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Ask HN: Can we do a "Who's looking for work?"
121 points by jader201 on May 1, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments
I was wondering if HN has considered running a monthly "Who's looking for work", similar to the "Who's hiring" posts that are run every month.

Seems like this would be handy for small startups and talent to find each other, or maybe even would allow fellow HNers to help each other find a good fit via networking.

Or maybe this was already attempted with bad results?

You're welcome to try posting the thread. I think it would be interesting. For best results, it should probably be a separate post from the current discussion.

Having it recur monthly, though, is another matter. Since there have been a lot of proposals for recurring threads lately, maybe I should share our thinking on this.

The bar for recurring threads on HN is high. People often suggest new ones, but I'm doubtful that most would improve the quality of the site. When in doubt, we will err on the side of not promoting discussions (even vibrant and interesting discussions) to regular features, because once ensconced, they will be hard to remove—and because predictable things inevitably get less interesting.

Tho whoishiring threads are a special case, because they compensate for the injunction against general job posts on HN.

I understand the feeling of "wouldn't it be cool if..." and the danger of being a party-pooper, so I'm not shutting the door on these ideas. But it's helpful to remember what HN is: a site for intellectually interesting articles and discussions. Optimizing for that quality is pretty much our sole concern. From that you can derive a lot about what to say "yes" and "no" to.

People have always used HN for unofficial and informal purposes—that's wonderful! I'm not talking about any of that here—only about the core. For example, many of us have friends whom we somehow met because of HN—but that doesn't make HN a friend-matching service. (I originally wrote "friend-finder". We're not that either.)

So the default answer to "can we make a regular thread for ‘foo’" is "no", because a regular thread is a feature, and the default answer to new features is "no" unless ‘foo’ serves the core.

Edit: I'm going to demote this thread now since it isn't really on topic.

Perhaps we should just adapt the Who's Hiring thread to the format of the "Freelancer? Seeking freelancer?" thread and encourage folks to post replies if they're looking for employment.

That's the sort of clever generalization I would be delighted by if this were code. But those threads are already top-heavy, so I don't think a flood of new comments is what we want there.

I also can't help but think something like a "who's looking for work" thread would get a lot more noise than signal.

If you're looking to hire and have some cred in the HN community, post in the Who's Hiring thread. The people interested in potentially being hired will be able to contact you with an email that's tailored to you.

If I imagine doing this the other way around -- take each of the responses those companies got, make them generic (because there's no specific audience any more), and post those instead... it feels less valuable. If I guess an average of 10 responses to each company posting on Who's Hiring, that's x10 comments on the post; but they're less useful.

The "who's looking for work" thread is currently boring. One reason the "who's hiring" threads are always fun is that they double as a company popularity contest.

I agree, and that's a good observation as to why.

Thanks for your thoughts, and for blessing the creation of a thread. I'll set one up in the morning to see how it goes. I can see some concerns mentioned below being a potential issue, but I think it's worth a trial run.

>I originally wrote "friend-finder". We're not that either.

So then, HN as date-finder is probably also out huh?

I've been hoping to see a "Open source projects looking for help?" monthly post.

I think almost all open source projects are looking for help.

Perhaps "looking for help and has a gameplan for new contributors"?

Isn't that basically OpenHatch?: http://openhatch.org/

I think an Ask HN is better suited to this purpose than a dedicated website.

Are you looking for help with MediaCrush?

Yep. Come join #mediacrush on irc.freenode.net for a chat.

I would love it. I want to work in some open source project, but can't find any small project where i can start. I haven't worked on any, so this can be a way to a great start.

If you're looking for something now, you might want to poke around my GitHub profile: https://github.com/SirCmpwn

I work on a bunch of interesting stuff and all are open to pull requests.

Thanks. I am learning Angular these days. Do you have something regarding that, I would love to work on.

If you're looking for something to contribute to, TheOdinProject looks like a fun project. I saw them on HN a few weeks ago (March 25th). https://github.com/TheOdinProject

Spokenvote is heavy Angular and would love the help: http://railsforcharity.github.io/spokenvote/

Nope, nothing with Angular. Always good to broaden your horizons, though.

Ok, I'll put myself out there.

Since I sold my company to LinkedIn (2011), I've been looking for something interesting to do. I found it with cryptocurrencies. I've been playing with Bitcoin and Dogecoin for a while, and written a few little utilities in Clojure and Java. See:


I hacked https://cointipping.com/ a few weeks ago, but I don't want to work on it by myself. I'd be open to joining a cryptocurrency startup as a cofounder, or to brainstorm with others who want to start a cryptocurrency business.

It'd be cool, but would of course exclude the (IMO large) set of people who aren't trying to keep their job search below the radar.

Wouldn't that be "set of people who are trying to keep their job search below the radar"?

People use throwaway accounts all the time. All you need to do is describe your skills and what you're looking for, as well as a way to contact you.

But that loses the whole point of doing it on HN.

This idea is somewhat cool in that if there were a few people who interested me, I could scan their comment history (or might recognize the username) to get a sense of their style of interaction, thinking, passions, etc..

A throwaway account means there's none of that; and unfortunately, it also means there's no way to distinguish you from someone who read an article and is posting their inflated self-description on HN along with 219 other places.

I'd be curious to see a trial run, but I don't have very high hopes.

I agree this proposal wouldn't be useful to employed people who, thankfully, constitute the preponderance of the profession.

Just thought I'd pitch in here.

Most of you forgot to mention the most important part, which would be the size of the thread.

If we're getting like 50-100 posts for who is hiring, a thread like this will get at least over 200 (likely a lot more).

The data won't be valuable to anyone except recruiters who want to spam people (somebody mentioned that already).

The thing I can't seem to understand is the "monthly" part of hiring/freelancing. Why does everyone wait an entire month just to post these things?

I also can't imagine company hiring managers trying to filter through the data (there are no filters on HN firstly).

What about: "Who's looking for a co-founder?"

I think a lot of YC applicants (myself included) are having problems with finding co-founders and HN is a great place to find one.

Word of advice here: only work with people you know really well, or look up to. The success of your startup will depend on that person, and a random person will most likely not share your motivation and can have any number of quirks that you will only find out over the course of many months/years.

It's completely possible to pick up a brilliant hacker or business genius out of the blue, but the people who are brilliant hackers/business geniuses probably have friends who they'd start a company with rather than a stranger.

Personal anecdote - I picked a cofounder who I had worked with in the past, but didn't really completely know. Incredibly bright guy, but no ability to get things done. He was delighted to blow money when we had it, but when things got rough he brought the whole atmosphere of the startup down with him and eventually left. Now I only work with people I've known for many years, and the success of my ventures with them speaks for itself.

It's a triple-edged sword: You give a huge chunk of your company away, take on a huge wild-card risk and to top it off, investors will now be wary of you... because they know co-founding is like a marriage and can go wrong in a multitude of ways.

You wouldn't marry someone you just met, would you?

In many times and places such marriages have been common and carried lower divorce rates than modern western societies.

Agreed. Echoing primitivesuave's warning, I would give the partnership a test drive first with a small project.


Putting yourself out there publicly on HN while your current coworkers are reading HN and see your name is a liability.

Hundreds of recruiters are going to see that list spam everyone of these people for the next few years now.

If you're on that list every month, that's not going to look great for you. It also reveals a great deal of personal information about you.

You can't delete your post after an hour or whatever.

It doesn't add to HN at all. Look at that list. Going through the who's hiring list is kind of interesting, but going through the list of people looking for jobs isn't.

A potential problem with this approach would be competition: posters who are desperately looking for a job will keep trying to one-up each other with their accomplishments, and it could get ugly.

I wouldn't think so. Just stick your skill set and history down, along with what sort of company or area you're looking for and a way to be contacted.

Although recruiters will probably go wild all over it and nobody really wants that, do they?

> Although recruiters will probably go wild all over it and nobody really wants that, do they?

Surely if you include "No recruiters please." they will respect that? Or am I naive?

Hopelessly so.

I put "No recruiters" on every single section of my LinkedIn profile, yet they still e-mailed. Eventually I removed every single detail from it. Even now I get the odd message.

Look at it from their point of view:

They get a significant portion(10% or more) of your first years salary if you get hired. It's a numbers game and the more people they call the more money they make. They have a thick skin and the only thing stopping them from that money is a brief no from you. They will definitely try.

You are naive

Like that's never been a problem on the job posting side of things...

see now im more interested

Like this, but for employment instead of freelance? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7679422

Exactly. Except for the "Seeking freelancer?" part. That's covered by "Who is hiring?". I'm basically looking for the inverse of "Who is hiring?".

"Who wants to be hired?" maybe?

Well ... I'm fortunate enough to not have to constantly battle for a paycheck and so I'm not interested in a full-time job, but I'm always looking for "interesting things to work on". I've made a couple promises to two open-source projects (for low-level networking support) but I'd be interested in seeing what other consider interesting!

Yesterday I went to a meetup and today my inbox was full of recruiter spam. Imagine if I post my name and email here..

Yet some people (hint hint, person not living in a first world country!) would be very happy to get recruiter spam...

I'm working on a website for that: http://workhere.io.

Not completely dissimilar, recently there was a Help Me Out/Help You Out thread:


It sparked several interesting conversations, so the results were good for me, at least.

This sounds like a great idea. Is there any reason not to try it out?

As someone who is always looking to interview strong developers (but have often-weird criteria), I'd love to be able to browse through a thread full of folks looking for work.

Might give companies who post in the 'Who's hiring' a better idea of the talent they are reaching that month

There was one of these a couple of years back, I got an interview out of it. Make another and see how it goes.

This is a good idea, supported.

Only if you use alliteration, "Work Wednesdays"

This was proposed during New-recurring-thread-proposal November

"soon to be fired Fridays"

Its easier just to get referrals from local VCs you know..that is how I got my current startup job

Contrary to popular belief a lot of people in this community do not know VC's. Extending this to just using your network to feel out different companies is definitely a good suggestion though. I for one am interested in seeing something like a "Who's looking to help out open source" post once a month.

edit: added the word "though"

Lots of people don't know local VCs...

And to make things worse, sometimes they don't have local VCs...

I am from Brazil for example, I DO know local VCs, but startup community in Brazil overall is very weak, of almost all startups I saw, all of them are in the same situation as me (ie: only the founders, struggling to reach ramen profitability, desperate for money, and would jump ship themselves if they could).

What about people that want to get hired from Brazil's swamplands for example? No VCs there, but lots of educated people there (the Federal government here built lots of top-notch tech and STEM universities there, hoping that having the workers there would make companies go there, it failed, instead people study there and then move elsewhere, or get stuck there doing low-pay jobs)

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