Full disclosure or GTFO

I also posted this on my LinkedIn, but just to have some coverage I have posted it here as well.

I have a pet peeve. When recruiters/headhunters try to pitch me for a position at a certain client, they are always so skimpy with information. It is always generic terms like “a client” or “a big player in <some industry>” and some vague and incomplete description of the typical work involved, and usually some namedropping of some big clients. This does not entice me at all. In fact, I really wonder how this trend of withholding information came about. You are pitching me, so provide me with information. I will not tell other recruiters, honest. Not giving me all the information tells me that you don’t trust me, and that is no way to start a relationship if you ask me.

Here’s a worthwhile tip for you headhunters and recruiters out there. Provide full disclosure. If you want to really show that you are serious about trying to entice me to leave my current position for another one, you will have to provide at least the following information:

  • Who are you trying to recruit for? No vague statements. Name company names. I know how to Google, you don’t have to provide a complete bio for a company. I might know of them already, and otherwise, I will look them up.
  • What is the work?¬†Tell me what they have and what they want. What would your client need me for? Give me specifics.
  • For how long? What is the initial time frame that they need extra FTEs for? Is there a possibility for a fixed contract? Again, specifics
  • What’s in it for me? What is the salary bracket you are recruiting for? What are the fringe benefits? How about insurances, compensations and the like?

Yes, I will treat all information I receive with the utmost confidentiality. I have worked with NDAs my whole career, so I know how to keep a lid on something. Instead of trying to entice me with summary information, just come out with it. When it comes to prospective new jobs, I don’t like surprises.

I hope this helps the recruiters and headhunters amongst you in finding valuable new people for your clients. The engineers you are trying to recruit will thank you for your candour.

PS: If you are worried that I (or someone else) will go to your client directly, well, I won’t. You are the guy with the “in” and the lead, so I will respect that. I won’t speak for someone else, but that is again dependent on something called “trust”. Most people will reward it, like yours truly. I am certainly not alone.

PPS: If you do send me mail, those 20-line signature blocks filled with disclaimers and whatnot are not doing you any favours. They are legally untenable, and not enforceable. So why bother.

Pushy recruiters

Yes, I do put myself out there. I have profiles on networking sites like branded.me, LinkedIn and probably some others. Usually, the recruiters and headhunters there behave themselves and don’t pester me that much. They send me messages through LinkedIn or whatever, but lately some of them have become REALLY pushy. Pushy insofar that they somehow found my personal mail address and are now reminding me through my personal mailbox to respond to some job I don’t want.

Let me give you some advice. Don’t do it. My profile states CLEARLY that I am already happy with my current job and that I AM NOT LOOKING FOR ANOTHER ONE (unless you have a solid offer). Second, the recruiter in question is not being open about who she is recruiting for. I wrote an entire article about it here (which I might repost here for safe keeping):¬†“Full disclosure or GTFO“. Read that. It’s one of my major pet peeves about the whole recruiting/headhunting thing. If you are recruiting for your client, name your goddamn client. Fuck the secrecy. Transparency for the win.

Oh, am I using foul language? I warned you about that in my profile, too.


I have to pay the bills to be able to pursue what I like, so I work. Preferably I like to work at a place where I actually like working. This is taken from my LinkedIn profile, it’s there too. But it can’ t hurt to post it here as well.

Imagine, for a moment, that you could create your own job with ideal conditions for you to work in. What would it be? This question I get asked sometimes during job interviews. My answer is usually the same, but I thought it would be worthwhile to share this and expound on it a bit. This way I could also elaborate on why this would be ideal for me, and hopefully, some enterprising person has this exact job for me (unlikely, but I like to be surprised).

I will start with soundbite-like sentences and I will elaborate on these. First, a little background on myself and how I like to work. First of all, I am a creative and curious person, and this has been the greatest contributing factor in myself being quite a generalist when it comes to skills. When someone asks me if I know anything about a certain thing (be it operating systems, technology, products, protocol, APIs, frameworks or what have you) I haven’t encountered before, I usually respond with “not yet”. If it tickles a certain fancy, I will dive into it in my free time. This also makes my work seem chaotic, but there is a certain method to my madness. When I have to come from an unknown angle, the work takes longer, but I will learn a lot in the process. This enriches my tool chest of tricks I can later employ. Needless to say, I have built up quite a war chest of knowledge that way in my career.

So, what would my ideal work environment look like? Well, the job itself would be a combination of system administration, engineering, slacking and playing with new technology (preferably open source). Inspiration was gleaned from the things I liked when I worked at several companies. More after the jump.

Continue reading “Work”