Dear recruiter...


Note: I regularly receive emails (and occasionally in-person interactions) from tech recruiters and am sick of sending polite replies or explaining what I am looking for over and over again. I compiled this list as required reading for recruiters who want to contact me to save some of my time (and potentially theirs – although you could argue this list is pretty long). This is a first draft, and I will continually change this as I think is needed.

Dear Recruiter,

So you are looking to fill a position for a programmer/developer/coder/engineer/etc. and you would like to talk to me about it. Like many software engineers, I am already pretty happy at my current job. If you want me to even consider leaving, you need to provide me something above and beyond my current situation.

Below is a breakdown of what I generally like in a job. A job that has roughly 100 points or more would be of interest to me and you should probably contact me. If you have a very low or negative score, please do not contact me. Include your score breakdown when contacting me if you want to get my attention.


Julie Pagano


  • Are you located in the east end of the city? (+20)
  • Is the commute from Squirrel Hill to your business 15 minutes or less? (+5)
  • If you are more than 15 minutes away, do you have a telecommuting policy that would allow me to work from home at least 50% of the time? (+1)
  • If you are outside of Pittsburgh, do you have a good process for handling remote employees? (+1)
  • Did you answer “no” to all of the above questions? (-1000 – do not contact me)


  • Do you use Ruby on Rails? (+20)
  • If you use a different technology stack for web application development, do you have a good justification for doing so? (+1)
  • Do you use a Microsoft-related technology for most web application development (e.g. .Net)? (-1000, do not contact me)
  • What is your score on the Joel Test? (+ your score)
  • Do you use a preprocessor (e.g. SASS) for your CSS? (+1 if you do; -20 if you do not)
  • Do your employees get Macs if they want them? (+1 if you do; -20 if you do not)

Tech Community & Professional Development

  • Is your company supportive of the local technology community (e.g. donations of money, space, or materials)? (+5)
  • Is your company active in the local technology community (e.g. attending, presenting, and/or organizing events)? (+5)
  • Do you support your employees doing open source development? (+1 if you do; -10 if you do not)
  • Would you be willing to give me dedicated work time to focus on professional and community development (e.g. working on Girl Develop IT Pittsburgh, preparing to speak at conferences, learning about new technologies, practicing my skills on open source development)? (+10 for each dedicated day you would give me on a monthly basis)
  • Will you support me attending tech conferences? (+5 for each conference you will pay for in a given year)

Work-life Balance

  • How many hours do your engineers usually work during a normal week? (+10 if <=40; 0 if <= 45; -1 for each hour over 45)
  • How much travel is required for the job? (+1 if <= 10%; -5 if <= 20%; -10 if <= 30%; -1000 if > 30%)
  • Do you have somewhat flexible work hours? (+5)


  • Do you have a diverse development team? (+20 if you do; -10 if you do not)
  • Are you taking steps to improve the diversity of your hiring practices? (+1 if you think you are; +30 if you can explain them to me and convince me that you care about diversity)


  • How much external customer interaction is required for the job? (+1 if <= 15%; 0 if <= 25%; -10 if <= 50%; -50 if > 50%)
  • What is your dress code for engineers? (+1 if usually casual; -50 if anything else)


I am going to assume that you offer competitive pay and benefits for the area. You’re wasting your time talking to me if you do not. You will get a lot of respect from me if you offer me something I will be happy with instead of making me play negotiation games with you.