We’re doing a lot of hiring at Cloudera — we have jobs open in operations, sales, engineering and elsewhere. Hiring well is hard work. We spend a lot of time on it, and have learned a lot about the kind of people we want to bring in. One of the best ways for us to do a good job of hiring is to help you do a good job of applying for a job here.
I’ll begin the post, though, by telling you what doesn’t work. Several times a day, we get an unsolicited email or phone message from a contingency recruiter like this one:
I specialize in the industry and wanted to contact you to let you know that I have a strong candidate for your [deleted] position, and wanted to know if you would like to review the resume that I have? My candidate is interested in interviewing as soon as possible.
If you’re that candidate, bad news: Your resume goes straight to the bottom of the pile, and it’s a big pile.
Contingency recruiters get paid by the hiring company when the candidate they introduce gets the job. The amount they get paid varies a little bit, but is generally a quarter to a third of the annual salary of the person they place. That means that a software developer who earns $80K a year shows up with a $20,000 price tag, minimum, due and payable to the recruiter, up front. If you’re that software developer, you need to be not merely as good as the rest of the candidates we’re looking at. It’s not even enough to be a little bit better. You need to be so astonishingly good that you’re worth our writing a fat check to a third party on your very first day in the office. And, honestly, if you’re that good, how come we don’t know about you already?
Now, we do — occasionally, for a few positions that are especially tough to fill — work with contingency search firms. If a recruiter talks to you about Cloudera, you should ask: Do you have a signed engagement letter with Cloudera already? If the answer is yes, then you’re talking to someone we trust (but whom we’ll have to pay if we hire you, so we’d still prefer to hear from you directly). If the answer is no, or if they waffle, then you shouldn’t waste your time with them. They’re not going to help you get a job at Cloudera.
If you want a job with us, we absolutely want to talk to you. Here’s some advice on how to reach us on your own.
First, don’t just email us your resume with a cover letter. It’s not that we don’t read those; it’s that it’s very, very hard to stand out from the crowd that way. Every company that’s hiring and posts jobs on its web site gets a lot of resumes by email. Reading all of them is hard work, and (shame on us) we might be a little bit hurried or distracted when yours comes in.
It’s much better to come in by way of an introduction from someone we already know. We know all the people who work here very well, of course. If one of them sends your name and resume along to a hiring manager, you can bet that it gets special attention. It turns out that Cloudera people are easy to find: We speak at conferences, attend trade shows, hang out in IRC and browse public forums about topics that matter to the company. We blog here, and many of us post on Twitter regularly — see @cloudera/cloudera. Check out our events page. Look for us on-line or in person at shows. Reach out, person to person, in those places.
You should really try to engage with the Cloudera person, of course. Don’t just ask for an intro; talk to us us about the topics that you know matter to us. Show us, first, that you know a little bit about what we’re doing. If you’re a developer especially, making contributions to the open source projects we work on, or building cool applications on Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop, is a great way to show your chops.
We’ve got a referral program in place — when an employee brings us a candidate we hire, that person gets some extra Cloudera stock (we would much rather grant equity to our employees than write checks to recruiters!). As a result, if you’re a good fit for a position and can establish a personal rapport with one of our current employees, you’ll have an enthusiastic champion who’ll make sure we take a hard look at you. Everybody wins.
Before you reach out, though, do your homework. Figure out what we do. We put a lot of work into the web site — read the stuff there. Understand our products and customers. Know the role you’re interested in and why you’re a good fit. It’s really surprising to me how many people send us unsolicited resumes asking if we have any jobs open that would match their backgrounds. If you can’t do simple homework, you’re just not the kind of person we’re going to hire.
If you can’t get to us directly, take a look at our customers, partners and investors. Do you have contacts there? Personal introductions really do get noticed, and your effort in making them happen demonstrates, all by itself, that you’re motivated and clever and willing to do a little extra work.