37Signals — and Inc. Magazine

Do you remember when Monster.com was actually a good source of job leads? Why, when it started, only tech-savvy people, techy-savvy hiring managers, and a handful of recruiters knew about it.

Then something happened. Happy, bright people told their friends, who might not have been quite as bright. They got big. They ran a TV ad During The Superbowl. The recruiters got wind that Monster.com was a place to find talent, and started putting out ‘skills’ based job ads, so they could build a rolodex, just in case a job popped up later.

Popularity brought with it to the attention of other companies that are interested in meeting people looking to improve their career prospects – colleges, online diploma mills, resume-writing services. These other companies started to offer Monster “Business Development” deals (money) for access to the monster candidate list.

Being good guys, the Monster Management refused, instead allowing you, the customer, to opt-in. Over time, they started to force you to at least re-consider every so often. Then they made the ‘yes I’m interested’ buttons bigger and bigger and the ‘no thanks but let me see the job’ buttons smaller and smaller.

Eventually, all the cool kids found craigslist. The problem was, happy, bright people who were pleased with Craiglist told their friends …

About that same time Joel Spolsky’s website, JoelOnSoftware, was hitting the top of it’s popularity. Joel had created a regular “gravity well” for developers, and created jobs.joelonsoftware.com. It’s a super-easy, super-simple site with only a few hundred listings. When it launched, and to some extent, even now, you don’t really need to search. Just scroll down looking for interesting gigs.

Sadly, jobs.joelonsoftware.com doesn’t really have a test/QA focus, so the search goes on. Two more sites I find interesting are jobs.freelanceswitch.com, another site that did the gravity-well thing, this time for freelancers, and jobs.37signals.com.

37Signals is that company that built basecamp, the office productivity tool, and has expanded to create a whole series of web-based collaboration tools. It’s not really testing focused; if anything, they focus on graphic design — but one thing they do have is really good writing.

Speaking of writing, the CEO of 37Signals has a monthly column in Inc. Magazine; I just got the June issue Saturday. This month’s column is called “Never read another resume.” It’s for hiring manager, and suggests that resumes are inflated, misleading, or just plain tough to sort out. Jason suggests hiring for people the write a custom cover letter or have a portfolio of work over poring through resumes. (Or, maybe, people who find you at the cool website before it jumps the shark.)

When I started writing this, I intended to link to the article, but I’m afraid it’s not available online yet. They may delay it for a few weeks (to give a perk to us paid subscribers), or they might never offer it online.

I subscribe to a half-dozen magazines, but there are only two I devour every time; Inc is one of them. You can pick up a subscription to Inc for ten bucks. For that matter, before you buy that next airline ticket, sign up for a rewards program with that airline. You’ll likely earn enough points on a single flight to get a free subscription to Inc.

I have no financial relationship to Inc.; I am simply a fan.

Speaking of being a fan, I’ll be at CAST 2010 in August. It’ll be at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College, but last week the hotel sold out of rooms. I recommend the Residence Inn (by Marriott) or Country Inn & Suites (my Mariott), both on East Beltline. I have to drive up east Beltline to get to the Conference Center, so if you’re a longtime reader (ideally one I’ve met in person) and book a room (preferably at the Residence Inn), I might be able to swing by to pick you up.

We may also organize a few ‘rebel alliance‘ after-conference events for CAST.

Stick around, more CAST details to come.

UPDATE: The Prince Conference Center reservation system has issues. (Shocking!) The word on the street is that they still have 5 rooms left for the conference. You can call 1-866-526-7200 to talk to a person.

2 comments on “37Signals — and Inc. Magazine

  1. Hi Matt,

    I can only agree about not reading resumes. When I first started hiring testers, in a previous role, I fanatically read each resume that came across my desk (there were a lot, we had recruitment agents working for us). I would print out and painstakingly mark up each resume, Googling all the companies they claimed to have worked for and researching any tools they claimed to have used. It was not unusual for me to spend upwards of an hour per resume; much of that had to be done on my own time, as work was frantic (we were hiring, after all!).

    After a year of using this method and hiring a couple of testers that looked great on paper but turned out to be completely unsuitable, I lost interest in the deep resume research and started focusing more heavily on interview technique, alternative candidate streams (networking helped here) and practical interviews with testers; all of which eventually lead to some successes.

    Adopting a more hand-on approach to hiring also helped me to find the right company to work for when I changed jobs. We were introduced through word-of-mouth, had a long and frank interview and several email exchanges but no resume ever changed hands.

    Thanks for the tip on 'Inc.' magazine; looks very interesting.

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