I'm doing a search for good data engineers. Seems like everyone is looking for one.

The problem is that good talent (engineers or otherwise) are rarely looking for a new role, and there is some information asymmetry.

Here's an example LinkedIn profile of a "known to me" non-obvious star:

non-obvious superstar engineer

LinkedIn has a monopoly on the professional graph, so why doesn't LinkedIn make this experience better? They make so much money from passive recruiting that they don't need to do anything else for now.

A second order effect is that recruiters are data operators on a single graph (LinkedIn) and they spend most their days email blasting candidates to get extra information about who might be "open."

Excerpt from a typical recruiter outreach

Everyone, including the recruiters, doesn't like it, but that's the way it works today and just knowing who is "open" makes money.

People who are open, rarely mention on their LinkedIn that they are open

The information asymmetry is obvious. When someone is on the "three year itch", "not learning anymore", "need less travel", "hate my new boss", or similar states is when they are most likely to consider a new role.

Individual's work states

Employers need recruiters, and candidates indulge them since they might need them one day. Incentives can also motivate short-sighted recruiters to guide candidates into crappy roles.

Show me the incentives, and I will show you the outcome  - Charlie Munger

Three tiers of recruiters, from bespoke (exec search) to high volume (entry level):

In my spare time, I love to find incredibly focused talent & take the time to write a good email to match them with an opportunity that will likely result in a conversion.  Trouble is, it's a lot of drudgery for a hobby.

It's a lot of drudgery. I wish there was a quicker way to secure a mutual opt-in between parties first before making a full introduction.

As an employer, I would love a baseball card - something like this to help me quickly filter a candidate when I get an intro vs over-indexing on the introducer e.g. ignore Chad's engineering recommendations.

My ideal candidate profile view — all the info in one place
my ideal profile view - all the info in one place 

Someone like the above will likely not be applying for jobs through the front door.

When sending something to a potential candidate, I'd love something  like this on a company so they don't jump on a call right away to ask about the manager, compensation, tech stack, day to day work.

ideal company profile - what do they need & really do 

In the long term, everyone will have an API which processes their preferences, more "via negativa", people will go back to being really good at their craft.

In the future, the best will have an API for deciding their work. They will use it to filter what they will not do (via negativa), set their rates and other standard provisions. So they can focus on their craft, and let the computers do the rest – a bit like Calendly that helps someone schedule a 15 min meeting, without sending 10 emails.

Everyone will not work for a large employer with chefs and on-site laundry, but among a "council" of craftsmen that provides support services like income smoothing, tax planning, workspaces, insurance and other benefits.

How will these "free agents" work to produce lasting work at a company. There will be "principals" who design the business & "free-agents" who execute the designs.

Eventually, the best at their craft will have total freedom to not have to do anything, in other words work on their own terms.

Take care.