Example of an Ad that Screens Out

Eric Sink’s ad for a software developer is a terrific example of an ad that screens out people who aren’t suitable for the position. Note the description of deep expertise in that SQL stuff, and the emphasis on knowing how to read code, not just write code. Sure Eric may receive a bunch of unsuitable resumes, but I bet he receives fewer than if he didn’t write the ad this way. And, he’ll be able to filter the resumes easily.

For those of you who’ve read my book, notice that Eric has started the job description of the main attractor: being a unique contributor in a technical organization that prizes technical contribution. If you start a job description with a main attractor — what will attract the most suitable candidates to your organization, you’ll receive more high quality resumes, and fewer unsuitable resumes. Hiring managers don’t have lots of time. Make sure you write ads to have candidates screen themselves out.

2 Replies to “Example of an Ad that Screens Out”

  1. This Eric Sink guy is funny:
    “You have experience using a source control tool.”
    A source control tool? Haha. Learning to use VSS or PVCS took about 2 hours(back when I was new). Isn’t this implied with ANYONE with > 6 months experience.
    “You have a bachelor’s degree in computer science from a good university.”
    What is a good university? I certainly think my college was rigorous (Portland State University); however it’s not ranked in any publications. Also what if you were top 5% in your class or bottom 5%? Blah.
    “You are smart.”
    What is smart and who thinks they’re stupid? IQ test, mathematics, computer science, what? How does one evaluate his intelligence on the almighty Eric Sink scale anyway?
    “You are a developer, not a programmer.”
    Ha ha ha.. Wait, I’m an engineer, not a developer, and certainly not a programmer. Or wait, I used to be a coder, so… Please, give me a break with this jargon nonsense.
    “You know how to read code, not just write code.”
    Read code? Sorry I cannot read code, only write. We have a guy sitting next to me that reads my code to me. He doesn’t speak English though and it’s getting pretty hard to be productive.
    Give me a break with this nonsense. Ask the candidate algorithmic questions (data structure fundamentals), as the candidate problem solving questions, and ask the candidate specific technology questions (if you’re not willing to invest in a learning curve).
    And btw, this entire “we hire top 1%” is ridiculous. You can never evaluate the industry as a whole and identify the top 1%, so don’t claim this nonsense.

  2. Couldnt agree more with the comments left by Commie GNU coder…
    developer, coder, engineer, programmer, analyst, etc – whats the difference!?!

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