From UK-relevant results:

  1. http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs/8762/network-rail-graduate-programme-network-rail?campaign=List
  2. http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs/9324/begin-a-career-in-consulting-now-accenture-uk?campaign=List
  3. http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs/10410/immediate-graduate-opportunities-in-consulting-accenture-uk?campaign=List

Now, there are currently two pages of results for the UK, so I suppose 3/37 job results being total garbage isn't a massive issue as yet, but I have a request to make:

Please, please, please can we not turn StackOverflow careers (or let become by inaction) any other recruitment site. This would be a horrendous waste of what StackOverflow has going for it.

Reasons these job adverts suck in the context of a programming job board:

  1. They're straight out of campus recruiting 101. I can't speak for other countries, but in the UK campus recruiting roughly consists of the marketing department going overboard and handing out things like "Work for company X! Live the dream!" and stuff from those posts like "working for us doesn't involve desks or pointy haired bosses, it's more like being on holiday. Like a journey. You will literally wake up every morning and crave being in your office. Your office is like an oasis of calm and yet full of passionate and exciting innovation, with the brightest minds!. I know you're getting that warm fuzzy feeling now. Don't worry we haven't told you what you'll be doing yet, sssh, all will be well."* Whilst I don't doubt that some companies have created an amazing culture, this is a secondary concern. I'm more concerned with whether this job is likely to be a correct fit for my technical skills and/or offer me the ability to learn what I'm missing.
  2. Lack of specifics. No tags, no Joel test thing, no nothing.
  3. How to apply is a link to their graduate web pages. Spam spam spam. Sure, they used a person and a thesaurus rather than a Markov Chain to write it, but it is still spam.

So, I shall make a few feature requests:

  1. The search box is quite useful because it allows me to search within a specific tag, but why can't we do what stackoverflow does already and highlight in Glorious Orange (the future is bright with these jobs...) results matching tags we're interested in as per our profiles on either SO or careers.
  2. Make that the default, allow users to disable it and allow searching on more detailed criteria.
  3. Sort search results that way, so that stuff I want to see floats upwards.
  4. Push downwards, hide and/or fade out anything that isn't tagged with a specific technology. So if you're using no tags, you get less visibility.
  5. Push downwards, hide and/or fade out anything that hasn't bothered to complete the Joel test.
  6. Make it all optional for searchers.
  7. Make employers aware of the implications of these through their posting system with useful things like "you should add a tag to make your advert more relevant" and "please complete the Joel Test" with the appropriate pre-post warning of "you haven't complied. Please be aware some searchers will filter you out as a result."
  8. Consider a rating system which is automatic. So employers who have a history of posting good job adverts that complete the Joel test and add tags etc get a slightly increased bonus, i.e. their results turn up higher, or they have to pay one unit of currency less, or whatever. In any case, give them a reward for investing time and effort in their recruitment.
  9. Consider doing this or something like it, too. Again, give good employers/recruiting agencies their due for their effort and reward them with more system access, or a free Unicorn or something.
  10. Allow users to ignore tags and employers.
  11. In the UK at least I believe it is law to state "such and such is acting as a recruiting agency for this post". Can we have a box that allows companies to declare this and allow users to filter it out?

I realise that's quite a lot of feature requests and I suppose the StackExchange network is more a priority for the newly formed StackExchange Inc but I think this is something you could also make great. And here's a good reason to do it: there's a meta.unicornsrock.stackexchange.com isn't there? So what if there was a careers.unicornsrock.stackexchange.com where relevant once the q&a site reaches a critical mass in the public stage?

*Clearly I should have gone into marketing.

tl;dr version:

Please can we provide some measures to encourage good recruiting on Careers?

  • Unless it's changed in the past two weeks, it should actually do highlighting.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Mar 10, 2011 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


Wow... Great post!

You bring up lots of good points. Rather then responding to them one by one, I'll respond in broader strokes.

I agree that tags and the Joel test make for better postings, yet I'd be hesitant to build a sorting algorithm out of them. Users should be able to determine what they want to look at rather than us determining that for them. But perhaps giving people the option to filter untagged / un-Joel-tested postings out is a good option.

The same applies to graduate level postings. While they do not necessarily advertise a specific position, they will be useful to a subset of our user base. Again, maybe an option to allow users to filter them out would be of benefit.

Ditto for recruiting agencies.

And suddenly we have four more check boxes to fit in the search interface. While this is not necessarily a bad thing (in fact, I think it's a great idea to give users more control over what results they'll see), there's also something to be said for simplicity. We're going to have to think on this for a bit (same goes for other search modifiers you suggest).

We've been throwing around the idea of applying some sort of rating system to job posts to aid advertisers in writing better postings for a while now, but haven't quite decided how we want to do this (and all sorts of other things like careers 2.0 kept coming in the way). It's still on the list of things we want to implement though.

Thanks again for all suggestions, please keep them coming. And thanks for bearing with us while we work on deciding which ones to implement (and when).

  • I am, of course, posting as a result of my own frustration with looking for jobs. No doubt this impacts the way I think. I'm all for giving users a choice for what they see and I don't want to make anything default and not disable-able. I'm a software guy, things I can't turn off really annoy me. But I do think allowing people the chance to customise their settings is the way to go, on a broad level, and I do think we need some quality indicators.
    – user142852
    Mar 10, 2011 at 17:57
  • But I can appreciate not wanting to clutter the UI. Very google chrome. How about just one link: you're searching with the default settings, click here to change your search prefs?. Nice to hear back from the man on SO careers though, have an upvote.
    – user142852
    Mar 10, 2011 at 17:58
  • Why, thank you! Yup, a link like that would make the most sense (maybe a shorter "change search settings"), we'll add it to the list. Mar 10, 2011 at 18:54

I think only adverts for a single job should be allowed, e.g. the person posting the job must confirm the location of the desk and who the “boss” is in a field that is not displayed until someone has been short listed.

There is nothing wrong with graduate level postings, provided there are real jobs, not just trying to get CV to put in a pot to then share out across the divisions.

  • Limiting postings to a specific single job opening is a bit over constraining and would cause too much repetition on the job board when there are multiple open positions on a team, etc. (very common). However, in general, we ARE looking for postings to be about one general job description. Also, as a matter of policy, we specifically disallow blind postings that do not disclose the actual employer, etc.
    – Tall Jeff
    Mar 11, 2011 at 16:01
  • @Tall, what about limiting the a single post to jobs that all report to the same line manager? Mar 12, 2011 at 13:10

Please, please, please can we not turn StackOverflow careers (or let become by inaction) any other recruitment site. This would be a horrendous waste of what StackOverflow has going for it.

Well, we really, really, really, do not want to build just another recruitment site. In fact, the overarching goal of the Stack Overflows Careers service is for us to "internetize" the recruiting business and take as much of "the suck" out it as possible. To be clear, this means taking the suck of it for both candidates and the employers....with the bias that taking the suck out of it for the candidates is the sustaining part equation and why we are trying to build this system in as candidate centric way as possible.

I won't address the specific points raised in the question (as Korneel already did in another answer), but thanks very much for the feedback and take to heart that nobody more so that us want to sustain this as the absolute best technical recruiting service around.

  • 1
    Good good. I shall now press the up arrow to indicate my approval. I hope this vision is realised. Every other recruitment site I can think of really does, actually, suck. I'm getting the itch to build something myself, but I'm lacking the really important ingredient StackOverflow already has - a built in portfolio and a community of experts worth employing.
    – user142852
    Mar 18, 2011 at 17:45

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