Just saw this blog by Angsuman Chakraborty about how blogging can give you an edge in employment. I’d have to second that! As I’ve mentioned recently, I have just started working at Terracotta. My initial contact with them was when my current boss emailed me through my blog. So, at least indirectly, this job change is a result of my blogging.
As Angsuman notes, having a blog is a great way for potential employers to judge several characteristics: technical ability, knowledge of the domain, and communication skills. It certainly doesn’t alleviate the need to interview and carefully screen people, but searching for candidates via blogs can at least raise the average level of candidates entering the hiring funnel, thus improving the chances of getting better people out the end of the funnel.
A second level of benefit to an employer like Terracotta is the ability to drive awareness of the company/product via bloggers. The more traditional way I’ve seen this done is to try to convince employees to blog more. In my experience, this usually fails spectacularly. People are either inclined to blog or they’re not and it’s really hard to move someone into the blogger camp purely through external motivation. Generally, I find that motivation has to come from within (probably a good topic for separate post in the future). So, a different strategy is to simply look for people who already blog and hire them, with the idea that once they are working on the product for the company, they will naturally be blogging about them at a higher frequency. It’s certainly working with me…. :)
From the point of view of the blogger, it’s good as well. For one, I was already familiar with many of the excellent bloggers at Terracotta (see below) and so I had a good sense of some of the people I would be working with (far more than is typical). And also, within Terracotta there is a ton of support for bloggers. If you have questions or need advice on something, there is a healthy pool of people ready to answer your questions. Plus, seeing the people around you blogging all the time is more likely to get you to blog and keep up with it.
Terracotta bloggers (sorry if I missed any guys):