practice doing their research. Together, we can make this thing work and keep building this great industry.

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