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Crunched for tech talent, recruiters go Boiler Room

Like other recruiting firms, HireMinds in Kendall Square is having trouble finding candidates for tech jobs.
Like other recruiting firms, HireMinds in Kendall Square is having trouble finding candidates for tech jobs.Credit: DINA RUDICK/GLOBE STAFF

I’m not a very technical person. Once, sick of counting up comments in a forum manually since the software didn’t have that feature, I was able to throw together some screen-scraping Python scripts that saved me a few days of tedium a month, and I put it up on my Github account, more to make sure I didn’t lose it than to show off.

And then the recruiters started calling: Starting salaries of $60k. $75k. $100k. Breakfast, dinner, laundry, all included. They promised the world — all to somebody who couldn’t pass a basic Fizzbuzz test without ample helpings of both Red Bull and Google. In other words, I wasn’t remotely qualified, and yet hordes of recruiters caught me in their snare, just desperate to pitch me as the next big thing to the talent-hungry tech companies eager for new talent.

It’s like Boiler Room, except instead of pushing penny stocks, the hot commodity is people. Talented, tech savvy people.

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Jeff Atwood’s written well about the strange phenomenon of programmers who can’t program, and the stranger phenomenon of programmers who can’t program, and then get programming jobs. It happens! And it’s the other side of Michael Farrell’s piece in the Globe today about the tech-sector hiring scramble (Subscription required).

Untalented, shotgun approach recruiters, perhaps using scraping scripts themselves, perhaps just using LinkedIn, constantly pinging, pinging, pinging, all to place a few developers and earn their payday.

“There are always new recruiters,” Adam Machanic, a database administrator, told Farrell. “Recruiting seems to be a default career path for English majors.” He said he limited his LinkedIn profile, and a number of technically inclined folks I’ve talked to have followed suite, or even gone so far as to completely leave the network.

What measures have you taken to dodge recruiters — or do you use them to help staff up? Would love to hear how you handle the shortage of good talent, and what ways are effective for reaching the right audience, whether you’re in the mood to hire or be hired. Email us at hive@boston.com or find us on Twitter at @HiveBoston.

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