Recently I was asked to write a post about hiring practices and the common pitfalls that most companies fall for when hiring engineers. The post was primarily targeted to engineering managers and H.R. departments hiring engineering talent. However, I made a point to keep the topic broad enough to apply to any profession and serve as a testament to the state of hiring procedures in the industry for the average job seeker.
Since I have both been a potential candidate and a hiring manager at different times, I felt more than qualified enough for the piece. But beyond that, I felt that it was an excellent opportunity for me to share my opinions and observations on the issues that I think are ubiquitous and rampant in the industry. More importantly, this piece can hopefully help some people understand why it is so difficult to land a job these days, why job seeking has become a game of numbers, and why they didn’t get a job they were qualified for.
If you want to read it, here it is.
Nevertheless, I bring this not to promote myself shamelessly —I would never do such a thing to our lovely readers— but to communicate how important it is to understand the circumstances that brought forth the system that determines whether you get that job or not.
Not Qualified to Hire
One of the central premises I make in the piece is how ill-prepared the people responsible for determining your fit for the job are and how there is little chance that will change anytime soon. For the most part, the hiring process is a time-intensive, costly, and complex responsibility that usually falls in the hands of understaffed and outdated departments.
In the ever-evolving world of digital portfolios, web resumes, and zoom interviews, the hiring book for most companies looking for talent is still talking about paper resumes, personality quizzes, and endless interviews. Unfortunately, the industry has moved at a breakneck speed in the last few decades, and companies just can’t keep up.
What’s more, the market for the most sought-after jobs has become quite unmanageable from a logistical standpoint. Companies that once used to deal with a few dozen resumes and some insistent calls now have to recur to outsource solutions to handle the number of applications they receive. As a result, most companies have been forced to cut corners, simplify, and standardize hiring practices. This unfolding in itself might not be problematic, but when poorly implemented, it often ends up giving terrible results and the experiences we have come to accept.
How much does this affect you and your chances of getting a job? Well, if you have ever wondered why is it that the retention rate has been steadily declining and why applying for as many jobs as possible is the best policy for job-seeking, that is why.
A Bad Fit
And job dissatisfaction is not the only cause. For the most part, a big reason behind people not finding joy in their job is the fact that they were not a good fit in the first place. Either a fundamental cultural dissonance with the team, a misunderstanding of the opportunity, or just a lack of proper career orientation of the candidate, the current professionals tasked with hiring us are letting us down.
And, honestly, I don’t blame them. Many engineering managers are tasked with hiring people for their teams when they themselves are lacking in leading and management skills. Understanding the complexities of team dynamics, cultural differences, personality sensitivities, and the many aspects that can affect the synergy and productivity of your team is a world of its own. There are mountains of stuff being written on the subject every year.
Sadly, despite the amount of tech we throw at the issue of poor hiring results, the outcome seems to just get worse. The industry needs to move from this current rut and take a more individualized and personalized approach to hire talent in the 21st century.
If you are out there looking for a job, struggling to understand why it has to be soo hard, don’t give up. Know that even though a rejection sucks, it says nothing of your capacity to deliver value and earn the career you deserve. The system we have to work with is far from perfect, but remember that you can always change and adapt. You are not a tree planted in the soil. You can move forward.
The job requirement will stay the same, but you will continue to evolve.
P.S.: We didn’t post an episode of the Don’t Tell my Grandma podcast this week because we are working on finishing the first few interviews we had for Season three. We are incredibly excited about what we have created, and we can’t wait to share it with you guys.
If you want a sneak peek, we just released a trailer on our YouTube channel. Check it out.
Stay safe; Stay well.
Cover photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash