Software Development and Technical Recruiting

I, and two of my software developer colleagues, gave a short (30-minute) and informal talk to the group of recruiters who hire for technical (mostly software development) positions at Microsoft. “ETA” – Engineering Talent Acquisition.

I’ve been giving such talks every few months, for many years now. I enjoy getting a glimpse into the world of HR recruiting, and recruiters and their managers like to hear from developers to get inside our heads a bit.

The talk was right after lunch, and so I tried to insert some humor and sarcasm into the talk to keep people awake. Sometimes the humor was funny. Sometimes not. (As usual with humor and sarcasm).

There was no strict agenda, by design, so the talk meandered around a bit. I did bring a one-slide PowerPoint where I listed the current technologies I deal with. I mentioned that if I were in a conversation with a peer, he would know and be able to talk about most of the technologies listed. My colleague Kirk (one of the two other speakers) pointed out that the list of current technologies changes rapidly.

Key Microsoft and Related Technologies

I learned from the recruiters that their biggest pain point is communication — they’re barraged with e-mail and phone and verbal messages, and when communicating with the managers they’re hiring for, sometimes don’t get timely responses. If you’re a job seeker the moral is: keep your e-mail messages brief and very to-the-point, and respond promptly to messages sent to you.

My advice to recruiters was to look for passion and confidence when they talk to job candidates — which they knew but sometimes it’s good to hear someone with a different perspective confirm what you believe to be true. So, if you’re in a job interview, show passion and confidence.

My colleague Charles pointed out that we’re all very excited about the new Azure / Cloud world. It’s very early on, and there are still many rough edges when using Azure as a developer. So far, for me, the slam-dunk success is SQL storage on Azure. I’m a huge fan. On the other hand, Web applications in the Cloud currently frustrate me, mostly because of the difficult-to-use security model.

So, I had a good time. I think the recruiters got a feel for what developers are like, and I got a feel for what recruiting is like.

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