[nycbug-talk] MSNBC on the decline of technology jobs

Gordon Smith g
Wed Jun 22 14:24:17 EDT 2005

> > > Quantitively, I believe your sentiment is wrong- I've seen extremely
> > > talented techs get the axe, while really brain-dead XYZ-certified
> > > retain their jobs right next to them.
> > That happens. However, the clued people will get a new job fairly
> > and XYZ-certified won't, if they get axed.
> If by that you mean people who had lots of connections out side of the
> company they worked for then yes.  I was out of work for almost 2
> years because all the people I knew professionally were working at my
> old company and there was a hiring freeze there.  Now when I did the
> monster/headhunter thing there were a lot of other qualified people
> who were also out of work.  And I came in second or so on a lot of
> jobs and there is no check assocated from the second guy/gal on the
> list down.  And you tell me Alex am I good?

A few thoughts come to mind - IMHO:

1. While people are not fungible commodities, depending on the supply of
talent available at a given time, a number of people might be able to do a
given job with equivalent results.  As such, the person who came in second
has no reason to get down on themselves - especially because, toward the end
of the "competition" for a given position, the use of job selection metrics
often breaks down into a less rational process.  

2. Generalizations about technologies can be dangerous; generalizations
about technologists can be fatal and/or cruel.  As Twain said, "Every
generalization is dangerous, especially this one."  ;-)

3. As another saying goes, "You are what you measure" (not from Twain) and
I've observed that many managers look upon recruiting as drudgery that can
and should be reduced to formulae.  Those formulae are represented as a
scientific hiring method when they are often a rationalization for not
thinking more about the real nature of the position to be filled and the
ideal candidate for that position.  

4. A large part of any recruiting effort needs to include getting a sense of
the applicant's ability to work with the team that is already in place.
Applicants who are technically proficient may or may not play well with
others, and such people can even be intentionally destructive in their quest
to "show well" or to protect their jobs.  Hiring managers should think in
terms of building teams that build systems, not just building systems.
Staff who can't see fit to support the team shouldn't get on the team in the
first place.

5. It's sometimes difficult, but it's always good to maintain contacts and


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