[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software

Job seeker statistics

by Joel Spolsky
Monday, October 30, 2006

In the three weeks since we added geographic search to the job listings, I've been collecting detailed statistics on where people are searching for jobs. This is not merely out of curiosity, but because we constantly get email from companies outside of the main tech centers wondering if they should bother placing an ad. "We're in Italy... do you have anybody looking for jobs in Italy?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact: 80 people searched for jobs in Italy in the last 21 days, so if you place an ad for a job in Italy, it's fair to guess that about 80 people who are specifically searching for jobs in Italy will see it. That's in addition to the far larger number of casual visitors who don't do a geographic search.

My theory of Joel on Software readers is that they're pretty smart, ergo, they already have good jobs, for the most part, but thanks to the power of RSS, a lot of people have set up subscriptions to find out about new jobs in their area. So, for example, if you're in Austin, happily employed, but willing to consider new opportunities, you go into the search page, search for Austin, and then when you subscribe to the RSS feed you'll get all new Austin jobs right in your reader. The way the statistics engine works, you get a custom RSS feed, and as long as you keep checking it, you'll be adding one to the 174 other people looking for jobs in Austin. When you unsubscribe, after 21 days, you'll stop counting towards that number. And this, in turn, encourages companies with jobs in the Austin area to post their jobs, knowing they're certain to reach a certain number of job seekers, and even if they don't, we're still (as far as I know) the only job board that gives them their money back if they're unsatisfied, so there's really no risk at all.

The number of job seekers in the last 21 days is 307,764 with one major caveat: due to the way we keep statistics, as soon as you go into the search page and change your search, you get counted twice. I did this because someone who is willing to work either in Chicago or Boston should show up in the Chicago count and the Boston count, and they might actually want to subscribe to two RSS feeds, so even though they're one person, they're counted as two. Also, job seekers who delete cookies will get counted again. But for the most part if you just keep coming back to the site checking out the jobs, we won't double count you, and we'll even remember your geographic search for the next time you come back.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

Want to know more?

You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.



About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, which lets you organize anything, together, FogBugz, enlightened issue tracking software for bug tracking, and Kiln, which provides distributed version control and code reviews. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

© 2000-2014 Joel Spolsky