Actions Speak Louder than Words

Your Company isn’t that Special

You may be above average, you may be a good place to work, financially healthy, growing, and everybody gets along. That still doesn’t mean you’re stellar or world-class or even a/the top <anything>. By piling on the superlatives, all you’re doing is encouraging me to roll my eyes at your posting. Even if your company really is that special, you won’t convince me by shoving a bunch of meaningless hype at the beginning of your posting. Rather than tell me that your company is world-class, tell me why you believe that’s true. Tell me something about your compensation plan, the recent growth of your stock, how your company offers RRSP matching and tops up maternity leave. Or tell me about the cool technologies that you use, or how your company is using technology to make the world a better place. Tell me something real.

Your Job isn’t that Special

It might be above average. It might be an interesting job, a senior position or or a very interesting product. It’s still probably not a once-in-a-life-time opportunity or the world’s best <anything>, it’s probably not going to be world-changing, ‘the next big thing’. And even if it is, you’re going to have to convince me that your job is better than all the other jobs that claim to be extra-special. So tell me something real. Tell me about how I’d be working on a great team of senior people who get along really well, have compatible opinions about software, really enjoy what they’re working on and they’re working to realistic timelines. Tell me that you have an opening for a really senior position where someone can really blossom and advance their career. Tell me enough about your project that I truly believe you’re going to succeed.

Your Candidates aren’t that Special

They might be above average. In fact, considering how many sub-par candidates float around the job pool, they might be the top five percent of the people actively looking for employment right now. But they’re not rockstars, ninjas or superstars. They’re probably not hardcore. They probably don’t need mastery of anything, they just need to be able to get the job done. They’re probably not the best of the best, world-class talent. If you really are looking for world-class talent, then convince me of that. Tell me the qualifications you expect to have, and that you know that in order to attract that kind of talent you’re willing to pay really well, relocate people or allow them to work remotely, explain how your project is so amazing that you need and can attract that kind of talent who might otherwise be working at Google, at Apple or on their own killer startup.

Drop the hype, and tell me something real.


2 Responses to Actions Speak Louder than Words

  1. VB says:

    Exactly! I was once invited for an interview by a self-proclaimed “world-class” company, only to find out that the entire company consisted of two guys working in a basement in Mississauga, and that I had to take my shoes off (!), while the family was living upstairs, without even a separate entrance. The offered pay was 60k, also I guess world class – only perhaps it was from some other world. There is so much BS going on about “world class” and such, while the salaries remain frozen in time, like from 10-15 years ago. Yet at the same time these employers are so damn proud of themselves that they can’t even post a name of their companies and the offered compensation, which are the most important data for candidates, in Craigslist or Kijiji — “world class anonymous”.

  2. triple-dot says:

    Unfortunately, the Canadian technology scene is so anemic compared to, say, the US, that companies can get away with this. It’s not like there are tons of actually stellar companies around. There may be more great opportunities in the Seattle area alone than in all of Canada.

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