Your IT Company's Biggest Enemy

by Christopher Diggins

I think the biggest enemy of an IT company is the human resources department.


This may sound initially like sour grapes, but you'll have to trust me that it isn't. I recently accepted a good paying job with lots of benefits in a major software company. However during my search for a steady job, I had trouble getting to the interview stage for even intermediate C++ programmer positions at well over a dozen companies.


Why this is a shock has to do with my credentials as a C++ expert. I cowrote the C++ Cookbook for O'Reilly, I was a columnist for the C++ Users Journal, and I have a decade of professional software development experience. People who have read my column know that I am a pretty good C++ coder.


So why did I have such trouble finding work? Well three reasons.


  1. Recruiters don't know anything about programming and are ignorant of virtually everything related to software development. Many hadn't even heard of Boost, O'Reilly, or the C++ Users Journal. They didn't understand the significance of my credentials.

  2. Recruiters view my freelance experience as a negative point, even though they say they want "self-motivated independent problem solvers". Apparently I am too independent!

  3. I only computed two years of a university degree in computer science.



So instead interviews are going to people who has have been suckling the corporate teat since they graduated from university only a couple of years ago. There is a lot these people don't know about the business and practice of writing software.


If you are running an IT company, I would suggest that you take a long hard look at your applicant screening process. Perhaps you should consider getting your lead developers involved in the initial screening of applicants. You might have missed an opportunity to hire someone like myself, and instead find yourself having to choose from a bunch of inexperienced college grads, demanding far too much money for what they can actually do for your company.




26 Comments

Morty
2006-02-13 10:16:58
Recruiters
I totally agree. I worked for a company a while ago. I got a call from a recruiter seeking candidates for the company. I still have many peers that work there and wanted to go back and contribute. The recruiter was very arrogant and wanted to dominate the process. I had to respond to another offer soon. I asked if I could get a quick response from the company if there was any interest. She responded that it would have to channeled properly and a quick response would not happen.
AcaBen
2006-02-13 10:31:39
Magic Pot O' Jobs
Having undergone a job search not too long ago myself, I sympathize and finding some of the same doors closed by sadly clueless HR drones, I sympathize. (One recruiter spent two weeks emailing me and calling and returning my voice mail, then spent over an hour chatting with me on the phone about how great a fit I'd be and how perfect I was. Until he asked about my college degree, and when I explained I didn't have on, hung up on me without even saying goodbye.)


But I've enjoyed reading it from the other perspective, too. Check out http://www.magicpotofjobs.com/ where an IT recruiter for a staffing firms throws tips and hints out to those of us looking for jobs, and how to overcome idiotic HR departments and get the dream job.

Shadus
2006-02-13 10:32:49
This is a frequent problem...
... at all levels in IT. Generally in IT a degree is worthless functionally than real world experience is by several orders of magnitude. I run into this quite frequently as a Systems/Network administrator. I'm overqualfied for the job by experience yet the department head never gets to see my resume because it never passes the HR department. Several jobs I've had I obtained after trying to go through HR and being told I'm not qualified and then going directly to the IT head with a resume.
cdiggins
2006-02-13 11:25:57
This is a frequent problem...
> Several jobs I've had I obtained after trying to go through HR and being told I'm not qualified and then going directly to the IT head with a resume.


So basically the company is wasting it money on an HR department which actively tries to block the real talent from coming into the company.


Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

josephs2877
2006-02-13 11:28:19
Absolutely
I'm an IT Director for a small-medium sized company and the best way we avoid this is by being vague to the HR department concerning job descriptions. So we have a request for an IT or programming position and we wade through all the apps ourselves. This also prevents applicants from making up a resume for a specific position and gives us a good idea of who they are. Cheers!
MarcBR
2006-02-13 11:33:47
Add to that an H1B Visa...
I am a Network Engineer with 10+ years of experience. I get a lot of calls and emails about my resume, but when they call me to schedule an interview they need to ask me about my status here and guess what... "I am sorry but this company doesn't want to deal with that..." and with that I don't even get to the interview...
xfade
2006-02-13 11:34:20
my point exactly...
I've experienced the same thing, though I knew of this beforehand. As a teen, I told myself the IT world will be FLOODED with qualified candidate's (by qualified, I mean they've achieved their almighty 'diploma'). I decided to skip the higher education and continue what I do best, gaining knowledge (ty google/w3/sitepoint/etc.). My skills were able to create a great portfolio (including webdev gigs I've worked on including comcast), and now I'm chief editor of a statewide distributed newspaper, with NO EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND in this field whatsoever, just my webdesign and photoshop work. I am grateful for my boss giving me the time of day to chat for a sec, but I loathe human resources for trying to dump my resume.
emitchlpd
2006-02-13 11:38:41
Typos
I only computed two years of a university degree in computer science.


s/computed/completed/?


Not to nitpick. I agree with your post completely. Or computly.

dewolfe001
2006-02-13 11:48:52
Amen!
Great piece.
You are so right about the gatekeeping elements that keep IT people away from IT jobs. I have been working with computers since 1982; I have been doing web development since 1996. If you only went as far as my education, you'd never hire me.

Recruiters are the worst part of IT. They get paid to put someone at a desk, irregardless of quality.
I had one recruiter call me and say, "A local company wants someone with Peoplesoft experience." I replied, "That leaves me out. I know nothing about Peoplesoft." He countered, "Well, they really want someone local who can start soon. If I gave you the weekend, could you brush up and be ready for an interview next week?"

If they got to me, that means they were past the skilled people for the job. The guy who likely took it, lied about his credentials. But, the company got a recruiter placement and the recruiter got his finder's fee. Only the new hire's co-workers, his supervisors and the project suffered.

I've said this before: some people are good at doing a job. Some are good at getting a job.

Given the expense of recruiters and their dubious results, someone in HR is going to have an epiphany that they cost much more than they are worth.
JimRU
2006-02-13 12:10:16
I agree
I'm 36, I've been in IT for over 19 years. Yes I was actually making money in IT @16. I tried college, but quit and joined the Navy. Between teaching myself, Navy Technical Schools, and over a dozen certifications. I've never been unemployed. I'm fortunate, but I've seen so many boneheads get hired, simply because some poser HR manager/recruiter liked his/her credentials. Many times these people end up taking up air for a year or longer before they become productive.


I agree 100% with your article! Well said.

drasch
2006-02-13 12:27:20
better recruiting process
In my article--"Whom to interview" I discuss what's worked best for us in identifying these people who have a high degree of skill independent of how their resume looks. In fact, seeing a high degree of skill combined with a stint of freelancing would amplify my interest in such a candidate.


Glad you found something!


http://www.davidrasch.com/archives/4

Jerimiah33
2006-02-13 13:43:12
Why is an I.T. job so different from a job in any other industry?
I don't understand where all of your I.T. people are coming from with this. Though I do come from an academic background (4 year IT degree and MBA), I think that a lot of I.T. people miss the point of what a job search is all about for many employers.


What really gets me about this whole rant is that here is this guy who's like every other awkward, 'f#$@ the system', 'I'm better than everyone else because i have lots of experience' type of attitude.


HR people are looking for motivated, well-groomed, outgoing, competent people who will fit in with their organization. So what if they put minimum eligibility filters in place? From a business perspective, they're managing the cost risk of hiring people for highly-paid positions.


They weed out their most likely canidates by having minimum requirements for education, work experience, and skill sets...then they interview and try to determine if you are right for their organization from a personality perspective.


I.T. people are almost always competent and qualified for the positions that they're applying for...it's the intangibles that kill their chances.


You make some valid points in your post. Some HR people are incompetent and don't understand the qualifications of the people that they're interviewing. However, I don't see how companies are at fault for wanting experienced, educated, talented individuals who have the soft skills taboot. I'd also like to point out that it's pretty egoistic to assume that you're the very best canidate for every job that you apply for. Maybe some of the people looked at your resume, understood what it said, and decided to pass.

cdiggins
2006-02-13 14:11:03
Why is an I.T. job so different from a job in any other industry?
> HR people are looking for motivated, well-groomed, outgoing, competent people who will fit in with their organization. So what if they put minimum eligibility filters in place?


A company is not successful because its employees are "motivated, well-groomed, outgoing, competent"? Is that how you hire your employees and build your business?


The problem with HR is that, that is all they can tell you about someone, except the part about competence. I have yet to find an HR person who can actually detect competence in an IT professional. I have talked with a lot of recruiters, and they don't know the first thing about the litany of acronyms that they dutifully memorize.


> I.T. people are almost always competent and qualified for the positions that they're applying for...


That's erroneous and extremely naive. If you ran your own IT business, that approach would get you in a deep hole very quickly.


> However, I don't see how companies are at fault for wanting experienced, educated, talented individuals who have the soft skills taboot


The problem is that the HR departments can't recognize talent in the IT field, and don't even understand the significance of real credentials, because they are so far removed from the field.


Most managers can't recognize it neither. Talent and experience trumps education and certification in the IT field, by leaps and bounds. You can't build a successful IT company by hiring overpaid mediochre developers.

Allain
2006-02-13 14:12:45
Another piece of advice for the business.
From HR studies it has been shown that only 1 in 10 people who successfully get through the HR screening process to become employees are actually fit to perform the advertised role. As my friend in HR contended, with those odds you are better off just hiring somebody you like, at least then you have a good chance of getting on with them, instead of just hating them for the lousy job they are doing.
AceGopher
2006-02-13 14:16:54
If you want a job, don't go through HR
I think that this article is very true. But I don't think you will change HR. If you want to get your resume noticed, find out who the hiring manager is, and call them. You will increase your chances tremendously.


There is an old adage, "it's not what you know, but who you know". I'm not that cynical, but I would say that it's who you know, AND what you know. If HR is all you know, you just won't cut it. Be creative.

rbrink@clemson.edu
2006-02-13 14:55:11
I agree But...
I'm not an extraordinary programmer, but I did finish college. Considering that HR departments are people with HR degree's, and not CS degree's, I'd expect them to be interested in the part of my credientials they do understand. And when the company policy requires those degrees, it's not likely that an HR person is going to be able to get you hired, even if they think you walk on water!
I skipped that last step if actually finishing my degree when I left college in the late 70's. And I worked retail, pumped gas, and pruned apple tree's until I got the darn piece of paper. In the years since, I've hired people without degree's when I can. It's an up hill battle for a manager to do it. With all the other pressures in my job, sometimes I just don't feel like going to bat for someone who didn't follow through with that important task I once failed.
There's a place for you in the big scheme of things, but in a corporate structure a degree is somewhat important. Sometimes great programmers just don't know how to do much else. And that means their managers have to do their progress reports or assign parts of their jobs to others who have the paper mangling skills that corporate america runs on.
When you present your self for the job interview, you bring all your experience to the table. Failing (in the eyes of the person evaluating you) to meet any one of may expectations not listed on the application will result in you not getting the job.
It sucks. Life's a bitch and then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face...
jjstrate
2006-02-13 15:06:09
Looking for a job or Job Search Strategy
Looking for a job is always pretty stressful. And given the Federal Gov't's recent foray into on-line job hunting, it will soon become even more so. WHile I am not here to extol the virtues of an H/R department, I will say they (probably) do a great job at employee relations, and I sure they are qualified to staff their own department. However, technical staffing in any arean ais more than complicated. If you are going to do it right, there is a search strategy to be engaged. And, like anything else you should use an expert. You want surgery, see a surgeon; legal advice, consult a lawyer; piano lessons, engage a maestro. If you want to effectively identify a great opportunity, find a qualified, experienced management consultant who specializes in placing folks like yourself. And unless you are in H/R, that would eliminte h/r recruiters.
Februus
2006-02-13 15:16:35
Why is an I.T. job so different from a job in any other industry?
Tell me then: what's the point of a job search 'for many employers', because I was under the (obviously fallacious) impression that it was to find someone who could do the job, and do it well.


A motivated, well-groomed, outgoing, competent person who fits in with your organization is a waste of space if they can't also contribute to whatever project they're working on.

archimboldo
2006-02-13 15:24:06
Anecdotal evidence
Well if you want a contrary evidence, I've seldom had a resume stop at HR. The key is to show in your cover letter or resume that you meet their requirements using all the keywords they are looking for. For example, if they asked for XML experience, did you leave it at SAX or DOM?


You may have excellent qualifications, but have a crappily written resume. Remember, the key to a resume is making relevant information easy to find.

jwunderl
2006-02-13 19:12:16
Those in glass houses

I don't doubt that there are HR and recruiting departments as specified. There are also IT departments out there that couldn't write a Hello World\n without a 23 page requirements document, but would you really want to work there?


I sent your blog entry to a friend of mine who is a good technical recuiter and I've put his response below. Actually it sounds a lot like what technical people sound like after they've dealt with user who doesn't understand technology. Did you make the same effort to understand the nature of recruiting and HR as you expect users to put in to understanding systems that you build?



re: #1 ... right in some cases, but a lot of technical recruiters come from I.T. and get it (like myself and many from my team). Why would an I.T. company hire a non-technical recruiter to source/pre-screen for technical roles anyway (??) ... it does happen but the recruiter probably wouldn't last long


re: #2 ... freelance recruiter does not necessarily equate to longevity of contiguous assignments ... some times (actually most times) it is used as filler on a resume for those that couldn't find work (!!) ... the author obviously hasn't spent much time on the recruiting side of the business. Yes, I believe everything every candidate writes on their resume (!!!) ... do you have any swamp land to sell with that resume ??


re: #3 ... so is he saying that he did not complete his university degree or excelled through it ??? ... he should elaborate on this in his resume and not assume that recruiters can read his mind before they even have a chance to speak (!!)


Lastly ... he missed the absolute most important part of a jobseeker's strategy for the best positioning in securing interviews .... network, network, network !!! Word of mouth advertising is the cheapest yet most powerful means of marketing yourself out to the potential employers. It appears that he missed the boat on this piece ...

cbari
2006-02-14 11:46:10
Those in glass houses

What an obnoxious and tragically flawed response you have shared. I have worked in recruiting, and know the industry very well, as does one of my best friends, also a recruiter in the pre-children history of her life. What other thing do we share in common? Husbands who are IT geeks. Being married to excellent programmers in administrative positions has imparted on us a realization and a firm knowledge of ALL THAT WE DID NOT KNOW as recruiters. There are things my husband asks his prospectives during the interview process that I NEVER would have known to even ask as a recruiter, screening "out" applicants. Ironically, my husband found this thread only days after I'd shared with him how difficult it is for excellent IT candidates to find a truly great job fit, due to the ineptitude of your everyday HR professional in the field of IT employment.
There is no such thing as a "technical recruiter"! That's an intrepid oxymoron. If you are working in recruting, and interested in technology, then it means one of two things. Either:
a.) You were horrible at technical work/programming/etc.. yourself when you attempted that career choice, or
b.) You THINK you know about the technology you are recruiting for, but without really using it, knowing it, and being well versed yourself, you DO NOT know a THING.
Just by having an interest in a highly sociable and extrovert-oriented position such as recruiter, you have ruled yourself out, 9 times out of 10, as a "technical" individual. You must be familiar with the scores of placement and personality typing assessments available in the HR industry; by definition you're either a HORRIBLE recruiter, or you are NOT at all technical.


I'll pick number one, perhaps, since you are a little too concerned with the networking BS, instead of what REALLY matters to your paying clients - the companies with suffering IT departments: BRAINS, CAPABILITY, RELIABILITY. In the computer realm it really is WHAT you know, NOT WHO you know that makes the difference. This attitude you have been all too happy to share, regarding the supposed importance of networking is one that will sourly undermine the success of the very companies paying your finder's fees, and over-inflated salary. IT programmers and professionals need not be social butterflies; they need be scientific and researching, which means a lot of time spent quietly working, alone, and in e-maiil collaboration with one another. Their introverted personality types benefit them in their research, speed, and their dedication to their scientific "craft". They're not wasting everyone's time by focusing on socializing and "getting to know everyone". Their version of networking is exactly what the author of this narrative exemplified: writing articles, books, and making online journal contributions, and collaborating as researchers within that framework, with other IT professionals and experts. They are scientists, not marketing executives, and as such, their application and review process should be that of any science position, which quite frankly, recruiters are not at all qualified to handle. I would not come to you to help me find the best surgeon for a procedure I'd need done. Why in would I then come to you for help finding a programming expert?
I agree with the article and its extremely valid points, as a "wake-up call" to all the adminstrative professionals at companies everywhere, who are uneducated about what it is they really NEED in their information management areas. They should rely on peer review - on other IT experts already having showed success at their companies, in order to "find" the best candidatees for their position openings. All the good ones really will slip through the cracks if they rely on standard recruitment and HR practices, as HR people are very easily misled by the "he knows/she knows/foot in the door/good networker" performances they are so accustomed to in screening and interview processes. While those people are excellent candidates for any careers in sales, marketing, advertising, and administration, their personalities decry any factor of scientific, appropriate behavior for an IT professional. I may like a friendly doctor, but I will pick the one who has a hundred times over performed the procedure I am undergoing. And usually, well peer-reviewed and scientifically and surgically accute physicians talk less, and heal more. They are "thinking" people, more likely to take theeir thoughts to pen and paper, and write a journal article or start a research study than socialize in the hospital cafeteria. Anyone watch HOUSE?!

cbari
2006-02-14 12:46:58
Why is an I.T. job so different from a job in any other industry?
Why did you pursue an IT degree? Could it have have been for the promise of supposed career stability and a guarantee of a good income, promised by all those "Newsweek" articles back in the 1980s and 1990s, should an IT degree be obtained?
You are so obviously a part of what is SO wrong with so much of this country's education system, and how it runs its businesses. SHAME ON YOUR ATTITUDE. You are not the out-of-box thinker that you YOURSELF are seeking to hire. You can take your MBA and burn it. Your recruiting ideologies are as outdated and backwards as some pre-civil liberties common (and delusional, yes) practices in corporate America. I sure hope you're not making more than $35,000 a year with your disgraceful waste of a higher education degree. Chances are, however, that you are more than adequately compensated for your inadequate ability. You cannot even manage to comprehend the simple written word. Maybe you spent too much of your freshman year overlooking the language arts components of your pre-reqs., hanging out by the keg pump? While the truly passionate IT majors - scientific and honest about their interest of study - were holed-up in their little desk corners programming, studying, researching, and - "NETWORKING" - online - (you know, writing journal articles, sharing information, reviewing O/Ss, etc...the way true Geeks do it) - into the wee hours of the night... You completely missed so much of what the author was trying to say. It astounds me how many federal education funds are being wasted in this country. I can picture you just flushing all those grants, loans, scholarships, tuition reductions, etc., right down a big, fat toilet. Your reading comprehension skills are totally deplorable, yet I am sensing that quite a few people at your company rely on your "great leadership skills" to guide them. Without a decent handle on communication skills, I don't see how work isn't a tremendous daily challenge for all those you "lead". Heaven help anyone that may have the gross misfortune to be hired under your direction! IF the author has written expert-level journals and published books on C++ programming, please explain to me your idiotic "take" on his not being hired as his not having the skills needed? As for college degrees being so highly sought-after for IT positions, I can't laugh any harder - I'd break a rib. I don't even work in IT, I own a business, but I can tell you that a degree is as worthless as anything else in life that requires one to be pigeon-holed and lemming-like. All a degree really means, most degrees that is, (excepting the few that require extraordinarily specific, usually scientific facts and formulas to be mastered) is that a person is able to pass tests, and had the great fortune of funds being available - whether through luck and well-heeled parents, loans, or scholarships - to actually ATTEND a college for 4 whole years. To me, it also signals that the person may not be "all there" when it comes to how they understand finances, economics, etc... You know, things that are so vital to the success of a business. Does it make ANY sense for anyone today to dig themselves into a gigantic, crater-sized hole of debt that their income/future income will not come close to offsetting? It's a simple lesson in personal finance and return on investment. Most college grads. from the early 1990s on will NEVER be compensated well enough, over their lifetimes, to justify the exorbitant costs they've incurred educating themselves. It's a financial formula that makes absolutely no sense at all.
Personally, I view four year degrees as nothing special whatsoever. Usually, I will investigate into that whole event in someone's life. Were they simply young and ignorant? Did they like the social aspect of college- the partying, the relaxation, the stupidity of a lot of it? Or did they really feel impassioned to learn more about something very particular? These things mean much more to me as a business owner than a simple degree. I'd rather hire someone with self-taught skills, and skills that have been finely honed through hard work, appreciation of it, and constant personal accountability and dedication. I see these qualities in more NON-grads. than I do in grads. on a regular basis. Frankly, those with a community college, 2-year degree level education tend to be my best candidates. They so desired an education that most often, they worked through college themselves, and though they had some means financially, they realized quickly that two more years of college costs would cause such a financial state of distress for them that continuing would not be a practical decision.
So, they turned their hands and feet to the "ol' Grindstone", and began working towards their career goals CREATIVELY. TRUE self-starters. TRUE intelligence. TRUE grasp of financial fundamentals, as they were bright enough, even at a young age to understand what they were "getting themselves into" financially, and they made the more rational and scientific decision to not go into serious debt. Those are the things I search for in a new hire. I certainly don't want a "play now, pay later," attitude with anyone managing my company assets, EVER.
Frankly, I almost always throw the college grad. resumes right to the back table, unless the applicant's grades and school involvements were really impressive, cuing me into a "passion" for learning, as opposed to a lemming-like quality of "doing what all the other kids on the block did." I also single-out any colleg grads. who had scholarships or had to obviously work through school - transfers from community colleges, cues in the cover letter, subtle, of course, but still there to the person with exceptional "E IQ".
Frankly, I have no problem with a self-confident, positive candidate. I WANT someone who absolutely KNOWS what the job is about and that they're totally prepared and experienced to do it right. If they think it's a perfect fit, then I might think so too. Call it Ego, I call it a sign of future success. Unless they have an obnoxious personality during the interview process, that candidate is most likely to get the position. If a candidate does NOT have the most and best experience out of the lot I have to choose from, and they express an over-willingness to learn and to be a "team player", I envision a little crab grabbing onto on eof my shirt sleeve saying, "TAKE ME FOR A RIDE, TEACH ME WHAT YOU KNOW, I'LL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER YOU MAY WANT TO GO..." I steer clear of such types, at all costs. We are not in a social club together - we are here to work, and to make it pleasant, successful, and rewarding. It ends there. I am not providing a training manual for life, or social network for a person's personal life. I am providing an opportunity for employment, with the exchange of competence, reliability in getting work done right and on time, and dedication to the type of work being done. While the little crabs are sure to make one's own ego feel that much better, and surrounding one's self with team-playing, corporate mantra-chanting types is like having a personal cheerleading squad in the business game, it makes for a dull game, a sorry outcome in the long run, and leaves nothing at all new for me to learn, killing my business in the end. Learning is not about degrees and tests. It is about passion, searching, longing, curiosity - independence and a questioning - of everything - of ways of thinking, in particular. The author has asked us, through what he has written, to question the HR processes in IT hiring. He has challenged people like yourself, and me, to think about the possible dangers of the current HR mode of thinking in regards to IT position hiring. He has challeneged you, and because you have no comprehension/communication skills, you have failed the challenge. And like so many lemmings before you, you will lead your "team" over a near, yet distant cliff, into the vast sea of failure. Why? With such "credentials" - why would you commit career suicide like this? Maybe it's because you've spent your life in a lab rat tunnel, doing what you're "supposed to do" and "being like everyone else", instead of challenging that very premise in life...
I wouldn't hire you if it meant a more than significant tax deduction for me.
PS - If you weren't chock full of conceit yourself, you wouldn't have had to mention your "credentials" in that post. After all, this isn't a resume... it's an over-blown message board for personal rantings... Nothing here truly matters...
cbari
2006-02-14 13:00:20
Absolutely
You are headed for more success in life than you can even imagine right now, because you are a thinking person. What a relief to read your post after the string of idiotic ones (the first few on the thread) I read before it. I know NOTHING about programming, outside of what my husband shares with me about his daily work as a programmer/coder and "team leader". But I DO know about running a business, and I do NOT and WILL NOT have HR people perform ANY applicant screening or interviewing. Only the people involved in a project know what and who they need. Applicants go directly to them. "Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200"!
My husband also does the exact thing you do to bypass problems with the uneducated HR people when looking for a new programmer. Smart moves...
Lorad
2006-02-15 06:24:50
Well
One thing I noticed in your article you did not proofread it. There are places where the grammar is not correct and "has have" extra words.
Some of the responses are the same way. Someone actually used the word "irreguardless".
I am in IT and have been for 20 years, I am very good at my job, but if you can't take the time to proofread your text, or you fail to use reasonable grammar then I would never hire you. It makes you look stupid. (Yes I know this response will be gone over with a fine tooth comb)
No offense to "book writers" but I have worked with a number of them, and the majority of them have no clue how to do a real software project. Any more writing a software book is no big thing, there are so many crapy books out there. Now the book you worked on is actually pretty decent, but I can understand why a recruiter would overlook it, they would have no reason to have read it, and they could assume it is crap and be right 90% of the time.
You have to assume you are not going to get a technical recruiter/HR person to look at your resume, so you better have a ďprettyĒ one, with all the key words the position is looking for, ie. Rewrite your resume and cover letter for EVERY position. Donít just fire out the standard one, unless you really donít care to find work quickly.
To the recruiter that naysayed networking, I think this is more networking with people you have worked with, every position after my first one has been with a previous co-worker and that group grows every year. If you truly are spectacular in your work, you can call up old colleagues and find out about positions. If you canít, well either you donít work well with others or you are not as stellar as you think Ė I would contend that the first guarantees the second.


No offense to "book writers" but I have worked with a number of them, and the majority of them have no clue how to do a real software project. Any more writing a software book is no big thing, there are so many crapy books out there. Now the book you worked on is actually pretty decent, but I can understand why a recruiter would overlook it, they would have no reason to have read it, and they could assume it is crap and be right 90% of the time.

Recruiter
2006-02-16 10:40:01
With a broad sweep of your keyboard...

Your post is nothing more than what you warn us in the first sentence that it is not - Sour Grapes.

There are good AND bad recruiters out there.
Just like there are good AND bad IT professionals out there.


To generalize that "HR" is the actual problem is as laughable as some of the grammar posted in the defense of not needing a post HS education.


  1. A recruiter worth anything will weigh out experience vs. education on any resume (unless told otherwise by the department - don't heft it all on HR, you'd be surprised) and knows the value of a new kid out of college with a 3.0 gpa versus someone who has 10 years of practical experience.

  2. If a specialized recruiter is not available, experienced recruiters will bring someone in to assist with interviews in areas of expertise that they may not be familiar with. The hiring department can help, in many cases with prescreening and interviewing processes.

  3. If a resume looked anything like your posting, I'd have thrown it aside at a glance as well. Who's to say the job seeker proof reads their code any better than the pathetically lumped together resume? No thanks. I'll look first to those that took the time to get the info to me in a clean and concise manner of communication.

  4. I've NEVER met a recruiter that saw years of self-employed freelancing as a bad thing. EVER. It shows initiative, hunger, drive, and depending on the field - innovation.

Your post is the equivalent of my saying that all IT people are dolts because the kid behind the support desk at CompUSA didn't know how to change the resolution on a laptop display.
It's general, ill-formed, and poorly communicated.

Recruiter
2006-02-16 12:11:08
Those in glass houses
a.) You were horrible at technical work/programming/etc.. yourself when you attempted that career choice, or
b.) You THINK you know about the technology you are recruiting for, but without really using it, knowing it, and being well versed yourself, you DO NOT know a THING.
Just by having an interest in a highly sociable and extrovert-oriented position such as recruiter, you have ruled yourself out, 9 times out of 10, as a "technical" individual. You must be familiar with the scores of placement and personality typing assessments available in the HR industry; by definition you're either a HORRIBLE recruiter, or you are NOT at all technical.

WOW. What an incredibly bold statement. I think this more reflects on YOUR level of expertise or experience in the field of recruiting.

Of course, "having worked in recruiting" is not anywhere near the same as being a recruiter. "Joe" might sweep the floors at the college but he's not a professor. I think you've illustrated this perfectly here.

Summary:
There ARE recruiters that are technical.
There ARE recruiters that are even IT professionals, certified or retired, etc.

It's been some time since I've seen so many broad assumptions and generalizations aimed at one department.