I did a quick search on SO Careers (Employer side) for candidates near me (Calgary, Alberta Canada). Beyond distance, the only exclusion filter I had was "willing to relocate candidates"; I turned this checkbox off to restrict the search to local candidates.

With a search area of 500km, I got 16 candidates total. Given that I haven't even started to filter by skills or student-ness, that's a pretty low number.

As an employer, I could pay $500 to search these 16 candidates. To me, this seems pretty pricey -- especially if I don't know how many "good" candidates I'll get out of the masses. (SOC should be better than average, but that reputation still remains to be built).

Of course, this will get better as time goes on and the site gets more popular. However, I think that it will continue to be a problem for smaller areas (basically any place outside of the major American and European cities).

Thus, it seems like the right thing to do would be fore SOC to give some sort of price discount if it only has a "low" number of candidates available.

(I don't know what the scaling formula should be; I'll leave that to the Answerers).

  • How many are there that aren't willing to relocate? – Georg Schölly Jan 1 '10 at 1:54
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    16 candidates? Unless you're trying to hire 17 people I don't see what the problem is, chances are very high that they're exceptionally good candidates. – Mark Henderson Jan 1 '10 at 9:19
  • @gs: I'm presuming 16; though this is a bit unclear. I turned the employer-side "willing to relocate candidates" off but this doesn't necessarily say how the candidates themselves view relocation. – Craig Walker Jan 1 '10 at 18:09
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    @Farseeker: this is 16 total people in the area. I didn't restrict by experience, salary requirements, skills, knowledge, student/intern, or job type. There's no way that an employer would get a 100% hit rate for a hireable candidate with this broad criteria. – Craig Walker Jan 1 '10 at 18:11
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    This is lickly to be a problem in the UK, hence I don't see careers taking of in the UK outside of London/Cambridge etc. So why should a candiate not in a major US city sign up? – Ian Ringrose Jan 4 '10 at 12:02

I think the answer here is that if Stack Overflow careers doesn't meet your needs, ask for a refund.

They have a generous refund policy:

This is our unconditional money back guarantee to you: if you’re not satisfied for any reason, within 90 days you get a full refund, period, no questions asked. We don’t want your money if you’re not amazingly happy.

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    Hmm, that's a good point, though it does strike me as being a bit unfair to Jeff & the gang. This is especially true if I need to do searches multiple times during the year (say once a quarter) and there's still no great results. I guess I'd like to see what the SO team has to say about this; if they're fine with it then so am I. – Craig Walker Jan 1 '10 at 0:37

500$ doesn't seem too much if you consider the average wage of a developer.

  • It's not, but it is a large amount to do a search that returns no acceptable possibilities. I'm not worried about the overall price, just the barrier to entry when the pickings are slim. – Craig Walker Jan 1 '10 at 18:13
  • How much are you willing to spend to find the best candidate available? Given that there are developers twice as productive as others it could easily be 10k or 20k, because having a good developer outweighs this initial money. In the end it comes down to trusting that careers has better candidates than other sites. – Georg Schölly Jan 2 '10 at 14:40

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