Do you remember when was actually a good source of job leads? Why, when it started, only tech-savvy people, techy-savvy hiring managers, and a handful of recruiters knew about it.

Then something happened. Happy, bright people told their friends, who might not have been quite as bright. They got big. They ran a TV ad During The Superbowl. The recruiters got wind that was a place to find talent, and started putting out ‘skills’ based job ads, so they could build a rolodex, just in case a job popped up later.

Popularity brought with it to the attention of other companies that are interested in meeting people looking to improve their career prospects – colleges, online diploma mills, resume-writing services. These other companies started to offer Monster “Business Development” deals (money) for access to the monster candidate list.

Being good guys, the Monster Management refused, instead allowing you, the customer, to opt-in. Over time, they started to force you to at least re-consider every so often. Then they made the ‘yes I’m interested’ buttons bigger and bigger and the ‘no thanks but let me see the job’ buttons smaller and smaller.

Eventually, all the cool kids found craigslist. The problem was, happy, bright people who were pleased with Craiglist told their friends …

About that same time Joel Spolsky’s website, JoelOnSoftware, was hitting the top of it’s popularity. Joel had created a regular “gravity well” for developers, and created It’s a super-easy, super-simple site with only a few hundred listings. When it launched, and to some extent, even now, you don’t really need to search. Just scroll down looking for interesting gigs.

Sadly, doesn’t really have a test/QA focus, so the search goes on. Two more sites I find interesting are, another site that did the gravity-well thing, this time for freelancers, and

37Signals is that company that built basecamp, the office productivity tool, and has expanded to create a whole series of web-based collaboration tools. It’s not really testing focused; if anything, they focus on graphic design — but one thing they do have is really good writing.

Speaking of writing, the CEO of 37Signals has a monthly column in Inc. Magazine; I just got the June issue Saturday. This month’s column is called “Never read another resume.” It’s for hiring manager, and suggests that resumes are inflated, misleading, or just plain tough to sort out. Jason suggests hiring for people the write a custom cover letter or have a portfolio of work over poring through resumes. (Or, maybe, people who find you at the cool website before it jumps the shark.)

When I started writing this, I intended to link to the article, but I’m afraid it’s not available online yet. They may delay it for a few weeks (to give a perk to us paid subscribers), or they might never offer it online.

I subscribe to a half-dozen magazines, but there are only two I devour every time; Inc is one of them. You can pick up a subscription to Inc for ten bucks. For that matter, before you buy that next airline ticket, sign up for a rewards program with that airline. You’ll likely earn enough points on a single flight to get a free subscription to Inc.

I have no financial relationship to Inc.; I am simply a fan.

Speaking of being a fan, I’ll be at CAST 2010 in August. It’ll be at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College, but last week the hotel sold out of rooms. I recommend the Residence Inn (by Marriott) or Country Inn & Suites (my Mariott), both on East Beltline. I have to drive up east Beltline to get to the Conference Center, so if you’re a longtime reader (ideally one I’ve met in person) and book a room (preferably at the Residence Inn), I might be able to swing by to pick you up.

We may also organize a few ‘rebel alliance‘ after-conference events for CAST.

Stick around, more CAST details to come.

UPDATE: The Prince Conference Center reservation system has issues. (Shocking!) The word on the street is that they still have 5 rooms left for the conference. You can call 1-866-526-7200 to talk to a person.