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The reality of the job market (from the other side)  RSS feed

 
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This has always been one of my pet peeves. Programming skill is more than just experience, it is also talent. Someone who has a knack for problem solving with a computer can do it with any language or tools. Also, it is a skill that can be recognized by simply working with the person.

My pet peeve is that you recommend one of these people to your company, who can probably run coding circles around many of your colleagues, and what do they do? They send the resume through standard HR channels, and generally, turned down this person due to lack of experience in EJBs, or Struts.

Henry
 
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Mark Herschberg:

I posted two job listings on Monster, Dice, and Craig's List. After 7 days I had a whopping 12 resumes. (A year ago in Boston posting on Craig's List I would get 100 resumes in 48 hours.)

Seems to me that should give you more time to read those seven page resumes, no?

Keep in mind you are looking for someone who writes code well, not someone who writes resumes well. You want a good developer, not a good salesman, despite the fact that some salesmanship is needed in a job interview.
 
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Originally posted by Henry Wong:
My pet peeve is that you recommend one of these people to your company, who can probably run coding circles around many of your colleagues, and what do they do? They send the resume through standard HR channels, and generally, turned down this person due to lack of experience in EJBs, or Struts.

Henry



Well said. Or they get turned down after a "psychological profile" or "assessment center" indicates they're "unsuitable for IT".
An ex-colleague had that happen. 10 years in IT as a consultant and project leader and before that 20 in public broadcasting as an editor and DJ and he was turned down based on an "assessment center" stating he was incapable of dealing with other people.
Never mind that the IT department wanted him badly (he'd applied directly to them, HR found out when IT told them to draft up a contract and demanded they do their own round of talks and tests first), this one test by an outside company (where he was being put through the test in a group also containing people like flight attendants and telephone sales people) decided that he wouldn't be hired, all his technical expertise was irrelevant.
I've encountered the same, except there those "tests" came before any technical interview.

And of course the impossible requirements.
Was turned down for a job a few years ago because I didn't have the required 15 years J2EE experience for example (never mind that J2EE didn't exist that long and still doesn't).
 
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HR people emphasize objective, measurable things like years of experience, specific software used, and objectives met or missed. They are less comfortable with intangible qualities like code quality and good design choices. Their alternative is to trust the line manager who really knows what is important, but then we wouldn't need as many HR people. This issue comes up in hiring, in raises/promotions, and in assigning a salary range to a job description.

In order to justify a high salary range, a hiring manager may use 15 years of experience and a long list of software tools as a metaphor for superior programming skills, figuring that he will make the final hiring decision based on personal assessments. HR takes the official job description literally and screens the applicants for the exact qualifications. Some applicants counter the exagerated experience requirements with exagerated resumes.

Soniya said (in another thread):

Now let me ask all the ultra-honest guys a question. Let us consider the US market. The economy is still in shambles. Getting a job is still a problem. Lets say you got laid off. You speak to this consulting company which has a position open with a client for Spring & Hibernate. Your previous project was on EJB, you have done this personal project at home on Spring & Hibernate and are confident about the same. The consulting company asks you to modify your EJB project to Spring/Hibernate. If you are very honest and ethical and refuse to do so, they wouldnt really care to get you an interview with the client cuz they have lined up quite a few people like me who are ready to manipulate their resumes, and mind you, I can clear the interview cuz I do possess the knowledge. Now, are you saying that you would rather stay honest and remain unemployed. What if you were on an H1 visa and got laid off, and this contract is life and death for you. Would you still choose to prefer honesty, and go back to your country.




While the ethics of lying on resumes may be debatable, preparing for a personality test is no different from preparing for a job interview. In both cases, you want to understand who the employer is looking to hire and emphasize the side of yourself that fits that expectation. There are good resources on how to project yourself well during written and verbal personality assessments. If company has HR people foolish enough to look for an objective score on inherently subjective traits such as personality, you should treat the assessment process like a poker game to be won with skill and guile.


Mark:
If you have run out of resumes that match your search criteria, try interviewing some experienced people who have retrained themselves on their own time, as in Soniya's above example. You know talent when you see it, so what have you got to lose?
 
Henry Wong
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HR people emphasize objective, measurable things like years of experience, specific software used, and objectives met or missed. They are less comfortable with intangible qualities like code quality and good design choices. Their alternative is to trust the line manager who really knows what is important, but then we wouldn't need as many HR people. This issue comes up in hiring, in raises/promotions, and in assigning a salary range to a job description.



I disagree. Objective measurements are important when that is all that is available. Intangible data is rarely available, but when it is, it should not be dismissed. It is the line manager that has to work with the person. Hiring should be part of his job.

Totally trusting the line manager is not a good alternative, but totally dismissing the line manager doesn't seem to be working too well either. HR should develop a better relationship with managers to find the balance.

Don't want to completely diss HR, as I have worked with many great people, but I have also worked with some stinkers.

Henry
 
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Originally posted by Henry Wong:


I disagree. Objective measurements are important when that is all that is available. Intangible data is rarely available, but when it is, it should not be dismissed. It is the line manager that has to work with the person. Hiring should be part of his job.

Totally trusting the line manager is not a good alternative, but totally dismissing the line manager doesn't seem to be working too well either. HR should develop a better relationship with managers to find the balance.

Don't want to completely diss HR, as I have worked with many great people, but I have also worked with some stinkers.

Henry



Wong,

I second your opinion...HR must learn NOT to make decisions on certain things they are not good/trained at/in. These days every job description has a laundary list of things which no single person can have (only morons would claim to have experience in the complete list) and such lists are made when the technical manager is looking to fill a position with a view of both the present and the future of the company's direction in mind.
 
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I would like to suggest a halt to the Mark-bashing and to some things verging on it. My feeling is that people are putting thoughts into Mark's head and words into his mouth that I can't detect myself.... :roll:

Mark can't detect 'programming talent' via osmosis or telepathy. He needs filters of some kind and he's trying filters which have worked before. He is not:

1) Denying the talents of those with LT 5 years experience.

2) He's not responsible for the HR and recruiter idiocies which tempt some of us to produce CV's approaching War and Peace in length (if not in eridution). In fact Mark seems to be searching directly and not using recruiters or HR at all! Wholey admirable. I wish more managers worked directly!

3) As far as I can tell he's never used 'assessment tests' to 'discover' whether an accompished senior programmer has a personality suitable for IT.

4) He doesn't impose 'impossible' requirements such as 15 years Java experience (you were recruiting James Gosling perhaps sir?)

A lot of this is perfectly normal idiocy which goes on all the time. We have passed through a stressful time when staying in the field seemed at times like trying to pass through the eye of a needle.

One of the keys to success is knowing what to obsess about - and what not to. Dumbass assessment tests are grist for the joke mill not a serious matter. So are clueless HR people.

My suggestion to Mark is to apply an engineering solution to the problem. He's not getting enough information with the old set of filters. Better to try a new set rather than blame the data, eh?
 
Mike Gershman
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[Mark] is not denying the talents of those with LT 5 years experience.


If you are referring to my previous post, please reread it to see that I was quoting Jeroen, not Mark.

Mark said:

Experience definately factors in. Now you may disagree on where the line is drawn, but that's just your opinion versus mine. I'd be nuts to pass up a great candidate with 4.5 years of experience because he's 6 month's shy, but I had to draw a line somewhere as general guidelines. I'm also not going to spend time looking at guys with no experience--remember I don't need the absolute best guy ever, just the best guy I can find in a reasonable amount of searching.


I interpret that as meaning commercial employment using Java with similar tools to those used in his shop (Mark, please correct me).

I am asserting that Mark is eliminating many good candidates. Since there are not enough resumes passing Mark's screen, I think he should consider interviewing people with substantial non-commercial or non-Java experience who have learned Java thoroughly. That is why I brought up those historical names. All those folks did not pass the "5 year paid experience" screen when they did important work in our field. COBOL and FORTRAN may have been simpler than j2ee, but designing a successful major language and compiler from scratch is fundamentally more challenging than implementing any application.
 
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Hi Mark.
I am very interested how the candidate with the 5 to 10 years of experience can discribe his/her experience only on 2 pages. It will say NOTHING about it. In this case that resume will looks like the resime of a new graduated candidate ist't it?

Best regards.
 
Don Stadler
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Originally posted by Serghei Jelauc:
Hi Mark.
I am very interested how the candidate with the 5 to 10 years of experience can discribe his/her experience only on 2 pages. It will say NOTHING about it. In this case that resume will looks like the resime of a new graduated candidate ist't it?

Best regards.



Serghei, I think Mark answered that clearly earlier when he posted links to two examples of resume formats. The one-word answer is summarize.
[ May 20, 2005: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
 
Serghei Jelauc
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But, I repeat again, if I summarize my experience in two words I won't be distinguished by others.
Think about it, how is the resume of the very experienced person can be the same as the newbie one - IT IS NONSENSE. I do not want to have deals with such headhanters who "DO NOT HAVE TIME" (ha-ha very bussy) to read my resume. There are a lot of others, who understand that if he/she spend some time and find the right person they will earn more money. The head hunter has his bread while there is a developer exists, and NOT otherwise. I have spent 5 years in University, but a lot of recruiters even do not have the college degree. And such person tries to teach me. Funny situation, isn't it?

Sorry for the roughness, but this is my opinion.

Best regards.
[ May 19, 2005: Message edited by: Serghei Jelauc ]
 
Henry Wong
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In this case, I actually agree with the 2 page rule. This seems to have been the standard for so long, it just doesn't feel proper when a resume is more than two pages.

I would recommend that you have one long resume that details everything, and one really short one that summarizes everything. Then build your resume from that. IMO, the recent stuff should be detailed, and older stuff could be summarized.

Henry
 
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Serghei,

You can continue to disagree and refuse to adapt. In which case, whose fault is it really if you cannot get a job?

Being verbose on a resume is not a virtue. Showing that you can summarize a long and productive career in two pages may be the mark of a good communicator. In the current market, when communication skills are so often sought, I would think that it would only work to your benefit.

But honestly, how can anyone sympathize if you won't heed the advice the so many seem to see as a reality of the job market. Adapt or die. It's the way of the world.
 
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How about posting a link of this topic to the Java Beginners forum, so that beginners see what actually awaits them... I bet a lot of enthusiasm among beginners will vanish like a fog under the sun...
 
Don Stadler
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Originally posted by Gjorgi Var:
How about posting a link of this topic to the Java Beginners forum, so that beginners see what actually awaits them... I bet a lot of enthusiasm among beginners will vanish like a fog under the sun...



Two reasons why not, Gjorgi. It's not on topic & one of the goals of this board is to increase beginner enthusiasm.

The second reason is that things aren't quite as bad as this thread would make them appear. There are bitter and disappointed veterans posting here - but equally there are veterans who have managed to survive and perhaps even thrive through the changes. I ought to know because I'm more the latter than the former. Some of those angry 'veterans' are 10 years or more my junior!
[ May 20, 2005: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
 
Serghei Jelauc
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2 Rob: about getting a job. First of all - not all recruiters such I talked about.

Do you know that sending your resume to the recruiter and waiting an answer is the worsrt way to looking for a job. So you don't need to adopt. There is a lot of other ways especial for begginers, or new comers (emigrantss) to find a job. Yes may be they will take a little more time than just sending the resume, but they are more efficient and you do not depend on recruiter.
 
Jason Cox
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I had a period of unemployment for about 7 months. You're right in not depending on recruiters, as getting a job through them or internet postings is about the same as winning the lottery. At the same time, someone is getting those positions, so why not improve your odds?

Even if you manage to bypass recruiters, most of the advice given here applies to hiring managers as well. A resume doesn't need to be an autobiography.

On the other hand, feel free to ignore the advice. I'm sure going to ignore the complaints of those that feel they have all the answers but can't find work.
 
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Originally posted by Serghei Jelauc:
Hi Mark.
I am very interested how the candidate with the 5 to 10 years of experience can discribe his/her experience only on 2 pages. It will say NOTHING about it. In this case that resume will looks like the resime of a new graduated candidate ist't it?



I think the key is to know when to remove something from the resume. Every time I add something to my resume it makes something else less significant in the scope of my career. The old highlights gradually became clutter and were thrown out.

The difference then is quality, not quantity. The highlights of a 5-10 year seasoned programmer should be unmistakingly more impressive than a fresher. However, if a person is not doing anything more difficult now than when they were first hired, their resume WILL look like a new grad's. I think that is fair.
 
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This is quite an interesting discussion (personal attacks aside). I've been very busy this week with hiring and other straegic planning. Here are some clarifications to questions people raised.


Breadth of search:
Given the poor response, I was very surprised. I talked to many colleagues (friends, recruiters, other HR reps, developers I knew) to try to understand why. *All* said "it's the market." I then gained access to the resume databases on Monster, Dice, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, AJB, and Craig's List and grabbed hundreds of resumes through search. We also reposted the job on all those boards (and a couple others). I also tried used LinkedIn to connect to people with promising profiles. I contacted many of my friends and used their network. Finally, I contacted every JUG in the tri-state area (of the 12 or so listed on Sun's site only one or two responded and said, "don't know anyone looking"). In all, I grabbed about an additional 500-600 resumes. I note that these are pull, not push, i.e. they were not sent to me, just posted on job boards. My comments about these bad interview experiences come from this pool. I have done about 50 interviews in the past month, but as I noted, I used standard lower than what I used in the past. I have regularly in the past, and continue to try hire people with an OO background including C++ and C# developers.


The scope of candidates:
People make great points about how there are superstars out there. In
fact, there's an article by Paul
Graham
on the topic which I like. However, if you've never done significant hiring, you're missing a key point--I'm not trying to find the best people, I'm trying to find good enough people fast.

I'm sure there are superstar developers who can't write a resume. I'm sure there are geniouses who come across like fools during a first interview. I'm sure there are kids two years out of school who can blow most developers out of the water. The problem is that these people take additional time to discover. Suppose I get 10 good resumes, maybe 3 out of 10 are worthy of an offer. (Note: the specific numbers are arbitrary.) To find the people mentioned above might be only 1 in 10, or less! I simply don't have the bandwidth right now to find them. I have to play the best odds available.

Think this is me being petty? Google agrees with me. New candidates are
asked three questions--two of which are quite trivial--by HR. (I'll do them the courtesy of not posting them here, but if you're interested, pass them your resume and see what they ask you.) If you don't pass those, you don't get an phone interview; your candidacy is over. It's not a perfect system, and they admit that. The point is, it's a good enough screening process to wade through their flood of resumes. I'm not being flooded per se, but then again, I also don't have a large, dedicated HR staff to parse the 500+ resumes, or most of the other resources of a large company to help me with my other tasks.


The source of problems:
I've hired dozens of people in my career. I've been doing it since '99. In the spring of 2000, in the worst hiring market most people can remember, I grew a team from 6 to 24 people. Some jobs have been easier to fill, some harder. I moved to NYC two months ago and suddendly have trouble filling jobs. Some might note that the only variables which have changed since I hired in 2004 are time (the job market seems stronger in 2005) and location (I'm now hiring in NYC job market not Boston). But clearly given that I've hired successfully for years and sudden became incompetant at hiring in the last 6 months, yeah, it must be me.

As a source of contrast, on Monday we posted two IT positions to CareerBuilder, Monster and Craig's List and got over 250 resumes in 48 hours. We also posted the Java jobs on Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, Craig�s List, and eProNet, and received ljust under 50 resumes. Of that set, approximately 10 were worth calling; I have not yet fully parsed the IT resumes, but it seems to be a much higher percentage.


The Global Market:
...works for MNC's but not for me. We cannot hire H1-B's because we cannot wait while their visa's trasnfer. Likewise, someone I hire in NYC can generally start in 2 weeks. Someone I hire from, say, CA, will need additional weeks to find an apartment, and move--in addition to cost, and more importantly time spent, bringing in canddiates from out of state. Again, I'm sure I'm missing great candidates, but the cost of finding them
is, too high. My friend at Goldman spent 6 months to find the right candidate in NYC--and that's with Goldman's HR working on it. I can't wait that long.


--Mark
 
Henry Wong
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Think this is me being petty? Google agrees with me. New candidates are
asked three questions--two of which are quite trivial--by HR. (I'll do them the courtesy of not posting them here, but if you're interested, pass them your resume and see what they ask you.) If you don't pass those, you don't get an phone interview; your candidacy is over. It's not a perfect system, and they admit that. The point is, it's a good enough screening process to wade through their flood of resumes. I'm not being flooded per se, but then again, I also don't have a large, dedicated HR staff to parse the 500+ resumes, or most of the other resources of a large company to help me with my other tasks.



Google does have an "interesting" hiring process -- and it's great that it works for them. What bothers me is all the press that they are getting. What the media doesn't understand is that it is a specific case. They have a huge pool to pull from, that wants to work from them, and appreciates the PHD like environment.

For other companies, this process just limits the choices to a handful of people who are good at passing tests. Also, it is very unlikely that you have the work environment as Google, or even are looking for the same type of candidates Google are looking for.

Google's IQ tests are available on the web though. And they're kinda hard...


And BTW, I do agree with your pragmatic view into hiring. One big problem with hiring is time, and manager definitely need to take that into account. But at the same time, if these techniques/methods, that you used for years, are not working that well anymore, isn't it more pragmatic to adjust them, than to complain?

Henry
[ May 21, 2005: Message edited by: Henry Wong ]
 
Mike Gershman
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Mark said:

I'm sure there are superstar developers who can't write a resume. I'm sure there are geniuses who come across like fools during a first interview. I'm sure there are kids two years out of school who can blow most developers out of the water. The problem is that these people take additional time to discover. Suppose I get 10 good resumes, maybe 3 out of 10 are worthy of an offer. (Note: the specific numbers are arbitrary.) To find the people mentioned above might be only 1 in 10, or less! I simply don't have the bandwidth right now to find them. I have to play the best odds available.

Think this is me being petty? Google agrees with me.


And many other employers agree with you as well.

If your resume screen works and is not illegal, who can blame you for going with what works?

One issue is with the next step after the screen doesn't yield enough candidates. Many employers - not yours - run to Congress saying "there's no one there, raise the H1B cap". The alternative is to follow previous US practice and current Indian practice and allow a loose screen to get a first interview.

Sure that takes more time, but not that much. I did initial interviews for two years for my division and turned up some really great programmers. I learned to dismiss the real losers in 20 minutes, but they got the courtesy of an interview and often a little advice on how to improve their market value. I hope that none of them left with a bad opinion of my company, since they were all potential customers. And no, it wasn't a full time job, far from it.

A new legal issue is whether the "five years paid Java experience" screen has an illegal "disparate impact" on older workers. Those programmers who spent a career in COBOL and didn't jump ship for the dot coms in the 90's are being locked out of the new world by the urban legend, as seen on this BB, that it takes five years of Java experience for a retrained legacy programmer to become really productive, so there is not enough "useful life" left in an older applicant changing languages.

The age discrimination laws were written without reference to disparate impact, but a recent Supreme Court decision added it in. It always takes a while for serious enforcement to catch up with new law, but the basic idea is that a screen that tends to eliminate more people from the protected class than from the universe of applicants is subject to "heightened scrutiny", meaning that there must be no neutral way of achieving the same objective.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Henry Wong:


Google does have an "interesting" hiring process... What the media doesn't understand is that it is a specific case.

...

For other companies, this process just limits the choices to a handful of people who are good at passing tests.

...

But at the same time, if these techniques/methods, that you used for years, are not working that well anymore, isn't it more pragmatic to adjust them, than to complain?



Um, yeah, that was my point. I never used to do Google type tests before. However, since my old practices weren't working, I decided to try something new. That didn't quite work either, and I continue to adjust the filter. As you point out, ultimately whether, it's me, NYC, 2005, or just the world that's different, the fact is I need to adapt to it.

For the record, I never tried Google's IQ test at any time I was in the process. The three questions they asked me were things a college kid should be able to get, and on the order of "what's the lifecycle of a servlet." I'm not creating anything very difficult for that initial screen. In fact, when I spoke with the guy who created their process I asked him if it really did any good, since the questions seemed so easy. He replied it did surprisingly well. Having stolen one of their questions, and seeing who does and doesn't get it, I have to agree with him.


Originally posted by Mike Gershman:

A new legal issue is whether the "five years paid Java experience" screen has an illegal "disparate impact" on older workers.



Interesting. (For the record, I never aksed for five years of paid Java experience.")

Just some thinking on this... (not necessarily my personal thoughts, I'm just throwing up an argument for the sake of debate)
I believe it hasn't been illegal to ask for X years of experience, and, in fact, that can only help older workers. It also doesn't seem unreaosnable to, for a Java job, ask for Java experience. A guy who has 20 years of cobol but never wrote a line of Java code, well, seems reasonable to not want that candidate. How about a guy with 20 years of cobol (proceedural, mainframes) who took a Java class. He might not make the best Java architect. Following this line of thought, requiring some Java experience seems reasonable. Then if you buy that, it's just a debate over where to draw the line. Food for thought.



--Mark
 
Mike Gershman
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Mark said:

It also doesn't seem unreasnable to, for a Java job, ask for Java experience.


It wasn't unreasonable to test firefighter applicants for upper body strength, but the courts ordered the cities to tailor the tests more narrowly to the job.

Limiting interviews to those with paid Java or OO experience obviously biases against older candidates with legacy experience and in favor of younger candidates who always used newer languages. The question is whether there are good age-neutral alternatives.

I hired a senior Windows NT SA who was a bank manager and had set up a full-featured four server NT network in his basement. He was effective on day one and was top 30% rated in the year end rankings.

Mark said:

How about a guy with 20 years of cobol (proceedural, mainframes) who took a Java class. He might not make the best Java architect.


Where I worked, application architecture was a specialized discipline and these folks weren't even the best programmers, so you may be overstating the case.

How about someone who just completed a full curriculum of Java and eTechnology with top grades, completed substantial projects in j2ee, and has 20 years of COBOL/CICS online programming experience. Or a 20 year legacy programmer who studied from books, got high scores at SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, and SCEA, completed a SCJD project, and earned two levels of Oracle certification. Do you think that person is such a long shot? Couldn't you at least look at an example of his/her code and do a telephone interview?

Remember that while some CS schools are rather theoretical, other colleges are more vocational with very practical CS curricula and most teachers either industry-employed adjuncts or recruited from industry.



I have a stake in this, just as Mark does. Mark wants to hire good people without spending more time than necessary. I want to teach computer programming in the US. This requires students. This, in turn, requires a reasonable supply of entry-level Java jobs for good graduates of good schools, many of whom lack personal industry connections. Some of these students will be starting out, many others will be retraining.

I'm not saying that the graduates are all qualified, only that there are good candidates among them who can be readily identified by means that are not age-disparate.
[ May 21, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]
 
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Hey Mike ,

Thanks i too face the same problem here down India . Here the candidates get 5 birds in hand . If one flies off . There is another one coming down .

The same criteria in Search of Java Devlopers and Project Managers .

And if you speak to them .They keep smiling and thats the most strange part of the recuritment process.

May be there are so many books in the market coming up that its better you keep smiling at the interview it boosts the confidence level .

I think Head Hunting is another best part that i saw . But the best never put their resume in these portals .

They are the ones sitting in the corner . And its hard getting them .

I think the process can work with a proper strategic marketing but how and where to apply .

The answer is I DON'T KNOW
 
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Question for Mark:

You said you "searched for resumes on major web sites (Monster, HotJobs, Dice, Craig's List, and America's Job Bank). I literally grabbed hundreds of resumes and started contacting them."

Just curious - Can you think of any reasons why a developer whould not put their resume on-line? (Have a policy of not ever doing this.)

Keith
 
Mark Herschberg
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In general no. However, below are some arguements against it.

Reasons not to post your resume:
- You get annoying calls from recruiters, sometimes 2-3 per day.
- Your HR department or manager might get wind of it and it doesn't look good.

For the record, I only grabbed resumes posted in the last 2-3 months, as opposed to any and every resume posted. Obviously if someone actively posted recently, s/he're more likely to consider leaving.


--Mark
 
Keith Thompson
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Here is what happens:

Step 1.
Company ABC needs 20 java developers. Company ABC has a policy that multiple resume submissions for the same person are thrown away. (This is the norm in the IT industry.) They throw them away because they don't have time to be involved in disputes betweeen recruiters. They pay 10% of the first year salary to any recruiter who brings them somebody they actually hire ($10,000)

Step 2.
Mark H. puts his resume on the internet.

Step 3.
EvilRecuiter1 wants his $10,000 and so he grabs a copy of Mark's resume, puts his info on the resume top and submits to Company ABC. Mark H has no knowledge of this.

Step 4.
EvilRecruiter2 wants his $10,000 and so he grabs a copy of Mark's resume, puts his info on the resume top and submits to Company ABC. Mark H has no knowledge of this.

Step 5.
Mark sees that Company ABC needs 20 java developers, and sends his resume to Company ABC. He should be qualified and he is a perfect match! When he gets no response, he calls HR who tells him he is not going to be considered for any job, he can't even control the most basic things in life, things like who/what/where is his resume? They have received THREE resumes from Mark H. Good grief!
 
Jason Cox
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Keith,

Most recruiters I know won't do that simply because they like getting paid. When I was out of work there was always a long discussion before they submitted my resume. This was to ensure that I had not previously been submitted for a spot. If they submit me for a spot that I had already applied for or maybe had been already turned down for, they are just wasting their time.

Your scenario sounds pretty bad, but I suspect it's not that common since it will likely mean that neither recruiter will collect anything. They know this. It's a practice that is likely to keep money out of their pockets, so why would they do it?
 
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I would agree with Rob. Consultants always check before submitting resume for a spot. This has been my (and my husband's) experience in dealing with them.
One other reason they do this: they will lose their credibility with company ABC, when ABC realizes that a particular candidate has been submitted through more than one consultancy.
 
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As incompetent as most recruitment consultants are, most of them do infact contact the candidate before submitting their resume/CV. This is to avoid a scenario where the client is interested in the candidate, but the candidate is not interested to interview with the client (for reasons such as they've already found a job, salary requirements, location or they don't like the company).

You should be careful when posting your resumes on the web, the consultants use it to search for all of your previous employers, and then contact them to ask if they're looking for candidates to fill a post. This is how they network and make money - from your resume without you even knowing. I can't believe they get away with it. They also try to con you by fooling you into thinking a client is interested in you, and casually ask where you have interviewed at (so they can offer THEM candidates to steal a sale) as well as asking for the latest copy of your CV/resume (so they get a fresh list of current and previous employers). Most of the jobs advertised on the internet (especially Monster, Dice and Jobserve) are indeed fake, and used for this very reason, hence why you never hear from the recruiter when you apply. You think you were unsuccessful, but the job never existed in the first place.
[ May 24, 2005: Message edited by: Kashif Riaz ]
 
Mark Herschberg
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Some comments...

1) Company ABC has a policy that multiple resume submissions for the same person are thrown away. (This is the norm in the IT industry.)
I have never known this to be the norm. Most big companies have preferred recruiters and won't accept unsolicited resumes from recruiters. Even many small companies do this. That's the norm. You'll notice the unsolicited resumes you get sent don't have names or contact info.

Smaller companies usually work out a deal with a recruiting firm and ask for resumes. Legally, from what I've seen, recruiters have very little legal claim if you say they didn't give you the resume, or got it elsewhere. It's too damaging to their reputation to sue you, unless you're really screwing them over. If I got the resume from another source I'll tell the recruiter. I'll go with whoever gave me the contact first, be it the candidate or a particular recruiter. I've sometimes literally gotten a resume from a recruiter hours after getting it directly from the candidate, and I'll tell the recruiter I already have it. This has never been an issue for anyone with whom I've worked.

2) Many recruiters submit resumes sans contact info, for just this purpose. (Although with advanced searching in most job boards, you can probably find the resume based upon key phrases.)

3) The standard rate is 20%, not 10%.

4) Any company that would reject a candidate because of such asinine bureaucracy isn't one I'd want to work for anyway. The process has only helped me save time.


--Mark
 
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Many years ago I had an unfortunate incident with a company and a placement agency. I applied to an agency to find a systems programming job, at the same time I was using my own network of contacts to try to find a job. When I finally found one through my contacts, I informed the agency that I no longer needed their services. This agency just happened to be contracted by the company that hired me, although they didn't consider my resume suitable to send to that company, and hadn't informed me of the opening. As soon as I told them that I'd been hired, they sent a demand for 30% of my first year's salary to the company. I nearly lost the job over this and it poisoned my relationship with that employer. I left 4 months later.

Bottom line, these agencies are often bottom feeders, with no morals, ethics or concern for their reputations, or yours.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Many years ago I had an fortunate incident with a recruiter. He sent us a software developer who we hired. Unfortunately, he was not a cultural fit with the rest of the team, and left after 62 days. By contact, wewere obligated to pay about $15,000. As soon as the recriuter heard that the guy wasn't a fit, he declined the money. This greatly enhanced my already strong respect for this recruiter. I still work with him to this day.

Bottom line, while I'm no fan of recruiters, good ones do exist.


-----------------------------------------

I'm sure Peter's story is valid (as is mine--it's a true story), but I've never had problems like that with agencies, and don't see it as a realistic problem. Some did seem sleazy, but in the end the company controls the shots, the agency has *no* power.

I've seen a few dozen contracts with agencies, and none of them would have obligated the company to pay in Peter's situation. I can't imagne any contract that says, "if you hire a guy and we have his resume on file, you owe us money." Even if the agency felt entitled to the money, what are they going to do? Sue for $10,000-20,000? They could easily send a threatening letter for little cost. Beyond that, it would cost $10,000 to file suit. Even if they got the $20,000 free and clear, they just lost a customer, and if word gets around, no one else will want to risk working with them. (Recruiting firms are a dime a dozen, I get a call a day from them trying to send me candidates.) Despite Peter's story, this is simply not a big risk.


--Mark
 
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Bottom line, these agencies are often bottom feeders, with no morals, ethics or concern for their reputations, or yours.


They worry about their reputations. Otherwise this is true. They gossip, spread innuendo and backstab. It all adds to the case for age discrimination. If you have no reputation, they can't tear you down.

Recruiters and contractors are agents of the industry. The seedy and destructive behavior is the industry's. One can only blame the companies that pay them.
 
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Originally posted by Homer Phillips:
They worry about their reputations. Otherwise this is true. They gossip, spread innuendo and backstab. It all adds to the case for age discrimination. If you have no reputation, they can't tear you down. Recruiters and contractors are agents of the industry. The seedy and destructive behavior is the industry's. One can only blame the companies that pay them.



I must have missed the memo where the whole world was out to get you - but then again I'm over 30 so I'm probably the next victim.

Cheers!

Luke
 
Don Stadler
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I'm with Mark on this one. I remember my first management gig. At one point about a month in I felt way over my head and called my recruiter for some advice. He offered to buy me lunch at MacDonalds and we talked the situation over. I left with some good effective advice. I've known at least one other as good as he was and any number of good decent business people doing that job.

I've also known a few scumbags and there are a lot of bottom fishers trying to get you to work for nothing. But I do repeat business with the good ones and never again with the scum. And ignore the bottom-fishers. Which raises my outcomes quite a bit.
 
peter wooster
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Further to that story, that particular bottom feeder went out of business, after poisoning my relationship with that employer. The employer was bought out by another company and is also no longer in business.

I left their employ, got a better job where I stayed 2 years, and then found an even better job where I've been employed ever since. They may have actually done me a favour.
 
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I tend to stay put, so I haven't dealt with recruiters on a regular basis. The recruiters I knew in the '80's were competent and ethical people.

I missed the dot-com madness, but I expect that since employers were screaming for anything that could breathe and code (breathing being optional), but I've little doubt that more than a few scumbags DID set up shop. Gold rushes tend to attract such people.

Almost no one talked to me during the 2K1 drought, but the worst offences I encountered was a cerain pressure to slant my resume to appease the "laundry-list" HR people.

Of course, there are other sectors as well, and some of them are more likely to attract the unprincipled. One that comes to mind is H1-B recruiting, since H1-B employees are easier to victimise and are more likely to be peddled as commodities.
 
Henry Wong
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I tend to stay put, so I haven't dealt with recruiters on a regular basis. The recruiters I knew in the '80's were competent and ethical people.



I agree. I remember a few recruiters that contacted me with mistaken information. They corrected it. And worked with me, until they found a few job postings that I would like to interview for. Today, if you don't match the current search that they are trying to fill, it is unlikely you'll hear from the recruiter again.

They also seems to stay around. A particular recruiter kept in contact with me over a decade, even though, she knew I wasn't changing jobs. I am not naive, I knew she was milking me for information about my company at the time. But isn't that just part of networking?

Henry
 
Homer Phillips
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I must have missed the memo where the whole world was out to get you


If you missed that one, I hope you have not missed the one about the appalling silence of the good people, too.
 
With a little knowledge, a cast iron skillet is non-stick and lasts a lifetime.
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