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Good CS Recruiting Starts With an Engaging Tech Talk

Good Quora entries on the most effective recruiting events to attract top computer science students on campus:


“I Look Like An Engineer” SF Campaign

Have you been following the wildfire spread of #ILookLikeAnEngineer? A campaign starting in San Francisco to raise awareness about tech diversity and the faces of women in tech.

Name Consistency During Your Job Search

Some people have been gifted with a beautifully intricate set of names that weave a unique, historic, personal tapestry. Family surnames, parental names, christening names, nicknames, etc., may all be part of who you are in the convention of your originating ethnicity and language. For the purposes of professional networking and applying for new jobs in the U.S., however, a complex name can be challenging for even the most motivated recruiting sleuth.

Search engines, networking sites, and widely used resume parsing systems process names differently, but always attempt to simplify a person to a first and last name. Employers interested in talking with you about your job application will additionally look for your online profiles and accounts in the attempt to differentiate you within their stack of applicants: With multiple names they will struggle to find the dots to connect you across LinkedIn, Meetup, GitHub, Facebook, and other sites which help to create a fuller picture of you. They may erroneously match the new grad LinkedIn profile to you, and rule you out of the running for a role requiring 5+ years of experience, for example.  If multiple people at one company are coordinating and conducting interviews, they may struggle to find your contact information and resume in their system fast enough to make a scheduled call to you on time.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a recruiter or hiring manager.  Say your full name is Charles Vijayaragavan Gomez Zhao. In college they called you Charlie, and at home mom uses Vijayagaravan. Your email is Charlie.Go@gmail.com, and you sign your email message to me as “Thanks – Vijay”.  Meantime, on the resume you submitted, you put your full name in the header or footer of your resume (Charles Vijayaragavan Gomez Zhao), but the top body of your resume has “Vijay Gomez” as the primary name.  My system may have parsed you as Vijay Gomez, but more likely it picked up the header first and named you Charles Zhao.  Your email to me requesting more information does not match anyone I have in my system. If a colleague approaches me and asks if his buddy “Chuck” is scheduled for an interview, I may have no idea who he is talking about.  The time delay caused could mean we don’t get you to, or through, our interview process efficiently enough to land the job, or at all.

Don’t lose your unique identity in everyday life by changing your name altogether, and definitely teach your colleagues to pronounce your name of choice correctly once you have joined the team, but for professional records, and online profiles which factor with growing frequency into filtering and hiring decisions, make sure your name is consistent and is easy for the typical interview coordinator to find and remember. You may discover that you are much more professionally in demand than you thought, and start getting more call backs!

Job Skills and Job Opening Mismatch: What’s Your Major?

Marilyn Geewax, NPR’s Senior Business Editor, stated today on a TV news program that 30% of our unemployment today was due to a skills mismatch with available job openings. This mismatch, and the void of job training (or pursuit of that training), are key issues today.

In my specific industry view as a technical recruiter focused heavily on software development, I am always surprised by how few of U.S. students seriously pursue computer science as a major: Especially women, as CS is such a great salary equalizer. You cannot fake passion for CS, but if you have not explored it as an option, you may be seriously selling yourself short!

I can place a CS major, straight out of school with a bachelor’s degree from a top school in CS (Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Cornell, UCLA, USC, CalTech, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, etc.), in a job starting between $80k and 90k (sometimes more) with full benefits. Much of my day recruiting for senior engineers is spent talking with people from India, China, Russia, and other countries who have known this for a while and are happy to fill the demand here in California and other US states. Silicon Valley is now one of the greatest melting pots of people and ideas you will ever see.

There are plenty of kids playing on ipods, pocketing Android phones, gaming, doing homework assignments on GoogleDocs, using search engines for school research projects, Skyping with their friends, etc. How about learning some Objective-C, Java, Android programming, UI development, Lucene, and other technologies underlying all of those great things?

Well Employed, But…..HAPPY?

You are a great engineer / developer / lead / manager and are well-employed in this economic downturn. But are you HAPPILY employed? If you are a good to gifted developer, don’t settle for “employed” – people with big things to build are looking for you!!!

  • Are you underpaid?  If so, but you like your environment, team, and challenge, go ask for a raise!
  • Do you want, and are you on, a promotion track?  Is your company growing enough to provide that rapidly?
  • Are you sufficiently challenged?  Are you innovating with the most cutting-edge tools and technologies?
  • Are you constantly learning new skills?  If you are not, your market value is shrinking as time passes.
  • Are you loyal?  Ensure your company is loyal to you as well, and keeping your best interests in mind as well as theirs.
  • Do you have significant equity?  If you do not, perhaps a startup – early, mid or mature stage – or a small or mid-sized company is a good move for you now.  If your expertise is building the company, you should have a piece of the investment.
  • Are you aware of your options “out there”?

Assess your current situation, improve what you can on your current job, and talk to a recruiter like me to keep tabs on other opportunities, which skills are in the highest demand, what the market is paying, and which opportunities come with pay, benefits, AND equity.    Recruiters – or Head Hunters as the good ones LIKE to be called – have access to jobs and companies that you may never otherwise find.  There is no obligation to simply check in with us once in a while.  🙂

Web Developer Opening – Flex & PHP – SF Bay Area

Web Developer – Flex & PHP – SF Bay Area

Internet and mobile application development company, well-established and growing fast with exciting innovation already underway for  2010!

Need to rapidly build a cracker-jack engineering team in the Bay Area.

Work for a brilliant management team.

Now seeking Bay Area local developers / engineers in the WebDev (LAMP stack) Application space.  Looking for the “top 10%”.

Creativity and skillset diversity sought, as well as high energy and ability to work well in and with teams.

Ideal candidate has small business and/or successful startup experience – not just enterprise background – and is passionate about their work.

Work with a small cutting-edge team on rapid-turn-around projects.



  • 5+ minimum years of work experience in software/web development
  • College degree in CS or similar is strongly preferred
  • Strong PHP skills
  • Java skills
  • AJAX
    • JavaScript,  XHTML, CSS
    • Flex/Actionscript
    • Familiarity with UnixOS
    • PostgreSQL  (Postgres / ORDBMS)
    • Great skill at writing clean code;  able to test code.
    • Ability to read and create from tech specs and ideas
    • Web and desktop UI experience
    • Strong written and oral communication skills



  • Real Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP) experience
  •  VoIP
  • XML protocols (Jabber / XMPP) – message oriented middleware
  • Agile experience
  • C++
  • Flex IoC (Inversion of Control)
  • Actionscript/Flex unit testing framework experience
  • Ability to write unit tests


Good benefits; market compensation; some equity.

Full-time only – no contractors or part-time.

No relocation.

Must already be authorized to work in the United States.

Be available to start work ASAP.

Please include a personalized introduction with your resume so I separate you from the “auto-responds”.

Let me know you meet the above qualifications, and highlight your specialties – that will save me time and give your application priority.  I appreciate it!  –  Val@nerdsearch.net

Startup Mentality

I am most intrigued by working with startups, where passion, talent, and creativity reign.  Risk pressure is always present, however.  I know why I jump in as a recruiter, even though finding people who are often required to work for equity and deferred cash makes my job much more challenging:  It’s exciting to meet developers, executives, and others who are ready to take the startup plunge for the first time, and great to know a network of folks who become addicted to repeating the cycle. This is the world of game-changers.   If you are teetering on the edge of catching the startup bug, here are a few good links I found to nudge you a little closer:

Top 10 Reasons to Join a Startup:  http://www.instigatorblog.com/top-10-reasons-to-join-a-startup/2007/05/23/

How to evaluate a startup:  http://blogs.bnet.com/intercom/?p=709

How to start a startup:  http://sonyjoy.com/15-mantras-for-every-startup-that-aims-to-make-it-big/

I currently have some startup opportunities in Palo Alto, CA, for server-side and UI developers, LAMP environment, eComm and social media sectors.  Contact me at val at nerdsearch . net.

Valerie Fahs-Thatcher