Johanna, is gender bias or age discrimination mentioned at all in the book? It obvious isn't legal but are there any mentions of gender or age that might factor into hiring people for certain projects? It's been mentioned in the forum that companies want to hire young people over older people; the flexibility to work longer hours, no family commitments as older people would have, etc. [ February 16, 2005: Message edited by: Linda Pan ]
Naina, I wrote the book for hiring managers, but if you want to know how to get to a hiring manager, it's useful for unemployed people (assuming you've read things like "What color is your parachute" etc.)
Linda, re discrimination: I caution people against any kind of discrimination, and explain how to ask the questions. Re working hours: "Are you available to work crunch times when we're about ready to release?" I have a section on how to ask those questions.
What a lot of hiring managers don't realize is that it makes no sense to have people who work day and night. When developers do that (extended overtime), they make more defects. Then it takes longer to fix the defects. Nutso.
Hiring managers who discriminate against women or men, older or younger people, people with/without degrees are not very smart. What really counts is how well a person can perform the work inside the particular organization.
I don't know how to tell you to look for a smart hiring manager :-)
I have a problem with the argument that you shouldn't discriminate in hiring on the basis of race, age, or gender because you may miss out on a good employee. It may be true, but the reason managers shouldn't discriminate is that it's illegal and it's bad for society as a whole (which is why it's illegal).
The famous Woolworth's lunch counter in North Carolina may have lost most of its white customers after ending racial discrimination, but that doesn't change the law or morality. There are plenty of things that are both profitable and dead wrong (bank robbery for instance).
In the thin US IT job market, employers may prefer younger workers because they use less health insurance, take fewer sick days, and don't know how to stand up for their rights in the workplace. These are rational economic arguments. That doesn't make age discrimination right.
Employers may prefer men and single women because they can pull all-nighters when necessary and have fewer demands on their time. This is perfectly logical and completely wrong.
Until around 2001, IT hiring typically went through a set of formal processes monitored by Human Resources specialists. A job description was approved, hiring criteria were defined, candidates were sourced through recruiters and advertising, and the selections for interviews and job offers were based on stated objective and subjective criteria.
Today, scarce US IT jobs are given out on the buddy system. Job seekers are expected to prevail on friends, friends of friends, etc., for a shot at a scarce job that is never posted, advertised, or even formally approved before it is filled. HR gets involved after the boss's friend's friend has already been selected. Now some managers are just plain fair and decent, but human nature suggests that hiring in the shadows often leads to shadowy results.
There are still some scarce IT job categories, such as programmers with many years of experience on specific, high demand languages using specific, popular server software, but every year makes the entire work force one year more experienced. Eventually, every hire will be a personal favor.
The only answer would be aggressive enforcement of the employment discrimination laws, but I don't see that happening.
Johanna and Mike, thank you for your inputs. Unfortunately you never really know if you are being discriminated against unless you can pick up certain implications from hiring questions. In NYC since 2001, health insurance rates for companies have skyrocketed. Because our company is small I hear insuring women is higher than men for I guess some obvious reasons, women get pregnant and will require more visits to the doctor. That could be a factor in itself not to hire women. Do hiring companies think about these things?
My observation during the tough times in dallas(end of 2001 until 2004 beginning) people with contact through their churches are able to get in the door for interviews, compared to others who don't frequent the religious places.
Linda, hiring companies do think about things like pregnancy and women (which is the main reason younger women have higher health costs). (And older men have more heart problems.) However, if they have any documentation that says they discriminate because of a gender-specific health trend, they can easily be sued for discrimination in the US.
Most of the people I've met have decided the short-term gains in health insurance are not worth the aggravation of a class action suit.
Kishore, many people do successfully network through their religious affiliation. But people also network at the health club, on the golf course, in the supermarket. (I actually found a job once by bumping into a VP Engineering at the supermarket.)
Originally posted by Linda Pan: Johanna, what about carrying business cards? Not that you are doing a business per say. But wouldn't it be helpful give contact information out? What do you think?
Always carry businss cards. I carry some in my wallet and keep xtra stashes in my carrying case and other places. I try to hand out at last 1 card per day on average. They do no good sitting in your pocket.
Mark Herschberg, author of The Career Toolkit
Mark's got the right idea. Make sure you carry business cards with some way to contact you. If you have a cell phone, I suggest using that number, if you live with other people. (When my children were learning to use the phone, they answered it, but didn't write down messages.) Make sure you have an email address. You don't need to have an address on the card, but email and phone contacts are necessary.