Some Thoughts on Recruiting

There’s an excellent article called The Recruiter Honeypot that’s been making the rounds since it was published last week. It’s a downright fascinating read about the state of recruiting in high tech.

Grab a coffee and open it up. It’s worth a few minutes of your time.

Back? Great. Let’s see if I can supplement what you’ve just learned. Having just been poached myself, here’s my two cents:

1. Recruiters really do rely exclusively on LinkedIn.

One of the most common questions I was asked when I told everyone I knew that I was moving from Ottawa to California to join Netflix was “How did they find you?”.

I was bold enough to ask, and the answer was LinkedIn. Not this blog, where I talk frequently about Javascript and software development, not G+ where I maintained a weekly series of in-depth pieces about web browsers earlier this year, and not Stack Overflow, Twitter, or anything else.

In fact, other than candid prodding from friends, I don’t think I’ve ever been contacted about a job outside of LinkedIn. It truly is the go-to source for recruiters looking for talent.

2. Managers make better poachers than recruiters.

Netflix is not the first famous Silicon Valley name to grace my InMail. What made them special (well, one of many things) was who contacted me: the manager of the team I’ve since joined.

For the recruiting company, there is one major advantages to having a manager make contact as opposed to a recruiter:

Technical managers are former developers. Mine was in my position for five years before switching to management. He knew the role intimately, and could really explain how I’d be spending my time. He knew the team, he knew what technologies we were using (and not using), and he could sell the company as well as anyone in HR.

It’s not easy to leave a job that you love — and let’s be honest, everyone worth poaching loves their current gig — nor is it easy to move across a continent, or to another country.

Before I commit, I need to know what I’m getting myself into. And a manager is almost always going to be better suited for that task than a traditional recruiter.

3. Location matters. A lot.

The number of LinkedIn messages I get from recruiters has gone up by at least 3 or 4 times since I moved to the valley. I get that some of that is due to the Netflix brand, but I’m positive an even bigger chunk of it is location, location, location.

Here’s why I’m so sure: Since moving to California, despite the huge uptick in recruiter spam, every single message I’ve received has been from a bay-area company. Every. Single. One.

Despite how interconnected the world has become in the past couple decades, the recruiters that have contacted me have been massively biased towards location. I can’t help but think this is a trend, and also an opportunity for teams that are willing to hire remote workers, or invest in relocation costs.

There you have it…

If you want more recruiters to contact you, beef up your presence on LinkedIn.

If you’re trying to poach someone, send a manager instead of a recruiter.

If you’re looking to work in the valley, move to the valley.

(And because I’m sure someone will ask: Netflix is great, and I’m having a blast. Won’t be leaving anytime soon.)

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2 Responses to “Some Thoughts on Recruiting”

  1. Maria Says:

    Great article, Dan! Glad you’re enjoying working at Netflix. If you’re ever back visiting Ottawa, perhaps we can get you to speak to a group of high schoolers about your experiences in the Valley?

  2. dan Says:

    Hi Maria! I would be happy to. I sent you an email to work out the details.

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