Re: Enduring Job Interviews

Subject: Re: Enduring Job Interviews
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 16:56:12 -0700 (PDT)

> Since returning to the United States in February 1998
> , I have had interviews literally across the country.
> The experience has been rather shocking, to say
> the least. With all the whining I hear from IT companies
> about how they find it difficult to find quality people,
> I can easily see why that is the case. Somehow most of
> them still have the mentality that an employee is a slave
> without rights, that a candidate must spent his/her
> time trying to say the "right" things that line up with
> company policies, that a happy employee is somehow
> exploiting the employer... in short, a no-win situation.

It is very easy to see the interviewing process as such. There are a lot of
companies out there with bad hiring practices. This is not the case
universally, however such bad interviewing is becoming very prevalent -
especially for tech writers.

I think this is because there is a serious glut of "low-end" high tech workers
right now. I am afraid to say, tech writers fall into the "low-end" category
as far as most companies and recruiters are concerned. These positions are of
little importance to most firms because there are so many people looking for
jobs in this area.

As a recruiter, I have literally 500 to 1000 resumes right now for tech
writers, tech support, project managers, low-level web developers, and business
analysts and honestly I can barely place 5% to 10% of them. There is simply
little demand for these positions. The demand right now is for high-end people
with strong programming or engineering experience. Knock off FrameMaker
writers with a certificate of tech writing are a dime a dozen right now.

Furthermore, high-tech companies are also VERY tired of people with big egos
and demands asserting all sort of perceived "rights". Just last week a client
of mine rejected a very skilled programmer because the guy was an egotistical
ass. He wanted all sorts of control and command over his work and he hadn't
done a single days worth of work. The client opted for a less experienced, but
eager to learn programmer.

The fact is, the job market is tightening on the "low-end" and this is
filtering out to attitudes. HR people don't really need to be nice to tech
writers, because there is ALWAYS another around the bend looking for work.
Honestly, I think a lot of people have become lulled into a false sense that
they can command the interviewing process 100%. You can't anymore. If you
want to get a good job you have to be willing to work with people and make
concessions. If you walk in with a lot of demands and requirements, you are
almost certain to get ignored.

Now, I don't know what the original poster was doing. But, having watched
countless employment deals fall apart I have only three suggestions:

1. Get used to dealing with idiots in HR because there are a lot of them.
2. Be willing to negotiate.
3. Keep moving.

You are not a tender unique flower who needs support and love. You are a slab
of meat to many corporations. You can either get offended by this and hurt and
scream that your rights are being violated, which will likely just get you
ignored even faster. Or you can play the game to win. Demonstrate your skill
and move along. Don't expect them to cuddle you.

Andrew Plato


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