Job offers are not demands

10 Jan 2013

I am contacted around once per week by people interested in hiring me. Usually email, sometimes on Careers, even phone calls. I don’t think I’ve ever responded to these. This is not because I’m against this kind of recruiting, it’s because I haven’t been persuaded in the least by these offers. My careers profile even lists me as “Passive candidate interested in full-time position.". That means I have a job, but if you have a better one, maybe I’ll take it. No one has even piqued my interest, so far. The job offers here (well, not offers, but I’m not sure of a better term) tell me all about the company and the job, but nothing about how my life will be better there.

Let’s make one up and look it it:

Software Developer at Fun Startup!

We’re a great funded startup with a small and growing team looking to hire the best. We have fun, work on hard problems, and love exciting technologies. You’ll own large portions of the code and have the freedom to work how you want.


Experience in MVC-based technologies and databases …And many other things

About Us

We are fun people and awesome. We offer good salaries and benefits.


The above is about 90% of all the job offers I see, and I will never respond to them. Nowhere in it do they entice me to work for them. So many places already offer the same things: startup, small, growing, fun technologies, good salary. I want to see something better than those. What’s worse, the only list there is a list of demands about what I must have. Where is the list of things you’ll give me? There’s multiple descriptions of skills I must have, and none about why I should provide those skills to you. I don’t like job offers that sound like they’re scrutinizing me. I want something that dazzles me.

For example, a few months ago I was contacted by a company on Careers. I responded not interested. I received a message back asking why. I said: “I love my current job. Your message didn’t convince me that I’d be happier at your company than I am at mine”. The response was so interesting: ** “can you truly get the sense of what a company is all about from an e-mail message?"** Fixing that idea is the purpose of this blog post. Here was my final message:

I think that is possible to a large degree. For example, my company is also hiring. Here’s our job post.

The benefits list is of such high quality that unless I see such a list on another job post, I’m not interested. I assume that if they had benefits this good, they would list them, since so few places do. The paragraph before the benefits list discusses the quality of the leadership and that they care deeply about making an awesome place to work. I read those two paragraphs alone and I don’t care about the rest of the job post, because I get a sense that they’ll treat me like a king, which they do.

The work descriptions of your message were great. I’m sure the work would be fun and satisfying, and that I would like working with the team. But without advertising the actual working conditions and how I’ll be treated beyond salary, it’s hard to switch.


If companies want to attract the best developers, they must publicly advertise why their job is better. Without that, no amount of “we’re awesome” talk is going to get anywhere.