(Oops, I accidentally deleted this entry and had to restore it so all the comments are gone. Sorry, commenters.)
I’ve often heard it said in the Perl community that hiring Perl developers is hard. This comes from both developers as well as people relaying information from managers and recruiters.
At MaxMind, where I work, we recently posted a job opening. We only posted it to the Perl jobs site to start, and I mentioned it in a blog posting. It has not been advertised anywhere else (by us).
We’ve gotten a lot of applications so far. Of course, there’s the usual selection of spamplications, but we’ve also gotten quite a few really qualified applicants. So many, in fact, that it’s tough to decide who to interview. We could easily interview ten excellent candidates!
So what did we do differently than everyone else? The job is open to telecommuters.
I think when people complain that hiring Perl developers is hard, they really mean that hiring someone to work in their office is hard. This is no surprise. I wouldn’t move for any job, no matter how great it looked. I own a house. My wife’s in school. I have friends here. I’m deeply involved with a local activist group.
I expect many people have similar reasons for not wanting to move.
I wonder whether there’s any language where hiring good senior-level people is easy. Do experienced Java developers not have houses, families, or friends? Sure, there’s more Java developers, but are there really more per open position?
Is there some huge pool of experienced Ruby developers outside of Silicon Valley willing to move for some great new job?
If you want to hire an experienced Perl developer, consider offering telecommuting. We’re lucky at MaxMind, in that the dev team has always been remote. The only other developer who was here when I started lives in Germany, and the CEO (who also does dev) is in Waltham. We were all forced to exercise our telecommuting chops from the start. I know from experience that when a company already has a larger dev staff in an office, hiring a single telecommuter may not work nearly as well.
Maybe the lesson (if there is one) is that new companies should plan for telecommuting from the start. If you build it into your core work culture, it’s a lot easier than trying to adopt it a few years down the line.
All that said, I do think that having everyone in a single office is better. If I were running my own company, it’s what I’d want. But you have to balance that against your ability to hire more technical staff in the future.