More Random Career Tips Overheard in Conversation (Long Tail Revisited)

During boom times, you got a job if you had a pulse.
During these times, there is increasing pressure to hit the ground running. 
Hence the push for job candidates to be so specialized.  Perfect fits.  Precise fits. Fit to be tied.
Two broad categories of specialization: Domain Expertise and Functional Expertise
Often recruiters don’t distinguish those categories or attempt to blend them too much… we want everything, but only certain things really matter.

We spend time, energy and miss opportunities by seeking a perfect fit, and we don’t put the energy into making the fit.

There are companies who shell out big bucks for pools of semi-qualified candidates, but then refuse to invest in those hires. Looking for more consistency in generating “perfect fits?”    Start with reasonably good raw materials and have a reasonably good process for transforming those raw materials.  That will be much more effective than seeking perfection, or trying to perfect unsuitable materials. The nice thing about people is that, unlike inanimate raw materials, they can be happy and involved in the process of their own improvement.

The obsession with hyper-specialized domain/functional experience and the use of resumes as the primary filtering device is especially sad b/c there are other, more important factors not viewable on a resume. Emotional intelligence is rarely listed as a job requirement but almost always crucial. Hence the dismal state of recruitment — good candidates always slipping through the net.

Even internship positions are competitive! Prior internship experience is (idiotically, IM(NS)HO ) used as a filter for entry-level positions (stupid stupid lazy recruiters). Now entry-level people face some of the same issues mid-career switchers face!

What matters at the entry level: willingness to work hard and have a passion to learn.
You can tell pretty quickly who is hard working and who is passionate about learning.
Also important, at all levels: Being a strong communicator.
Strong communicators have audience sensitivity, medium sensitivity and management skills.



About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on June 4, 2008, in Business, Career. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. how about haiku skills?

    being completely out of this job-seeking-using-recruiters universe (in my field, every single “thru recruiter” hired employee ive had has been a disaster… ive had much better luck with people i have known directly or indirectly).. still.. sounds to me like a there would be a demand out there for a better recruiting agency.

    specialize the recruiting company (“we only find you good managers”) and have the recruiting company go an extra step to find that “perfect” employee-employer match. specialized recruiting company, sifting thru non-specialized people. specializing people is dumb.. specializing the people/company interface makes much more sense.

    this would take a recruiter who is familiar with the specific positions… familiar with many companies and how they operate… and have a good personality sniffing abilities.

    being specialized, the recruiter can then ask for higher wages. (people are willing to pay extra for quality service) and with time, a good reputation established, the process will just get easier.

    no-BS recruiting companies would thrive on difficult economic climates. perfect for the next few years to come. startup fees are minimal (none?), growth can be easily controlled or dampened if necessary. ideally, could be performed as a side project to a another career where one connects with a lot people.

    bar owner/recruiter.

  2. i really like that idea: specialize the recruiter, not the recruits.

    what you’re describing has been validated by the market. i have worked with recruiting firms as a recruit, as a client company and as a vendor. there are some really good firms out there, some of which have dedicated practices to particular industries/segments. they can add a lot of value to their clients. the ones that are also temp/staffing firms sometimes even provide professional development for the recruits.

    on a side note, someone pointed out to me that a recruiter’s office waiting area often feels like a doctor’s/dentist’s office, with lots of slightly damaged people waiting around… “the recruiter will see you now..”

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