iOS Developers and Employers Dish on Recruiters [Video]

If you’re an iOS developer, chances are a recruiter has approached you via email, a phone call or at a meetup to gauge your interest. At Apple’s WWDC, it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel.

We asked iOS developers and employers to weigh in on ways recruiters can improve their techniques for wooing candidates. And some of the advice from employers may surprise prospective iOS job candidates.

View From the Top

For example, Willem van der Merwe, who heads up iOS mobile development at afrozaar in South Africa, says he wishes recruiters would forward on a developer’s resume in its original form, rather than reformatting it to fit their particular style.

In fact, Merwe will ask job candidates to bring their original resume when they show up for an interview –  if they get an interview. Merwe wonders how many prospective candidates he may have overlooked from the pile of resumes that recruiting firms had sent him, because they restyled the format.

Citing one example, Merwe recalls a resume he received from a recruiter that initially he was on the borderline of calling the candidate in for a job interview. In the end, he decided to bring the candidate in and was blown away when he say the guy’s original resume.

On the left side of the paper, a chronological list of the candidate’s career movements. And on the right side of the page was a list of his skill sets. That format laid out the candidates experience and skills in an easy-to-follow format that could be scanned in a blink of an eye. Says Merwe, “it was stunning.”

The recruiter’s version of this resume? A three-page CV with paragraph after paragraph of experience and skills mixed together. Very traditional, but not as functional as the original version, Merwe says.

Simon Taylor, Professional Services Director for RelayWare’s office in Redwood Shores, Calif., would be a happy camper if recruiters brought him candidates that were not only good on paper but, more importantly, had soft skills.

He’s looking for developers who have a very sharp focus on what the customer truly is asking for, rather than the cool and awesome features they think the customer needs.

“It’s like developing an app for the sales clerk at Best Buy. He just wants to record his customer’s orders and be done with it. He doesn’t want a lot of cool features that will cause him to use the device longer than he has too,” Taylor says.

And, secondly, the RelayWare director wants developers who can communicate with customers, team members and analysts.  Taylor’s frustration at receiving a mismatch of applicants with his job openings prompted him to take an unusual move a year ago.

RelayWare’s job postings are now several pages, with the skills requirement only representing a paragraph or two. The rest of the job posting is comprised of the company’s history, its customers and it’s culture.

“Our job description used to be bullet points listing the skills we wanted. But I always ended up with the wrong people. Now, since the change, we have more success with our recruiting,” Taylor says. “I can teach someone the skills, but I can’t teach them to be a good person.”

Developers Dish on Recruiting Styles

Ulrik Damm, an iOS developer and IT student at the University of Copenhagen, says the recruiters that attend his college job fairs are very business-like, working off a list of the education requirements they are seeking and skills the company is looking for.

“I’d like to know more about the company and what it’s like to work there,” Damm says. “Is the place friendly? Is it all business? I want to hear about their culture.”

Asem Hassan, an independent iPhone app developer in Germany whose business card reads “Apps That Do Not Suck,” implores recruiters to take the time to download his app and understand what it and what he can do, before sending him a solicitation to apply for a job.

Says Hassan: “When you get a generic email, you know they probably sent it to everybody and they don’t know anything about me or my apps.”

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