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Recruitment is just like dating

In a previous thread, http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=22354&ixReplies=26 posters complained about how the typical hiring process threw out the wheat with the chaff.

Stop complaining, and play the game...

Hiring is no different to all the matching games we play in life. It is all about signalling. I think there is a book about that somewhere.

I am going to totally generalise here, so please do not flame or nitpick.

Women tend to make themselves look more attractive/beautiful to the male species. Typically, unless you have met a woman through someone else, or some other social engagement, the first thing you will notice is her appearance.

Men on the other hand want to come across, as successful, intelligent. So we buy flashy cars, and drink (so we sound more interesting).

Happens daily. Faced with very limited information, we take what we have to work with, and guesstimate.

This is where endorsements come in. In the past, stores were considered great in the UK if they had a Royal Warrant. ie. if it is good enough for the queen to shop there, then it can't be too bad. In modern times, it is more about celebrity endorsements. Hell, even socially, endorsements work.

My ex-girlfriend was absolutely stunning (really!). Every time I went out with her, women would be totally more receptive. I would get smiles in quarters I would not, if I was out with the lads.... Again all it is is a person thinking, "if he is good enough for her, then he can't be too bad".

Similarly, I have always faired better with women I have been introduced to by a mutual acquaintance. If so and so (whom I trust) thinks that he is an OK guys, then he can't be too bad.

Faced with a pile of resumes, all you have to work with are the endorsements on it. Your alma mater, is a good start... especially if the person hiring went to the same school. Good enough to graduate from XYZ, he can't be too bad.

Another endorsement potential is your previous employers. When I worked at McKinsey, one of the guys there kept saying, and I do find it is true, that having McKinsey on your CV is a good thing(tm). Good enough for XYZ to employ him, he can't be too bad.

So, once again, unless you have been endorsed by someone your potential partner (employer or romantic) knows and trusts, all you can hope for is to end up in the "can't be too bad" pile.

Some women are impressed by osentatious displays of wealth. Others are not. Some men only want a partner who will look divine on their arms, others don't. Some employers are impressed by certifications (MCSE anyone?). Others are not. I could go on.

Send the right signals for the situation. And stop complaining.

Otherwise you could end up spending your life saying... that girl can do so much better than that idiot two-timing boyfriend she has! And you will still be alone.

tapiwa
Friday, December 13, 2002

Very interesting and entertaining post.  So get some blue chip tech companies on the resume, some stunning projects, and already you're looking good.  Unfortunate in some cases, but true.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, December 13, 2002

tapiwa:

well said, well put! :-),

Prakash S
Friday, December 13, 2002

"Faced with a pile of resumes, all you have to work with are the endorsements on it. "

An HR acquaintance (not friend! - I have standards) threw half the pile in the bin without opening them.

When I asked if this was fair (to the employer, as well as the candidates), he smiled condescendingly.

"Never employ unlucky people", he said.

Attending the wake
Friday, December 13, 2002

"Never employ unlucky people"

I hate to do it but LMFAO!

Brad Siemens
Friday, December 13, 2002

A good analogy but a resume is more like a personal ad than dating.

Anonymous Coward
Friday, December 13, 2002

To be more specific, people don't actually see you or see if you can really do (or have done) what you say that you've done.  They see an advertisement for you.

Anonymous Coward
Friday, December 13, 2002

Good points by all and very well articulated in describing real world events.  I find it interesting how many posts involve the topic of "getting a job".  Programming jobs in particular.

As I'm currently "between jobs", this year has not been my best in terms of employer's whose companies had to downsize and lay people off.  But more importantly as I search for employment, a rude awakening has made me realize how we thrive on this fear, and so we pretty ourselves up to play the system in the hopes of becoming "dependant" again on another employer for our way of life.

And so, as I look for another job; my time is also spent in trying to start my own software development company. Eventually, with the goal that having many employers (aka. customers) will bring about more independance and satisfaction than just a single employer (your "boss").

People are people, and its not for everyone.  But I do sense this as a growing trend, to take such matters into your own hands and raise your level within this economy above being a mere code monkey. And needing to "suck up" and beg, as some might say, to "the man" for control of your own life.

Then who know's, you might be the one who receives 600 resume's to peruse; as opposed to you handling out your resume.

We all have to start somewhere.

sedwo
Friday, December 13, 2002

So to get back to the thread, does that mean that starting your own dev company is more like marrying yourself and buying out the local "toy shoppe"?  (=

Hither and anon
Friday, December 13, 2002

Possibly.  But since you still have to advertise yourself (aka your company), its more like being in relationships that you constantly cheat on.  hmm... business infidelity??
;-)

sedwo
Friday, December 13, 2002

You'll go blind doing that...

Nat Ersoz
Friday, December 13, 2002

I finished my last contract on 16th October this year, since then I've applied for 9 jobs. In early October I updated my resume with the details of the most current role and used it to apply for about 5 jobs, result: No interviews.
Feeling that something was amiss, about 2 weeks ago I decided to totally redesign my resume, I broke away from the standard chronological statements of employers and tasks and instead, halved the size of my resume and made sure that I jammed all the buzzwords that I've been exposed to in the last few years into the first page, then after that I provided a very much reduced chronological history of employment, qualifications etc. Result: 3 interviews out of 4 applications, the first one next Tuesday.

I think the point about 'who' you have worked for may be valid too, so I think I'll make that a bit more prominant, as I haven't really focused on it and I've had some pretty big clients.

Make sure your resume is in the face of the HR robot.

Alberto
Friday, December 13, 2002

So shouldn't you and your perspective employer be able to have a few dates to test the waters before going steady? 

As opposed to a day of interviews and then plunging in headfirst?

Tony Randall
Friday, December 13, 2002

I expect to get lucky on my first date.

Alberto
Friday, December 13, 2002

Actually, this analogy is more apt than you might realise. I once had a nice-looking recruiter offer to come round to my place if I accepted a contract that would have landed her a lot of money. The implication was quite clear. ( I didn't accept.)

Definitely anon
Saturday, December 14, 2002

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