Martin Probst's weblog

How to look for applicants

Saturday, September 20, 2008, 08:54 — 3 comments Edit

I’m currently finishing my Master’s thesis (finally!), so I’m looking for a job. It’s a bit weird though: there are apparently a gazillion of books on the market, telling you how to apply properly for job offerings, but from the job offerings I see, we desperately need literature on how to properly write a job offering.

You’ll find hundreds of boring “J2EE/Hibernate/Spring/JUnit/$DB” ads, all listing a long number of technologies you ought to be familiar with (hint: good people will have no problems learning any technology!), and telling you effectively nothing about the company, the domain, or anything. Sucks.

And then you have all the ads that don’t even meet the minimum standards - typos, duplicate copy/paste content, bad formatting, completely broken HTML. What are they thinking? Is that the impression you want to give, “we can’t even produce proper job ads, come work for us”?


Writing a good job description is like writing a good Google search, because HR folks and recruiters will treat it more-or-less like a list of keywords.

If you don’t include enough, you end up having to sort through a huge amount of chaff, and I have the growing suspicion that recruiters won’t send you their best resumes if the lesser ones sufficiently match.

I think job fairs are probably your best bet. You need to bypass HR and talk to hiring managers, and typically there will be some hiring managers at a job fair.

What are you interested in and where (geographically) would you like to work?


This is the difference in hiring people vs. hiring talent vs. hiring headcount. Some people seem to be fine with joining a company that hires headcount.


@erik: I’m currently looking for jobs in and around Berlin. I actually have offers for remote jobs that would involve some commuting and telework, but I’d also like to at least see alternatives. For an interesting job, I’d certainly be willing to relocate.

As you might tell from my blog, I’m interested in programming languages, software architectures, and XML stuff. I find it difficult to find jobs that actually involve developing interesting technology, and not just implementing the next random website…