Things That Irk Me in Software Engineer Job Postings

July 24, 2013, at 10:32:49 AM

I'm not currently looking for a new job, but I do run across many postings through recruiters and on various blogs and aggregators such as Hacker News. Here are things that would turn me off from wanting to apply.

Use of the Word "Hacker"

I hate that word. It implies you're looking for a kid and not an adult who wants a serious career in software development. It's a desperate way of saying, "Hey look, we're hip!" While you're at it, search for "geek" and "nerd" and replace those as well.

Familiar/Cute Talk

Don't tell a cute story or make jokes or try to be amusing. When someone applies for a job they are making a huge, life-changing decision. They don't want a clever essay about the founder's life philosophy or random facts about polar bears. Explain the job and the requirements. When you write something that looks like a bad Lena Dunham blog post, you're giving the impression that your company doesn't take itself seriously. 

Casual Workplace Bragging

It appears we are in an arms race for the most casual office. "Come to work in your pajamas!" "Bring your dog!" "Drink free beer!" 

Hey, I like good perks and a casual environment as much as the next person. I love wearing t-shirts to work. Things have gone too far, though. I'd rather hear about how you're going to provide me a comfortable workspace and the equipment and software I need to do my job. I want to hear about how supportive management is. I want to hear you brag about your efficient project management procedures. 

Things you can talk about are other perks like public transportation passes, free lunches, vacation days, etc. 

These three things are basically summed up as: act professional. I don't know of any of my friends who would consider staking their professional life on a company who appears to not take itself or its employees seriously. In the reverse, ask yourself this: Do you really want to hire an employee who calls themselves a hacker geek, gets excited about pajama time, drinks on the job and spends half the day playing with the office dogs?

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