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MakerHire tries new approach to hooking software developers up with their next job

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 10, 2013 10:11 AM

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Right now, software developers are probably the most intensely-recruited workers in Boston.

But Tom Summit, a long-time tech recruiter based in Newburyport, says that despite fielding cold-calls and being spammed on LinkedIn, developers often don't consider all their options when they're ready to change jobs. "Engineers don't create a market for themselves," Summit says. "When they're ready to make a move, they ask a friend who works at an interesting company to help them get an interview. Logic says you should get multiple offers to maximize your compensation, but many of them don't."

Summit's new site, MakerHire, isn't for every software developer. He says it'll curate the good ones, and then similarly select a group of "financially viable" tech companies that are actively hiring. Hiring managers — not recruiters or HR execs — will be able to see the developers' LinkedIn profile or résumé, and request contact. "A candidate can release the information to them if they want, or not," Summit says. One key feature: hiring managers must specify how much the job pays up front, as opposed to asking developers to navigate the interview process before they find out.

Summit's site already lists startups like Backupify, Shareaholic, Yesware, and CustomMade as participants in MakerHire's first "showcase," an online event that lasts for a month; he says his goal is to enable developers to evaluate at least fifty different companies when they're ready to jump. MakerHire charges a placement fee when someone is hired through the site: 12 percent of the individual's first-year salary. (That's lower than a traditional recruiter's fee, which typically start at around 15 percent.)

"When engineers call their friends, they may get a good-enough job offer," Summit says. "We're trying to make it possible to explore the market for your skills, even if it turns out your friend's company is the best place for you."

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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