SPUG: Why aren't they hiring?

dancerboy dancerboy at strangelight.com
Thu Nov 15 04:11:33 CST 2001

At 3:34 PM -0800 11/14/01, c k wrote:
>I've been looking for a perl position in Seattle
>sometime now and after using for some time one of the
>online job sites, www.dice.com, I'm beginning to
>wonder why some of the recruiters or employers haven't
>hired anybody yet.  They're posting the same positions
>month after month.  Is it that hard for them to find
>someone?  Sometimes I feel like I'm present or some
>one else who's more qualified is present, and why
>aren't these positions being taken up.  I guess I'm
>just frustrated, in dealing with recruiters.
>For those in the know, I would enjoy hearing your
>experienced input.  Thank you!

It could be that many of these are large, inefficient corporations 
that are stupidly delegating their hiring process to an HR department 
that has no clue how to fill a tech position.

I've been to way too many interviews in which I get grilled by some 
HR peon who has *no* clue what the questions they're asking actually 
mean.  They're usually just going down a list of buzzwords asking "Do 
you know <buzzword A>?  Do you know <buzzword B>?  Do you know 
<buzzword C>?..."  I guess whoever answers "yes" to the most 
questions wins.  I don't know.  I've never gotten called back after 
one of those sorts of interviews. (The interview seems to go a bit 
sour around the point where the recruiter is explaining to me that, 
while admittedly I am quite experienced at coding for Linux, IRIX, 
and Solaris, because I don't have any experience actually coding for 
UNIX, I am probably not suitable for the position.  When I try to 
explain... um, the obvious... the recruiter gets suspicious, like I'm 
trying to pull some sort of snow job on them.  *sigh*)

I get the impression from many of the job postings that the hiring 
manager hands HR a detailed list of the specific technologies that 
the candidate will be using in the job, which HR interprets as a list 
*experience* requirements.  As such, the list is so incredibly 
specific and detailed that the odds of finding anyone with *exactly* 
that background are minuscule.  Most of the required skills are 
things that a competent developer is going to be able to pick up in a 
few days, but HR doesn't understand that, so they keep searching for 
that "ideal" candidate that doesn't exist.  And that's not even 
getting into HR's tendency to embellish the list to the point of 
creating utterly nonsensical requirements ("Minimum 6 years 
experience in XML application development...")

The last time I got interviewed by an actual developer, they asked me 
such basic questions that I don't know how they could possibly have 
differentiated my answers from those of any of the other candidates. 
They had me write a "hello world" CGI script in Perl. (Literally:
print "Content-type: text/html\n\n";
print "<html><body>Hello, World!</body></html>";
And it turned out their server was configured to add the HTTP headers 
automatically, so I had to go back and take out the first print 
statement to make it work correctly.)  Then they had me write an 
"insert" statement in SQL.  That was about as technical as it got.

(It wasn't until after I was driving home that I realized how stupid 
I had been for not volunteering to demonstrate more technical 
knowledge than they had asked me to.  At the end of the interview I 
should have said: "What?  That's it?  Don't you want me to explain 
how to instantiate an object in Perl? or do multiple inheritance? or 
explain the difference between lexical and package variables? or 
explain normalization, what 3rd Normal Form is, and why it's a Good 
Thing? or... or... or..."  If I'd just taken a little more 
initiative, I'd probably have a job right now, instead of sitting 
here on my unemployed ass airing my opinions on SPUG...)


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