Recruiters: How To Get Ignored

I don't envy Technical Recruiters. They have tough job trying to place people in roles the recruiter himself doesn't understand. I don't blame them. The ever shifting sands of technology can be confusing. What other field completely changes landscapes every 3-5 years? Who can possibly keep up with just the new Javascript frameworks that came out this year, much less 30 years of technological nuances.

However, most programmers will share stories of a recruiter email going like this:

Recruiter: Hi Fred, I came across your resume and I see you would be a perfect fit for a great developer role in Java with an awesome company.
Fred: I don't even have Java on my resume and I know nothing about it!!!!!

As to why we get these emails, I can explain by simply translating:

Recruiter: Hi Fred, I came across your resumeYou came up for some reason in our Applicant Tracking System and I see you would be a perfect fit hope you would send me your resume so I can get my $10 bonus, or even go on an interview for this so I get a $50 bonus for a great developer role in Java with an awesome company Hey, I really need a commission this month. The economy sucks and my kid needs braces.

Most often, I'll help recruiters where I can, because at the end of the day, they are helping someone get a new job. Most people take new jobs because they either don't have one, or they want greener pastures. So either way, it is a win/win. However, today I got an email on LinkedIn by an especially useless recruiter looking for help. Here's the email, minus personal information:

Date: 7/03/2012 Subject: Fun with developing!
Hi, I hope you don't mind me reaching out to you, but I was hoping you could point me in the right direction...
I'm working with a bunch of awesome, dynamic companies in the area (Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and beyond!) that are looking for developers and programmers in all kinds of technologies (Php, Java, .net, mobile, and Project Managers just to name a few).
I was wondering if you or someone you know might be interested in some new opportunities.
My contact info is below, feel free to forward my information! Thanks for your time, hope to hear from you soon!

Let's try to translate this one, shall we?

Date: 7/03/2012 Subject: Fun with developing!
I hope you don't mind me reaching out to you, but I was hoping you could point me in the right direction I have no idea how to do my job. I was selling used cars and it didn't work out...
I'm working with a bunch of awesome, dynamic companies in the area (Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and beyond!) I have no current clients, but I see there are lots of ads on Monster and Careerbuilder. I'm going to pitch candidates at anything that moves just to see if I can get my foot in the door that are looking for developers and programmers in all kinds of technologies (Php, Java, .net, mobile, and Project Managers just to name a few) I don't have any specific job orders to recruit for, so any warm bodies will help. Ya can't sell a product, if there is no product to sell, am I right? I'm willing to do anything. Does your cousin know how to spell 'Computer', send him to me so I can put a resume in the system and get a bonus.
I was wondering if you or someone you know might be interested in some new opportunities Look, we are having a fire sale on job candidates this week. Either I get some new candidates, or I get fired. I really don't want to go back to the used car lot.
My contact info is below, feel free to forward my information! and even though I just sent you an unsolicited email, I want you to personally vouch for me, and spend your time forwarding my contact information to anyone with a pulse, because as we know, there is a severe shortage of technical recruiters out there. Thanks for your time, hope to hear from you soondon't forget, my kid needs braces so hurry up, willya?!

What can we learn from this?

If you ask for help, please ask for specific help. Remember, the other party is going to weigh the benefits of helping you and if it isn't clear how you want to be helped, it isn't clear why you SHOULD be helped.

I'm not going to reply back to the recruiter, because I'm not really sure how to help them.

What sort of recruiter stories do you have?

Gmail Gmail, how thou hast forsaken me

  • Oh Gmail, Gmail
  • How thou hath forsaken me
  • Thou makest me to switch accounts where there used to be no problems
  • Thou loggest me out at inopportune moments when I've emails to write
  • Thou ignorest my pleas to open different accounts in multiple tabs
  • I beat my breast and tear my clothes in anguish...
  • I regreteth having multiple email accounts running off thine servers...

Alas, there is no answer....

( yes I know all about enabling multiple accounts. I've done that and gmail still sucketh. I want it back the way it was. Back when each tab seemed to be a sufficient separation....)

Help Wally create a fun online virtual world for sick kids in hospitals

Wally Kolcz is taking a very bold and selfless step. He's interested in creating a fun online virtual world for sick kids in Hospitals. He needs your help.

See, Pepsi have put up a challenge to fund good ideas. Anyone can vote on an idea. Each month, Pepsi awards funding to the ideas with the most votes.

Wally's idea is to make a web portal that allows kids, in children's hospital, who cannot leave the hospital, or sometimes their rooms, to play in a virtual world and enjoy games, do arts and crafts, get homework to keep up with their classes, and meet and befriend kids in their hospital or around the county.

I know a good idea when I see one, and lifting the spirits of sick kids is as noble as you can get. I'd like to ask for your help in promoting Wally's plan.

How to help

  1. Visit
  2. Vote for the idea (button on the left)

Simple, right? So, please go vote for

10 Ways to Maximize Your Conference Experience

I've been a conference attendee, speaker, advisory board member and organizer. Each of those four roles has taught me something. I'd like to share a little bit with you so you can make the most of your conference experience.

Point 1: Introduce yourself by name. A lot.

Introduce yourself by name to everyone. Even to people you know, or who you think should know you. The biggest opportunity you have at a conference is to network. The number 1 reason behind failed networking is your name. People may choose not to greet you or connect with you because they are embarassed they've forgot your name. No one will think you are weird if you say, "Hi, I'm Dan Wilson". (Unless your name ISN'T Dan Wilson, that is).

Point 2: Expect good things to happen, tolerate mistakes

As a conference attendee, you should expect a well run conference. However, you should also strive to be tolerant when things go wrong. The people behind the scenes have been busting their tails for months to coordinate a million little details and want you to have the best experience possible. If something goes wrong, it will get fixed. Especially if you are nice about it.

Point 3: Stop checking your emails

Sure, in a 1 hour presentation, there are plenty of opportunities for distraction. However, if you have your face buried in your email, you are missing out on something good. Email is asynchronous communication, leverage it!

Point 4: Be realistic about what you can learn

In a one hour session, you probably have the ability to remember 3 things on a surface level. Thus, take notes about what you are interested in so you can google later.

Point 5: Ask for slide decks

Pretty much every presenter will share their slide deck. Sometimes you'll remember great things from looking at the slides... this should augment, not supplant your own note taking.

Point 6: Give honest and fair feedback

As an attendee, you have the right to give feedback to speakers and conference organizers. This DOES include positive and negative feedback. While no one really likes negative feedback, professionals learn from it and want bare opinions. You paid to be there, you have the right to voice your opinions. Choose whichever medium you are comfortable with.

Point 7: Take a chance

For fun, attend a session you know nothing about. You might find something really interesting!

Point 8: Pitch in where you can

While conference organizers love feedback in any form, what they love most are people who will chip in and help. This could be as simple as folding T-Shirts or making an introduction to a new sponsor... Or just stopping by and saying how much you enjoy the conference.

Point 9: Make friends.

You've got plenty of opportunities to meet people who are interested in the sorts of things you are interested. Make friends, some of those friendships will be very valuable to you.

Point 10: Get plugged in

If you enjoyed the material and the environment, get into the stream. Join a local user group. If there is no local user group, start one. There is strength in numbers.

Have any pointers I missed? Share them in the comments!

IgniteRaleigh2 Our talk on Health

IgniteRaleigh was a smash success! A big thanks to Our Hash Tag LLC and for putting on a well run, creative event. A big thanks to M.C. Zach Ward (@zachward) for his skill in creating a fun, positive mood and keeping it going all night. He's a true professional.

As some of you know, I was very pleased to be chosen out of the herd to present at IgniteRaleigh 2 on Why Your Health Is The Most Important Thing You'll Ignore All Day. Having watched a number of Ignite style talks before, I knew it would be challenging to stay on message and on timing. Not much room for creative expounding when the slides auto-advance, is there? I also knew the other speakers would set a high bar by being dynamic, funny, creative and inspirational.

As I was presenting, I missed a good bit of the show. I did catch a few of the sessions, though like:

  • Janet Kennedy (@jkennedy93), 5 Bucks is Change. Her presentation was inspirational, approachable and the presentation most likely to change my life in some way. Take a look at her website for more information. When the recording comes available, I'll post it here.
  • George Smart's (@georgesmartTMH) great presentation on Mayberry Modernism – Why the Triangle is America's Hotspot for Way Cool Houses. I enjoy modern architecture and had no idea there were 100 noteworthy houses in the area.
  • Jess Commins (@renewabelle) made saving money sexy with her talk on How to save $100+ with a DIY energy audit. Great use of imagery to hammer the point home.
  • Elizabeth Gardner (@WRALweathergal) spoke on A day in the life of a meteorologist who gets up at 3am. This behind the curtain look into her daily routine was funny and well delivered. I might have a new favorite weatherperson.

My tips for presenting at Ignite

  • Every second counts. Either you are making your point, or wasting time.
  • Plan Plenty of Preparation. A 5 minute talk about something you are passionate about, is 20 times harder to prepare for a 1 hour talk. I give lots of 1 hour talks and I definitely had to work more at crafting this short pointed message.
  • Pick good images for your slides. I had over 100, which was whittled down to 16.
  • Double up on a slide if it deserves more than 15 seconds.
  • You will be out of sync with your slides at some point. No one will care.
  • Make recordings of your talk and listen to them for practice.
  • Put the best recording on an iPod and listen to it before your talk. It'll help you stay focused.
  • Love the crowd. The vibe at an Ignite is positive and supportive.

Special thanks go to:

  • My wife (@shannonscarlett) for helping me prepare
  • Jim Priest (@thecrumb) for adding a great deal of polish to my slides
  • Brian Erman for taping the event.

More Info

Here is a write up of IgniteRaleigh 2 by Indyblogs. Here is a Delicious page of book marks with blog recaps. Here are pictures from the event.

Watch My Presentation

Ignite: Dan Wilson from Brian Erman on Vimeo.

Get My Slide Deck

My slides are available on SlideSix, view Slide Deck for Why Your Health Is The Most Important Thing You Will Ignore All Day

Why Your Health is the Most Important Thing You'll Ignore All Day

I've been selected to present at Ignite Raleigh 2 on Why Your Health is the Most Important Thing You'll Ignore All Day. I'm very excited to get to speak to this audience on such an important topic near to my heart.

Since launching ChallengeWave as a tool for businesses to help their employees start and stick with healthier activities, I've taken on the quest to raise health awareness and health happiness in people. Having the ability to share this with the fine audience at Ignite Raleigh 2, will be fun and exciting!

Ignite style presentations are fun, fast and informative for the audience. Speakers condense their topic into 5 minute presentation. During the presentation, 20 slides will be shown in a timed progression, 1 slide every 15 seconds. The audience gets to learn a lot about a lot of interesting topics in a short period of time.

Oh, and since the slides auto-change every 15 seconds, the speaker better keep up, or he'll be run over!

If you've not seen an Ignite style presentation before, check this one from last year's Ignite Raleigh by the master, Wayne Sutton:

So You Wanna Visit Australia?

My wife and I just returned from our honeymoon. We spent 2 weeks in Australia and really loved it. I've got a few gigs of photos and a bunch of interesting stories, but for the sake of this blog I'll just post a few of each.

Qantas Airlines

We flew on Qantas Airlines the whole way and really loved them. Qantas was on time, organized and the flight crew constantly was bringing snacks, meals, drinks, socks (yes, socks), free headsets and pretty much anything possible to make us comfortable. Qantas even did a full meal service on a 1 hour domestic flight. Rather striking considering the weak, mealy-mouthed offerings from US based carriers... If you plan to visit, get the Aussie Air Pass, a package where you can visit a number of cities all for a single price.


Our first stop was Brisbane. Brisbane is located on a river system and is a really nice city with lots of nice things to do.

Where to Stay

We stayed at The Marque a neat hotel centrally located to the docs and the Queen Street Mall area, a center of eating and shopping. The staff was great and they had our room ready at 9AM when we checked in. I can't tell you how nice it was to have travelled so much the previous 2 days and actually be able to check in to a hotel room at 9AM.

Lone Pine Koala Reserve

We only had a few days here and visited the Lone Pine reserve, one of the few places in the world where you can cuddle a Koala. The best part of Lone Pine was the Kangaroo and Wallaby open area where you can touch and interact with these animals without restraint. Here is Shannon petting a Kangaroo. If you go to Lone Pine, catch a 10 AM ferry from the downtown docks. You get a great view of the many interesting houses on the river banks as well as a running historical commentary. The south bank of Brisbane is rather interesting, having a man made beach which was very lovely to dip into on a warm spring day.


To The Most Courageous Woman I Know

This year has been a year of turmoil and also a year of blessings. Most years are like that, though this one has been particularly full of highs and lows. I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to the most courageous woman I know.

My cousin, Erika Bogan was badly injured in a terrible car crash in early 2002 when she was ejected from the vehicle, suffered major damage to her spinal cord and was in a coma for 10 weeks. When she woke up, she found she was paralyzed from the waist down. Imagine for a moment, what it would be like to be riding in a car one second, awake in a hospital the next second to be told 10 weeks had gone by, and by the way, you'll never walk again.

Erika had a long road ahead of her. She had a lot of choices to make and none of them were easy. You can read more on her story on her blog.

Erika became an advocate for people with disabilities and became active helping and inspiring others. This year, Erika competed for and won the Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2009 title. She then competed against tough competition to win Ms. Wheelchair America 2009 title. We are all very proud of her.

The mission of Ms. Wheelchair America is to provide an opportunity for women of achievement who happen to be wheelchair users to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 52 million Americans living with disabilities. In her short term as Ms. Wheelchair America, she's:

  • Served as Participant, Mentor and Speaker at Camp Discovery
  • Learned to Surf, through Life Rolls On (Yay for surfing)
  • Honored as Guest speaker for the Real Economic Impact Tour Kick-off on behalf of the IRS and the NDI along with Robert David Hall from CSI, at the National Press Club in D.C.
  • Visited the White House

As we roll (pun intended) into the Thanksgiving holiday, I'd like to pause and give thanks to Erika for her inspiration to me and to the many people she's impacted with her life.

If you are interested in learning more about Erika, the Ms. Wheelchair America competition or advocacy for the disabled, you can:

Erika Crowned Ms. Wheelchair America

Erika Before Speaking to the IRS and the NDI

Erika with CSI's Robert David Hall

"Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew." -Guillaume Apollinaire

My Brother the Alligator Wrestler

I'm from Florida, as you know. Florida is home to Alligators, a much maligned animal that generally doesn't deserve such an awful reputation. My brother wrote me to tell me of a recent gator encounter on the beach last night. I'll let him tell the story:

So the kids and I decide to go for a quick walk on the beach last night before homework and dinner...

As we are walking down the beach we see some commotion up ahead and decide to walk down there and see what's going on. As we get close I can see a 7 foot alligator and a guy with a cast net on the freaking beach! This is my second encounter with gators on the beach, the first was surfing on Vilano and a gator swam by outside the line up. This one is equally as weird!

We get up to this gator and you can tell it is very tired from swimming in the ocean, the wind and waves have just beat his butt cause he wants nothing to do with us unless we grab his tail, then he lets us know without question that he is pissed. Tail thrashing, hissing, chomping of the jaws, the whole bit. So a lifeguard comes up to us and while talking to him he says he has to call a trapper who will come and likely kill the gator because it will be seen as a nuisance to humans. So my kids and this other fellas kids start talking about how we should save the gator. So between the kids, tourists and hippy residents down on the beach this guy (Paul) and I become the "gator savers". It's at about this time my kids decide I'm freaking nutz for the plan we hatch.


How Many Zeros In A Million

This blog hit over a million total views today. Well, I think it was today, I can't be sure.

Last week I noticed the page count was somewhere near 990k and I wanted to get a screen shot of when the site rolled over to a cool million. It looks like I missed it by a few hundred. Oh well, I guess I can try to pay better attention when I hit a billion. (Heh.)

So thanks to those who come and read articles from I hope you found them as helpful to you as they were to me when I wrote them.