There are more tech jobs than there are qualified candidates, and as a result, many tech managers are having a hard time standing out from the crowd. If a talented developer receives a dozen (or more) recruiting emails per month, they begin to see these emails as rote, boilerplate messages that they quickly scan and discard. How can you make yours more eye catching? It’s simple: The Geek Code.

Created in 1993, this code was designed as an introductory tool for geeks of every kind. Here’s an example:


Version: 3.1
GCS/L d- s+: a- C++++ U++++$ P L+ E !W+++ N o K- w– O+++ M++ V PS++ PE !Y PGP t++ !5 X- R+ tv b++++ DI !D G++ e++ h r++ z?

It may look like a meaningless jumble now, but each element has a particular meaning that the truly geeky can decipher. Its meaning, however, is secondary to the simple fact that you’ve included it in your recruiting email. The sight of this code snippet is enough to catch the attention of even moderately geeky developers, and will set you apart from other IT recruiters. Here’s why.

It’s original.

We’ve all seen recruiting emails. Information on the position, why you’d be a great fit, competitive salary and benefits, the works. Not very interesting. But Geek Code is very telling. On one hand, it serves as a personal introduction so the candidate can get to know you better, and on the other, it shows a level of expertise that boilerplate language doesn’t. Not everyone is familiar with Geek Code — only those truly passionate about their industry. This passion will likely impress your candidate and spark their interest in working with you.

You get to introduce yourself.

Now let’s get into what the code actually means. Each element of the code represents something specific. Take the first part: GCS/L. This translates into “I’m a geek of Computer Science and Literature.” The next fragment (d- s+: a-) means “I’m usually in jeans and a t-shirt; I’m a little taller than most and a geek of average roundness; and I’m between the ages of 25-29.” It may seem a little confusing, but each element of The Geek Code is broken down online, and you can easily look it up if you don’t have the code memorized quite yet. Simply plug in the elements for a smart, thoroughly geeky introduction. Not everyone is fluent in the code, so your candidates may have to use an online translator themselves, but they’ll still get a good sense of who you are as a geek.

Geeks stick together.

Even if your open position, your benefits, or your company don’t stand out from the onslaught of recruiters, this code block can make you an attractive alternative to job hunting developers. It speaks to your friendliness, your company culture, and provides a sense of geek camaraderie that many corporations may not have. Even if the candidate you had in mind isn’t interested in a career change, they may keep you in mind as a result of your email or even forward your message to another developer on the market. The Geek Code is a meaningful, creative way of setting yourself apart and attracting highly qualified candidates to your company.

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