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It seems like StackOverflow Careers' #1 claim to fame is that it is associated with your StackOverflow profile and lets hiring managers use that as a signal of who is a quality developer.

My question is, how active of a user of StackOverflow do you need to be for that to be a significant benefit? I assume if your reputation is 1 and you've never answered a question it is pointless. At what point is it worth it?

  • 50 reputation (about the top 34k SO users)?
  • 100 reputation (top 25k)?
  • 500 reputation (top 10k)?

(SO has about 100k users at this time, so you can replace k with % if you want)

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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Where I work the developers are the hiring managers. I'm looking forward to the other side of the careers site opening up so we can officially begin using it. But we already have found several applicants through other channels that were willing to share their stackoverflow user details with us. It was really handy. One candidate had only asked 2 questions and answered one. Despite the small sample size we learned a lot about his communication skills. It wasn't enough to know that they had experience in every area we look for, but it still told us a lot.

For a while we have done C.V. reading exercises with traditional C.V.s where a group comes up with questions based off the C.V. It helps us with the early evaluation of the C.V. We are starting to do the same thing with stackoverflow. We're studying how to read a stackoverflow user and figure out what we would ask, what we like and don't like. It's early, but we're hoping it is a really helpful tool for us.

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At this point, no one knows. I'd like to think that a competent employer would look at the content of a user's questions and answers, rather than going by accumulated reputation... But there's really no guarantee of this.

Time will tell...

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I thought you had your magic 8-ball for these kind of questions. –  waffles Nov 7 '09 at 6:10
5  
It's busy telling me that Outlook's no good... and I already know that. –  Shogging through the snow Nov 7 '09 at 9:03
    
@Shog9: ask again later. –  perbert Nov 7 '09 at 21:43

I'm not sure it is that key... I imagine employers would look more at things like:

  • are you in the right area (or willing to relocate)
  • do you have the right skills / interests

And then within that I'd hope that if you associate your account, they choose to look at some of your answers. And any other (you-specific) external references you link to.

I wonder whether some numbers might actually be a warning sign to some employers (who don't understand that some geeks use a computer outside of work time...). Fortunately, that isn't a problem, as I'm not in a hurry to work for such PHBs ;-p

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointy-Haired_Boss, if anyone else is wondering! –  Dominic Rodger Nov 7 '09 at 16:03

All things being equal, they won't be.

I am boldly putting out my public CV though I'm at only 55 SO rep. I imagine if a hiring manager searches for their criteria and gets me and Jon Skeet, I'm not going to get a call. However, if they really want someone who has my tagset and not his, then my 55 won't look so bad.

Now, what I really want to be able to do is search resumes. I just took a job and I'm looking to hire, not get hired. Here's hoping this section of the site will be open soon.

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On the one hand, I'd be inclined to hire users who have good scores in the specific areas relevant to the position I'm looking to fill regardless of their overall score. If their answers in those areas are routinely upvoted and they have a decent answer/accepted ratio then I'd be interested even if they only have a few hundred rep.

On the other hand I don't think I could afford users on the first 10 pages or so... If they would work for normal wages I might have to hire them just 'cause :-). But not too many of them... I need people to write code and answer their co-workers questions not answer random SO users questions.

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You're assuming we don't answer our co-workers' questions? –  Shogging through the snow Nov 10 '09 at 15:54
    
Of course not, but if I'm the hiring manager I'd be afraid of people who have the time to rack up such high scores. I'd prefer to hire people who will spend that time writing code -- as one of my early bosses told me: "I want to hire geeks -- with no life. 'Cause I want them to be at their computer programming not dating or playing games." :-) I'm not that bad actually, I want people to have an outlet to blow off steam and stress so they don't burn out, but the idea is important, at least for a start-up type situation. –  beggs Nov 11 '09 at 3:06

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