[Baypiggies] Baypiggies Digest, Vol 44, Issue 38

Roderick Llewellyn roderick at sanfransystems.com
Tue Jun 30 17:55:03 CEST 2009

I'm a male, but I would generally follow the rule that if a requirement is 
listed as, well, a requirement, and I lack it, that would knock me out of 
the running, so I wouldn't bother applying. Companies often complain that it 
takes a lot of their time to interview candidates, and so (especially in bad 
economic times) they resort to filtering candidates as much as possible 
before they actually talk to them. Thus schemes like accolo which are 
designed to save employers as much time as possible. But what is often not 
discussed is that the candidates also spend a lot of time in fruitless 
test-taking, phone screens, preparing customized resumes and cover letters, 
and researching technologies asked for in employment ads so one can come in 
not totally ignorant of some listed requirement. I've sent dozens of such 
applications in the last few years with little response. Many employers 
don't even do you the courtesy of telling you that your application was 
rejected... so you don't even know if your application has "timed out" or 
was rejected within 5 minutes of its receipt. In a bad economy, employers 
"feel their oats", they know they have a lot of desperate candidates to 
choose from (I could quote from Karl Marx on this subject). That's why 
you'll often see evident rudeness on the career site of many company 
websites, things like "if you don't know X forget it" or "if you haven't 
done Y don't bother applying".

About recruiting firms:
In my experience of the last 10 or so years, recruiting firms are 
essentially worthless and waste a lot of time. Note that this is not 
intended to apply to any specific individual, but reflects my own dealings 
with such firms. I believe that employers judge recruiting firms largely by 
the number of active resumes in their files (how else?). A number of such 
firms have my resume. About once a year I get a call from these firms 
promising a great position. All I need to do to start the process is send 
the recruiter a fresh updated copy of my resume. I do so and never hear back 
from them, until about a year later when it's next time to tickle the old 
resumes into refreshing themselves. I believe that many of these offered 
positions are phony and are simply designed to call out updated resumes. In 
most cases the recruiters know perfectly well that I have zero chance of 
being employed by their clients based on the resume they already have.
I remember one firm (I think it was the one that uses a brain as their logo) 
called me about a position. The headhunter asked me if I had good experience 
in technologies A and B. I said yes, didn't you read my resume? He replied 
that he didn't have time to read resumes. Just what value was he adding to 
either the employers' or the candidates' processes? Needless to say I never 
heard from him again. Thank God!

More on listed job requirements:
Since even though I'm not currently employed I regard my time as valuable, 
and don't like rejection any more than anybody else, I carefully cull those 
employers to whom I will take the trouble of applying. I agree with Alex 
that my definition of the word "MUST HAVE" is that if you don't have it, it 
doesn't matter if you are Stephen Hawking or even Moses, you're not getting 
the position. No matter how qualified or over-qualified you may be in other 
areas. It is very frequent that employers will list SO many must-haves that 
I seriously wonder if ANYBODY actually knows all of those things. I suspect 
another reason for listing so many "musts" is that it may provide some legal 
protection for the employer. If essentially nobody meets their 
qualifications strictly interpreted, nobody can complain that "hey they 
didn't hire me, they must be prejudiced against me because of characteristic 
X". Hey, you didn't meet the requirements! (well neither did the guy we 
hired, but we liked him better, so there!)
- Roderick Llewellyn

More information about the Baypiggies mailing list