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Is HR totally insane?

 
pie sneak
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I can't help but notice when reading multitudes of postings here that the average HR maybe doesn't really understand what the company needs.
I've seen some good points in the saloon about recruiters demanding proficiency in particular IDEs or in something else that takes days to learn how to work the basics(I would include XML and SQL in this category although its gurus may debate me on it).
The latest one I've seen is experience with Rational Rose - if you know UML you probably could pick up on Rational Rose quick. Personally, I'm going to see what I can do with the free month trial version because I realize that so many employers are irrationally (pun intended) demanding proficiency upon entrance.
I wonder sometimes if the recruiters are familiar with things like JBuilder or XSLT when I see so many listed requirements, ESPECIALLY when used out of context [an IDE being referred to as a programming language for example].
Hehe - someone should make a website for people to post nothing but ridiculous IT jobs. Is there one out there yet for such a purpose???
Perhaps companies should opt for greater communication lines between their HR and current support staff as to appropriate requirements. Maybe hiring should be left up to the people that will be stuck working with the new hires.
What kind of people should be doing the hiring? Or is the average HR doing just fine???
 
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When they ask for experience on Rational Rose (it is rather common and not new), rather than UML, the focus is more on RUP, and they expect you to understand the diagrams and classes/interfaces they'll get translated into. But you are right, it shouldn't take lot of time to understand this if you know UML well.
As for XML, it comes with related technologies like XSLT, SAX, DOM APIs and so on. I would definitely exclude XML and related technologies. It takes sinificant time to learn and pick it up, not as simple as getting familiar with the IDE.
Hiring done by HR is fine as long as the technical requirements are explicitly explained by a competent technical personal. HR guys are also good at haggling over the salary package.
- Manish
 
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
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That's a good point about the haggling.
Companies DO need to make sure they don't overpay employees if they can help it.
And thanks for the insights on Rational Rose and XML. It's hard to figure out what to invest time in for study. Choosing a topic is almost like picking a stock - it could be worth next to nothing in a few months.
I'd like to keep my post open because I want to see what else people have experienced in interviews and jobsearches. Demands do seem to be a bit high when over a dozen [unrelated] technologies are required at proficiency level. (Being familiar with that much and proficient in a few key areas I can understand.) I suppose a company is forced to take the applicant that comes closest to the required skill set, although that person might be able to lie their way into a position by fudging what they really know. Hehe - maybe I'm just too cynical.
 
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A few points:
Most people have no idea what HR is. By this I mean, have you ever heard of someone majoring in HR in college? There aren't many formal educational programs for HR. Sure, there are training programs, both internal to a company, and provided by third parties, but they generally aren't comprehensive, nor are they widely used. Most HR people aren't formally trained for most aspects of their jobs.
Add to that that IT is a young, dynamic industry. Hiring doctors, for example, hasn't changed much. Sure insurance programs have changed, and there are new techniques, etc, but fundamentall, doctors have a degree, and board certification, and then experience. The strucutre of their job remains the same, even if the knowledge might progress. 30 years ago, you didn't have formal QA, and build engineers, you just had "software guys." Doctors may prefer different techniques, but it's ok if they are different. Take someone who only knows XP and put him on a team of RUP folks, and there will be some initial costs. This problem didn't even formally exist 20 years ago when methodologies were much less complex.
Then add a simple communication barrier. I've met many HR people who don't really understand the different between Java and C, other then that they are different languages, and so a "foo" position must have someone with "foo" on his/her resume. If they understand the differences, they might realize the differences may be surmountable, in light of the other skills required. In my last company, I sat down with the HR folks and sorted resumes with them, to her train them as to what I'm looking for. I'd explain why I accepted or rejected each one. not a perfect method, but it did improve our system.
Haggling is value added (from the companies perspective), but if that's the only value add (aside from maybe filtering on key words), then it would be cheaper to train other managers to haggle. (Heck, everyone should know how to do that, for their own careers!)
If you read my essay here, you'll see that I expect HR to be able to fully gauge ability and projected revenue. Sadly, I've yet to meet anyone who can do this. Granted, it's hard, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try--partial information is typically better then no information.
--Mark
PS Please feel free to keep your topics open even if they've been answered; most people do. You never know when future ranchers feel like picking up the discussion.
 
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
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Good stuff. I honestly haven't had to deal much with HR as of yet, as the majority of my interviews have been with small companies. I'm early in my job search process and looking for insights. I'm wanting to figure out what HR people look for because I'd prefer not to get filtered out of the hiring process any earlier than I have to.
Hearing that HR is generally more competent than what some complainers' threads would lead one to believe... is refreshing. Thanks.
I've noticed through online-posted jobs that a great majority of contact people for companies are women. I believe with all my heart that genders are equally capable of whatever, so I request that no one think that I'm being sexist. I do, however, believe that men and women don't think the same way about everything. I wonder if women might value some things more than men and vice versa. For instance, one gender may perhaps put more value on receiving firm handshake. One might see more value in good eye contact. Either way, I'd assume if they don't like you - you're gone, end of story.
 
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