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Ask HN: Do I have to go through recruiters nowadays, how do you find new jobs?
185 points by minionslave on May 11, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 144 comments
I posted on the Who wants to be hired thread last week. I have received a ton of recruiter spam, all saying "We have the perfect position for you". I quickly realized they say that to everyone. I'd rather talk to a company directly.

What's the procedure for getting a new job without going through external recruiters?

I despise recruiters with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, so I try to avoid them as much as possible. That leaves me (and you) with a few viable options:

1) Use a matching service like interviewing.io or TripleByte to get connected directly with companies. (Effectiveness: Questionable but promising)

2) Use a job listing site like Indeed.com to find positions that you're interested in applying to. (Effectiveness: It works, but is like throwing mud on a wall to see what sticks -- hard and not very lucrative.)

3) Use Indeed / AngelList / whatever to find companies that are hiring, then use LinkedIn or some other method to find the hiring manager directly. Email them directly with your resume and cover letter (since it's effectively a cold-call, make that cover letter damned impressive). (Effectiveness: works great, in my experience)

4) Use your network. Email old bosses and coworkers and let them know you're on the market. If you've left a good impression, they'll usually be more than happy to do whatever they can to get you into good companies. (Effectiveness: fantastic, assuming you have a network in the first place.)

There are tons of other ways, but those are the strategies I've used. In the mean time, study up for your technical interviews. Good luck!

Interviewing.io is a phenomenal platform, for whose effectiveness I can personally attest. While cold emailing and general networking have their merits, interviewing.io was a very nice surprise in the sheer number of technical screens/onsites I was able to attain within a few weeks on the platform.

The main draw, in my opinion, is that they routinely host interviewers from top-tier companies to perform anonymous technical screens. After which, if you perform well, can expedite you to late-stage interviewing with those same companies. For those with non-traditional backgrounds like myself, interviewing.io gives you a helping hand in bypassing unwarranted resume and recruiter bias. This is especially true if you're competent, as interviewing.io will help shine light on your abilities.

The platform also has routine practice sessions each week to expose you to real interviewers and sharpen your interviewing wits.

I realize I may very well sound like a zealot, but interviewing.io is a must-have in your interviewing arsenal. I understand it is relatively new to the scene, but it's free and at the very least gives you the ability to practice interviewing. For the company rounds, you will definitely be able to start dialogues with some pretty interesting/reputable companies that would have otherwise rejected your application in the ever-present fear of false-positives.

Hope this helps.

The entire recruiter economy is an enormous conflict of interest. They are like realtors. They are paid by commission and make significantly more money based on quantity of hires, rather than quality. So they have no real incentive to fight for you or help with your negotiations and a strong incentive to be mildly dishonest or exaggerate without burning bridges. This is terrible for both you and your employer (but most importantly you). They just want to fill as many positions as quickly as possible. There's possibly even a incentive to hiring folks that quit/leave in a short period of time to increase the number of opportunities that need to be filled and people that want to be placed.

I have to disagree with you a bit on this one.

Don't get me wrong, most recruiters are worthless and add little to no value.

Recruiting firms have guarantee clauses in their client agreements - meaning if a placed candidate ceases to be employed (referred to as a 'fall off' in the industry) for any reasons in a specific time period (typically 3 months) the recruiter must conduct the search again at no additional cost to the client.

Moreover, if a recruiter has more than a few candidates fall off, most clients will take their business elsewhere.

It's a distinction without a difference. The likelihood of a candidate "fall off" is low because companies tend to be extra aggressive in vetting candidates that apply through recruiting agencies.

My personal experience with applying through recruiters is it puts you at a disadvantage right from the get go. Most hiring managers believe applicants that come through recruiters are more likely than not to be of low quality, so right off the bat their first impression is suspicion and skepticism. On top of that, if they hire the candidate they have to pay the recruiter a percentage on top of what they pay the new hire. If you're not exceptional in every way they could possibly imagine, you're not getting the job.

Of course, there are exceptions. If a company has worked with an exceptional recruiter in the past and trusts him or her, then things are different. I have yet to meet even one recruiter that fits that description, though.

I disagree somewhat. At least, in my experience:

Experience 1: 25 years old and applying for a $200k/year job. I didn't get it :( but the recruiter had my back and significant sway with the employer. He filled around 10 roles per year. He was also buddy of the person I sat next to but this was unknown to me, I was cold-called for the role. "This is small-fry for me, I usually just fill $500k+ roles."

Experience 2: Recently (10 years later) a recruiter asked me my expectation "It's in your interest to get me as much as possible" was my response. I _know_ there's more to a job than financial package, but that was that question dealt with. She called me after each interview within the hour, and gave me status updates every 2 days over a period of 4 weeks. Happened to be in the same city on a trip, and had lunch together. Nice lady. Didn't take the role in the end. Still in contact, no bridges burned.

I also agree somewhat.

Experience 3: I sit next to an HR Ops team that staff large tech companies. A team of 20 people that download and forward CVs all day. The level of technical questioning before forwarding a CV is "How is your XXX language" and that's that. Applicants are sorted and pigeon holed into buckets depending on existing role and package, and no more. They have no bargaining power with a client (on either side) as they simply don't understand anything related to the role. Their KPI is how many roles filled, that's all, and when the client gets unhappy they email the GM.

So, in my opinion, it's mixed. But some headhunters really are good. Differentiate yourself, make yourself special, then the good headhunters will seek you out.

I also feel that the recruiting industry leeches off of developers -- if companies are paying recruiting firms $30k per developer (with some companies I've seen having about a 1year turnover rate), then that's 30k that is essentially coming out of my salary.

That sounds right on first glance, but I wonder how much money companies would spend internally doing the same work the recruiter is doing. If it was THAT much cheaper, I'd think the recruiting industry would be in trouble. I think that $30k might be gone either way.

Agreed. I'd happily take 20k of that and do the negotiation myself. Win-win, right?

I never read the cover letters, nor the "objective" on a resume. I do invest a lot of time finding the right people to join our team, but in a resume, my choice to move you to a phone screen will never hinge on those details, and nothing in your resume matters much once we start actually talking.

I don't mean to detract from your overall assessment -- i think you've made good points.

Edit: My resume advice? Give me your work history with a few sentences for each one, and if you have a "skills summary" section, list only the skills that you've fully mastered. Include only the relevant jobs. This is a resume, not a CV, and it's only goal is to get you to the hiring manager who can make a decision to give you a phone screen.

I could not disagree more about listing only skills you've mastered. As long as you're honest about your proficiency, you should absolutely list skills apart from just what you've mastered. In every job I've ever had, skills that fell way outside the core areas that I have mastered have been critical for success, and skills that were huge parts of the job description, hazing interviews, and smack in the middle of my core areas ended up literally never being used and having no impact on the work whatsoever.

This has even occurred in jobs with highly specific needs. I got grilled on GPU programming, then never wrote or read a single line of GPU code. I got grilled on how the Buffer Protocol works in Python, then never implemented an extension class making use of it and never touched anyone else's class that did either -- even though it was "critical" for someone to have "significant experience" in these technologies when I was interviewed. As it turned out, my limited exposure to Python's setuptools and distribution/package management, and my (very limited) experience with an open-source optimization library called CVXOPT ended up dwarfing the usefulness of GPU or Buffer Protocol experience, and neither package management nor quadratic programming were even mentioned anywhere in either of those job listings, nor spoken about at all during interviews.

Employers, generally, are utterly terrible at communication or understanding what they need in their next hire, and they revert to simple heuristics, like algorithm or programming language trivia, just to avoid that hard work.

There has always seemed to be this silly and inexplicable emphasis in hiring on acting like candidates need to be perfect. They can't say they have a skill unless they are the world fucking grandmaster of that skill. Any honest admission of weakness means you're garbage, instant rejection. It's the same with performance during an interview. Someone clearly articulated an O(N^2) solution under time pressure? Firing squad. If they can't rattle off the optimal solution without hints then omg how did they ever get a college degree?

It's just nuts. People don't seem to think much at all about the person's aggregated productivity over time, what they can learn on the job, how their performance in a real-life, low-pressure situation will be different than a gimmicky interview. It's just all of this "we only hire the best" nonsense that leads to an arms race for candidates to overfit to interview processes and creates a whole generation of vapid engineers with no substance beyond looking pretty on paper.

For me, it's simply about signal to noise. Adding every technology you've ever touched doesn't add much value for me. The resume is not a document I'm making a hiring decision from. I want to learn about your skill-set during our interview process, not upfront in long form.

Big difference between adding the kitchen sink buzzwords vs. adding things you have some notable knowledge or experience with, but not mastery.

Also, since you represent about 0.000001% of the people who might make decisions based on what's on my resume, it's not really optimized just for you. It's unfortunately optimized for something like the average, and I'd expect you to be mature enough to understand candidates really can't afford to do otherwise, even if they also don't like trying to do SEO on their own background and experience.

Ding ding ding! Exactly this.

I explicitly don't include a skills summary section because it is a no win proposition. Everyone has a different idea of what it means to list a skill there and invariably at least one interviewer in a loop will ding you for however you decided to lay it out.

I might get dinged for not having one, but at least I don't have to worry about it.

I went through this same experience over the past year and a half. At some point I intend to write a more detailed blog post about my process, but the short version is that I did a boatload of research ahead of time, and leveraged the heck out of my network. In places where I found my network to be lacking, I invested additional time/effort to build connections. I had more success through networking and personal connections than I ever did via resumes or direct submissions. I didn't work with any recruiters, so I don't feel qualified to speak to their effectiveness.

I actually have some experience interviewing.io. I initially starting using it as a way brush up on my technical interviewing skills (it had been years since I was last an interviewee vs. interviewer) and it ended up being through interviewing.io that I was introduced to Mattermark where I was eventually hired. It was a great tool to have in my job-hunting tool belt as I was able to 1) brush up on my tech interviewing 2) meet/network with interviewers (when an interview went well) and 3) do a few 1st round interviews with a couple of prospective companies.

I wouldn't use interviewing.io as my only means to land an interview with a company. Especially since everything is anonymous, and thus only in specific circumstances do you know the company that your interviewer is associated with. But it was a great way to do low/no risk interviews that at least had the potential to count as a first round interview.

"only in specific circumstances do you know the company that your interviewer is associated with"

Currently interviewing.io is setting up and testing system, where engineers who did well at the practice interviews can choose companies to have anonymous interview with.

#3 is how I've gotten every job I've ever held, except 1 where I signed up for the mailing list of the company in question and the signup process had an "Occupation" box. I filled in my current job title and two days later THEY called ME and asked if I'd be willing to interview.

Depending on the market, recruiters can at least be a useful signal for directing your search for companies that are hiring. Not in silicon valley, but I like to do my research and on at lest one occasion the obfuscated description about an opening was enough for me to find the company directly after about 10 seconds of Googling.

hired.com worked pretty well for me too

Here's how I did it.

I emailed any technical contact I could find at all the interesting companies in my city. I was following up all these emails with phone calls when I could get a number.

I found a blog article interviewing one of the researchers (call him Bob) at "Company A".

I sent this email that eventually led to my job:

Hello Bob, I've been researching [Company A] and came across this article from [BLOG SITE] that featured some of your work. I'm quite impressed with your assessment of the need for better data analysis tools in the [AREA OF RESEARCH], and the work you get to do in that area interests me. I found from your linkedin profile that part of your current research with the Company A Research Group is on [technical area I talk about below].

My recent PhD work at [University] involved a number of overlaps with your current work, both in technology ([short example]) and modeling physical processes ([short example]).

I am now looking for industry jobs in [City]. The Company A Research Group may be a good fit, but first I would like to learn more about what you do. Can you meet for coffee to discuss?

Best regards, -[my name]

He responded and asked for a resume. After further conversations, it turned out they didn't have room in their group (headcount freeze in their department) but we found another group at the company that needed someone with my skills. I was then "the guy Bob knows" during the interviews (which helped) and landed the job.

Good Recruiters are out there but they are like needle in a haystack. It is tough to know good ones but when they do come, make sure they are in your rolodex

Having said that, I have found a couple of ways of finding jobs that I want:

Approach 1. Decide a company that you want to work for. Go to their careers page if they have one and then find a relevant position. Then go to Linkedin and search for "HR <company name>" in linkedin and try to find an HR contact in that company. Send them a short email that you are interested in that specific position. You never know and they may just connect you to the right hiring manager (has happened to me). BUT the trick is that you need to write effective and precise email. Don't send generic "I need a job" type of email.

Approach 2: Go to sites like indeed.com and shortlist a list of relevant jobs you like. They may not provide a direct HR/hiring manager contact but it could be a recruiter. That's ok for starters. Now take some of the keywords from that job posting and run a google search on the exact words. You may be surprised to get a direct listing from a company's career page. Now go back to Approach 1. (Done this as well)

Approach 3: The "good" recruiter can be very useful if you have found one. Then just go through them as it will be worth your time (done this as well)

Rinse and repeat.

Hi, I'm a recruiter.

Look for job aggregators like Adzuna, Indeed, etc, which scrape all jobs on the web. When you see results, it should be easy to work out which jobs are posted by recruiters, and which have been posted directly by the company.

In my (massively biased) experience, you are better off applying for a position when you've been put forward by a recruiter:

* The recruiter knows what the client's salary range is, and wants you to get paid as much as possible (as the role is commission based) - they'll be able to make sure you're getting a good deal out of the client

* The recruiter is a professional sales person, and will chase the hiring manager for feedback, technical interviews, etc etc, in a way that as a direct candidate you'll come across as too pushy if you do yourself

* The recruiter will genuinely have a good view of other similar jobs you may not have found that you'd be a good match for.

* The recruiter will get much much more candid feedback about you than you'll ever get directly from the client

... and a whole bunch of other factors.

I have to respectfully disagree. While this may be true for top recruiters, the SNR is very low in this field - a large majority of recruited are not helpful. Specifically I'm speaking on the hiring side of two companies. In one, we had decided to work with one recruiter who we had a good relationship with and they knew our salary requirements, needs etc. However, on a weekly basis we would get 10-12 unsolicited emails from recruiters who we didn't want to work with introducing candidates.

So from a candidates pov, it's very hard to see if the recruiter even has a relationship with the companies they are passing to. If you have a way to ascertain a good recruiter from a bad (maybe through personal recommendations) then sure go ahead. But I don't think it's useful to use cold call emails.

As another datapoint, I've had several friends go through the job hunt where we each applied to 20+ companies. All of us independently stopped using recruiters when we saw that it was more efficient to work directly with companies.

This is my experience as a junior dev. Ymmv with other roles but I find that the SNR is too low to get any benefit from recruiters.

It's pretty easy to filter out the bad recruiters (I call them keyword monkeys), though.

I have about half a dozen recruiters I trust. All of them contacted me with a cold call email after finding me in LinkedIn or elsewhere.

Yes, the signal-to-noise ratio is pretty bad, but you can essentially pattern match the good from the bad really easily based on the emails they're sending out. The bad ones look like templated emails. The good ones send personal emails clearly not sent to anyone else.

> wants you to get paid as much as possible (as the role is commission based)

I think recruiters can be great, but don't put too much stock into this point. Recruiters are similar to realtors- yes, they get more if you get more, but they would rather close the deal then to risk no deal at all over a few more thousand dollars.

Also, their relationship with the client (employer) is also important. If they can whittle down how much a client (employee/contractor) is willing to get, they will be who the employer calls first next time.

Also, if they know the budget, they may know how small it is too. If they are no other jobs, they may try to convince you to take whatever's in their book.

Sure but they're also aware that the whole deal can disappear if you get a good counter-offer or a better offer elsewhere.

In my experience, disclosing my salary to recruiter has only ever had a negative effect.

I would recommend never disclosing salary because the recruiter will always say "oh, you can't possibly expect to make x% more than your current salary" and negotiate from there.

When asked, I always say "I am looking for between $Y and $Z" to set the tone. If they continue pushing for my current salary I end the conversation.

> I would recommend never disclosing salary because the recruiter will always say "oh, you can't possibly expect to make x% more than your current salary" and negotiate from there.

To which you respond, "Then I guess we won't be working together". If he really cares about your business, he'll come around. If not, then it really doesn't matter either way because your likelihood of getting what you would ask for otherwise is slim.

I don't mind disclosing my current salary but wouldn't accept any job that's not a 15-20% increase. (Not worth the disruption.)

You tell them your real salary? I always gave them a number that was closer to my target range.

That's potentially fraud.

If that counts as fraud, recruiters are in far greater danger...

In what way? Who is harmed? In which jurisdiction?

Your salary involves two parties, and you are only one of them. The other party is your employer. By stating an untrue salary, you're fraudulently claiming that your current or previous employer (usually known to your negotiating counterparty) agreed to pay you the stated amount.

It's somewhat like lying about a credential.

Why is the business of the new employer to know how much I was making at my previous position? If they would agree to pay me for my skillset alone, that'd be one thing, but otherwise they'll simply use the information from my previous position to give me a de facto raise. Two can play at that game.

Also, I could be wrong but I don't think a new employer will contact a previous employer to specifically learn how much a particular individual was earning.

> Why is the business of the new employer to know how much I was making at my previous position?

This isn't the question that I answered. It was asked how stating a specific, untrue salary might be fraud.

Refusing to answer and giving an untrue number are different.

> Also, I could be wrong but I don't think a new employer will contact a previous employer to specifically learn how much a particular individual was earning.

Lying doesn't mean you'll get caught.

Also, be careful. For example, during a background check for one my jobs (a rather "ordinary" one), they said they couldn't verify one of my previous employers, and asked if I could send them proof. I sent W2s for both years I was employed and my offer letter, which satisfied them. Maybe some would feel that's too remote a risk to worry about, but it's not out of the question.

If it's not their business you should just not tell them, but instead tell them what you're looking for.

But don't lie to them, especially if they're going to pay you more because of that lie.

There is no legal obligation for you to be truthful when asked that question. You're not entering into a contract of any kind at that point.

The salary negotiation is a completely separate event.

The recruitee is deceiving someone to gain financial advantage, which is pretty much the definition of fraud.

If the potential recruitee said "I'm looking for $X" they're not deceiving anyone.

I've been in situations where, despite telling them what I'm looking for, they've pressed me to disclose my salary. I've always been honest about it, but I can recall one specific instance where I disclosed my salary to a recruiter and told them that I was seeking a particular salary, only to be told, "No one is going to give you that big of an increase." Who said anything about an increase? It's about paying what I'm worth.

I've seen how a hiring company might look at a person who wants $X, but earns lower-paying figure and think, "Well, market pay is $X, but if the company before was paying them $X-20%, we can get away with offering $X-15% or $X-10% because it's a marginal increase for the applicant and we still save money."

evilduck, below: nails it with this[0]:

"companies aren't going to tell your their actual upper bounds for what they'll pay in salary, why should you tell them your actual lower bounds? "

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11678634

I agree it sucks, and that the candidate is in a bad position.

I'm just saying that lying about your previous salary in order to get a higher starting salary is pretty clearly fraud. While it's unlikely to ever be prosecuted it is probably grounds, as has already been said, to withdraw the offer or to fire someone.

I was new to the industry and the recruiters would get me offers for 3-5k more than my extremely low starting salary. The only way to make it work was to tell them that I was paid better at my job. Then they would give me opportunities in the right range. When speaking with a potential employer, I would always be honest (if asked). That is a different relationship.

I don't know about fraud, but if it comes up in the background check, they could definitely rescind your offer.

I know someone who had this happen to them.

It's total BS that a potential employer would base their offer on your current salary, but at the same time lying about what you currently make is dangerous

Woah woah woah. Why? Who governs that?

Not being paid as much as you deserve is actual fraud, though.

What's the negative effect it's had?

Anchoring effect. You're showing your hand in poker before placing bets. You'll never get a substantive increase in pay since the recruiter knows what you're currently willing to work for and that some small percent increase is still a win for you. Big jumps also usually means moving out of the range of jobs you're a "safe" fill for and that makes them view it as a higher risk of not getting paid for the effort trying to place you.

If you're not well networked and you're not enough of a rockstar to have companies approaching you out of the blue, your best bet is to control where that salary anchor is placed. There's hardly any way to verify your claim and you're almost always better off placing it at a believably higher position. I mean, companies aren't going to tell your their actual upper bounds for what they'll pay in salary, why should you tell them your actual lower bounds?

Whenever I have done that they have offered very little (or even the same) salary as I am on.

One time I was contacted about a role in London offering between 65k and 90k (can't remember exactly, but a range along those lines). I said I would only consider moving for the 90K end. He asked what I was on. I refused to tell him then eventually got wore down and told him my relatively small Spanish salary. He refused to put me through for that saying that it was not usual to get more than 10% more than what I am on.

The company was willing to pay more for "the right candidate", but my salary at the time meant I wasn't that candidate.

Don't disclose your salary to recruiters.

This is especially true for London recruiters. I had this happening to me too. Recruiter said "oh you should only ask for 15% top, I don't think we can consider you for the job".

Stay away from those recruiters and never negotiate your salary with recruiters.

Thanks for your reply. Since you're a recruiter, do you have any tips that would help me differentiate between a competent recruiter versus a shady/ incompetent recruiter?

I have worked with a great recruiter in the past, but lately I've been turned off by the whole process, I talked to one the other day and he said "Do you have any MVC experience? MVC is a big technology these days, you didn't list that on your resume ".

You know, the best ones aren't always the most technical ones (and I say that as someone with many many years development experience) - I would ask your friends and community for recommendations, rather than trying to figure it out yourself.

I would also look for ones who are investing heavily in one community. Someone who does exclusively Python in London, sponsors all the conferences, and has done for a while is likely to know which places are nice to work at, where pays well comparatively, and so on.

trust your gut. they're sales people, not technical people, so judge them by the appropriate metrics. i.e.:

are they putting you in front of the right companies? are they asking you questions about your needs? are they pitching you on the job (it should be worthy of a pitch), as well as vice versa? are they working with the right hiring budget?

these are the basic questions you use to judge the quality of a sales person. they have to "get it" on a relationship level, not a technical level.

When you see results, it should be easy to work out which jobs are posted by recruiters, and which have been posted directly by the company.

Why should I do this myself?

I hate sausage on pizza. If I order a pepperoni and mushroom slice, I'm gonna get mad if the guy gives me back a pepperoni, mushroom, and sausage slice and tells me "it should be easy to pick out the sausages if you don't like 'em".

So, uh, what's your solution to be able to find lots of company-advertised jobs again?

Job boards that enforce rules against recruit spam.

Near as I can tell, AngelList does this, for example.

> * The recruiter will get much much more candid feedback about you than you'll ever get directly from the client

This is why I really appreciated going through recruiters early in my career. Companies will never give feedback directly to candidates, but for some reason they feel perfectly comfortable passing it along when there's a recruiter acting as a middleman.

I am not a software engineer, but I am in finance with a solid resume. I say this because I am still a desirable candidate, but I probably receive about 1/10th the recruiter mail that you receive.

I am interviewing today with a great company, and meeting with another great company on Friday and I have a bunch of leads in the pipeline for next week. Here is my advice:

1) Figure out what companies and specific roles you want to work for.

2) Make sure you have your resume tailored to those roles and make sure you know how to answer the technical questions related to those openings.

3) Reach out to 1st, and 2nd connections to companies that interest you and ask to grab a coffee to learn more about the role.

4) If you are personable and seem like a good fit, they will ask what you are interested in and they will help make introductions. When possible, ask to meet someone else in the company closer to the role you are interested in. For example, if your friend works in sales, but you are in engineering, ask for an intro to someone in engineering. This is important because that other person will be better at vetting you.

5) You will enter the formal interview process with people already liking you and wanting you to succeed. You just walk in, have a good time and answer the technical questions.

6) Negotiate an offer.

6) When you get there, be a good person, help people out, build relationships and do great work. 5 years down the road, you will have more connections and more opportunities.

Don't make the mistake of letting leads come to you. That is how you end up in so/so companies and situations. Go after what you want.

I'm a recruiter I can tell you all that I work my ass of to not be like 98% of everyone else in the business. Thankfully, I just have to not be a knob and I generally stand out.

Most agency recruiters are a pain in the ass because they are not actually recruitment professionals. Sounds odd, I know, but having worked for a few firms I can tell you that many will hire SALES people rather than folks who actually want to recruit, let alone have a clue as to what the f*ck it is.

If you want to try and figure if a recruiter is going to be a tool or not, look them up or ask them what their job is. Do the do business development and account management as well as recruit? If so, ask them which half the like better. Should be a neat chat.

Bigger recruitment companies will always claim to be HR Consulting/Service firms in all their media and PR propaganda, when internally, they hammer home that they are sales companies first. I worked for one of the largest recruitment firms in the world and that is EXACTLY how they operate.

Small/mid-sized agencies tend to offer a better candidate experience because their staff aren't focused on KPIs and arbitrary activities to keep their bosses off their backs. Instead, those firms just care about closing business and doing it well so the big firms don't kick the shit out of them.

In general, most recruiters are shit. I've been headhunted more than once and man oh man has it been painful. But I've engaged in the process because the opportunity at hand was worth the nonsense. Not pursuing an opportunity because a recruiter is an idiot is cutting your nose to spite your face.

I've met with some recruiters in the past (when I was looking for an engineering role) and it was a total waste of time. I got the sense that they just brought me in to see where I had already interviewed so they could get leads on who was hiring. I am wrong to think that, or do you know of recruiters who do that?

If I had to guess, I'd imagine that wasn't the only reason they brought you in, just that they sucked obtaining those details in a way that wasn't overt and/or greasy.

But, yeah, recruiters definitely do that.

If a recruiter wants to bring you in for an interview, they had better have a job for you. If they can't tell you about the job in any substantive way let alone tell you who the client is then I'd say they're full of shit and don't bother. I can count on one finger the number of times I couldn't say who that client was at that point (psycho client).

SOMETIMES, and I do this, I will ask someone to meet even though we don't have a job (at that moment) that's well suited for them. I'll do it because they're awesome as a person and professional and because they are looking for work in a core business of ours. But I will tell folks as much, and most are interested in meeting and chatting.

This happens to me consistently here among the NYC recruiters. When I was young and naive I fell for it, now I come back with, "I have a policy, out of respect for the other recruiters I work with, not to reveal where I'm interviewing or submitted until I'm in final stages. It's only fair, you'd like the same, wouldn't you?"

That usually makes them stop insisting. What I don't get is why some of my previous recruiters only ever call me to ask me that. Guess I'm just dead weight to them, OR there are too many recruiters and not enough open positions!

One of the actual uses for LinkedIn.

Generally you probably want to work for people you like and respect. If you know some people like that, then finding out how to reach them on LinkedIn is a good way to let them know you are interested in working with them.

Sometimes they won't be interested in working with you, its a fact of life and you have to let that go. Sometimes they are open to the idea but they don't have any budget. And sometimes they will get you interviewed and move you over right away.

If you are in the "any job but this one" mode, you are at a disadvantage. If you don't know what you want to be doing then people will have a harder time knowing if you would work out well in their position. Its painful when there is a job available but you know it isn't what you really want to be doing, do you suck it up and work there because its a job? do you turn them down? Depending on your financial status it can be a very tough call.

When folks ask me "should I look for a new job?" I have two pieces of advice regardless, one is that you should always be considering new opportunities, and two you should think about what you jobs you like doing while you are not under pressure (say being unemployed) because it helps you be more honest with yourself on what you like and don't like.

Recruiters can sometimes get your name in front of a manager at a company you want to work for when you don't know anyone there. But generally their value is more to hiring managers than the people they represent.

I've left my LinkedIn profile open for this very reason.

It's also given me another axis on the graph. I'll routinely get email from a recruiter about a position, which I'll ignore because I'm either happy where I am, the job isn't a total fit, or you see the typical signals that their comp is out of whack.

Then, a week or two later, I'll get another email about the same job from a different recruiter. Now I know the target company is having some trouble. Are they flailing about? Are they using multiple recruiters for some reason? Pay too low? Hiring criteria impossibly high? Is the place a black hole for developers?

Now I have more information to work with.

Or the recruiters found a public listing and are trying to insert themselves in the process. Periodically I get emails from recruiters that are "I have a great candidate for your open position..."

I like to go through a recruiter because I hate managing a job search myself. I build up relationships with four or five recruiters, and they simply send me opportunities, and then I just talk to them and go on interviews. I do not have to follow up or devote any conscious attention at all to the process.

Corporate hiring is a massive shit show and I consider recruiters to be an incredibly useful sanity saving device. People that want to deal with corporations directly, I just have to ask, why in the world would you want to do that? So annoying.

Imagine you worked in any other profession than coding. Having someone else manage your job search is an unimaginable luxury. When I talk to my non-coding friends, and they ask how many hours I've devoted to a job search, they're amazed and jealous when I tell them about my recruiter-enabled workflow.

How common is it for recruiters to "inject" themselves into the process? I ask this for a couple reasons.

I interviewed for a position a while back where the person interviewing me at the end asked, "What firm sent you again? Was it Firm A?" when I had been sent by someone with Firm B. I'll also get contacted by recruiters from different firms for the same position.

There have also been a couple cases recently where I've been submitted for a position by a recruiter, interviewed with a company, and got a pass or didn't hear back at all. And then I'll see the position show up a couple weeks later on a site like StackOverflow Careers. I got the impression that a recruiter jumped on an opening they came across and just kind of threw me in there and the company hiring decided they weren't getting much in return for the potential money they'd be laying out. I was pretty well qualified for one of these positions, so I wondered if they wouldn't have been more enthusiastic if there hadn't been a recruiter between us.

My conclusion after about a year of working with a number of recruiters in my area (Southern California) is that the industry is dominated by a few big firms (I refer to CyberCoders as the McDonald's of recruiters, but that may be being too generous) and has a lot of turnover. I suspect they have most their success placing more junior developers in less critical let's-get-this-seat-filled kind of positions. I've come across a few that I would call real professionals. Unfortunately, they always seems to be focused in areas or locations that don't line up with my own.

I still look at a number of recruiters emails each week. But now I only respond if I am convinced that they have an actual working relationship with the company they claim to be representing and aren't just trying to win some race against the rest of the rodentalia out there.

I also put together a page on my wiki for Recruiters to which immediately I refer them any time I am contacted:


This has been helpful in quickly filtering out the most callow practitioners.

    > I got the impression that a recruiter jumped on an opening
    > they came across and just kind of threw me in there and the
    > company hiring decided they weren't getting much in return
    > for the potential money they'd be laying out. I was pretty
    > well qualified for one of these positions, so I wondered if 
    > they wouldn't have been more enthusiastic if there hadn't
    > been a recruiter between us.
I mean, I can't speak for all situations, but generally the costs are accounted for differently, and unless the company is absolutely cash-strapped, they just weren't that interested in you.

    > But now I only respond if I am convinced that they have
    > an actual working relationship with the company they
    > claim to be representing
In the EU they're legally required to be upfront with you about this.

I've also received a ton of recruiter spam, but leave my profile on LinkedIn as other's have mentioned to see what happens. The worst part right now, is how untargetd most inbound recruiter cold-calls are - for skills that I don't have or don't want to acquire, in locations I wouldn't even consider, or at companies that I have no interest in.

We're working on this problem at Paysa [1], trying to enable employees to find and be alerted about relevant jobs that match your skillset as they become available, in your desired locations, and meeting the pay requirements that you specify.

We're also interested in helping to solve the matching and communication problem, by putting candidates directly in contact with companies that they're interested to work with - in positions that actually match their skillsets, pay their market value, and further their careers.

Check out our salary and experience based jobs search at https://www.paysa.com/jobs, and sign up to receive job alerts as we find new jobs that match your skills/experience and meet your target criteria - around location, and salary expectations.

The comments in this thread are really interesting. I'd love to hear any more feedback/thoughts about what we at Paysa could do to provide the best job matching and communication experience from the candidate side. Feel free to email at zach at paysa.com any time.

[1] https://www.paysa.com

You got me. I thought this was going to be a legit post instead of an advertisement until the third sentence in.

I know most job boards are pretty noisy, but there are a few that are really good. Depending on the city/industry you're interested in, there's likely a niche board - including HN itself.

I'm at The Muse (YC W12) - I think we have a pretty good selection of jobs as well, especially in NYC/SF: https://www.themuse.com/jobs?job_category%5B%5D=Engineering&...

Feel free to email me too if you're looking for something specific, I'm happy to help. yusuf @ our site's domain.

Disclaimer: I've used recruiters to find every job I've had other than the first one.

> I'd rather talk to a company directly.

Why? What benefit do you get from that? You're not like to negotiate a higher salary than you would without the recruiter, and you're not in a better position to get hired either (over the total spend of an employee's lifespan the recruiter commission is a drop in the bucket). Some companies I've worked for place candidates they receive through external recruiters higher than self-selected candidates because they've already presumably gone through some sort of screening process.

A good recruiter will understand what you're looking for and won't put crap in front of you. That doesn't mean you'll get the perfect hand-picked job, and they'll probably challenge you on some of your assumptions, but if you're a .NET developer they're not going to try to get you to take a PHP job.

But here's how I generally go about looking for a new job:

1. Email bosses I've had who I would want to work for again and let them know I'm on the market. Just a quick "Hi _______, I wanted to let you know I'm ready for a change from my current environment. If you hear of anything I'd love to take you out to lunch and discuss the opportunity." LPT: They will buy the lunch 95 out of 100 times :)

2. Email recruiters I've used in the past and send them an updated Word resume, salary/commute requirements, and what I want v. my current job (bigger, smaller, different sector, whatever).

3. If I'm very gung ho I will go on Ladders, Indeed, etc but the above typically hasn't taken very long to find something.

> Why? What benefit do you get from that? You're not like to negotiate a higher salary than you would without the recruiter, and you're not in a better position to get hired either (over the total spend of an employee's lifespan the recruiter commission is a drop in the bucket).

Misaligned incentives.

The recruiter is incented to get you to accept the position. Their compensation isn't tied to maximizing your happiness, job fit, or salary. While every recruiter I've worked with wanted to see me find the right fit, ultimately they wanted to find a position that was good enough that I would accept. An extra $15k in your salary is not material enough to the compensation of a recruiter.

Especially in tech, a recruiter's #1 incentive is almost certainly to foster a good relationship so that you come back to them when you want to leave. With people moving jobs every 1.5-3 years, a recruiter who consistently places people in positions where they are unhappy and underpaid is not going to make very much money 5 years from now.

With that same logic, a recruiter isn't also incented to get you a dream-job either, lest you never re-enter the job search market.

Personally, I don't have a problem with recruiters. My skills are marketable enough that it doesn't hurt to have someone else looking to place me in a job.

> You're not like to negotiate a higher salary than you would without the recruiter

This is a bit facile because it depends on if you know how to ask, the financial standing of the company, if you can actually find a recruiter that'll go to bat for you, and a dozen other things that can affect the final outcome. I think the average outcome to expect however from the recruiter side of things is that they would rather make a deal now, than spend time negotiating for you. The same can be said for real estate agents. This is admittedly anecdotal from my experience, but I think a lot of people will agree.

Perhaps, but the recruiter's cut is based on your salary, and they also usually know how much the client is willing to pay - and quite possibly what they're previously paid for people of your calibre.

If I ask for more money and the company says no, I can walk away and keep my current job, losing nothing. If a recruiter walks away they lose their huge commission.

Companies know this, so recruiters have no negotiating leverage.

But if you walk away from the recruiter's offer, because they negotiated too shitty a deal for you, they also get nothing.

That's why I also made the comparison to real estate agents. They get commission as well.

Disclaimer: I've used recruiters to find every job I've had other than the first one

So have I. I really don't get the whole "I hate recruiters" thing. Sure there are crappy ones. Tell them you found a job if you don't want them spamming you any more.

To me, a recruiter is a tool: I tell them the kind of work I want to do, the salary I want and where I want my career to go. Then we discuss the leads they have and why I do/don't want them. If it's not working out, we end the relationship. If they aren't sending me good leads, I find another recruiter: it's not like they're hard to find. However, if they can listen and fine tune the leads, I have found that they are a great way to help me understand what I want in a job.

Last time I was looking, my recruiter (nice company: took time to understand me, bought me lunch at a nice restaurant, etc.) pointed out that he was finding tons of jobs that my skills matched, but none that paid as much as I wanted. I remembered that my current job was partially technical leadership, and that gave him the insight to look at a slightly different category and he found me a great fitting position shortly afterwards.

Why would you send your resume in Word? Also, if you think trusting someone else to negotiate for you will = higher compensation, it probably means you're scared to negotiate for yourself.

Recruiters remove your contact information from resumes they pass along to prevent companies from contacting you directly.

I didn't mean that I trust the recruiter, I meant a common (and incorrect) assumption, especially among developers, is that they can negotiate a small salary increase because they don't come with a $20k+ price tag for a recruiter. This is not accurate for any company who can afford to have you on for more than six months.

I'm really surprised that more companies aren't open about their intangibles that set them apart. Why can't I search for jobs based on location, dress code, office layout? Because I want to wear jeans, have a short commute, and sit in a private office. Or at least not a godforsaken open office layout. When it comes to internal line of business apps, let's face it, most of the work is the same. It's the individuals that you'll be working with + aforementioned intangibles that differentiate.

I'm constantly being contacted through LinkedIn by recruiters who clearly haven't actually read my profile - they'll say they've read it and then say that they think I'd be perfect for the Senior Developer position they're hiring for, when my profile clearly has me as a student looking for entry -level positions. When I respond, or when they call me, I tell them my actual qualifications and they say that they'll definitely contact me in the future. To date I have not heard from a single one of them again.

I get exactly the effect you mention here all the time from LI: recruiter spam from people who tell me they've read my (junior dev) profile, then offer me Lead Dev positions for their young company, while at the same time saying the requirements for the role are 10 years of "progressive software dev experience" (which I don't have and is definitely apparent from my profile).

It's baffling. Don't tell me you've read my resume if you clearly haven't. These people are not helping themselves by blasting a canned message to those who match whatever keyword they're filtering for.

If you get an email about an interesting position from a headhunter that doesn't seem to be very knowledgable, you can often google parts of the job description and find the direct posting from the client. You don't have any agreement with the recruiter, so you're free to take whatever path to application that you choose.

It's the same thing with searching listings on Dice or wherever, especially if you see multiple organizations posting for the same job.

I simply don't see any value add to 99% of the recruiters out there. So many of them just keyword match and are unqualified to actually vet the candidates, and give the clients terrible lists. A company's own HR department can post the listings onto Dice or do LinkedIn searches just like the headhunters do, for FAR lower cost than going through an organization.

I have zero problem with bypassing the headhunters via a bit more web searching.

A counterpoint to that is that if a company is hiring a recruiter they are serious about hiring somebody.

There are some places where they bring in a huge number of candidates, interview them, and then never hire anyone. For instance, at a local Uni, they had a position open for 2.5 yrs.

If there is a recruiter involved there is a sense of urgency at least.

    > is that if a company is hiring a recruiter they are
    > serious about hiring somebody
Perhaps. It doesn't cost a company anything to engage a recruiter if they don't place any of the candidates.

That is true, but it does mean there is an interested contact at the company. Compare to places like Indeed that scrape listings and have no way to tell if a position has been filled.

other reasons for hiring a recruiter:

desperation, laziness, no idea about hiring at all

I beg to differ. Hiring is hard. Internal recruiters play an important role in helping your company grow. For technical recruiting, recruiters are essential if you want to grow your eng team beyond single digits unless youre prepare to have one or more engineers devote their full time to fielding applications and screening candidates.

Yes, this may be...

I'm not a fan of teams beyond single digits so I don't see the value of recruiters.

That's actually a good point you've made. My issue is mostly in determining which ones are serious and which ones are throwing every job they have to see what sticks.

I also absolutely despise recruiters, after having deleted my LinkedIn profile and answering every e-mail with "please remove me from your database" I think I'm finally free of the spam.

When I am looking for a new job, I try to think about where I actually want to work. One of the core issues I have with recruiters is that I am a developer to be placed in a development role, when in reality I have a set of wants and needs in a job that I'm sometimes not even aware of myself until I read a description and see the part that sticks out like a sore thumb to me. So, my advice is don't go looking for any old job, find the company/companies you'd like to work for and check what vacancies they have. If none, pay attention to what events etc. people from that company go to and make a point of meeting them.

Googling "the name of the company you're interested in + careers" usually does that. Or you can go on linkedin and search for internal recruiters from that company, but you'll be wasting time.

Agreed on the wasting time part. I've actually had significantly better response rates from companies when going through a recruiter instead of applying directly to the position on the website/linkedin/whatever. At least with a recruiter you get someone with an active interest in getting your resume in front of a hiring manager, as opposed to your application disappearing into the sea of 100+ applicants vying for keyword supremacy.

Your comment seems to be contradicting itself. You say that looking for a recruiter is wasting time, but a recruiter is the best choice. Which one do you mean?

The reference to wasting time was about internal recruiters. OP is advocating for the use of external recruiters.

I see, thank you.

>Or you can go on linkedin and search for internal recruiters from that company.

This has never occured to me, thanks for that tip

The key with recruiters is to find one that is like you. Read their messages and if they say something that "hits on something" for you, then go with that one. Trust your gut!

The benefit of a recruiter is that you won't have to do the whole "meet for coffee" thing, where the company does an initial check to make sure you don't have any crazy red flags. With a recruiter, you "meet for coffee" once, he vets you (or tells you you have a big red flag), and then does your leg work.

A recruiter is also your negotiator. The money they make is dependant on your salary, so it's in their best interest to get you the highest salary possible. I suck at negotiating, so I really appreciate this aspect of recruiters.

And if you picked the right recruiter and they are open with you, they can really help cut through the bullshit that are most job postings. They'll say things like "This posting says X, but I talked to the CTO and he really just needs someone to take a functional spec and build an interface out of it".

Without a recruiter, you'll need your wits about you, lest you end up being deceived by a flowery job posting. And you'll need to have confidence and a firm understanding of your abilities so you can negotiate a good salary. You'll have to pour through job sites and you'll submit the same application form over and over and over... It's tiring.

Find a company that you want to work for and then go on the site and read through the company blog. Hopefully those posts will be authored by someone and not just the 'company'. Then find that person on social media (twitter/google/linkedin) and use that to reach out to them via email or twitter (not everyone reads their linkedin because of the spam) referencing something interesting they've been working on. That's an effective way to get an 'in' if you don't have a network there already.

Also find out if they're hosting any events or speaking at any and attend. The process is a lot easier once you've actually met someone who works there.

Though I'm a developer now I got my last job in Sales/VC when I went to see the founder speak at an event, he intro'd me to the hiring manager who rejected me initially as I didn't have a start-up network (the job was finding start-ups deal-flow for funding). I got that job as I said I could create a network in 3 days and proved it.


I agree with you about the spam. I've been gradually disabling my Linkedin as a result.

I'll throw in my recent experience:

Rewind 2 years, looking for a more-legit DB dev job, coming out of a hybrid client-facing analytical role, with somewhat light dev work.

Resume is up in all the usual spots (Indeed, Dice, etc) get a call from a Tech recruiter asking if I was interested in a position paying nearly 2x what I was making. Jumped on it, and less than 24 hours later I was hired. I've come to see now that that was a HUGE red flag. The interviews were non-technical, among many other things.

Fast forward to this last month, workplace is horriffic, no process, no management, all the worst things. But I do have 2 more years exp in DB dev, so it's time to start looking again.

Put resume back up on the usual sites, this time I also put it up on a smaller, more focused site here in CO: builtincolorado.com which is aimed at start-up and post-start-up IT jobs.

Had a few interviews through companies I found there. Tons of calls/emails from recruiters, nothing catches my eye. Found a company thru BiC, and they go through a recruiter for a lot of their tech screening.

This recruiter is completely different than the previous one. Actual assessment testing, recruiters who've working in the field for years. Process took about 5-6 weeks.

So all in all, recruiters aren't always bad, but many are. And like some have pointed out, many have conflicts of interest in trying to just fill positions. The company I was hired by only uses them for tech screening, and doesn't to CTH, which I think helps lessen the conflict of interest, and only uses this recruiting company because they bring quality candidates. The moment they cease providing that, I don't doubt they'd use another screener or do it all themselves.

Here's a question for the recruiters in this thread: When someone is rejected for being "too senior for the role", what are the actual reasons?

I ask this as someone who's been dealt that card 10 times in the past few months. I've got a good idea as to what the actual reasons might be, but looking for confirmation. Thanks.

This is strange advice, but the best advice I can give: don't be looking for a job - instead look to help interesting people, to get to know them, and to establish lasting relationships.

These people will get to know you, will find out about jobs you might like way before the recruiters do, or before they are posted on job sites, sometimes even before they're announced. They'll know, and want, to let you know about the jobs too, and you'll do the same for them.

This strategy has worked very well for me, and I've built a network of amazing friendly people in the process.

The trick to this strategy is to always be connecting (nod to Glengarry Glen Ross there), before you ever are in need of a job. If you are in need of one and haven't done that, then I'd advise like others have here and try to leverage what network you have.

Disclaimer: I am a software engineer at Underdog.io.

There are a lot of platforms nowadays that help to remove the "middleman" of external recruiters. Underdog.io, Hired, Vettery, InterviewJet, and others. These platforms typically are working to connect companies and candidates together directly by removing the "find and apply to each company individually" type approach. Instead they accept candidate applications, put them through their own internal approval process, and then, if selected, present them to companies to then make the decision if they want to talk to the candidates directly. In my opinion is approach is a much nicer and less stressful process for candidates.

    > Instead they accept candidate applications, put them
    > through their own internal approval process, and
    > then, if selected, present them to companies to then
    > make the decision if they want to talk to the
    > candidates directly
So ... they're recruiters then?

EDIT: Looking at their website, it's a recruitment agency with some small amount of candidate selection automation built in.

Yeah, sometimes products like these try not to market themselves as recruiters or agencies. When really they usually fill a similar role for companies, providing them with candidates for open positions. Some offer slightly different value than hiring an agency, but the role they play for a company is usually that of a recruiter/agency.

I think what is most important for candidates is that finding a new job is really hard and takes a lot of work, and utilizing as many options as you can to find the right job.

This also goes for companies as well, finding the right candidate for a job is hard and they should utilize as many options as possible.

It is a numbers game.

You will be falsely rejected from some companies.

You will be falsely accepted from some companies.

I got my current job by applying on their jobs page.

A lot of people here are harping on ineffective recruiters but it really depends on the industry. As a programmer in finance, pretty much no one posts job openings. Sell-side may but buy-side definitely doesn't. Using your network or going through a recruiter are the only real avenues to finding a job in this industry. Outside of new college grads, I've never met anyone that was hired from applying for a job directly through a company's site.

Hi there!

Why not give us a try at http://www.thinksquare.io :)

We use A.I to match you with jobs, your profile is hidden from companies until you accept a match.

Once you accept and the company accepts as well, you'll be connected with the hiring manager.

FYI we're mostly live in Canada, a few positions in the US and Europe. However, we're moving into the remote space very soon if that potentially interests you.

I saw a job listed by a third-party recruiter that sounded interesting. Problem is they won't give me more information until I meet with them, which would take an hour+ train ride, missing work, and expense. This isn't even the hiring company just some random job board like recruiting company. I tried googling around for the company itself, but don't have enough to go on. Anyone run into this?

There are good recruiters but they tend to be the ones that are working directly for the said company and are paid via a placement fee one-time or simply salaried. The worst ones tend to be the middle-man recruiting firm that claims to be a tech firm and just takes hourly off the top and has no technical understanding of anything. That's like having two bosses where the recruiting firm is not involved enough to even know what's going on from your perspective and is just there to annoy you with bro speak. There is no value there other than the initial placement. I hope there is a general revolt to that among tech workers as we don't need this and it hurts the companies hiring through them as the workers will not want to stay in that situation long term. My friends from India seem to have to put up with the worst ones imaginable.

I use LinkedIn as a self-advertising tool explicitly listing I am a consultant corp-to-corp which definitely reduces the amount of bullshit.

I have found that most sites that promise matching to many possible positions have a two way signal-noise problems. You are likely to get too many recruiters; and companies are likely to get too many applicants.

1) Find a conference that videos presentations in a domain that you are interested in. Apply to companies that represent speakers for topics that you are interested in. (also gives you material to talk about in interview)

2) As you find interesting companies, select the ones that you have never heard of, and find them on sites like linkedin. Use tool to find similar companies (this is useless for large and well known companies).

3) Of the 'match maker' sites I've used, Craigslist is surprisingly good (this may be location specific). Some of my most interesting interviews were from random craigslist jobs.

I would be interested in knowing companies' strategies for handling the flood of applicatants to "HN: Who's Hiring"

CTO of Workshape.io here - we are a hiring platform for software engineers that's primary focus is matching developers to opportunities based on your passions and how you want to spend your time in your next role. When you match with a position you interface directly with someone at the company without any mediating through recruiters. Added bonus: there is no need for uploading your resume/CV!

With 2 of the founders being developers we can relate to the level of recruiter spam in this space and so we created Workshape.io to cut through the noise and make meaningful intorductions between developer and company based on shared requirements.

We have about 200 postings on the site right now spread across the globe, but mainly concentrated in Europe. That said though, we do cater for people seeking remote work + relocation so if you fall under that remit then you may find us even more useful.

Would love for you to check us out and would welcome any feedback.

Recruiters are probably the worst thing on the planet. Because besides interviewing with them, giving them all your info, you still have to do all the communication with the company. I recommend this, recruiters are kind of an evil you have to live with. So allow yourself one recruiting company that has a good bearing in the area. I.e. you meet them in an office that they own and not at a star bucks because it's a one man show.

Then uses sites like indeed.com, venturefizz.com, or apply directly to the company. Use hired.com if you got a nice fancy resume for them to show off, but avoid it if you are strictly entry level.

The troublesome part is that only recruiting companies can get you in to startups that are still in stealth mode or too small to hire someone just for recruiting and hr.

Shameless plug: I made a search frontend for the monthly "Who is hiring?" threads that are here on HN


It might help you in finding some favorable leads.

Just write to the companies you find interesting. I once got a job offer just because I mailed a in depth review/my thoughts to some CTO (I was not even looking for a job). Rare but happens + you stick out

Call up your friends and tell them you are looking for a new gig. Your peers will likely make better matches and more meaningful intros to companies you'd actually want to work for than recruiters.

Interviews can be a little easier for contracting because there's a 6-12 month interview called the contract. If you work with the right recruiting company I think it can work out pretty good.

In the UK there's something seriously wrong with the IT jobs market. On the job sites (TotalJobs is my go-to example) literally 99% of DevOps positions on any given day are being advertised through recruitment agencies. I was forced to deal with them for years and the majority are either incompetent or shady. I wrote an essay on this (https://mocko.org.uk/b/2015/10/14/dont-feed-the-beast-the-gr...) a few months ago detailing some of the appalling behaviour I've seen from recruitment agencies on the London tech scene and in the ensuing HN debate people raised equally harrowing examples of their own.

What's wrong with this? Well, from my perspective it's now basically impossible to land a job without either knowing the people hiring (i.e. networking, something we nerds are bad at) or lining the pockets of some talentless parasite who's found a way to insert himself into a high-value transaction.

The "only work with the ones you like" argument people often respond with completely misses the point. I believe it's based upon a misapprehension of the dynamic - nerds see "agent" in their job title and assume something like a literary agent, someone with incentives aligned with their own who'll pimp them around a variety of potential employers. The truth, however, is that agents aggressively pursue companies for leads (I've been on the hiring side too and had dozens of calls a day) and some actively threaten companies ("use us or we'll poach all your staff") into using their services. The social engineering they use to navigate the corporate phone system to reach decision makers can be quite ingenious. Companies with the backbone to say no are sadly rare, so from the the applicant's side if you see a job advertised and if you want it, you have no choice but to to kiss the agent's ass for an introduction to the employer.

This rent-seeking behaviour generally nets the agent a sum equivalent to the first few months of the applicant's salary or 10-20% of their contract rate for as long as they stay there. The only real service the agent offers in return for this is spamming nerds who they'd like to apply (as happened to the OP) and weeding out obviously bad applicants to save the employer's time.

Since writing that essay I've flat-out refused to have anything to do with recruitment agencies. Internal recruiters are fine (hey, if you're hiring a lot that's totally a specialised job) but I take the use of a recruitment agency as a sign that an employer either 1) gave in to an agency's aggressive sales tactics or 2) has a reputation so poor that putting their name on job ad actively discourages the best candidates.

In short - most recruitment agencies (at least on the London scene) are dishonest, greedy, target-driven parasites. They aren't your friend and the more you feed these people the worse the market gets.

Just say no.

I have to agree here. I flat out refuse to use recruiters in London because my experience with them was really bad. I once was put through an interview process through a recruiter. I did all interviews with this company and they were happy with me. After each interview the recruiter called me and asked me what kind of questions I was getting. It turns out he was betting on another horse to succeed as I found out later. Another guy was on the race for the same job and the recruiter was feeding him all the questions before he got to the interview. He must have pitched him really hard for him to get the job.

Be very wary of those practice. Recruiters are not your friend.

Recruiters are sharks. Its quite funny when you play them at their own games though. I did a few interviews with different recruiters in my last hunt. Told them all 'I am interviewing for one other job' so I didn't look desperate but at the same didn't look too committed (so I was a good horse to bet on). Then once I got the offer I wanted I dropped all other interviews immediately (one on the day). Got some anger for that!

If you have the time, go to local meetups. They can help you build a solid network and often have information about employers looking to hire. My last two jobs came from networking in this way.

Assuming, of course, that there are companies you want to work for locally.

i agree. that was part of the inspiration behind https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11441183 . I am making progress on the product but primarily i think linkedin is biased towards serving recruiters better than users.

At the very least there should be a way to filter out good recruiters from the bad ones. I hate to say but more like a review system where you can rate your interaction with a recruiter.

Stack Overflow Careers. LinkedIn. Glassdoor sends me emails - seems similar content to what comes up on LinkedIn. The Python Meetup group here in Barcelona often has jobs posted to the mailing list. Jobserve used to be the one to use in the UK, but I haven't lived there for a while. Infojobs in Spain.

Many years ago a recruiter contacted me about a job for a well known Investment Bank, we had the usual bullshit conversation and never got back to me. I applied directly and got a job.

A lot of companies post their job listings on their own site, then stick the same descriptions on recruiters' sites.

The job posting sites often seem to mix it up and purposely anonymize these job descriptions, but they're pretty lazy. You can google little unique sounding bits of the description and find the actual company.

A little late to the party but I just recently created a job board that aims for organizing the tech job market. https://www.zeroinjobs.com

I know it's a bit misaligned with the ask in the thread but thought it could be a good resources for job seekers. Personally got sick of creating pseudo regex's on job search sites.

Even though it's technically a 'recruiter', Hired.com is pretty painless. The main point I appreciated is that it was not terribly pushy. They asked that you respond to offers, but that's about it.

I havent gotten a job through them, I'm still 100% through friends/excoworkers, but the process was nice and I did get offers (and a friend did land a job through them).

> What's the procedure for getting a new job without going through external recruiters?

Same as always, networking :). Go to meet ups, go to conferences, talk at conferences. Do this for a while and your network will grow fast, and you'll be skipping technical interviews even. It's not quite practical for a lot of people but that's the breaks.

A while ago I wrote something called https://whoishiring.io is an aggregator for IT jobs, it has decent IT amount of job posts (~15000) including HN's "Who is Hiring?" which you start with btw.

But as it was mentioned couple of times here: Indeed, Glassdoor, Adzuna are good places to visit as well.

You can also try company bots on CodeFights : https://codefights.com/bots if you win and apply your information gets submitted to respective companies directly.

Some companies require a recruiter. I'm a contractor, and my contract is with the recruiter, not their client. This is through my own company, with its own insurance etc.

Mileage may vary but recruiters fill a networking gap and are useful to outsiders for getting a foot in the door.

If you want a job at a startup, contact a recruiter/talent partner at a VC firm. You will have more interviews than you know what to do with.

AngelList is great and it's (part of) how I got my current position.

I actually just posted this http://weworkcontract.com/ for London contract jobs aggregated from job boards (and recruiters).

Is this for London onsite contract work only? remote ok?

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