Sourcing Online; My Everquest Java Adventure

Living in San Diego, near the beach, had its perks when I was younger. Being able to swim in the ocean, moderate temperatures, and seemingly endless sunny days. So one would think that when I had free time, I would, of course, spend my time with the plethora of activities that were out there. I, of course, chose to stay indoors playing an online game with friends called Everquest. My character of choice was a barbarian who could yield two swords and act like the tip of a finely sharpened spear in battle. I joined a guild, made friends, and the adventures ensued. This is the #truestory of how, while online, fighting an army of trolls I sourced a Java developer from the game that brought me so much pleasure.

As I mentioned before, when I first joined the world of online fantasy role playing, in a made up world on a server somewhere, one had to be careful. The online world was just as dangerous as the real one and instead of being afraid of guns and gangs you were afraid of swords and magic. The best way to protect yourself was to join a guild to keep you safe and make friends who wished to seek adventure in the world of Everquest.

While I knew some of the players, in reality, I lived in; my guild was intense. This is an online world, and we had people from all over the globe adventuring from Russia to Brazil. The game itself was coded with Java software on a Unix platform, and it a showed. The graphics were fantastic, clear, and crisp and for some unknown reason almost real.

This story is about why I know this.

When you are online, you rarely, if ever, chat about the real world, that is why we were online in the first place; we wanted to forget it existed. Now, this is an unwritten rule really, and with the private chat, we sometimes would vent our frustrations with work, relationships, or just the irrational ramblings on moving political subjects. Lucky for me that is exactly what happened to me one Sunday afternoon while on an expedition to slay a dragon.

His name was F, yes, they are not always eccentric names folks, sometimes they are just, Eric. He joined our little band of adventurers off to fight dragons and complete quests early on in our daily adventuring and nerddom. His character was a Wizard, a quite powerful Wizard actually and he I would sometimes team up without the other guild members to not have to share the bounty of our excursions.

During one of the adventures, we started a conversation about work purely by accident. We chose a new experience, and I made a comment about the cool landscape. There was seemingly a breeze making the trees sway in the background I thought it was a very nice touch. When I mentioned this to Eric, he said, “thanks, that was some of my work.” I stared at the words on the screen in disbelief; Eric worked at the game studio? What? I immediately typed in, so you are a programmer? What languages do you code? Where are you located? Eric, wrote LOL, that is a lot of questions, what are you a recruiter?

This was a valid question on his part, and I knew that. I sat there stunned as though a “horker” had tagged me in the game and I was paralyzed. What should I say? I was, in fact, a recruiter, and at the time I knew quite well how my profession was perceived. I took a deep breath and only typed, yes. What felt like an eternity staring at the message window watching the cursor just blink I wondered what he was thinking. We had been through some hard-fought battles online and forged a virtual friendship of sorts.  This was in the days before Facebook or LinkedIn. We had chat rooms etc., but this was real time in a virtual world.

Then his response came over the line.

“Dude you seem way too cool and too much of a geek to be a recruiter, hell I thought you were a programmer too.” It was time for my “LOL” in the chat box, yes that was cool back in the day. I played it smooth saying that I appreciate what developers build and that is why I love playing the game of Everquest. I liked being about the details of the people who I recruit not just the cursory details. I told him I was even taking classes on SQL learning database technologies.The conversation continued over the course of weeks, and we both slashed and spelled cast our way through the game and forged a friendship. We kept our professional lives secret from the rest of the guild as neither wanted to be bothered with the real world until one day Eric private chatted me during a guild quest.

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Eric was having problems at work; the studio wanted him to move from San Diego up to LA. He worked remotely, really loved his house and friends and had little interest in moving. He asked point blank if I could help him find a job locally. Just like one of my favorite lines from Talladega Nights, THAT JUST HAPPENED!  My mind became a SQL search string extracting data from any and all of the positions I had available that I could put him against, then as the saying goes, the other shoe dropped, he wanted to stay in the gaming industry, shocker, yet there was another shoe!  He had signed a non-compete and could not take a role within the industry for one year.  He had no desire to create something that was not creative, and he was flummoxed as to what to do. I remember staring at the screen and seeing the reflection of my smile.

My mind became a SQL search string extracting data from any and all of the positions I had available that I could put him against, then as the saying goes, the other shoe dropped, he wanted to stay in the gaming industry, shocker, yet there was another shoe! He had signed a non-compete and could not take a role within the industry for one year. He had no desire to create something that was not creative, and he was flummoxed as to what to do. I remember staring at the screen and seeing the reflection of my smile.

My company at the time was building out an audiovisual department. I was not involved with the project, but I knew who the person was recruiting for the role was, and immediately got his resume over to her. Guess what, yep, he got the position and was ecstatic about it. It was not the gaming industry purse, but it was an artistic venue for him to allow his creative side shine in the world on zeros and one’s. I lost track of him after I went offline from gaming and moving to the east coast, however, whenever I pick up a controller to play an RPG I think of him and giggle to the fact that if you are truly a sourcer, not a sorcerer you are always hunting and open to any adventure. #truestory

Derek Zeller

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry and has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing within the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliancy. He has experience sourcing for many skill sets including IT, accounting, nursing, and sales He is the senior recruiting lead for comScore’s west coast operations covering all things IT. He has experience with both third party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of applicant tracking systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Helives in Portland, Oregon.