Alternative sources of Perl programmers

Aaron Trevena aaron.trevena at
Fri May 17 06:35:58 BST 2013

Hi Duncan,

On 15 May 2013 22:37, Duncan Garland <duncan.garland at> wrote:
> I didn't mention the company because I was (and still am) using my personal
> email and it didn't seem appropriate. Anyway, the company is Motortrak
> (

I visited the site, the jobs page renders really badly in my old
brower so I can't read it (FF 3.6).

I searched for motortrak in - do you have open job
posting on there you can link to?

> Thames Ditton is a bit difficult to reach from certain directions because of
> the way the Thames loops. However, the upside of that is that it doesn't
> feel like the big city. Plenty of greenery, nice riverside pubs etc.
> Generally a good working environment.

Not as difficult to reach as 280 miles west of zone 1 in Cornwall, we
still manage to recruit people tho ;)

> The CMS and the inventory management system (IMS) are written in PHP and
> doing very well. The CMS serves thousands of dealers and we have contracts
> in place which guarantee that the IMS will do at least a thousand. There are
> other PHP projects in the offing. Any idea that PHP is a toy or that Perl
> programmers are automatically worth more than the better PHP programmers has
> to be justified.

Better programmers cost more, experienced people cost more. The
demographics of PHP programmers lean heavily towards novices, the perl
ones towards older experts, Java covers both but is still more
expensive than either (and according to another list I'm subscribed
to, also hard to find decent java developers.. so there you go)

> We haven't been passive in our search. We saw it coming. Perl programmers
> have been rare for a while. It took some time to find our last Perl
> programmer whom we picked up from the BBC. We try to be visible in the Perl
> community.

No - perl programmers haven't been rare, they just haven't been
queueing up at your door : The economy has picked up, many employers
have got wiser about hiring and recruiting their staff which means if
you want to get the right people you have to up your game, the same
applies to ruby, python and even java - only PHP really has an
abundance of CVs (but probably no more developers that you want to
actually hire than any other language)

> [ .. long list of good community involvement .. ]
> I attend Southampton PM meetings. I contacted Portsmouth University and
> there is a possibility that we may be going in for beer and sandwiches with
> their computer club in the autumn. (It's only a possibility because I'm not
> sure the other mongers are as keen to do it as I am.)

Wow! That really is a lot of community involvement and you definately
deserve to have that pay off.

> I've also tried to contact Kingston University. I didn't get a reply and I
> confess that I haven't tried again yet.

Yes, universities can be really pretty crap about actually talking to
industry despite all their hot air.

> In spite of all that, I've only had five CVs across my desk this time. None
> were strong candidates. One we rejected outright. A second told me at the
> end of his telephone interview that he had just started a contract. Numbers
> three and four weren't present at the appointed times for their telephone
> interviews and the agency couldn't trace them either. We skipped the
> telephone interview for number five and rushed him in for a face-to-face
> with a view to hiring him if he was half-decent. He wasn't. He just wasn't.

I think you might be getting the basics wrong, you're certainly doing
a lot that others aren't and that should help.

There's nothing on about this role, nor
(or any blog picked up by the ironman aggregator), and I haven't seen
any mention of it on twitter under the #perl hashtag, and I can't read
the jobs page on the website in some browsers. Have you posted to the jobs list?

Hopefully you can fix the basic stuff on advertising the jobs and then
your hard work on other stuff will pay off, failing that get one of
the "tame" recruiters seems to have recently befriended and
give them your company's impressive CV.

One small thing, I don't think I've yet seen any company that
complains about it being hard to recruit perl devs who aren't
struggling because they've messed something up, it's not very
endearing to any potential candidates, and even acts as a big red flag
discouraging them from talking to you.


Aaron J Trevena, BSc Hons
LAMP System Integration, Development and Consulting

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