Greetings fellow monks,

I’m a development manager at Whitepages in downtown Seattle. We’re a 100% Perl shop, really pushing the envelope, doing some amazing things. We’ve got a great team of really smart Perl developers and architects, but we’re under-staffed. We’ve posted job descriptions on, Craig’s List, and Monster. Over the past month, I’ve spent a majority of my life searching, screening, and interviewing candidates, but we’ve only managed to fill a couple positions. There are several reasons for this:

Some candidates are woefully under-qualified
Granted, our hiring bar is purposefully set very high, but we get several candidates who barely know references, don’t understand hashes, or can’t spell sort or map.

Some candidates over-estimate their abilities
We’ve seen a lot of resumes and cover letters that claim the moon and sky, but unlike a lot of other places I’ve worked, we require a Perl skills test of each candidate during the interview process. There have been several instances when we’ve seen candidates we expected (based on their resumes and phone screens) to be top-level people crash and burn.

Our inability to engage a lot of candidates
Although we’re broadcasting our job offers frequently, I don’t think we’re doing a good job of it. Our job titles and descriptions are lame and uncompelling, IMHO. (We’re working on rewriting these now.) But ultimately, we don’t know of any place else to advertise our open jobs. We’ve tried local Perl users groups and other places, but we’ve not been able to get top people.

Ultimately, we’re starting to get the feeling that most qualified Perl developers in the greater Seattle area are already happily employed. Either that, or we’re just doing a really poor job of evangelizing our open positions. (We don't advertize the salary ranges in our posts, but they're quite good.)

What sort of advice do you folks have about hiring? Any tricks you’ve used to find and recruit good Perl developers? We phone screen candidates, then we have a Perl skills test where we stick the candidate in a room with a locked-down laptop and a browser-based test. The in-person interviews are after the Perl test. The problem is just with finding new candidates. We’re getting very few responses to our job postings. Any suggestions? Thanks.

code('Perl') || die;