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Ask HN: What do you care about the most in a tech job post?
58 points by mrburton on Oct 14, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 93 comments
When I look at job posts, I really care about what technology is being used, what would my role be on the team and project, and more.

What things do you look for in a technical job post?




At the risk of sounding shallow, the salary (and NOT "competitive rates" or "DOE"). I don't want to waste my time or a potential employer's if expectations won't line up.

It's not, of course, the only thing I care about, but far too few postings offer this level of transparency. Love the other ideas of work week length and problem to be solved as well.


I have recently spent a long time (i.e. months) and an unholy amount of energy in an interview process that ended up offering a firm number (because of a ladder similar to the one at Google) that was significantly lower than what I was making at that time.

In the same time I talked to that company, I had had enough time to talk to 5 others and get 5 more offers that were all offering at least as much as I was making or significantly more.

Since I was really interested in company #1, I declined really good offers along the way, hoping I'd get an offer from that company.

You can imagine my elation and subsequent horrors when they told me that they had picked me for the job and showed me their salary ranges. I would never ever in my life want to go through such an experience again and I actively avoid companies that are hiding or avoiding that topic somewhat early in the process.


It's often a negotiation tactic. They force you to invest time into it, so that you wouldn't want to let go of the investment.

I usually walk away from anyone not announcing salary ranges, because they're also the most likely to negotiate hard.


Seconding your point. And I have the anecdotal evidence to prove it -- many former colleagues (20+) called me months or years later and told me "you were right to walk away from those guys early".

It's a solid and necessary skill to be able to negotiate hard. But when taken to such extremes as to keep people oblivious about their salary until the end, it's a red flag from the get go.


I had a similar experience recently with an employer essentially making an offer, but asking me to jump through all kinds of subsequent pre-employment screening hoops before they would disclose salary (which was, of course, below market when I pushed back and made them give me a number).

I don’t knew if this is some new tactic, but the whole think struck me as trying to leverage a sunk cost fallacy to underpay employees.


Just curious, did company #1 lead you to believe that they'd offer you a competitive salary, or did you assume that they would? Did they know you were turning down other offers? Either way, it's a lesson learned. Thanks for sharing.


There were several factors:

- This took place in Germany, where salaries don't vary to a very large extent. There are some outliers, but most people know they need to offer a certain amount of $$$ for talent.

- I did my research and assessed the current market. It was on par with my salary at that time.

- They made sure to communicate that there is no equity offered, which made me believe their salaries are adjusted accordingly.

- No, I didn't tell them I was turning down offers. But I did tell them that if they don't move faster, I'm going to accept another offer.


I agree. I have a lot of respect for companies that post a clear range (it has to be better than just "80000-150000 depending on experience"). It's also nice if they describe what they actually work on and not just some buzzwords.

After suffering a cube farm for the last years I also like companies who have offices or are remote.

Decent vacation is also appreciated.


You'll like the new California law AB168:

"California employers can no longer ask job applicants about their prior salary and — if applicants ask — must give them a pay range for the job they are seeking, under a new state law that takes effect Jan. 1."

http://www.calpeculiarities.com/2017/10/12/third-times-the-c...


The first part, I was aware of. The second part, I was not. This leads me to believe there's an interesting project in automating the crowdsourcing of role salary ranges.

Land on page for a job on an aggregator board. GeoIP detects if you're in California; asks you confirm if you're interested in the salary range of the job. You click "yes", it submits the request (which requires a response by law). Response is reported back to requestor when it arrives, aggregator board has salary on record.


That didn’t matter since an employer could look up your salary history on the service Equifax and others provide.

Second part of the law is brilliant!


That's not shallow at all. If a job doesn't list an attractive salary it's a clear indication it's not a good job.


There are multiple reasons why companies don't list out salaries. e.g., it often attracts the wrong talent, it can create distrust with candidates who think "Wait, you're offering me X when you listed X-Z"

Some firms won't list it also for legal concerns as well.


And there is not a full hiring process to find out that those are the wrong people ?


The hiring process in most companies is broken. When it comes to recruiters, it's a very interesting space.

There are two types engagements recruiting firms have with companies:

1. contingency - You only make money when you place someone. This is what triggers the blasting of many resumes over to companies with little vetting. In short, it's a numbers game.

2. retained - This is when a firm pays the recruiter either all or partially upfront. The recruiter is then incentive to their very best to place the candidate.

When you really dig into the recruiting space, it's very interesting and you start to uncover things that create a bad experience for candidates, companies, and recruiters.


Most jobs don’t list salaries lol


If your org doesn't list a salary, I'll go looking on Glassdoor or this crowdsourced spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1a1Df6dg2Pby1UoNlZU2l...

Or I'll ask former employees sourced from their Linkedin profiles. Fight information asymmetry whenever possible.


I'm curious. Why the downvotes on this comment?


Angry recruiters and managers who don't want the truth exposed :)


As long as HN doesn't shadow/hell ban me when these subjects come up and I comment like I did above, I'm always going to fight for workers to maximize their earning potential.


The power of alternate accounts, I've already experienced the end-game you've described ;)

Sadly there is not much of an appetite for truth that affects any business exploits that rely on misinformation.

If you began informing Ethiopian coffee bean farmers of how much Starbucks charges for a cup of coffee for just a few cents worth of coffee beans...

They would find a way to raise their price ;)


I never expect to see a salary, since it depends so much on the person you end up hiring.


I understand the thinking behind that and have been there, but now that I'm getting into positions of hiring and having previously worked for an org where salaries were public and fixed at each level, I can't imagine having it work any other way.

In my future postings, I will evaluate the market for the type of position I'm posting, decide on a pretty narrow range (even a specific number), and make it part of the posting and the job overall. It worked well for me and many others, and removes so many issues.


There's one filter that every single human has: ethics.

Not everyone's philosophy is the same; there are missions that I might find detestable and you might not.

But for goodness sake, please don't make me go through the process of filling out a long form, writing a cover-letter, and jumping on a 60 minute phone call before you tell me that you're building something to help the government kill people. Like, seriously, put that right at the top and save everybody's time.


Bakers make bread. Soldiers eat bread to have energy to kill people. Do bakers help government kill people?


Some people refuse to participate in any meaningful way to the current economic human web. It seems that this generally drives these people to live a life of isolation (usually in the forests of the PNW or SE). I know a few such people, but I'm not convinced that their critique is working out the way they expected.

So your point is sound: it's up to each of us to decide how to participate and where to draw various lines.


Beyond the usual things, that you and others mention, like technical interest and what the company's goal is and so on: does the company provide a sane workweek?

Sometimes they very clearly don't ("70-hour weeks" in particularly awful case).

Other times they definitely do.

Most of the time it's very hard to tell, though, which is a shame. There are lots of other programmers who care about this besides me (my rant about 70-hour workweek got 120,000 page views - https://codewithoutrules.com/2017/09/18/when-startups-pay-le...).

If your company is hiring, provides a sane workweek, and you'd like some ideas on how to promote your hiring effots - ping me: itamar@codewithoutrules.com.


I came across this post on flipbook the other day :)


Having just been through the job hunting process, it’s gotta be the speed at which I can apply.

If it takes me more than 2 minutes to apply for your position, I’m going to skip the whole thing

If you make me retype everything that’s on my resume, I’m going to pass

My ideal application is attach resume, put basic info like Email and name if not automatically scraped and submit


Just to weigh in on the flip side of this from a hiring perspective, if it's clear to me that someone has done zero research on my particular company, has no knowledge about what it is we do, and has no articulate explanation of why this particular job is a good fit for them, then I pass on the candidate instantly. I don't know if the shotgun a resume with a cut-and-paste cover letter approach works to some degree, but it at least doesn't work for me.

I know that applying to jobs is a pain in the ass, and that there are far too many bad actors on the hiring side (ie not giving a clear no and just ghosting applicants). But if you enter the application process making it clear you have done your research, you know what the company does, what the specific role is, and even better if you know something about the people on my side, who you want to work with and why, etc. then you are guaranteed an interview and you're starting a mile ahead of anyone just shotgunning in a resume. Yes, that takes a LOT longer than 2 minutes. But with that approach maybe you won't need to send in hundreds of applications.


> But with that approach maybe you won't need to send in hundreds of applications.

Unlikely. There's a reason so many people take the shotgun approach. The response rate from cold online applications is very, very low. The 'hiring funnel' is also very discouraging. Every additional step in the hiring process is a step in which you may never hear from a single company again for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with you. Are you going to spend a lot of time up front to send an application into the void and never hear anything back again?

"Bad actors on the hiring side" include companies posting job openings they have no intention of filling. There's an information asymmetry here and spamming resumes and stock cover letters is how I resolve that. I know the company is serious about hiring somebody if I make it past the first HR/recruiter phone screen to talk to an actual engineer. Then I invest some time, do my research, contact some of the company's engineers through twitter and linkedin, etc. The company gets bonus points if first contact is made by the actual hiring manager or someone even higher up the food chain.

I wish I could tell right away who's serious about hiring somebody and who isn't. I haven't found a way to tell from the job ad alone.


Why would you only consider only applicants who made research about your company before ? What kind of skill this task is proving you ?

If I'm right, you are trying to find people who have the rights skills and the ones who match the culture of the company, right ? Then not doing any research doesn't mean anything

I do the same, if the application process is longer than 2 minutes, I skip, if the cover letter is mandatory, I skip. But when I get an interview I prepare a lot.


Part of it is showing that you know how to be effective, in this case how to effectively get yourself hired. A huge part of any tech job is about how you approach problems, creative thinking, and figuring out the best way to make an impact -- much of which is not about actually writing code.

So it's about showing that you can take the viewpoint of someone other than yourself (in this case the person doing the hiring) and figure out how to be effective. Refusing to even write a paragraph explaining why you're the right person for a particular job is simply not an effective way to try to get a job. It shows naivete and a lack of understanding of the system involved, which makes me assume that you'll approach similar non-technical roadblocks, of which there will be millions, in the same ineffective way.


Well I was expecting this answer, so basically you only search for people who don't apply for a lot of positions and take a lot of time for each of them before applying.

Don't be surprised if the people you recruit lack the real skills needed by your company


Wait. Your reasoning is paradoxical in a Schrodinger-like manner. If yourself did not take into account the cover letter and assumed "research", the effective applicant suddenly becomes the one who did not waste time on that.


That sounds like ego-driven decision making. The assumed correlation between "time candidate spent reading our PR statements" and "odds she's a good fit" seems hard to justify.


It's an interest thing: if the applicant doesn't even know what type of product you make, then what happens when you bring them in for an interview and it turns out they just fundamentally don't care about your product? Either (a) they'll turn you down based on that _after_ learning more about your product during the interview, which has wasted both your times or (b) this will get glossed over, they'll work for you for a few months, and then search for a new job after discovering that working on your product gives them no fulfillment.

It's not an ego-driven "only consider the candidates who put in effort specifically to satisfy me" thing. It's more "there's a 50% chance that this applicant who did zero research wouldn't actually be happy in this line of work, whereas any applicant who spends ten minutes of research and then still applies has already decided that this line of work is probably a good fit for them."

Does this justify it for you? Or do you still feel that asking candidates to know generally what your company makes beforehand is unreasonable?


[EDITED]

I think "knowing what the company does in general" is reasonable. Anything beyond that is on the unjustifiable-impractical plain. First quarter.


Personally I research the companies I work for before I apply

I write unique cover letters for each with a copy and pasted section about my skill set

I don’t think a poorly made application process has a lot to do with doing research on a company

That is, my issue is with bad software not necessarily shotgunning resumes


This sounds entirely reasonable, and honestly I'd say puts you ahead of many applicants out of the gate. The rest of the discussion on this thread turned into a debate about whether it's reasonable to expect a level of background research and effort on the part of the applicant or not. But it doesn't sound like that's what you were really arguing against, so we all just went off on a tangent :) I can easily get behind the idea that the actual submission platform/software should make it easy to apply.


Interesting, what would make you work with a company to help you find candidates? What do current companies fk up on when trying to place candidates with you?


>> If it takes me more than 2 minutes to apply for your position, I’m going to skip the whole thing

This is such a pain, it’s 2017 and I have job sites who want a Word document resume, plain text resume, then in the middle of filling out a web form with my work history I just closed the browser window because I don’t think I really wanted to work at a place like that anyway.


My favourite are job sites where you have to create an account and the account has ridiculous minimum password requirements. Example: "Your password must be at least eight characters long and must include at least one letter (A–Z, a–z), one digit (0–9) and one special character (e.g., !"§$%)."


That's downright a scam. I've applied once to a JPMorgan dev team. The verbose application process required me to "register" to some "applicants network". Alas, the registration form had the infamous "I accept the terms of service AND allow you to send spam to the email address you've just forced me to provide" bundled checkbox.

Granted that was the end of my attempts to work there.


Sounds like any $BIGCORP that outsources their application flow to Taleo.


I completely agree with you, these companies are not showing enough interest to make the life of applicants better, it is highly probably the same with their employees

And I skip when they ask for a cover letter (or send a blank pdf page)


This has to be one of the childish and laziest things I've read in a long time. Seriously, who can't spend 10 minutes writing up a cover letter? If you can't even manage that, how the hell are you going to do your job properly? You're not!

Job hunting works both ways. If the company has put in the time to write up a decent enough job listing to make you interested, then you damn well do your side and don't waste their time (yes, this may be a shock to you, but sending a crappy email without a cover letter wastes someones elses time).


Thanks but the current world is that job hunting doesn't work both ways. People in tech have probably no problem finding a job whereas most tech companies have problem recruiting.

And yes if I don't spend 10 minutes writing a cover letter for your company I'm not able to do my job properly, you probably find the easiest way to find if someone is going to do his job properly. Well done !


I'm guessing from your posts here that you're either very naive and/or too young to have been in a hiring role.

Yes, it does indeed work both ways. Just because you don't understand this doesn't make you in any way correct.

I'm not really sure what your second paragraph means. Are you saying you job hunt while at work? That's not a professional thing to be doing. In any case, writing a cover letter is very easy, so being unable to do that probably means you need to work on your communication skills. Heck, with the amount of posts you've stuck onto HN today alone, you could have knocked up a short cover letter that would suit 90% of technical job applications, so this can't be a time problem for you.


1. What problem is the company/team trying to solve? 2. What are the special challenges? For example, ultra low latency or scalability or porting a monolith to microservices 3. Technology stack (does it match with my experience? what can I learn? hotter and newer not always better imho) 4. The language used in the post

After this, I usually try to find out as much as I can about the company. It helps a lot if the company has an engineering/team blog.


In the job post, I want to know what is expected of me. What am I going to be doing? What languages/technologies am I supposed to know?

When I'm interested in a post, I'll look at the company website to get a feel for it. In the job posting they always describe how open and informal the culture is, how great the atmosphere is, etc. etc. The website often tells me what kind of company it really is. If that's alright I'll apply and expect further explanation about both the company and my position in interviews (since interviews are two-way), while I also fill them in on my qualifications.


When i am spending 8 - 10 hours of time everyday at one place, the most i care is that the organization/team builds an environment that feels comfortable. A place where everyone cares genuinely about each other and is ready to help. I maybe crazy, but something i look for in a job role is trust within the team.


I'm chronically ill so I value most of all flexible work hours and an understanding that there will be periods of time ranging from days to weeks to months where I'm derelict as an engineer.


> days to weeks to months where I’m derelict as a software engineer.

Months? I don’t know anything about your situation, but how could you expect an employer to think that this is worth their resources?


Unpaid time off is fine. You'd be surprised how few employers are willing to accommodate that. My current employer is a tight knit software firm, so it's not such a big deal if I take long unpaid leave at the end of a major project or milestone. I have a skill set and background that's difficult to train up.

Edit: I should add that this may be an unreasonable expectation but it's the expectation I need to have in order to be stably employed.


Probably a poor framing. Maybe think of it as "No, I will not be working overtime on a regular basis and running flat out all the time. I may be able to do stuff like that occasionally, but I just can't sustain it for long periods."

I am also chronically ill. I had a job at a Fortune 500 company at one time. People there were aware I was desperately poor because I was walking to work and everyone was giving me rides. Some folks knew this was because of my medical condition. The company didn't do shit all for me (other than all the offers of rides).

Meanwhile, someone who made a lot more money than me had a death in the family and they did fundraisers so she could attend both the memorial service in one state and the actual funeral in another. They also routinely did fund raisers for people with a health crisis or a family member with a health crisis. I was there over five years. Nothing like that was ever done for me. It is part of why I left. ("Fuck you, too.")

Yes, I have special needs. No, my special needs are not greater than that of other employees who were getting the support I lacked.

I now do freelance work so I can work at my own pace. I have carefully arranged my life in that regard. But, really, I don't think I am more of a special snowflake than other people with jobs. But, for whatever reason, people think my needs are unreasonable, while they bend over backwards to take care of other people who, in some cases, have far less serious problems.

I get that a lot, in all kinds of ways. I don't really understand why. It is possible that prejudice is an element.

Flexible work and remote work is a potential boon for people with chronic health issues. There are a lot of people with such issues. As life expectancy increases and more people survive cancer, etc, we are going to see more people who can work, need to work and want to work, but they need to do it part time, flexibly and/or remotely.


I dislike that your post had been downvoted when I wrote this comment. When I consider all of the possibilities in my life, I can very easily enumerate all the things that prevented me from getting institutionalized or ending up on the streets. People who don't want to take that inventory behave strangely towards those that must.

Long story short, I'm an anarchocommunist for a reason. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I'm not trying to defend the people at your former org, but from an etiquette standpoint, it's a lot less awkward to give money to people in the wake of death or sudden grave illness (like cancer) rather than to give money to people suffering an ongoing condition like poverty or chronic illness.

Imagine a company holding fundraiser for Joe in accounting because he's poor.

That is simply not culturally acceptable, though it's likely the right thing to do.


I quit that job to go live in a tent to get myself healthier. I was already a member of Hacker News when that happened. I joined the site while I still had a job at a Fortune 500 company.

I was homeless for ~5.7 years. During that time, my goal was consistently to learn to make money online to support myself.

People said shitty things to me like saying that I was "panhandling the internet." People pissed all over me, called me crazy, told me consistently to shut up about my problems, not because I was begging -- because I absolutely wasn't -- but because they had no plans to help me and it made them uncomfortable with the disconnect between what callous assholes they were and what nice people they imagined they were.

A lot of people online knew of my plight. Most of them either did nothing to help me or actively pissed all over me.

Meanwhile, I know of someone who joined Hacker News, networked, told everyone their sob story, got help pursuing their goals, was gifted money, etc. I never tried to use my sob story to manipulate people into giving me money. It works for some people. It isn't something I would ever do. I very much resent being accused of it.

One of the problems appears to be that I am a woman. The ways in which that is a problem are complicated.

But I am really tired of hearing all the excuses or explanations for why I need to understand why the entire world would like to tell me personally "Oh, fuck you. Feel free to die in the gutter. Also, stop making us aware of what assholes we are."

I am really in no mood to listen to this kind of tripe from anyone. Your account is two days old. If you aren't trying to defend the people at my former org, then, you know, just don't. Don't come here and try to explain to me why it is okay for the entire world to have such a monstrous fuck you attitude towards me such that there is just no path forward, not even if I am willing to crawl naked across broken glass to get there.

I spend a lot of time feeling suicidal over what I have learned about the monstrous heartlessness and callousness of the world in the last six years. I am not the type to go postal and go kill a bunch of people, but I certainly understand why that seems to be happening more and more here lately.


[flagged]


No, the entire world is not responsible for me. I am asking one person -- you -- to not behave like a callous jackass towards me personally in comments here. But, apparently that is asking too much, seeing as how you are doubling down rather than apologizing or shutting up.


Maybe not "most", but very important (and seldom described): Environment.

Done wasting my time on noise and distraction. "Interaction" is just fine with me, and I can even context-switch pretty rapidly. Unholy levels of stress and requirements to "tune out" a bunch of irrelevant and noisy stuff going on around me? Forgetaboutit.

I'm happier shuffling papers in a quiet, peaceful environment, than coding "the solution to the universe" in open space with "George who shouts everything across the aisles" and the very nice Melissa who nonetheless has multiple cube (really, "cubette") meetings everyday while Tayna pounds her (shared) desk constantly in emphasis while on sometimes hours long phone calls.

I think a lot of people can be happy doing more and a far wider range of things than they imagine, if the environment is simply right.

P.S. Which is by way of saying to employers, if you really want to hire that 10x/rockstar/gets-stuff-done/innovates person, hook them with an assurance they'll have an optimal working environment. And for many, that means a quiet physical environment. And if you're endlessly questioning just where the line is, and how little accommodation you can get away with? You've already lost that person -- sooner, even if they initially take the position.


How many 10x ego people work there, how blame-oriented the company and the team I'd be working on is, how much pressure there is to always go faster and how much time is spent prototyping and researching things, will my manager actually manage as necessary, is there a lot of clearly defined work to be done and/or a clear mission or are they pivoting constantly, is compensation/benefits reasonable and standard, etc.


- Pay

- Remote / Location

- Flexible hours?

- Technology I will be using

- Ethics concerns? (Weapons, Spam, Porn, etc..)

- Team or solo (if team, can I meet them?)

- Architecture vs Coding (Do I have any say in projects?)

----

I am willing to negotiate tens of thousands of dollars for flexible hours and remote. Commute time and costs add up.


I'm not sure where you are based, but there are some remote-friendly and all-remote teams listed on Key Values (keyvalues.io).

Many people define work/life balance as a 40-hour work work, but I would be willing to negotiate tens of thousands of dollars and more hours/week if I had the flexibility to work when and where I wanted to.


I wish job descriptions said more about the team, culture, and engineering values. Sure, salary is important too, but there's a wide range I'd be open to if everything else was aligned.

If you look at https://www.keyvalues.io, you'll see what dozens of engineers said they cared about most when evaluating a new job. I used their responses to create engineering team profiles that would directly address these things.

Not surprisingly, I see many of the same values described in the comments in this post: "Work/Life Balance," "High Quality Code Base," "Flexible Work Arrangements," "Safe Environment to Fail," "Committed to Personal Growth," "Team is Diverse," "Remote-OK," "Thoughtful Office Layout," and questions around how "Product-Driven" the team is.


Location: where is the office exactly.

Picture with my desk, chair and station.

Salary range.

All the rest.


> Picture with my desk, chair and station.

This would save me so much time. I can't count the number of postings I've seen on "StackOverflow Careers" that brag about their Joel Test score (quiet working conditions, check!), but when I dig deeper I find a photo of a giant open floor plan.

I've even seen hiring videos where someone bragged about what a great place it was to get work done, and right behind the interviewee is a foosball/ping-pong table, and just on the other side you can see some poor programmer with headphones trying to block it all out.

The words "quiet working conditions" must mean something else to hiring teams these days, but no matter. Show a picture of my desk, and there's no ambiguity.


I look for 100% remote positions, with no daily meetings and no culture of video conferencing, and where I can work on free software to benefit the public good!



Have you had much luck finding such a setup?


When possible, I prefer to apply by email or a simple form; but recognize this is ever less realistic. Do not make me setup an account unless it is government work like the National Labs.

I spent a lot of time curating my resume, this includes formatting. Let me submit a pdf.

I would like to know the positions funding model upfront.

Its nice to know what tech is used, and weather the software stack is monolithic or diverse across the organization.

PTO is important, and should be clearly stated.

If the team has presented at a technology conference recently this is a huge plus.

salary range is helpful (no need to be super narrow).

What do i need to know? What am I expected to learn? What are nice things to know?

I would love for postings to include the company's expected response time! Also satisfactory "We may not respond if you aren't what we're looking for at this time."

Treat your audience like adults.

Don't use 'ninja' or 'rockstar' as a positive descriptor.

Don't use statements like "We at FreshSqeezed.io provide a service like Twitter but for Farmer's Markets!".


I'm freelancer and not really looking for a steady job. What I look for in projects is a mix:

* Location; I love to cycle to work

* Pay rate; if it's too low, they're probably not looking for me, and if it's too high, same. Though I'm willing to take a pay cut when other aspects are good

* Technology; stuff that I know of course, but even more stuff that I want to learn

* Interesting problem space; will I just be moving data between DB and browser, or is there something more interesting about it?

I couldn't say which of these is more important; they all count. Money is nice of course, but I'm willing to work for a lower rate if it's close to home and I get to learn something I want to learn but don't know very well yet. The experience is valuable to me, and my lack of experience makes me less valuable to the client, so it makes sense for everybody. And no amount of money is going to make me stick with a job I absolutely hate. Well, maybe some amount of money, but few would pay that much.


- work / life balance

- technology used

- ethics of the company (not making weapons, not spying etc.)


Mission and working environment have already been mentioned plenty of times, and are certainly important.

One that doesn't show up a huge amount at the moment, but which holds huge weight for me (potentially trumping salary) is autonomy: to what extent am I going to have leverage to build useful things as an individual rather than a mostly-fungible "team member".

I'm wondering whether some people have actually been a little scared off from advertising this because of the risk of being dinged for {bad,lack of} process.


Don't say "fast paced". I take this as an indication that the work will be a "move fast and break things" type of culture. Many engineers want to build solid infrastructure and/or cutting edge tech which takes time and thought to develop. Many engineers do want a challenge - we can tell if it's a challenging job post from the rest of the ad.

Take this with a grain of salt, some people do actually like "fast paced" of course.


Just tell me what you want... which is usually what you want to achieve by hiring me.

What are the key differentiators you’re looking for? If you had to explain your search to a recruiter... what would your elevator pitch version be? Just tell me that.

For one of my last jobs it would’ve been this for example:

“You need to be able to explain/guide our customers on how to build internet banking sites using our product and keep them happy in the process. Lots of traveling involved.”


1) Location. Very little would change my mind from desired location.

2) Indications of thoughtfulness and solid engineering practices.

Positives: "testing" "mentorship" "Craftsmanship" "clear communication" "clear scoping" and indications thereof. Also, 'boringness' of mission--I want to work on plumbing.

Negatives: "rockstar" "hot".

3) Salary

4) Tech stack

5) Not having candy in easy reach


2. Almost all JDs lack information on this front. Knowing how decisions are made, how engineering-driven the company is, and how decisions are made are things we don't find out until a few weeks after we've joined.

5. Support for physical wellness (whether in food or exercise) is also incredibly important to me.


What I care about most in a tech job post is not having to see it in the first place. I haven't looked at a job posting since my internships in college and I sincerely hope to never look at one again. I learn far more about a potential next gig by talking to ex-coworkers and acquaintances who are already there than I ever could from looking at a posting.


1. Type of problems I'd be working on 2. Whether or not the company allows remote workers 3. Salary range


Apart from stuff you can't ignore (is it the right city etc).

I start by ignoring the first 50% of posts because they are contracting positions.

Then I look for the tech stack and product built, Since that filters 99% of the remaining ads (I don't like web tech for example) I rarely need to filter on more things.


> What things do you look for in a technical job post?

Location and general technology field (frontend or full stack web tech, in my case). That's it. I don't consider anything else in a job post to be reliable.


absence of postmodernist/cultural marxism/lgbt ideology keywords, among which: gender (there's no gender, there are 2 (two) sexes), diversity (if the best candidates happen to be "white cis male", sorry, I think we can easily do the work without your "diversity"), safe space (if there will be a male colleague which because of a weird mental disorder thinks he's a woman, I want to have the right to call him a man, I don't want to be in the business of babysitting snowflakes)


Good that you're self-selecting for these issues!


I agree, and I say this as a woman.


For me, it's working with really good colleagues. Quite hard to find out before starting if they are, but if they are already there, the company is likely good, and I will probably learn a lot.


Is this a team that I want to spend more awake time with than my family?

Do I have any moral objections to the way they conduct business?

Will I be doing something that's interesting?

Would I want to tell others about what I do?


Technology, salary, business type (ethical), expected work hours and style of development methodologies. All that is important but also people with people skills


Visa sponsorship (though I've never had to get a job in my life but afaik this and paid relocation matters a lot to all my friends)


Does it mention agile or scrum? If so, pass.


Ethics, remote, salary range. In that sequence


Does company size matters to you guys?


I look at the Joel score. It is simple, and tells me if they are built around making good software or bureaucracy. It they can't make a decent Joel score, or justify why they don't have it, then you are going to spend more of your time attending mandatory meetings than actually writing code.

I have come to believe that, in poor quality companies, HR is peopled by gremlins. If the person writing the post gets something really technically bad, and doesn't know it, then I don't want to work there. It means that I am going to be interviewed (and selected) by trolls, instead of technical folks. It means that if I can tell a funny joke, or look cute, then that is going to overwhelm the weight of any technical ability they can discern. It means that half my coworkers are idiots, so when they figure out I can do what they talk about, I'm going to be gamed, pressured, blackmailed, and pushed to do half of everybody's work. If I wanted to do it ALL myself, and get none of the credit, rewards, remuneration, advancement, or job security, then I would start my own company.

I look for pointy-haired-boss jargon (think Dilbert). I hate those folks. They usually don't know anything but how to exploit others for their own professional gain.

It doesn't take much looking around to see how the company is doing. They like to hire newbies right before a layoff. I look at company performance, and if it looks like they are about to lay a ton of folks off, I don't want to play there. They are laying people off because of previous failures to hire the right people. If the folks getting the axe aren't including the upper levels of HR, then the source of failures to hire, manage, retain, and grow the right people hasn't been resolved.

It doesn't take much looking to see if they have spammed job boards. If there are going to be 100, or 1000 folks applying for the position, I don't want to deal with the crap. They don't know actual quality, so they more aggressively filter on keywords. If I don't have the right keyword I'm not on the menu? I don't need to work there. They like to pat their back, find someone decent who they can exploit by paying 1/3 of market rate. That game is built to take away my livelihood. I'd rather just work and do truly amazing things for their competitors, and let economics 101 and the market wash the dross from the market.

I look for folks who participated in the Techtopus(https://pando.com/2014/01/23/the-techtopus-how-silicon-valle...) (massive screw over engineers company collusion) and if the company was on the list I boycott them. If they are going to try to suppress wages in the field for decades, I can suppress their revenue.

I look at company pictures, and pictures of employees on LinkedIN. If they don't have at least one person who is mostly like me, then statistically I can't succeed there. I go elsewhere.

I review glassdoor. If they have a track-record of treating folks badly, especially folks who have had my position, I go elsewhere.




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