Novice Recuiter – 2010

Perhaps learning something about technology would have meant that:

  1. She would have known I wouldn’t be a fit.
  2. She could have found somebody who was.

Text inline:

I reviewed your resume on Dice and believe you might be a match for a full time permanent position I am recruiting for in downtown Austin, Texas.  I am a recruiter’s assistant to our Recruiting Manager, Xxxxx Xxxxx.  As a result, I am not well versed in all of the technical knowledge and would ask you to carefully review this job description to determine whether or not a match.  If you truly believe we have a match, please e-mail back your resume in word or pdf format and I will have (my manager) reach out to you direct at the phone number you provide.  I have tried to supply as much information about this opportunity and company to ensure we don’t waste yours or our time.  Please read in full before sending me a resume.
This is probably not going to go well.
Full Time Permanent Position
Software Development/Software Consulting Company
Downtown Austin, Texas
We are looking for software implementation consultants who have experience working in professional services groups within software companies.  In some cases they may have worked for system integrators.  Their titles may include Associate, Consultant, Senior Consultant, Engineer, Sales Engineer, Solution Architect,Implementation Consultant, Application Engineer, or Software
Consultant.
Well, that’s certainly not me, although “Engineer” sometimes worked. “Application Engineer” usually means .NET stuff, which I don’t have.
Our ideal candidate is someone who knows something about Alfresco (that’s an “A plus” candidate for sure), but just having experience in or near the ECM domain would be great (“A minus” candidate).  These domains might include Enterprise Content Management, Web Content Management, Content Management, Document Management, Archiving, Records Management, Scanning, Imaging, Digital Asset Management, Contract Management, etc.
I had NOTHING in this area on my resume. Why was I contacted?
The candidates have certain technical skills.  They do have experience implementing J2EE-based enterprise software solutions, also referred to as Java Web Application Development; familiarity with MVC frameworks such as Spring MVC; and experience with Front-End Web Development (CSS, JavaScript, Markup).
Well, I have this experience now, but not in 2010.
The candidates have experience with “software implementation”.  What we mean by that is that they have been client facing and have experience gathering requirements, documenting systems, demonstrating software, installing and configuring software, extending or lightly customizing the software, adapting business processes, rolling the software out to users, supporting users during the implementation, training users, and making recommendations on how to leverage and get more value from the software beyond the current implementation.
Also,  these candidates do have BS/BA degrees.
This paragraph makes my head hurt. I have to have experience with “software implementation”. Hmm. I think I can “check” that one-off.
This looks more like a recruiting training manual. There was more, but my favorite is:
Our client is looking for that incredibly rare intersection of outstanding people skills, top technical expertise, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Our client runs a lean shop with as little overhead as possible, so candidates must be very self-directed and know when to ask for help.
So reading between the lines:
  • They want a superstar
  • Who can make their managers feel good about them.
  • And works long hours
  • With no other help.

Wow. This was just terrible. I was nice when I told here I wasn’t qualified. But wow.

Advertisements

Unknown Company 2009

Subject: Your resume on google

Hi <misspelled first name>

I could be way off as I cant tell when this was last updated!  I am looking for a Dev Manager in Mt. View and am trying to find out if you or someone you know might be interested in hearing more.  I have worked with these guys for about 10 years and know the company and the product pretty well.  I have pasted the description below, it is pretty generic, but gives you an idea.
We are recruiting a Development Manager for an international company. This is a high visibility role within the company and requires someone who has extensive experience with Mac based development.

The Development Manager’s role is to plan, coordinate, and supervise all activities related to the design, development, configuration, integration and implementation of Mac client.

This individual will apply proven communication skills, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of best practices to guide his/her development team on issues related to the design, development, configuration, integration, and deployment.

Identifies bottlenecks and suggests solutions to improve the product and/or development process.

A high energy level, the ability to set and achieve individual & team goals, and great interpersonal and communication skills are essential.

The ideal candidate will participate and lead the decision making on the design and implementation of solutions that employ leading-edge technologies.

This is a perfect job for you, if:
You are passionate about building great technology and developing high quality software products
You are looking for a dynamic workplace with unparalleled opportunities for personal and professional growth

Qualifications

Bachelors in Computer Science or equivalent experience

10+ years direct experience in software development with C/C++ under Mac environment

3+ years of experience in the management role with proven success in delivering software projects with high quality

Excellent understanding of the organization’s goals and objectives.

Full life cycle software development experience from conception to product delivery

Demonstrated ability to attract talent, coach, and develop staff.

Experience working with geographically distributed teams

Excellent verbal and written communication skills

So. As written the job itself was an ideal job. I would be managing engineers who would be working on Mac apps. I would be managing a distributed international team, with opportunities for travel. It was exactly what I was looking for at the time.

Except it was located in Mountain View, CA. The Bay Area.

Leaving the Bay Area was hard. Staying out of the Bay Area was proving to be just as difficult. I had to say no.

Plus I really hate it when they don’t tell you who the company is. Looks like Microsoft, but really, could have been any number of companies.

P.S. I wish the recruiters had “excellent verbal and written skills” sometimes.

 

 

 

 

EvoStore – 2009

I had happily settled into working at Coverity, which I got this email:

I helped on the Director search for VMware’s Core Engineering a few years ago and remembered we tried to get you interested and that you were very well thought of.  I’d like let you know of a new VP Engineering position I’m working on for EvoStor.
EvoStor is conducting a worldwide search for an engineering leader.
This position is in Melbourne, Australia.
Must have hands on experience with Virtualization technology along with low level software such as distributed systems, storage, networking, etc.
Looking for a leader vs. a driver.
Must have experience or be ready to rise to senior management.

I talked about the interview at VMWare here; this same recruiter gave me feedback that they thought I was “too arrogant”. I was puzzled about the comment “very well thought of”. If that had been true, where was the offer?

As I was reading this, I texted my wife (who grew up overseas):

Me: Hey, you want to live in Melbourne?

Her: Australia or Florida?

Me: Oz

Her: When do you want me to call the movers?

By the time I had typed out a reply, my wife had found the neighborhoods and schools to look at online.

I wrote back to the recruiter:

I do remember interviewing at VMWare years ago, and I was disappointed not to be interviewed further.

I would be interested in discussing this with you.

She called. Basically, EvoStor was a startup that grew out of a local university in Melbourne. The investors were getting itchy, because they had been working for several years and still had no shipping product. The board was looking for a senior manager who could take over the team and get the product out the door, and then grow the team to position it for future growth.

The technology had something to do with virtualization, and server optimization. I admitted freely that this was not my area of expertise, but I was good at getting products out the door.

She then told me that I needed to talk to her more technical partner before we proceeded further. So he called.

He asked me one question about scheduling and triaging and meeting requirements. He then asked me, “Do you have any questions for me?”

We had only been on the phone 5 minutes; I could not imagine that he was interested after such a short period of time. So I gambled.

“Yes, I do. Why are you talking to me? The fact that you only asked me one question leads to me to believe that you are not actually interested, and that you are letting me ask questions to be nice and not to poison our relationship for future positions.”

He paused.

“Here’s the deal,” he said. “We have two other candidates that we are pursuing. Both of them work at VMWare currently. Both of them are Australian ex-pats who are homesick. Both of them have relevant technical experience. Neither one has much management experience at all.”

He continued, “I am talking to you because you do have management experience, and you come across as a no-nonsense kind of guy who could get the team into shape, while at the same time, you don’t seem like an a##hole who would poison the company. I am talking with you to have you as an option in case the other two don’t work out.”

“Oh.”

“If we decide to go forward, we would first fly you out to San Jose to talk to our American engineering manager. If that worked out, we would fly you down to Australia for a full round of interviews.”

I said, “That’s fine; I don’t anticipate that you will pursue me at this point. Do me a favor, though.”

“What?”

“If you do decide not to pursue me, would you let me know? A lot of companies and recruiters leave candidates hanging, afraid to tell them bad news.”

“Will do.”

And he did, 3 weeks later. Man of his word.

But my wife and I were really looking forward to living in Australia. Sigh.

Don’t know what happened to EvoStor; there domain name is for sale now.

 

 

 

Apple (Contract) – 2009

A recruiter on LinkedIn contact me. His outfit was trying to place somebody into contract QA for Apple.

He wrote:

I found your resume online as I have some QA Engineer opportunity that you maybe interested in. We are seeking seasoned QA candidates like yourself for my client Apple in Cupertino. Below you will find the job description for your reference.
If you are still available and looking for a new position, please indicate your interest by forwarding your updated resume and the best times to reach you.
Thanks for your time.
He then included the following job description:

Xcode QA Engineer – Apple (w-2 Contract)

Our client is seeking a QA engineer responsible for testing the quality of the Xcode Tools releases as a whole. As part of the integration team you will test performance, integration points, overall user experience and overall quality. Our team is the public face of testing for the Mac OS X Developer Tools. We coordinate the qualification effort of the various developer tools teams, and contribute to the qualification efforts in other groups at Apple. This position requires a self-motivated individual with strong technical skills who can contribute in a dynamic team environment. The successful candidate will plan and design test cases and ensure the successful delivery of a quality product.

Required skills include:

– Some programming background in C-based languages.

– Comfort in a unix environment.

– Experience in test automation

– QA experience on a shipping product.

– Understanding of how the various components of a development environment work.

Desired skills:

– Software development experience, particularly using IDEs such as Xcode or Visual Studio. – AppleScript, perl, ruby, python, or tcl experience.

– UNIX shell scripting experience

– QA experience on a GUI project.

– Understanding of source-code control systems.

– Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience.

So, that’s funny. I wrote that job description in 2005, 5 years earlier. I guess they were recycling it!

I declined.

 

Offerpal Media – 2009

I got an offer for Coverity in late June of 2008. In January of 2009, the HR person that called me on the phone to make me my offer sent me email from another company.

I trust you are well and ready for a relaxing holiday. Quick update: after taking three weeks off, I now have more work than I know what to do with.

– I am the consulting head of HR for an interesting software startup, Offerpal Media (www.offerpal.com), and working on organizational health, growth, hiring, and strategy;

– Doing pro bono work for John F. Kennedy University’s Elder Law Clinic, an advocacy group fighting elder abuse;

– Collaborating with UK Trade & Investment in advising US companies on global expansion to Great Britain;

– Starting in the New Year, I will be an Advisor to the member companies of Astia, an international organization helping in the funding, growth, and leadership of women-led startups at all stages.

Lots to do!

Offerpal is hiring and I wanted to let you know about a role we’re looking for (along with every other Internet company!): Principal Server Software Engineer. Offerpal has a clearly differentiated position – the first “Managed Offer Platform” for social applications, online communities and e-commerce sites. This allows for uniquely targeted monetization on leading networks, such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, hi5, and others. In its first year, Offerpal went from $0 in sales to more than $30 million, and Year Two promises more of the same. If someone in your network is interested in learning more, I would appreciate the referral!

Please let me know how you are doing – and how I can be a resource for you. Happy Holidays and take good care.

Unclear whether or not he was actually recruiting me. That’s not the kind of work I was doing at the time.

I know when I left Coverity, I signed an agreement that included a clause where I could not recruit people at Coverity for 1 year (at least; might have been 2). I was really surprised when I got this; was he hoping that Coverity wouldn’t find out? I didn’t tell anybody, but it was strange.

Offerpal merged with https://www.tapjoy.com/ in 2010. It’s an internet ad company. Whee. No thanks, either then or now.

 

SoundCandy – 2003

I know this is out of order, so bear with me; I just forgot about it!

I was living in San Leandro, commuting to Apple, about a 50 mile commute each way. Things weren’t going terribly well at Apple, so I was open to looking for another position.

A really good friend of mine who lived in San Diego called and wanted to meet me for dinner; he was in town and had an idea he wanted to float by me.

His idea was to provide a music streaming service (keep in mind, there were very few if any existing). It would play radio stations, but would have a “buy me” button that would instantly allow you to purchase a tune from iTunes (probably?) as you were listening to it. His first thought was that he would enlist terrestrial radio stations and simulcast them, and then add machinery to for the purchasing. He wanted to start a company. He had a friend who was a startup CEO-for-hire; he wanted to know if I wanted to head up Engineering. He had some prototype streaming Java code in a web server, but the company would need more developers.

I told him I was intrigued. He said, “OK. I would like you to meet my partner. And I want you to show him your elaborate usage patterns of iTunes, iPods, and the Apple Music Store, and talk about your frustrations with listening to music.” I said sure.

A few weeks later, the two of them came by the house. We talked about the proposed company. They asked where the best place to setup an office was, and I said San Francisco “since there are many vacant office after the Dot Com bubble burst” and there are engineers there. Plus good network.

They said that they were going to go try to get Round A Funding, and that if they got it, they would come by and we could negotiate about an offer.

Another few weeks later, my friend called. They were changing the offer to be a pure streaming service (once again, there were few to none), but the VC’s were balking because they were not convinced that they could get access to any catalog from record companies worth streaming.

After a few months, he gave up. He called me and said that they had pitched the idea to 65 venture capital firms, including some in Los Angeles, Austin, and New York.

Oh, well. Would have been nice to have beat Spotify to the market.

Product7 – 2008

Lombardi used offshore QA and developers. They hired a company called TestCo, and TestCo hired people for us, mostly in the Ukraine.

I got an email one day from a person I knew from TestCo:

As you know I left TESTCo this year to start Product7 (http://product7.com). We deliver rapid and low cost ‘pay as you go’ iterative web product development using Ruby on Rails.

So far our primary market has been early stage start-ups and entrepreneurs, but several of our customers are larger organizations that are using us to prototype and build internal and customer facing initiatives.

Let me know if you’re free fro lunch of coffee in the next few weeks and I’ll give you the full pitch, and catch up on how you’re doing.

First of all, it was nice to be appreciated. I get the impression that not many people actually employed at Lombardi had that high opinion of me after I was fired.

Secondly, this person was a nice fellow, and we had traveled to Kiev together for business, so I got to know him a little bit.

When I look at their website now, it appears that all that is left is blog entries, and at some point, they embraced React, which a lot of web developers did. But it does not look that active.

At the time that this person contacted me, I still knew next to nothing about web development, and so, I politely declined. Looks like that was the correct decision.