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Poor Prerequisites and Followup

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As a recent college grad looking for that "first job", I'm amazed at the number of listings that require 'X' amount of years in a language as a bare minimum requirement. The loose correlation appears to be that the longer one has used a language, the better they are at it.

Why is that the predominant mentality? Here's one possible cause.

It would seem to me that a more quantifiable unit of measure would be used, one other then time. For example, this excellent thread over in Java Programmers highlights some possible ways to test one's abilities.

Posts where specific paradigms or third party libraries/APIs are listed are infinitely more helpful in allowing the applicant to know what is expected. Either you're familiar with JBOSS, SOA, or JavaEE or you're not. It's much more quantifiable then "3+ years of Java".

If I may digress for a bit, what does "3+ years of Java" mean to you? Exactly as quoted mind you. It doesn't say 3+ years of professional Java experience, it doesn't say 3+ years of developing Java Enterprise applications, etc... while all certainly can be inferred. The issue lies within its ambiguity. Since many universities have switched to a mostly Java curriculum, one could theoretically have that numerical experience before graduating. Does that fit within the context of what is being sought?

Who knows...which leads me into my next point:

I have had a few interviews where I was given absolutely zero feedback, aside from the "we're not moving forward with your application at this time" boilerplate. I understand that people, in general, are busy, but you really couldn't take thirty seconds and highlight at least one thing that I could work on? How am I supposed to improve? Constructive criticism would be a blessing.

At the core of this issue lies: Task->Condition->Standard. For those of you unfamiliar with this phrase, it translates to "what needs to be done"->"how it's to be done"->"at what level does it need to be done"; goals, if you will. Without any context, the same mistake(s) could be repeated, thus null and voiding any benefit of making a mistake in the first place.

3 Comments On This Entry

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macosxnerd101 

18 June 2010 - 06:16 PM
I know what you mean. When I was internship hunting, all the programming positions were asking for "3 Years Java/J2EE including Struts, Hibernate, etc." Well, I've worked for three-plus years with Java SE and about a year with PHP, but that shouldn't disqualify me from a position. I'm already familiar with the syntax and I have the ability to pick up the technology given a project to work on, and possibly a book and a couple days to start teaching myself (even if it's on a weekend).

I think the big issues are getting past the HR people to the technical people, having them evaluate your work and problem solving abilities, and getting an interview. For me, once I got an interview, I got hired.

Also, thanks for plugging my thread. :D
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alias120 

19 June 2010 - 08:07 PM
Though I will not be looking for a job in the near future, I have conducted many job searches in order to give myself a better understanding of what companies are looking for. When it comes to C++, I see a lot of what you mention here. Companies asking for a certain amount of years of experience. They do not go into detail about the technologies involved or the type of work to be performed. I will say that .NET related jobs seem to be better about this. Companies that work with .NET are much more specific about the roles they need filled along with the technologies used. I suppose when you have so many applications revolving around a particular framework it is easier to know exactly what you need. Hope the job search picks up KYA, i'm sure you will find something here shortly.

-alias
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molocules 

21 June 2010 - 02:43 PM
YMMV
I think the biggest problem is the process by which HR selects candidates to pass on, to the hiring manager, for consideration. I have been working on a HR information system (600+ emps) and have seen the huge amounts of resumes that one or two HR recruiters *I mean Talent Acquisition Specialists* have to go through. I have also been able to watch their process for candidate selection.

In this company, and probably generally, the HR staff will not totally understand what the position entails (nor will they want to). This means they will be totally reliant on what the hiring manager sends them for requirements. They also do not want to pass a lot of unqualified people on to a phone screen to the hiring manager since they tend to be busy. So they set the "experience" bar to high and hope for the best.
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