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Is it worth it ?

Tony Collins
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Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
After 7 years in telecoms using C/C++ I took voluntary redundancy from Marconi. I've spent 18 months gaining new skills( Java, web related ). I now find I either don't have enough experience, or I have too much experience to come in at the bottom( even though I'm prepared to take low money ).
Is it worth persuing my IT career ?
I'm looking in London by the way.
Tony
[ October 27, 2003: Message edited by: Tony Collins ]
Greg Neef
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Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
My thoughts are that it depends on:
1) Whether you starve to death before you find work in IT and
2) Whether there are other careers that you could start for low money and would ultimately find as rewarding as IT (is|was|may someday be again).
Personally, I found IT beat the hell out of real work and have no desire to stock shelves or be Assistant manager over high school kids at the local fast food franchise. I well keep looking for IT jobs myself until they pry my cold dead fingers from the kb.


SCJP 1.4
SJ Adnams
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Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
become a black cabbie?
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
tony,
what have u been doing for 18 months? on the dole while studying or working somewhere?
There is one obvious thing u could do. Before i say it i would say i havent done this myself cos i have had no need to.
i know people may find this shocking but I know several people who are IT recruitment consultants and technical consultants and say that doing this is common practice in IT. ok what the thing is?
LIE.
yep, lie. if you are SURE you really know Java WELL, that you are an expert, then change your CV. say you did some at Marconi. doesnt need to be a lot. then sit and work up a story about what it was you did and what bits you programmed, etc. mabye even program some in your own time.
Belive me, this goes on all the time. a lot of the top contractors change their CV with each job. they're some ace C++ programmer with SCJD quals (but no experience) and some IT Recruitment moron says they are not qualified to write a JSP page! what do they do... the just change their CV and say they've done it, then wing it once they've got the job.
Another solution is to say you were a self employed consultant. get some mates in different companies who are willing to give you a reference saying you did bits of random QA or development for them. yes this is probably legally dubious. However, if my choice was a) be left on employment scrapheap b) tell a porkie and get a job, then I know what I'd do...
john
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
Err....if anyone reading this happens to be working where I will soon be working I can provide proof of everything on my CV!!! It's all true, I swear. I can get managers from the company to call you and give verbal references! written affidavits....aggh i've done it now oh god...
john
Tony Collins
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Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
Thanks John,
I was refused a job because I didn't lie. Though somehow I feel that honesty will pay off in the end. C++, Java it's all the same really.
Tony
[ October 27, 2003: Message edited by: Tony Collins ]
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by John Summers:

what have u been doing for 18 months? on the dole while studying or working somewhere?
i know people may find this shocking but I know several people who are IT recruitment consultants and technical consultants and say that doing this is common practice in IT. ok what the thing is?
LIE.
yep, lie. if you are SURE you really know Java WELL, that you are an expert, then change your CV. say you did some at Marconi. doesnt need to be a lot. then sit and work up a story about what it was you did and what bits you programmed, etc. mabye even program some in your own time.
Belive me, this goes on all the time. a lot of the top contractors change their CV with each job. they're some ace C++ programmer with SCJD quals (but no experience) and some IT Recruitment moron says they are not qualified to write a JSP page! what do they do... the just change their CV and say they've done it, then wing it once they've got the job.

Yup. You almost have to, sometimes. Like when making the switch from C++ to Java. Another tip is to consider doing contract work rather than employment for a time. And don't make any enemies if you can help it, either way you go. Generally speaking, companies will make more of an effort to investigate a new employee than a contractor. The contractor either can do it or he/she/it can't. It's usually pretty obvious. The enemy thing should be obvious. Don't give someone a reason to want to screw you.......
Make jolly certain you can back up whatever you put on your CV. What I mean is that if you say that you can do Struts, be sure you can not only do Struts, but also explain Struts in an interview, at least if it's a main skill rather than a supporting one. You can get away with just the basics in a supporting skill, but at least know the basics well!
In most situations this means that you need several home projects for a main skill & one or two for a supporting skill. Plus doing the theory. Nobody said it would be easy.......
Originally posted by John Summers:

Another solution is to say you were a self employed consultant. get some mates in different companies who are willing to give you a reference saying you did bits of random QA or development for them. yes this is probably legally dubious. However, if my choice was a) be left on employment scrapheap b) tell a porkie and get a job, then I know what I'd do...

This is a way to cover bench time. Another technique is to stretch the timescales on previous jobs. But do it subtly, a month or two.
Finally, use a nom de plume on Javaranch when tendering such advice. Really.
[ October 27, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]

SCJP1.4, SCWCD
Tony Collins
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Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
Thanks Alfred and John.
tony
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I consider lying morally wrong. I consider those who advise you to lie morally corrupt. Lying is never good. In the end, it will come back to haunt you. I will fire people for lying. (We did dismiss a contractor at one company when it was clear that his skills were clearly oversold.)
If you absolutely feel that your resume needs to be changed, consider maybe dropping some stuff from your resume. You say that you're willing to take an entry level job but appear to qualified? Maybe you can leave things off to seem like you have fewer skills/less experience than you have. Personally, I wouldn't do that, but at least you're not claiming to be something that you aren't, or saying something that isn't true.
--Mark
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
I fully agree with Mark - starting your new working relationship with a lie couldn't possibly be a healthy thing to do.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Tony Collins
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Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
I agree lying is wrong, I would like to see agents act honestly as well though this I feel will never happen.
Tony
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Lying is NEVER right, the advise to lie in your CV makes EVERY CV suspect.
It's exactly such advise that makes HR people take CVs that are NOT exagerated to mean the person involved has less experience than (s)he claims, they just (possibly subconsciously) mistrust everything you write and half the experience you state you have because they expect you to write up double the real thing.
It's the same as insurance companies automatically halving your claim because they expect you to put in twice the value you really lost, fraud having become so pervasive.
I've had one colleague fired on the spot (he did get a few Euro for a trainticket home, but that's it. The spare keys for his car he had to turn in in the courtroom where the claim for damages against him was handled) because he had dreamed up his entire CV, including more or less convincing stories (all very touchy, using race in some cases as a deterrent for questions) about why he had no diplomas for anything.
After he was found out, every other CV was doublechecked. I'm sure that if they had been found to be incorrect the people involved would have been fired as well (or at least put back in pay as a penalty).


42
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
Here's a true story.
A friend of mine was desperate to get a job in computing and saw a local firm advertsing for people with skills and qualifications in a particular technology. After some agonizing about it he changed his CV a little, and claimed that he had both the experience and the qualification. The interview went well, and he got the job. Happy ending? Nope.
The first few months at the new job were hell. Every day he'd be worried that someone would ask him a question which would show him up as a liar. Every evening he felt compelled to study more. He didn't sleep well. He hated it.
And the irony of it all? The company sent round a memo offering free training and qualification to everyone except my "already qualified" friend. Pretty soon he quit the job, and I guess you would too.
Be very wary of living a lie. It's rarely good for your stress levels, and what good is a job if it kills you?


Read about me at frankcarver.me ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
SJ Adnams
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Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
another true story.
very smart guy leaves uni, with a good degree. bums around for several years. decides he needs to get programming job. puts 3 years work experience with marconi on his CV (marconi had laid a lot of people off & closed down offices), told recruiter he couldn't provide references. nonetheless he gets a job offer and starts work...
Tony Collins
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Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
If only experience at Marconi was of value.
Stephen Pride
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Joined: Sep 14, 2000
Posts: 121
I recall reading somewhere that >50% of the people applying - and usually getting - IT jobs during the dot-com hey-days lied on their resume. Most of them said they had Bachelor's or Master's degrees, when in reality they had no degree at all. True, a lot of companies really didn't care at the time, either, because they were begging for anyone, but it shows a lack of honesty in some people when money is a factor.


SCJP
Matt Cao
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Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
Folks is this a confession thread?
Lie and Honest both have their own levels. If you are too honest, you are deem to be naive and at our ages you will be called stupid. But if you are lying too much, soon or later your stories will not match, you may ended up behind bars. A little bit white lies to get yourself inside the company does not hurt, but by all means whatever you put on your cover page and resume be reflects of your ability because there is time you need to use those talents. GOD helps you, if you behave liked an intern in the pool of professionals.
If you decided to apply a little white lies on your job application, then don't let your guilt trip having the best of you.
Regards,
MCao
[ October 28, 2003: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I consider lying morally wrong. I consider those who advise you to lie morally corrupt. Lying is never good. In the end, it will come back to haunt you. I will fire people for lying. (We did dismiss a contractor at one company when it was clear that his skills were clearly oversold.)
--Mark

Apparenty you have never lied. About anything I presume? Never finessed what you really thought about some piece of utter stupidity perpetrated by someone in a position to do you or your team real damage? Always tell the SO precisely what you think of their every action?
Possible I suppose. There is a word for such people. They are called saints. You could be one of them.
Consider your statements about firing people for lying. Do you fire them for lying or for being incompetent? Or for the combination? The contractor example you cite 'oversold' would seem to indicate that the chap was incompetent, at least for the role he was hired to do. What would you do if a person you hired was clearly in over his head despite there being no discernable lies on his CV?
Conversely, would you fire someone really effective because you learned that her actual GPA in college was less than claimed on her CV?
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Matt Cao:

But if you are lying too much, soon or later your stories will not match, you may ended up behind bars. A little bit white lies to get yourself inside the company does not hurt, but by all means whatever you put on your cover page and resume be reflects of your ability because there is time you need to use those talents.

Precisely. What I've been writing is that you need to have the experience, you need to be able to back up with performance what you write in your CV. Which means experience. What kind of experience you have also matters, but less so.
We work in a profession where learning projects undertaken at home or 'on the side' on the job are routinely ignored for purposes of CV evaluation. As are years of experience in the field but not with the current toolset which is in vogue. Sometimes with cause but frequently with no cause. It is easy to point out cases either way.
It would be useful if advocates of perfect honesty would also deal with some of the problems which cause people to stray from the path of perfect truth. How do you advise qualified people whose CV's don't match the approved pattern of recruiters and HR 'specialists' to get through the filters?
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

Apparenty you have never lied. About anything I presume? Never finessed what you really thought about some piece of utter stupidity perpetrated by someone in a position to do you or your team real damage? Always tell the SO precisely what you think of their every action?

I lie about 3 times a year. (I'm at 2 for this year.) Yes, I track my lies. I once lied to protect a friend, and felt guilt ridden for it. I vowed never to lie again. I'm not perfect. Most of lies are things people would consider a white lie. The last time I lied there was a mentally unstable woman, with a hearing problem for whom English was not her primary language, who wanted to rent a room from me. I showed her the place and definately didn't want her. She called me 3 times in the next 24 hours and showed up on my door step at 10pm at night (can you say "stalker"?), practically begging me to let her stay. I knew living with her would be unhealthy for me and a strain and me and my other roommate. She was also a credit risk. I lied. I choose to spare her feelings and simply told her that the room had been rented. In my mind, this is not a justification for the lie. I was wrong to do so. I simply could not think of a more diplomatic way to resolve this issue. I hope to do better next time.
I've learned to very subtly answer a different question than asked, e.g.
"Do you like my new hair cut?"
- "That's a good length for you."
No, I'm not perfect, but I strive to be. The big difference is, I don't consciously try to lie. It's usually when I'm under stress or time pressure or in an emotional situation. Still, I hope to rid myself of lying in that situation, too.
I wrote this up in a business school essay, which I'll try to post on line this spring so you can read the actual story.
Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

Consider your statements about firing people for lying. Do you fire them for lying or for being incompetent? Or for the combination?

Funny, this is another answer to a business school essay. I fire people for lying. One of the first people I hired ended up being a mistake. It was my own fault, because I assumed that, given his education (PhD) and experience (more than 10 years) he would be fine. I made a mistake. It became clear after 6 weeks that it was a mistake. I thought back to a comment Captain Piccard made (yes, I am a geek). In the episode, they were having a problem with a junior crew member (Lt. Barkley). Geordi suggested transfering him. Piccard replied something like, "it's all to easy to pass our problems off to others; no, we have a responsibility to help him." Taking that advice, we tried to improve this guy. I created a special training program for him and met with him every day. He did improve at first, but then tapered off. Ultimately we had to let him go. I made a mistake, but he wasn't fired because of it. He didn't misrepresent himself, I assumed too much. We only let him go when it was clear that we didn't have the resources to make him efficent in his role at the company.

Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

The contractor example you cite 'oversold' would seem to indicate that the chap was incompetent, at least for the role he was hired to do. What would you do if a person you hired was clearly in over his head despite there being no discernable lies on his CV?

I'd consider if it was appropriate to train him or move him to a different role. If not, I probably would let him go if there was no future use for him. I work at startups. Things change all the time and needs change. I hope to be a good enough manager in my planning and staffing to always be able to make use of good people, even if not in original roles.

Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

Conversely, would you fire someone really effective because you learned that her actual GPA in college was less than claimed on her CV?

I would never give an absolute. I would talk to them about the discrepency and evaluate from there. Fundamentally, all business relationships are about trust. I give you money and trust you to give me a good/reliable product, perform a task for me, provide me a quality service, etc. If I can't trust you to do that, I shouldn't be giving you my money. If I can't trust what you tell me, I can't trust you.
--Mark
Rufus BugleWeed
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Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
It's dangerous to lie and it's dangerous not to. I never got a job where the guy on the other side of the table did not stretch the truth.
Day after day I read of unethical corporate behavior even crime in the newspaper. Let's see whose been there lately Walmart, Boeing, and Putnam.
The old timer malcontent at my first job claimed - they wouldn't be supervisors if they did not lie.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Matt Cao:

Lie and Honest both have their own levels. If you are too honest, you are deem to be naive and at our ages you will be called stupid. But if you are lying too much, soon or later your stories will not match, you may ended up behind bars. A little bit white lies to get yourself inside the company does not hurt

Let me be clear, not mentioning something in most cases is not dishonest. If applying for a Java job, if you feel that you don't want to mention the 10% of the time you did perl at your last company, that's one thing. You have to summarize on your resume, and maybe you feel that's not relevant. On the other hand, if you spend 90% of your time doing perl, but only mention the 10% Java, that's misrepresenting yourself.
By those terms, I don't think you can be too honest.

Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

We work in a profession where learning projects undertaken at home or 'on the side' on the job are routinely ignored for purposes of CV evaluation.

I have mixed feelings about this. Side projects often end up as toy examples. More importantly, I always emphsaize its never the technology that's key but communication and teamwork skills. Most side projects are done as inidividuals. To that end, side projects aren't too valuable.
Yes, they do give you some technical depth, and yes, it's better than nothing, which is why I advise inexperienced people to do open source (which can be team based), rather than nothing, but usually it builds secondary skills.

Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

It would be useful if advocates of perfect honesty would also deal with some of the problems which cause people to stray from the path of perfect truth. How do you advise qualified people whose CV's don't match the approved pattern of recruiters and HR 'specialists' to get through the filters?

Well, most people don't like these answers, but you ignore those people. Those companies are probably poorly run and don't understand their needs. Are those people you want to work for? Take it as a big red flag and move on.
Alternatively, talk to them anyway and see if it's just a wish list, but they can be realistic. Most people don't hire exactly what they set out to. Some people often can sell themselves into a position. I'll give you an example from personal experience, they were looking for a college kid and wanted to pay him $15-20/hr to fix their software. The project looked very interesting. I responded to the ad and convinced them it would be better to spend more money (both because I charge significantly more than $20/hr and because it was clear to me that they needed to toss the original version and start from scratch) to get a better product. They agreed and hired me. In that case I basically created my own job. That's an extreme example, but the principle is the same.
--Mark
Tony Collins
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Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:


We work in a profession where learning projects undertaken at home or 'on the side' on the job are routinely ignored for purposes of CV evaluation. As are years of experience in the field but not with the current toolset which is in vogue. Sometimes with cause but frequently with no cause. It is easy to point out cases either way.
It would be useful if advocates of perfect honesty would also deal with some of the problems which cause people to stray from the path of perfect truth. How do you advise qualified people whose CV's don't match the approved pattern of recruiters and HR 'specialists' to get through the filters?

What happens when companies need people again, those out of work for a couple of years will not have the required toolsets or experience. I'm 33 and I feel I'm on the scrap heap, certs I gain don't make a difference without experience it would seem.
Tony
Michael Fitzmaurice
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Joined: Aug 22, 2001
Posts: 168
Tony
I understand what you are going through right now, because I think in the UK the IT recruitment consultants are a big problem (I don't know if this is the case in all countries - opinions anyone?). For the most part they basically just match keywords from job descriptions with keywords on CVs and make sure the amount of experience in each technology is equal to or greater than what the company asked for. They know nothing of software development, or even IT in general.
I have often thought that there must be a way to automate such simplistic work and rid the World of these morons altogether...An application to scan CVs against job descriptions and email candidates with matching skills. Its no way to carry out serious recruitment, but that's about the extent of my expectations of most agents...
The best advice I can give you is to be as assertive as possible with them about forwarding you for jobs. In the past, I have told the consultant 'just get me the interview. I guarantee to pass the technical test, I know I can do the job, I know I am right for this company, etc.'. Explain why your skills and experience qualify you. Play on their greed by suggesting that they are missing out on easy commission. You have some chance of winning them over like this, because in the end, a lot of them recognise that they aren't really capable of assessing somebody's technical skill. They are just terrified of angering their client by sending somebody patently unsuitable, but they have no real chance of determining who is and isn't suitable.
I once had a consultant refuse to forward my CV for a job because I had one month less experience in something than what the company was looking for (11 months instead of 1 year). Afterwards I felt as if I should have lied, but I felt at the time that one month wouldn't make any difference, so just tell the truth. Its difficult to deal with this kind of idiocy, but if you can just find a way to get to the interview, hopefully you will find yourself in front of somebody who is really qualified to assess your suitability for the job.
I know I would certainly be willing to interview somebody with your experience who had completed the SCJD, and there are many developers out there that would feel the same way. The trick is to make sure your CV gets that far.
Don't let these idiots make you feel you are unemployable - what they know about software development can be written on the back of a postage stamp in most cases. Have faith, stick with it, and you'll find something in the end.
Good luck
Michael


"One good thing about music - when it hits, you feel no pain" <P>Bob Marley
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
goodness me, what an interesting discussion.
i never really meant that Tony should just completely invent 2 years of experience. What I meant is that if he is truly competent in java, he could possibly say he did 'some' Java in his last job, but maybe not a great deal.
the main problem is that in the UK there are these parasitical organisms called 'recruitment consultants' and 'HR' who live off the IT market. they are usually (not always, I just dealt with a pretty competent one) completely ignorant. As the previous poster said, they just tick checkboxes. It is likely that in Tony's case, programmers with a sum total of 6 months experience (but in Java) will get interviews whilst he, with 7 years (and Java certs) will not. Would it be so outrageous for Tony to add a few lines to his CV saying he did a teensy weeny bit of Java in his last job?
Well I'll leave that for now...Some other thoughts..
Tony are you still looking for C++ jobs? Don't give up on that. A job is a job. Keep looking for C++ jobs. A year ago I would have recommended you go with .NET not java because of your C++ experience, but now I would say stick with Java. it's best to be specialist than a jack of all trades.
Tony I don't know if you're unemployed or working in a non-IT job. Depending on your available time another option is to undertake some projects for small businesses for free. I know it sucks but look on it as a short term sacrifice.
What you do is try and find some small business, mate's company, travel agents, cash and carry, anything that needs a website which would allow you to show off some backend programming skills (not just html). Offer to do this for free. Design the thing as best you can. Say you spend two months on dole doing this. Well, then on your CV you don't write "unemployed" you write "Contractor: designing JSP/EJB site" and you put the URL. I refuse to believe this is anything but a white lie. You will have sat and programmed the software. The business will be using it. Technically you WERE a contractor, it's just that you didn't get paid! Then what you do is say it took 3 months not 2. Then what you do is repeat the exercise with another business. I know it is awful working for nothing but sometimes it's the only option. you must look at the end gain for yourself. So say you do one other jsp/ejb site. Then what you can put on your CV is "6 months: Java contractor, jsp/servlet, struts, ejb".. and that's all you'll need to get interviews for Java jobs. So 4-6 months of personal projects will have got you a job. And they won't be just 'personal' projects they will be real web applications being used by real companies.
The important thing is to pick the companies well. Most smallish companies will think they've won the lottery if someone comes in and offers to design a web application for free. After a few weeks they may even pay you a little, or expenses or something. It is important that the site is a SHOWCASE for your abilities. make it really special and have lots of complex stuff in it. make it open source.. put the sourcecode and the design docs on your homepage. and you never know how these things turn out, if you do a great job the company might recommend you to someone, or you might get some billable maintenance work in the future.
good luck,
john
Matt Cao
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Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

It would be useful if advocates of perfect honesty would also deal with some of the problems which cause people to stray from the path of perfect truth. How do you advise qualified people whose CV's don't match the approved pattern of recruiters and HR 'specialists' to get through the filters?

Hi,
I think others already spoken similar to my POV. If one encounters this particular situation, then he/she needs to utilize his/her soft skills -- the power of negotiation. If he/she claims to be expert in the field, then he/she should have no problem to educate those recruiters. I am not sure about the term HR 'specialists'. But if you meant corporation HR, then same thing negotiation through small talks.
Do not let those filtering automation scare anyone of you away. If one hungry enough, he/she will find the way. Improvide the solutions.
Regards,
MCao
[ October 29, 2003: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Kevin Thompson
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 04, 2001
Posts: 237
Mark,
I agree that lying is morally wrong.
But the situation out there has always been "gray".
For example - I have worked with "macho" guys, who think they know everything. Full of themselves. But they actually know squat!
Also note that stupid people lack the self review skills to observe their own stupidity.
SO what happens is that when stupid people with a "macho" programmer personality talk about their work experience they think they are telling the truth. But they are actually lying - because they are too stupid to know what programming really is.
Kevin
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

Let me be clear, not mentioning something in most cases is not dishonest. If applying for a Java job, if you feel that you don't want to mention the 10% of the time you did perl at your last company, that's one thing. You have to summarize on your resume, and maybe you feel that's not relevant. On the other hand, if you spend 90% of your time doing perl, but only mention the 10% Java, that's misrepresenting yourself.
By those terms, I don't think you can be too honest.

Hmmm. You posit a fairly extreme example, a Perl hacker presenting himself as a Java guy. What is more usual is a matter of emphasis in the CV. One of my recent jobs started with C++ then switched to Java. There was a very intense (but short) Perl interlude (2 months of 12+ hour days). A lot of detail design work, proof of concept and business proposal work. Some technical architecture. Even a bit of C troubleshooting.
I presented this fairly honestly on the CV, mentioning the C++, Java, detail design, and technical architecture without giving proportions. Someone reading the CV could infer that the job was 75% Java when in fact it probably wasn't more than 50% counting design time in. I mentioned side projects as experience because they were fairly serious efforts culminating with technology evaluation white papers. The CV is slanted with the market in mind. Lies? You tell me.
Moreover, I had significant downtime (some months) which I used to solidify my Java skillset. I landed two consulting contracts which fell through during that time, which aren't mentioned.
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

Well, most people don't like these answers, but you ignore those people. Those companies are probably poorly run and don't understand their needs. Are those people you want to work for? Take it as a big red flag and move on.
Alternatively, talk to them anyway and see if it's just a wish list, but they can be realistic. Most people don't hire exactly what they set out to. Some people often can sell themselves into a position. <...> In that case I basically created my own job.

Normally I do ignore these companies and recruiters, but the market the past two years has been incredibly difficult. Every recruiter I spoke to was playing the filter game. You have to get through the filters in order to talk to the customer, and you had to generate volume to get any kind of response rate.
I sold myself into all three of my *successful* bids, but I had to get to that point first. Many of my early interviews were basically informational feeling out what the market was looking for as opposed to a really serious bid for work. They helped me determine which markets to target, determine which skills I needed to solidify, and refine my pitch. I was a serious candidate but probably an early elimination out of the final 6 or 10 at that point. All of which is necessary in a tough market but hardly possible without beating the filters. Overselling somewhat. Later on (after skill reinforcement) I didn't need to oversell.
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I have mixed feelings about this <home or side projects>. Side projects often end up as toy examples. More importantly, I always emphsaize its never the technology that's key but communication and teamwork skills. Most side projects are done as inidividuals. To that end, side projects aren't too valuable.
Yes, they do give you some technical depth, and yes, it's better than nothing, <....> but usually it builds secondary skills.

The first step toward building a primary skill is creating a secondary skill, and that is all it does. To create a primary skill you really need to do something professionally for a while.
My 'side projects' had a more serious aim. Our consultantcy was floundering. We specialized in selling expensive expertise on large projects using expensive tools and it wasn't selling at all. I used 'bench time' to pursue a different business vision: small projects using open-source or cheap tools to create systems with the aim to provide quick payback for our clients. To this end I investigated technologies and wrote & distributed white papers outlining the opportunities they offered. I can't claim a great deal of success in achieving my ends, but it was a lot better than doing nothing.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
In response to Kevin and Alfred's questions, here' my philosophy. I judge people by their intentions, not the results. I use the perjury rule--it's only a lie if you know its not true and intentionally do it anyway. If the other guy really believes he is God's gift ot Perl, and says so, he may be wrong in my opinion, but he never considered himself to be untruthful. (For the record, when you meet "Wally" in your company, he won't think of himself as lazy.)
Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

Normally I do ignore these companies and recruiters, but the market the past two years has been incredibly difficult. Every recruiter I spoke to was playing the filter game. You have to get through the filters in order to talk to the customer, and you had to generate volume to get any kind of response rate.

You know, the last recruiter I spoke with before taking this job told me that no one would hire me for this position or pay me what I'm asking. (I really should tell him that I accepted a job, I've just been enjoying the anticipation so much...) The sys admin we just hired said he actually showed up at the company, walked in and handed out resumes to the IT staff. Bad recruiters should be ignored. Every armor (HR defense against people off the street) has a weakness (way to reaching someone inside the company); with enough time and dedication, you can find it.
--Mark
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
maybe go towards the information management field


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Matt Cao:

I think others already spoken similar to my POV. If one encounters this particular situation, then he/she needs to utilize his/her soft skills -- the power of negotiation. If he/she claims to be expert in the field, then he/she should have no problem to educate those recruiters. I am not sure about the term HR 'specialists'. But if you meant corporation HR, then same thing negotiation through small talks.
Do not let those filtering automation scare anyone of you away. If one hungry enough, he/she will find the way. Improvide the solutions.

I think Matt makes an excellent point here. I always follow up with the recruiter when I send my CV. Always. I suppose this is negociation, though I haven't ever thought of it as that before! You are negociating with the recruiter for something you want (the submittal) or at least for enough information to enable you to make an informed choice about the proposed gig.
The question is what does the recruiter get out of this? Basically this works on two levels. The basic thing is an assurance that the candidate won't go into an interview and shame the recruiter.
Once a level of trust has built up a second thing that can happen is when the recruiter calls a candidate up and asks whether they are interested or a good fit. Sometimes the answer is no. I won't allow a recruiter to send me in on an Oracle gig where Oracle-related skills are the primary skill, because I'm simply not good enough with Oracle to do that. It's a secondary skill and I tell the recruiter that right away. This builds trust because they see many candidates who are right for *everything*. They are more apt to trust me when I say I *can* do something.....
I've had recruiters call me to pick my brains about a listing they have. I steer them the right direction.
This kind of relationship is rare but can be very productive. I was placed 4 times by one recruiter over the course of a decade. Incredible guy. The advantage to me is that I stay in touch with the market a little better, and also that I go to the top of the 'A-list' for this guy whenever I become available.
shay Aluko
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 01, 2002
Posts: 167
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I consider lying morally wrong. I consider those who advise you to lie morally corrupt. Lying is never good. In the end, it will come back to haunt you. I will fire people for lying. (We did dismiss a contractor at one company when it was clear that his skills were clearly oversold.)
If you absolutely feel that your resume needs to be changed, consider maybe dropping some stuff from your resume. You say that you're willing to take an entry level job but appear to qualified? Maybe you can leave things off to seem like you have fewer skills/less experience than you have. Personally, I wouldn't do that, but at least you're not claiming to be something that you aren't, or saying something that isn't true.
--Mark

Sorry Mr Herscberg--by leaving things off your resume you are presenting a false image of yourself (in plain english -- you are still lying) spare us the self-righeous indignation
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Is it worth it ?