Twitter vs. Joel on Software

by Ruben 2 Minutes

Twitter’s usefulness has been argued many times before. I have to admit, I’ve often wondered how useful it truly is considering the amount of time I spend on Twitter.

If you ask someone how Twitter helps their business, chances are you’ll hear some of the following:

  • It’s a great way to engage with my users.
  • I use it to monitor my company/product mentions to get feedback from users.
  • It helps with support since users often mention issues they’re having with a specific company.
  • It helps with my brand building effort.
  • It’s a qualified list of potential customers/clients.

While some of these may or may not be true, it’s certainly tough to try and measure the impact it truly has in most of these areas.

Hiring Through Twitter

Well, I recently just so happen to stumble into a Twitter use case that was many times
more effective than a paid service that cost me over $300.

A few weeks ago I was in need to hire a ColdFusion developer for a short two month contract. Instead of doing a resume search on Monster I decided to post the contract on the Joel on Software job board. It’s just over $300 (relatively cheap) and offers a money back guarantee if you don’t end up filling the position with someone that responded through the job board. Pretty nice money back guarantee; which is why I decided to try it out.

A couple of weeks into the posting and not a single resume came in. To be fair, I don’t blame the Joel on Software job board for this. My previous posting was for a Java developer and I received several qualified resumes. I think this was tougher because of the short time frame and because ColdFusion isn’t exactly a mainstream language like Java or C#.

Expecting a lack of people on the ColdFusion side of things, I even specified that they could work through the entire contract remotely. No need to ever show up to the office.

Still, nothing.

I was working on a project with a tight deadline so I was starting to get desperate. I was just about to call up a couple of recruiters when I thought to myself “Hell, why don’t I ask on Twitter?” And with that, I posted a quick tweet asking if anyone knew any good ColdFusion developers.

A couple of hours later I log in to check if by some stroke of luck someone had actually replied back. Nope, not one reply, but several!

Wow. I was blown away. But surely, these guys can’t be any good if they’re responding on Twitter. Wrong again; these were some of the most qualified ColdFusion developers I’ve ever interviewed.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Twitter Still Loses (kinda)

In the end, I got a couple of very late responses through the Joel on Software job boards, and ended up hiring one of those guys.

What about the ColdFusion developers I found through Twitter? Well, they were either in too high demand (took other gigs), or the timing wasn’t right.

While it didn’t help me find a developer for the project, it was much more effective at bringing qualified people to my attention. Not just that, but it was ridiculously fast. All in all, I was very impressed with the whole interaction.

Next time you need a designer or developer to help you out on a project, give Twitter a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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by Ruben
Ruben originally founded proposal software, Bidsketch as a one-person company while working as a software developer for a billion dollar payroll company. Since its early days as a “company of one,” Bidsketch has grown to help over 2,000 paying customers win billions of dollars in new business and save thousands of hours in the process.