Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Things That Annoy Me....

Employers who keep advertising for the same position because they want a perfect match for their requirements--not even a 90% match.  I remember many years ago working for a startup where we interviewed a candidate who very nearly the experience we wanted for a firmware developer--but there was a belief that we could not afford to spend four or five months waiting for this guy to get the particular experience we needed with DMT.  Nine months later, we again were sitting around a conference room, discussing a candidate for that same position, who was again, not exactly a match.  I reminded everyone, "So, if we had hired [name now escapes me] nine months ago, he would have the experience we need now, wouldn't he?"  And everyone looked sheepish.

If someone has the intelligence, but lacks some very specific experience, and you don't have an alternative available, does it really make sense to keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting for perfection to walk in the door?  I don't think so.


  1. As I understand it a lot of this comes from bad front line managers. Either they have no faith in their ability to mentor (that's the common explanation) or (I personally suspect) much if any ability to monitor the work of their subordinates. Someone who "hits the ground running" will be producing "tangable" results quickly, someone who needs 1-5 (!) months to come up to speed won't. And then if he doesn't work out after that period....

    Frankly, this is a horribly managed field, but as an HP castaway (for an H-1B!) I don't have to tell you that.

  2. Back when I was still doing software development (at one point, Clayton, I think we worked about 10 blks away from each other in Santa Monica ...), what annoyed me was outfits that advertised for impossible quals.

    I think at one point Java was a couple of years old and I saw an ad for someone with five years of Java experience.

  3. Robin: I remember when I was hunting heads in the late 1970s, and the IBM Series 1 had been out for about two years, and companies were advertising for people with ten years of experience with the Series 1. Heck, if I could have found them, I would have had them use the time machine to get me some stock tips too.

    One of the problems is that much of the advertising and resume screening is done by HR departments, who exist primarily to prevent hiring.

  4. "the particular experience we needed with DMT..."

    Well, the usual experience with DMT is a "mild hallucinogenic state", but occasionally it produces "powerful immersive experiences, which include a total loss of connection to conventional reality..."

    It would probably take several months of DMT usage to achieve one of the latter. I don't quite see what use that would be in firmware development. But maybe that was when you were working in California...

    Oh, you meant Discrete Multi-Tone modulation, not Di-Methyl-Tryptamine.

  5. One thing that companies worry about with respect to on the job training for new hires is that an employee will leave for a better position at the point at which he becomes productive.

  6. James B. Shearer: Which tells you a lot about how those companies think they treat their people. If the salary issue is finessed (e.g. explicitly start with the salary as if he knew the new stuff or give him an increase when he shows he can do it ... and anyway, the best of us don't work for the salary per se) then why would the employee leave?

  7. I pretty much gave up on my last software industry job hunt when they started requiring the ability to walk on water.

    Now I build jets. It's much more fun. Doesn't pay as much, but I think this gig will last longer than the average two years.