Job Ad Takedown - All About You

This a weekly feature at TRG, where we take a look a technical job ad and talk about what works, and, more often, what doesn’t.

Today’s ad

Job ad

Ruby Developer
Pittsburgh, PA

Resourcesoft Inc. provides Information Technology Professionals, Consulting Services and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to match the exclusive business requirements of our clients. Resourcesoft is among the fastest growing IT Professional and Consulting Service providers. We hold a ranking of 2530 in Inc 5000 The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America and we are the 6th largest woman owned business in New England. At Resourcesoft, we are guided by our values. Our values are the source of our strength and the core of who we are. We reinforce our values through our people, our solutions and our innovation. Our goal is, “To become a respected professional partner for our clients’ businesses and an equal stakeholder in their progress.”

Must be authorized to work full time in the US for any employer.

Required Skills:
Must have at least 7 years of working experience a Ruby Developer
Must have experience with Ruby, Perl, Shell Scripting and core Java
Must have experience with ANT and Maven
Must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Original posting

First off, as a recruiting agency, you’re not who the developer reading this will be working for. As such, they don’t care about you. At all. Even a little.

So, what does this ad do? It not only takes up half the posting with worthless information about the agency posting this ad, but they lead with it.

Right from the start this ad isn’t about the job at all, but about you, the recruiting agency.

And no one cares.

A developer reads a job ad wanting to find out if it will be a good fit for them, not the company. If they read this ad, they’re looking for a job1 and all they want to hear is: Can I do this job and do I want this job?

That opening paragraph answers neither of those and is useless fluff. Worse, the last sentence is actively harmful.

Our goal is, “To become a respected professional partner for our clients’ businesses and an equal stakeholder in their progress.”

I want to hear how you’re going to help me2, not your nameless, faceless, Steelers-loving client.

At a subconscious level, I know you’re working for a client and not for me, but you needn’t be blatant about it. Make me feel like you’re in my corner and working for me - even if the check comes from your end client.

The ad would be better without the first paragraph at all. It’s unnecessary and harmful.

On to the wee bit about the job itself, with my developer hat firmly in place:

  • Must have at least 7 years of working experience a Ruby Developer Most Ruby developers were originally exposed to the language (in the US anyway) through Rails, which turns 10 years old late next year. In short: seven years is a long time in Rubyland. You can find them (I’m one), but they’re going to be very senior-level folks.

  • Must have experience with Ruby, Perl, Shell Scripting and core Java Now we take a bit of a turn. Perl and shell scripting make this add read more than a bit DevOps, which is fine but you’d probably be better off just saying that than making a developer infer. Now, “core Java,” I know what Java is and I can kinda see where this might be going, but I’m really unsure what the “core” is doing there.

  • Must have experience with ANT and Maven OK. Now I know where we’re headed here. This has all the earmarks of an enterprise software shop running JRuby on the JVM. Not my personal cup of tea, but there are folks out there. They’re typically former Java developers, though, which makes the first requirement even more murky.

  • Must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Do we really need to even mention this any more? And does anybody out there look at that a think, “Well, shoot. Guess this job’s not for me.”

You’ll notice that each of those items is vague enough that I’m making some leaps here. Wouldn’t it be better to outline exactly what the job and hiring company is?

You want the prospective candidate to be able to see themselves in the job, not be making wild guess along the way.

Here’s how I’d rewrite the ad given the above (and making some further assumptions).

Our client, a major enterprise software firm located in downtown Pittsburgh, is looking for a developer such as yourself to help take their product to new heights.

Here’s what you’ll be doing:

* Working in JRuby on a sophisticated JVM stack to help service the <INSERT HERE> industry

* Working in a DevOps environment where you’ll have a hand in the entire infrastructure

* Getting set up with the equipment you need to do the above, including laptop, monitor and all the fixin’s3

About You

You should be familiar with both Ruby (5 years experience or more) and the JVM platform, including ANT and Maven.

Given the DevOps nature of the role, you should also be comfortable in a Linux environment, including straight shell scripting and knowing when a dash of Perl will do the trick.

We’re excited to tell you more about this job and how you can find the perfect fit.

What would you change?

  1. Or you know, someone like me wanting to find a job ad to use as a teaching instrument.

  2. Spoiler: That’s what everybody wants to know.

  3. I’m a bit hamstrung here because I can’t see the full value proposition of your client. I guessed on the equipment item, but they likely have other things to tout - work environment, client base, HR, and/or fellow devs, for instance.

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