In the July 30, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter we skip the Q&A and look at the news!
News?? Hey — where’s the Q&A???
Curated News with a point!
In place of the regular, weekly Q&A column, I want to introduce you to a new Ask The Headhunter feature section, News I want you to use!
(The Q&A will be back next week! Catch up on some of the recent Q&A columns in the Latest Posts list on the right sidebar.)
If you want to skip this introduction, you may jump right over to the first edition of News I want you to use: Employers are hiring all wrong! Published in the Harvard Business Review, it’s a devastating analysis by Wharton labor researcher Peter Cappelli of why companies can’t fill key jobs and why you can’t get hired. I can’t wait to see your comments about it.
What’s it mean?
Like many of you, I’m a voracious reader of news. Readers send me links to useful articles every day, and I learn something new about topics that affect job hunting and hiring from almost every one of them.
But what good is all this information if we can’t share, digest and discuss it? You’ve helped make Ask The Headhunter the leading community of thoughtful, serious job seekers and managers who gather regularly to discuss the problems and challenges of job hunting and hiring. We share great advice — but I think we’re missing a big bet.
The great links you frequently share tell me Ask The Headhunter needs a digest of curated news we can all use — content from other good sources, curated by us and for us!
News I want you to use will include:
- A link to a provocative news item
- Dialogue about what it means for job hunters and employers
- How you might be able to benefit from it
- And, most important, your comments and insights — and loads of discussion!
News I want you to USE!
There are loads of lists of rehashed career stories all over the web. But there are also many news items that can make a difference in your professional life — if you know how to interpret them. This isn’t the same-old “career news” — it’s business news that can give you an edge when job hunting or hiring! By highlighting useful articles, I hope we can put an even sharper edge on what we do around here — help one another advance our careers.
News I want you to use is just the first of several new features I plan to add to Ask The Headhunter to stimulate more great ideas and dialogue about job hunting, hiring and success at work.
I’ve created a new pull-down on the main menu above — Sections — and I’ve added a graphic at the top of the right-sidebar of this new section so you’ll know where you are. Like a themed section in a magazine, News I want you to use will be self-contained, so you’ll find only recent News items in the right sidebar. You can always click Home to return to the Ask The Headhunter home page, or go to the Q&A section from the main menu above.
(The weekly Q&A column will also get its own section shortly. And there’s more to come.)
Keep ’em coming!
Most of the curated news items presented will be brief — the first one is longer because I’m experimenting, and I’d love your input on how you would like this to work.
I promise you I’ll try to find the best online content that you can use to advance your job hunting, hiring and career efforts — and, of course, I expect you’ll send me links to content, news and articles you think we should share and discuss. To all of you that regularly send me great links, please keep ’em coming — now our entire community will be able to enjoy them.
News will be updated several times between the regular, weekly Q&A columns. I hope you enjoy this new Ask The Headhunter section. Please help me shape it as a great new resource.
Let’s have some fun with this!
I am delighted by the new format you describe. I hope it delivers on its promise, unlike the hiring managers we so love to criticize in this forum.
But the first comment I have to make is about the website itself, not the content: MalwareBytes has just shown me several (I lost count after 5) “website blocked because of malware” messages listing a URI that does not belong to your website itself, but to google analytics and other google sites (yes, I forgot their names already) concerning analytics and serving up ads. This scares people away and may do actual harm to people whose malware defense is not as good as MalwareBytes.
Second comment: I am not sure if you (Nick) covered it already, but one of the major SNAFUs of today’s tech job market is all these managers who think they know how to administer skills tests. It is as if they don’t remember those classic signs I remember from my childhood “Those who can, do; those who can’t [do] teach; those who can’t [do or] teach administrate!”.
Sure, that sign may have been a little mean, but there is an important point here: the skills of being able to do profession X and the skills to *test* for the ability to do profession X are somewhat different. Just because the manager is good at coding does not mean he is any good at *testing* for coding ability in another person. Especially not in an interview, where everybody knows both candidate and employer never have enough time to truly evaluate each other.
Nor does it help that so many managers insist on a test environment that is not only irrelevant to the job environment (e.g. write correct code the first time on a whiteboard w/o the man-machine synergy of a modern IDE), but needlessly harder; they often get the answers to the challenges wrong themselves! I remember an interview at Twitter where the interviewer confused the time it take to *build* a state-machine with the time it takes to *run* it, giving the wrong answer to his own question.
Similarly, at another firm (don’t remember where), I was asked to do the code for tree traversal, and the interviewer’s own answer was incorrect, forgetting about handling nulls (which breaks tree traversal very thoroughly).
What can we do to educate managers for the need to leave test administration to someone else? I like to think that Hired.com is moving in the right direction, offering to do the tests for employers, but so far, not many have taken them up on it.
Third and last point: in Fischer’s introductory book on statistics, he has this great “Statistician’s Manifesto” (my name) in which he makes the key point that to understand *any* aggregate of a large number of individuals, you *must* use statistics. When will hiring managers and HR learn this? I can tell from the way they read resumes (or fail to read them) that they have no idea what light statistics can throw on the problem of understanding the pool of candidates. The flailing failure of using machine learning in their ATSs is *not* the proper use of the relevant statistics. These systems cannot even understand the difference between “Systems Engineer” and “Firmware Systems Engineer”
@Matthew J.: I’d like to know more about your experience with Malwarebytes and this website. Please drop me a note. I use Malwarebytes myself and have never seen this — but I believe you. Can you tell me more?
As for testing, it’s gotten out of control in HR. I think few HR folks understand validity and reliability in testing — much less how to administer and interpret tests in the employment process. “Flailing failure” — I love it! Today, HR is driven by database jockeys purveying “HR Technology” in the service of… what? They don’t know.
Since I wrote the comment about Malwarebytes, I discovered that Chrome had somehow failed to automatically update on my machine. Once I updated it and restarted it, the error messages went away. So now I am confident the errors had nothing to do with your site.
I am glad you liked “flailing failure”, it is so very descriptive of what they really do and it rolls off the tongue very well.
I remember a famous quote, not sure who to credit for it but I love it:
“Some individuals use statistics as a drunk man (today I would change man to person) uses lamp-posts — for support rather than for illumination”
Well put! But unfortunately many do even worse: they use statistics not as a drunk man using a lamp-post, but as his dog might use it!
Such is how I classify not so much misuse of statistics, but failure to realize the glib generalization being repeated is implausible statistically.
An example: at my local library, a retired head of HR does “job search coaching” every other Tuesday. But he repeats such generalizations as “the only real job criterion is whether or not the hiring manager likes you” — ignoring how many hoops the modern candidate must leap through before he even has a chance to show the hiring manager whether he is likable or not. This generalization also ignores how often HR will step in and forbid the hiring manager from hiring the likable one. I have seen this happen, whether because of a hiring freeze or because the HR manager simply did not like the candidate.
This glib generalization even ignores how these days, the candidate must not only show the boss he is likable, he must often show it to his future coworkers, the HR manager, the VP and often even the CEO and CTO.
This feature is absolutely spot-on. Riding on a parallel course with Ask the Headhunter will make this a comprehensive newsletter concerning the Wild World of Work, in all its good and bad aspects.
Recently “theoretically retired”, I was probably in the workforce for half a century, starting with picking berries in a rural community to working my way up to running a 60,000 square foot distribution center for thirty years.
My daughter and the Ask the Headhunter community keep me connected to the challenges and triumphs of keeping one’s mind and soul coherent in the often maddening environment we find ourselves in when we’re simply just tryin’ to make an honest buck.
Thank you to Nick and the community who more than once helped me keep my head above water when I found myself going down for the last time.