I started working as a recruiter back in ’97 – which means, I’ve got a few stories.

Oh, do I have stories. Fish jacket. Currie. The magical-disappearing candidate (that’s a recurring act). The ever-classic “well, I just got my mba, so I think that means I’m worth 20% more than I was making (short answer to that idea: no, it doesn’t)

Anyways. Recently, I had two candidate encounters that I thought really painted a picture of how people can make an impression on a recruiter. Good, and bad impressions.

I’m going to paste in two e-mail messages I received on the same day. One was from a great mobile developer, who’s built – and, will be building – some amazing mobile technology. The other is from a guy who can’t hold a job at the same place for more than 9 months at a time, and who seems to float in between gigs. Before I jump in, a quick point: it’s good to work with a good recruiter. We exist. What makes us stand out is that we take as much pride in our work, as you do in yours, and that we’re interested in working with candidates and companies for the long haul. That means we work hard not to make bad fits  happen (ie, overpromise or hide things from either party), and are willing to walk away from people or companies that seem to be questionable.

So. Example #1. He was a great candidate from the start, nice, smart, and easy to work with. After the placement happened, he sent me this out of the blue.

Hi, Martin,

I am now on my second day here at Magenic in the Android position you place me in.  And while I’m just starting to get into projects, I’m loving what I’m seeing.

I just wanted to drop a note to thank you for getting back to me so quickly a month ago. I couldn’t believe that I had an offer in my hand only 9 days after sending my initial email to you.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the promptness in which all of you acted.  It was a very impressive process.

As I’m getting my feet wet, I’m learning of some pretty high expectations of me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of
delivering.  It’s definitely a great change of pace from the stagnant professional development I had in my previous position.

Thanks again.

I love this guy – a class act. A big part of the reason the process went so quickly was because he was a willing, and eager, partner in it. Prompt with his responses, interested in the work, and just, well, good. I’m sure that reflects beyond his work character – his personal character, and the way he approaches life, is reflected in how he works and job searches. He’s always going to get a return call from me because of this.

Now – example B. Actually, I’d love to call him example F.

One of the ways I build my business is by networking. I’ll connect with someone (randomly out and about, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever), and form connections, with the express idea that I’m willing to help that person out at some point (resume advice, restaurant suggestions, whatever) with no expectations that they’ll return the favor, but the hope that they approach life the same way. If nothing else, I’m richer because I’ve met and learned from someone new. Sometimes, I’ll see something someone’s done – a comment on  Stack Overflow, Reddit, MarketingSherpa, great blog post, etc – and want to connect because they seem, well, interesting. Sometimes, I’ll hear that someone is looking, and approach them about a job.

So, back to F. Yeah, I’m going with that. He’s listed a resume on Dice, and had a decent LinkedIn profile, as well as some chatter online in a few spots. Seemed interesting, but also seemed like he changed roles pretty quickly – this is usually because a person’s either someone who loves early stage development, and doesn’t stick around for maintenance, or someone who people can’t stand once they get to know him a little bit.

I sent him a note via LinkedIn, about a role I’m recruiting for that’s pretty interesting. First, my note, then, his response.


Just saw your resume and LinkedIn profile, would love to catch up. I’m helping a funded start-up with a lead engineering role, creating products for the web. Philosophy is very much “use the best of what’s available to get the job done right”. Thought it lined up with your philosophy pretty well. Don’t know if it’ll appeal to you, as there may not be enough multimedia, but it’s a pretty innovative approach to social & crowd sourcing to solve a business problem, so compelling on that end.

Let me know if you’d like to hear  more, and/ or if you’d like me to keep you in the loop for other roles. I tend to focus on start-ups to SMB’s in mobile and web, and would be happy to keep you in mind for something that’s a better fit.


Hi Martin,

As much as it might line up with my philosophy on things this is actually an insult to me as an engineer. I spent a year as a Senior Engineer building an entire platform in Flash and iOS apps why would I want to go back to Web Development (Notice I didn’t say engineering here).

Let’s take this apart: first, you don’t get to call yourself a Senior Engineer if you didn’t complete more than a year of college, and have only worked at 4 companies, none of which let you stay for more than 9 months. You weren’t anywhere for a year. Some of them booted you – or, you left because they were “insulting you as an engineer” after two months. Senior Engineers tend to be mentors to more junior engineers, or produce large amounts of brilliant work. They may have called you that, but I doubt it – if they did, it was purely for your ego. Second, believe it or not, people still engineer products for the Web – I know, I know, Your Punkness, mobile is newer than web, so it must be better just by default.

Here’s the point: he may be right, maybe he is really brilliant at mobile, and maybe it’s more challenging than web. I’m not sure, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Where he goes off the rails is his unbelievable arrogance – there’s no call for it.

And, to that point, I’m now working on a very, very interesting mobile role, ground up stuff, funded, and challenging. There’s no call for him, now, from me.