Re: Trouble finding work

Subject: Re: Trouble finding work
From: Martin Bosworth <martinhbosworth -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 09:40:22 -0400


On 4/18/05, Robyn Richards <robynrrr -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:
> Given this thread, I thought I would share some of my recent experiences in
> looking for work.
> Although I have been in the industry (both as a contractor and permanent)
> for many years, I have never before seen such 'goal post shifting' in the
> job application/interview process.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. My job hunt this year (Which
only lasted a month, thank God) was a dizzying whirlwind of insane
interviews, changing requirements, shifty practices, etc.

> - role 1 - In the last stages of an interview for a permanent role as a
> Business Analyst, I was told that the organisation had someone in the role
> on a contract basis, and was offering them the permanent role - would I be
> interested in the contract role? (There was no mention of this is the ad or
> introductory discussions)

I didn't have this specific instance happen to me, but I encountered
several cases of being recruited for a particular position, applying
and interviewing...then nothing. Then the same recruiter called me
back trying to get me into another position. What amazed me was that
they didn't even come flat out and say "We found someone else for the
job." The way some of these guys act, those jobs apparently never get

> - role 2 - Technical Writer required (immediate start) - Interviewed with
> the recruiter and was presented to the client in 1 day, then was told the
> role was on hold for two weeks, the two weeks more, then indefinitely...

Yep. Been there. A memorable instance:

Senior Tech Writer at Nextel, $42.75 an hour. Now, I know I'm not even
close to the experience and expertise level for a Senior position, but
the recruiter insisted I could do it based on my personality and
skillset (I'm a former programmer/Web developer). There were two slots
open, each with identical descriptions. The *only* difference was that
one required more marketing experience. She put me in for both, and I
had to fend off other recruiters trying to solicit me for the same job
so as not to get "double-tapped".

Weeks went by, and nothing. The recruiter confessed that one had been
filled, and the other was still open, but Nextel just wasn't getting
around to filling it. The recruiter was genuinely sweet and very
helpful, so I didn't begrudge her anything. It just mystified me that
these companies move soooooo sllllooooowwwww......

> - role 3 - Agreed to interview for a role. 30 mins before interview was
> given the position description which was totally different to the role I had
> agreed to interview for

Been here too. I got picked for a job at Northrop Grumman, and even
though the pay was terrible, I was getting a little frantic and agreed
to it. The job description was fairly typical: Word, Visio, Front
Page, Adobe, some Project. I got there, and the people I'm supposed to
interview with were unavailable. The people I'm speaking to were
totally different from the people I initially dealt with, and they
were asking me about my .NET experience, Visual Studio, C#, etc.

I told the recruiter that I wasn't all that keen on the job, and I
found out from *another* recruiter (Who called me for the same job a
few weeks later) that the company was looking for someone young and
inexperienced enough that they could mold into their "working style".
She'd actually placed one of the people who had interviewed me, who
couldn't have been more than 25 and majored in Technical Writing in
college. I'm 30, for heaven's sake. If they're age-discriminating
against *me*, I can't imagine what it'll be like 20 years from now.

> - role 4 - Role advertised as requiring Senior Tech Writing skills.
> Interview went very well. Feedback was all good - yes, I had the skills, was
> articulate, would fit in well BUT - the company chose to go with someone
> with no experience because they were willing to work for AUD$40,000.

I interviewed as a Documentation Specialist for a huge gov't proposal
company out in Reston, VA. My salary demands, which I thought were
perfectly reasonable, were apparently $2,000 more than the division's
*supervisor* made. I had to surmise that the majority of the employees
commuted from elsewhere, since you can't live in a pricey area like
Reston for what they were offering. ;)

In the end, it worked out well for me, and I think it was a great
"peek behind the curtain" into how today's IT business world works.
It's definitely not the same as it was five years ago...

Martin H. Bosworth
Technical Writer, Telemedicine Directorate
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (
Writer/Editor, (


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Re: Trouble finding work: From: HBacheler
Re: Trouble finding work: From: Robyn Richards

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