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Job hunting 101

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 22 December 2010.
Planet PHP
In this day and age, everyone uses the internet for finding new jobs or to find a new employee, but more and more I sense that it's all turning into one big mess.

This blog post is devoted to all those people contacting me because they have the best job position. Most hits I get through my online resume at michelangelovandam.com or my linkedin profile. I'm not complaining about the fact that I got contacted this way, but I just mention some points of concern that might be useful for recruiters to at least get me interested in what they have to offer.

I mean "SR. Level PHP Web Developers needed for DIRECT HIRE position" is not the subject that might appeal me. I've got a great job and even if I wanted to leave it would take me at least a couple of months to be actually gone, so direct hire is not really something that attracts me.

Another subject entered my exploding mailbox read "Senior Java architect/analist-programmeur". I mean Java !?! The keyword matching tool you're using should know the difference between Java and PHP. Are you taking any time to review my profile after it popped-up in the keyword matching resultlist ? Apparently you didn't, so why should I bother ?

Whenever there's a big company opening up a position for a senior PHP developer, don't think you're the first recruiter contacting me. On average I get 20 to 50 phone calls and over 100 mails on the day the position is send out. So, be upfront and don't try to disguise the name of your client because I already know who it is (I got those same details you have). And if you send me the job position, don't just copy/paste it from the mail you received, but give it your own business look and feel. Why should I be interested in something I've received already 100-fold ?

I know it's a tough market out there, lot's of competition and so many technologies and skills to keep track off. I know, but it is your business! You decided to dive right into the job chaos, so don't cry if you have to do a bit of work. Do you think we just turn on the computer and it writes code itself ? You do your job, I do mine.

I'm not all against recruiters, because I do get a lot of PHP developers asking me about a good position and it's always nice to help them out finding a match to his desires. Having a selected group of recruiters in my contact list is a great value for the developers and the recruiters.

And through this process I learned a couple of things:
  • php developers like to work
  • they don't like to be stuck in traffic on their way to work (lost time vs. work)
  • they like pet projects / knowledge sharing
  • conferences, user group meetings, socializing
So this basically translates into the following:
  • give me a project and I'll get it done
  • let me do this from my lazy chair at home
  • I wanna work on this open-source project that's been used in the company
  • once a month I like to have a competence meeting on PHP or company technologies
  • there's a conference almost every month somewhere, I'd like a ticket to one of them
Strange folks these PHP developers, aren't they. They don't ask much, a little more than those internet hippies from the early days "will work for bandwidth", but still not that much.

If you're in the recruiting business, see if you can contact your client and see if you can arrange a deal where you convert all the "usual" stuff into something special. Also, if you get a lot of PHP jobs on your desk, get to know the end-user, being the PHP developer. See if there's a user group in your country/area and check them out. Touch base with them and get to know the community. Learn from them as they will gladly tell you what a "dream job" should be in order for them to switch jobs. Why not buy drinks at the end of the user group meeting ? *hint*

You can find user groups easily on google "php user group " or in my example "php user group belgium".

And if you're out looking for a new PHP job, go check out the community itself. Most of us have a list of companies with PHP job vacancies or we have a shortlist of trustworthy, understanding recruiters that have touched base with the PHP community and won't let you down once you sign up.

Well, glad I got this out now. Between starting this post and finsihing it (about an hour) I got again 24 requests from different recruiting agencies for the same job. Just making my point.