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My Leaky (Job) Honeypot

Jobs. Jobs jobs jobs jobs. Hopefully you won't get too sick of that word, because I reckon I'm going to be tossing it around quite a bit in this here blog.

Have you ever had to look for work before, and conduct a real job search? No? Lucky you.

If you have, you know how much of a pain in the ass it can be. Scouring job boards online, loading up your resume shotgun (or minigun, as the case may be) and firing away, all hoping that might work out (you fool). In as much as that will eventually work, it can be pretty exhausting just relying on those two methods, and I wouldn't be surprised if you missed out on certain opportunities; opportunities that you might not have known about. Enter the honeypot.

If you are a savvy computer security expert (which I am... not), you might recognize the word honeypot; If not, you might know of a certain Disney bear who often gets into a spot of trouble regarding the contents of a honeypot. Today, we are not concerned with silly ol' bears.

A honeypot is a sort of trap: It lures in prey, like a fly, with something tempting and alluring, like... honey. If that made sense to you, that's fantastic, because I just realized how phenomenally stupid it sounded. In computing, it's a bit more specific, referring to a trap to detect or deflect access to some unauthorized access of a system, either to learn more about the attacker, or to keep the attacker away from the resources. In our case, it's a metaphor: the prey in this case is a recruiter or other person looking to hire, and the honeypot in this case is... whatever you have that's alluring and tempting.

There are lots of things that alluring, tempting thing could be, but for the sake of today's post, lets say it's your LinkedIn profile.

I've gone to some length to explain what a honeypot is, but why?

Why? The honeypot is your passive job search.


Let's dig a bit deeper.

If you have a honeypot set up, then you can passively hear about new opportunities as you conduct your normal job search. Potential recruiters or hiring managers can stumble across your profile, portfolio, whatever, and get in touch with you. I imagine that's a welcome change of pace! You can even have your friends lend a hand; should they hear of something interesting for you, just tell them to point to your honeypot.

Setting up a honeypot is by no means a guarantee of success: you can receieve unsolicited job offers that you just aren't interested in, as an example, or you can fail to receieve any interest, leaving your honeypot empty. But hey, it's kind of like a mousetrap; you set it up once, and you decide what to do with it after the trap goes off.

Once you have the honeypot set up, you can start to do fancy things, fancy things that you should already be doing in your search, like tracking your progress. You can make changes to your profile, see your response rate for a month, make changes, and see how they compare for the next month. Of, if you run your own site (you clever reader you) you can even run some A/B tests on your content, layout, etc. to see which performs best. With that information, you can start tuning things to attract more / less results, and of what kind.

Now, I don't mean to say that you should mislead people, or misrepresent yourself. You definitely shouldn't do that. But, you can take different aspects of your experience and show it off differently; Highlight different areas of your career.

Honeypots; pretty sweet, eh?


Right, the leaky part. Let's get to that, briefly.

Imagine that people are contacting you. Fantastic. Better yet, you've found a job. Amazing! People are still contacting you even! You are so successful that you have way more results than you need (although, in this case, any is probably more than you need).

Now what?

Normally, you'd just refer the jobs to other folks that could be a good fit. In this case, and I may be mixing my metaphors, none of that delicious honey goes to waste.

In my case, I often don't have anyone to refer; hence, my leaky (job) honeypot.

It's too bad really. Referrals are mutually beneficial: you help out a friend, the recruiter, and potentially yourself, as many recruiters offer a referral bonus.

Nicholas Terwoord

A self-titled software developer, "code archaeologist" (whatever that means), and professional geek. Spends too much of his time coming up with new projects, and not enough time working on them. Likes video games, board games, anime, manga, and Pathfinder / Dungeons and Dragons (GOTO: Line #1 - Geek).