3 Ways To Guarantee I’ll Never Work For You

It’s not easy to find developer in New York. At the moment, this city does not have enough technical talent. I think this will change quickly as NYU leads a charge for universities to become more involved in the startup scene, but as things stand, there are lot of business guys, a lot of ideas, and not a lot of people who code. Almost every New York Tech Meetup presentation ends with “By the way, we’re looking for (Ruby|Python) developers, so contact us if you’re interested.”

Most companies put themselves at an even greater disadvantage in recruiting by writing awful job listings. If you include any of these 3 things, I promise to not be interested:

  1. We’re in Stealth Mode — Listen, I understand first-mover advantage. I took Management 101 freshman year of college too. Your company being in stealth mode signals a couple of things to me:
    • There is going to be way too much back and forth before I even find out what your company does. First we’re going to send a couple of emails – You want to make sure I’m actually a developer and not just trying to steal your idea. Then we’re going to have a phone interview – You need to make sure I’d be a good fit. Next we need to do an in person interview – It’s very important that this interview is in person so that I can sign an NDA. Finally, you’ll share your mediocre idea with me.
    • You don’t really understand how startups work. I used to believe in stealth mode. I had all these ideas; all I had to do was pick one of them, and I’d be a millionaire. Guess what? Plenty of other people also had these ideas, but they actually made something happen. Now they’re millionaires. Success is about execution. In order to execute,  you’ll also need traction. If you are in stealth mode, you cannot acquire users.

    Note: Saying that “This product is going to change the way people [ambiguous verb]” or “We’re the next (Google|Twitter|Facebook)” does not count as telling me what your product doesn’t do yet.

  2. Absurd, Hyperbolic Nouns — Unless you’re trying to recruit a 16 year-old out of his mother’s basement, I do not anticipate you having success looking for JavaScript Ninjas, Ruby Gurus, of Python Rockstars. Despite the apparent industry acceptance of the word, I’m also less likely to take your company seriously if you’re looking for a “hacker”.  I’m not impressed by your misunderstanding of developer speak.
  3. No Equity Offer — Anyone who wants to work at a start-up for solely financial benefiet is not a good candidate. On the other hand, anyone who is willing to work for a start-up and not get a piece of the upside is a sucker. There’s a saying I love: “Equity is like shit; if you spread it around, beautiful things grow, but if you keep it all in one place, it just sits in a pile and stinks.” I have no desire to help you increase the value of your stinking pile of shit.

Here’s my make nice:

There are some non-technical founders with really good ideas trying to launch companies. Unfortunately, many of them don’t know how to attract the technical support they need. Maybe this list will help.

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