Recruiting and Being Recruited

We all know that the software industry is in dire need of more developers. This means that there is also a huge market in finding and hiring those people for companies. Whether it’s an internal team, or an agency, here are my personal tips and tricks for doing it the right way from both sides.


Always send a personal email when you can. Anything that’s copy and paste is likely going to show and be ignored by most developers I’ve talked to.

When sending that email, actually take an interest in the person you’re going after. If you talk to me about my projects on GitHub or blog posts that I’ve written, I’ll be impressed. It’s what I do for fun and what motivates me. If you can tie that back to a reason why you’re interested in me, I might start to listen.

Don’t call me. I don’t like to talk on the phone, it’s wasted time in my opinion because there isn’t a whole lot you can do when you’re on the phone. Also, if it’s during the day and I’m at work, I’m probably not going to give you much attention because I don’t want all my co-workers to know that there’s a chance I might be leaving for another place.

If my name was given to you by a developer that you know, see if they’ll reach out to me instead of you. No offense, but I’d rather hear about a place from somebody that’s doing what I’ll be doing.

Being Recruited

Don’t be a jerk. These people are just doing their jobs, the alternative is that you never get contacted and that could mean a variety of things, including the fact that you might not be too desirable as a developer. Not all messages are going to be genuine, but it’s clear that some can be taken as a compliment.

If you get a call and don’t like phone calls (like me), add that phone number to a contact on your phone named Recruiter. You won’t have to worry about answering another call you may not be interested in, or if you are, it gives you time to walk somewhere private so you are free to chat without broadcasting to your peers that you’re spending time on the phone with recruiters.

Feel free to ignore the copy/paste emails. If it’s not sent to you personally, it’s probably alright not to respond personally.

Respond to the personal ones. I’ve found that even things as simple as “Thanks, but I’m not looking at the moment.” go a long way. You might be a great developer, but nobody wants to work with a jerk. If you curse and yell back, you’re just telling them that you’re difficult to work with and probably not a very nice or polite person.

Don’t be jerk. I don’t know why I have to repeat this. Doesn’t this advice just go with being a person? I get several people per week reaching out to me. I assume largely because I’m not terrible at what I do and I spend a lot of time out in the open online. Maybe you get so many that you can’t respond to them all, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.


These are just my thoughts; we all have different experiences and different opinions, but I’d love to hear how others feel on this topic.

About Chris Missal

Oh hey, I'm a Senior Consultant for Headspring in Austin, TX. I've been working in software professionally since 2006 and I really, really love it. I'm mostly in the Microsoft world, but enjoy building computer things of all sorts (to be vague). When I'm not slinging code, I'm probably out and about slinging discs, bowling balls, or good beer with great friends.
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  • if we begin work immediately, I think we will do the most amazing things

  • Stuart Grassie

    “…add that phone number to a contact on your phone named Recruiter.”

    This is a simple, yet clever idea, I have no idea why I’ve never thought of it myself, nor ever seen it mentioned anywhere else before. Will be using this immediately.

  • Jorge Silva

    1st of all I’m (now) a freelance developer working outside of my own country.

    I get quite a few messages / emails about job offers and recruiters normally come back to me every 4 months for status update of the current project I’m in and future interests.
    I try to reply to all and be as honest as possible.
    Often everyone just thank me for the reply. Seems like a lot of developers don’t even care about replying even if the answer is a no.
    Are “we” getting full of ourselves and think we are “kings” and do not even need to be nice?

    I always answer my phone the same way (unless its in my language, no one knows how to speak it here :D ) and walk out so that way I have no issues with any type of phone call.

    I also try to be honest with my employers saying what is good and what is wrong and give them a chance to change or feel that at least they are trying/ (99% doesn’t care until someone leaves, then they try to throw money to fix the issue). If that fails then its time to move on.

  • Ben

    Good post. Sage words.

  • T Emory

    Great post. Totally amazed at how many recruiters cold call me at work hoping for a conversation at length about some “opportunities” they have. Agree with the courtesy response to personal emails. Wonder if there’s a way to express in the community (e.g., LinkedIn) that you’re totally happy where you are without sounding arrogant and potentially burning bridges.

  • Myilette Moore

    Great article, I will definitely be sharing this with my peers!

  • Dragomir Răzvan

    Great post!

  • scichelli

    You give another good reason to start a user group! I got a kick out of answering those emails, “Yes, I’d love to help you fill that position. I facilitate a group of self-motivated, dedicated learners who are always happy to hear from the evening’s dinner sponsor…”

  • Good post.

  • FennNaten

    As a developer, I receive several contacts per week, and I must admit that I just ignore the most of them.
    To get an answer from me, now a recruiter must not just having read my profile, but also give me enough insight about what they have to offer. Most of the time, messages, even if personalized to some extend, just state that they have a ‘great opportunity’ in a company of around x people, ‘leader on its market’, using ‘technology y’. And that we can get in touch with a phone call for me to know more.
    But one thing is clearly visible when reading my online profile: I currently have a job.
    Means that I won’t waste any time with phone calls unless I have an excellent reason.
    So if any recruiter ever reads that:
    When contacting me about an ‘opportunity’, please clearly state what the job is. If you can’t name the company, fine, at least tell me what I’ll be doing, in which field, what would be the minimum salary and perks involved… I’m employed and you know it, so if you want me to talk with you about another position in another company, at least show me that it would be a win for me.
    I used to be less of a jerk, but having had some exchanges with recruiters, I’ve found that in general if they don’t detail the position they try to sell right away, either they don’t understand what they’re talking about, or the position is not that interesting.

    • Agreed. Nearly all of the “canned” messages I get are the “great opportunity, leader in market” stuff. The personal ones are much less copy and paste and more about the good stuff you mentioned. I must just be lucky.