Question: Are You Just Venting in Blog Comments, Or Do You Really Mean It?

Okay, I have an honest question.

ProtesterI’m trying to figure out whether the comments posted to our items about hiring or career strategies is just venting, or do you really mean it? In other words, do you actually believe that we who work on the blog spin bad news to make it sound good and make suggestions that don’t reflect reality?

I ask because it seems like every time we post something positive about hiring, or about companies looking for certain skills, we’re accused of either being in lala land or flat out lying in order to suck up to Dice’s customers. And, when we post something about customizing your resume, or researching the company you’re applying to, we get comments accusing hiring managers of playing god, HR departments of being out of touch, and our writers of being the same.

I’d certainly understand the venting part. Job hunting is about as unpleasant as it gets in the working world. Given how long it takes to find a new position, I’d vent about HR departments, recruiters, and hiring managers, too.  But underneath it, I think I’d know that I was generalizing. There are a lot of putzy people out there doing the hiring, but most of them are just trying to get a position filled.

Same thing for our advice. Really, I believe the things we post. Recruiters, HR people and hiring managers consistently tell it’s the customized cover letter that gets their attention, and that crazy question — “If you filled a semi with rubber ducks and drove it from Boston to Topeka, how many bathroom breaks would you need?” — actually have a purpose.  If this is what they’re saying, shouldn’t we pay attention? After all, these are the people we’re trying to get to.

But like I said, this is an honest question. I’d really like to know what you think, so please share. (Recruiters and managers, jump in too.) Just post a comment below.


30 Responses to “Question: Are You Just Venting in Blog Comments, Or Do You Really Mean It?”

  1. Fred Bosick

    To the first paragraph, yes. Absolutely! I wouldn’t be surprised if employers took DICE ads to their congressmen and say, “Look, this is why we need more H1-B visas.” They just forget to mention that even those people don’t have every skill listed in the ad.

    I have no problem with the advice. I only think it’s rather lightweight, not wrong.

    Remember, we, our friends, and colleagues are out there and see the crap.

    • Fred, thanks for your comment. I’m especially intrigued by what you say about the advice being lightweight. How can we make it better? Should we get into more detail about narrower areas, either about, say, interviewing or focusing each item on a particular skill? I’d love to know more.



  2. First, I do believe there is some venting, it feels like we are being sold out by American firms and politicians to over-seas companies. Next, positive or negative you must be objective and show the good, bad, and ugly. Too many of the media tell us what to think; show us the picture and let us think. Finally, tell us how companies are reacting to whatever, and how we should plan. I agree with Fred we are in it everyday and we don’t want puff we want real stuff!

  3. Jim L.

    Some of the comments to the Blog posts are indeed venting but many of the Blog posts themselves related to hiring – at least here in the Silicon Valley – appear to be highly unrealistic. Many of my colleagues and I really do wonder where you folks get your information as it does not reflect what many of us are seeing nor experiencing.

    If you truly believe what you are posting in your Blogs, I would recommend that perhaps you do your research and follow what some (3 or 4) job seekers are really going through so that you can see for yourself… In the olden days, this would be considered ‘investigative reporting.’

    • Hi, Jim –

      We do report, but what you’re saying makes me wonder whether we spend too much time taking a 15,000-foot view, instead of ground level. The trends and such we post are usually done via surveys are such, but you probably know the old saying about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Your point is well-taken, and I’ll have to start looking for posts that reflect the ground level view of the job hunter. Thanks.


      • Jim L.

        Hi Mark,

        I am well acquainted with surveys and statistics having used them myself but what a lot of folks who put these surveys together fail to do is: 1) Ask the right question(s); 2) Ask the right audience; 3) Fail to convert the survey results into the right information; 4) Fail to use statistical analysis to interpret this information; and 5) surveys do not take into account Corporate behavior (i.e. Is the company laying off, is there high attrition in a company, is management not taking stock positions in their own company, etc). How I use this information myself is in the area of Business Intelligence and in predictive analytics.

        So, are Bloggers spending too much time using the results of surveys as a means of gathering information? Perhaps.

        Are Bloggers taking the place of Journalists of old? Not if there only rely on ““lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

        My recommendation to you and where you could provide the greatest service to your intended audience is make a break from the rest and standout. Follow 3 or 4 Job Seekers here in the Silicon Valley and write about their experience objectively. I think you will be surprised at the end result. At a minimum, you will have much better insight into what folks are going through and dealing with especially here in Silicon Valley.

        You will also have a better view of Companies and HR Recruiters and how they are or are not doing the job.

        Here in the Silicon Valley, we pride ourselves on the people – the engineers, the innovators – that drive that next great idea and create the next new industry. Shouldn’t you be following the “people” as opposed to the “statistics?”


        • Hi Jim –

          You’re right, surveys are problematic and I try not to rely on them too much. I hope that I pick the ones that mean something, and something helpful. I’ve talked to a number of people looking for work so even though I have a job, I’ve got a certain sense of what it’s like to deal with an endless job search. (Note I said “certain sense.” Obviously, you don’t really know what something’s like until you’ve experienced it first hand.)

          One reason I asked my initial question is because my job is to provide insight into what companies and recruiters look for and how they go about their jobs. After all, it’s helpful to know what’s going on in the minds of the people across the table. I wonder a lot about the resistance we get when we write about things like customizing resumes (this is why I asked about venting) . It’s something employers and recruiters are consistent about, but I get shouted down every time I talk about it.

          I keep seeing a disconnect between the people who are looking for work and those trying to find them. I think it would be better to get them to understand each other a bit more. This blog isn’t for recruiters or HR, so I’m more concerned with helping IT professionals be as effective as they can be in finding a job. Which leads me to another question: What would be the most helpful to you — stories of other job seekers and their experiences; narrower, more focused information to help your your job hunt, or some combination of both?

          Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Jim L.

        Hi Mark,

        I too have a job where I am the Chief Architect at a rather large company.

        As a free service to friends and colleagues who are looking for new opportunities, I leverage my skills and personal systems (yes, I do have a rather extensive Lab) for data mining and advance business analytics to direct these friends and colleagues to fresh new job opportunities. I currently provide this service to approximately 120 people in the SF Bay Area/Silicon Valley. This information goes to them on a weekly basis and no I do not charge nor expect anything in terms of repayment for this… Consider it Karma points: if I can help even one person the world’s a better place.

        I also get to hear their stories in dealing with companies and recruiters on a weekly basis – the good, the bad, and the very ugly. And occasionally, I do a detailed debrief with some of these folks and offer what advice I can from my experience or from what I have heard… I am also wired with several serial Angels and VCs so I actually hear a great deal of what is going on. So that gives you a little view of me.

        I have actually advised my colleagues of two basic things when it comes to resume: 1) Never lie on your resume and 2) Always modify your resume to meet the opportunity.

        In general over the last 3 years about 30 to 40 folks have found new opportunities with a few having to change positions 2 or 3 times because of the economic condition in the Valley. This is based on the service I provide.

        Bottom line, while I am not unemployed and haven’t been so for over 30 years (and not at the same company), I can empathize with what my friends and colleagues are going through. Life in the Silicon Valley for the last 3 years has been rough for many folks (its not to say this isn’t true in the rest of the country). So I think I can express a very credible opinion in this area (at least in the Silicon Valley).

        So, where I see some Companies and HR recruiters going wrong is first of all in the job postings themselves. I’ll give you a real example but I promise I will not name the company.

        I have one colleague who was very excited about a job positing at a large Internet company based in Mt View. He tailored his resume to accentuate his strengths of his past experience and skills, and sent it in directly to the HR recruiter for the position. I reviewed his resume vs. the job posting before he sent it and it was spot on. We both thought that this should at least get him a phone interview with a hiring manager and he was very excited about the position.

        After a week of no contact, he contacted the HR recruiter via phone. The recruiter basically said “Oh yeah, we have it. Let me send it to the Committee.” After another two weeks, there was no word so he again contacted the HR recruiter via phone. The recruiter said, “Oh, I meant to contact you last week. The Committee said that there was definite applicability of your skills and experience to this position, but they still did not think there was a good fit.” The recruiter did not elaborate nor was specific. The position remained posted for another 4 weeks after that.

        So, what does this tell us about the Company and the HR recruiter? It says that the HR recruiter is a flake who has no consideration for the applicant. It also says that there were hidden requirements that are not in the job posting.

        So to be fair we also did an experiment where we used the original job posting as the data source for a Natural Language Processor and an Entity Extractor. We then scanned the relevant portions of my colleague’s resume that he submitted and used some simple statistical scoring algorithms (in R). [And yes, I am getting really geeky here]. At the end of the day, his resume alone was over a 95% match with the source job posting. And the fellow did not even get an interview with a hiring manager.

        I have many, many other horror stories from other folks in dealing with HR recruiters and Companies here in Silicon Valley… over the last 9 months these stories are getting more and more frequent with the name of well know and in some cases, well respected Companies showing up.

        So you ask “What would be the most helpful to you — stories of other job seekers and their experiences; narrower, more focused information to help your your job hunt, or some combination of both? ” I think a combination of both would be useful.

        I would also not drink the Kool Aid when it comes to HR recruiters saying that they cannot find good talent in the Silicon Valley… they need to do their jobs and start treating folks with respect… I sometime wonder if I shouldn’t start my own Blog called “Tales of the Silicon Valley” and write about some of the experiences some of my colleagues have been experiencing…

        But really, thinking about the common thread in many of these stories, it points to HR recruiters who any not doing their jobs. This is a disgrace and a shame for the Companies that they work for and a loss of potentially good and qualified candidates.

        I hope that helps. I really do think you have an opportunity to do a really good story of true journalistic quality.

        Thank you,


        • Hi Jim —

          I think your advice to your colleagues is exactly right – don’t lie and do tailor your resume. And I do agree that you’ve shown cases where HR just wasn’t doing its job, or had people who didn’t take the time to learn their company’s business. That’s mind-boggling, really, though I bet we all know people — in HR or other support departments — who do the same thing. The great challenge for all of us is getting past those people.

          Okay, now: I was about to argue this:

          HR’s behavior aside — that could be a whole new discussion — I don’t think it’s fair to conclude that just because someone appeared to be an on-paper fit on one level, there weren’t reasons on another for the company to walk away. Especially if the company’s got a “committee” reviewing the resumes, we can’t know what its dynamic is, or whether a department head stuck his head in and didn’t like something about the candidate’s background. I don’t doubt that there may be hidden agendas in many cases, but the truth is talented people do get turned down for legitimate reasons.

          But looking at it, I think I was about to miss the point. I do believe there can be good reasons for a skilled person not to get a certain job. But that doesn’t really matter if you’re the person who just got turned down. At that point, all you can do is try to get ahold of the hiring manager and see if you can get a sense of why you weren’t right. Most of the time you won’t get anywhere but sometimes you will.

          One of the things I’d love to hear people talk about is the notion of a talent shortage in the US. I think companies are being very, very picky because they see a lot of people out there looking for work in the wake of the recession. Anyone have anything to say about that?


      • Mark,
        First, thanks for the opportunity to comment about the job search process. This reply is really to back up Jim’s story from June 29 about the applicant with a 95% match yet not even getting a phone screening.

        If nothing else, I discovered I am not alone!!!!!

        I have been looking for work since August and have had limited success even getting the phone interview. I have been sitting here wondering what the heck is worng with me, my resume, or my credentials. That story Jim tells has me believing that indeed the process needs to be re-worked some way. I have told my friends that most job descriptions want the applicant to be able to “Part the Red Sea & Walk on water!!” Then if the resume doesn’t state every requirement or qualification it is seemingly dismissed out of hand.

        Jim’s idea of following active job seekers for a couple of weeks and see what we are experiencing would is great. To broaden the data I would suggest following people from different locatioins throughout the country.

        Just my 2 cents.

      • Jim L.

        Hi Mark,

        Another piece of advice I have told my colleagues is that the initial HR recruiters are but gatekeepers with the first objective to get past these people and get to the hiring manager (or obtain the hiring manager’s name and/or contact information) and then to get that initial telephone interview with the hiring manager. It’s part of the “game.” Sometimes this is successful and sometimes not so.

        I advise that if they are turned down at any point to ask for feedback as to why (but do so in a positive and constructive manner) so that they can learn if their approach is not appropriate or if they are indeed missing one thing or another from their experience or skills inventory. At a minimum, this allows the applicant to have a certain amount of closure or, if they for have missed emphasizing something on their resume, to try to recover for a secondary meeting and another chance to talk with the hiring manager.

        When you are dealing with a pre-screening “Committee,” and hopefully that is the case (obviously HR recruiters never tell fictional stories to applicants) the candidate does not know what the group dynamic is like of the “Committee”. Some member of the “Committee” could be having a “bad day.” You just do not know as there is very little information or feedback in most cases.

        If you, as an applicant, are trying to approach a job search ethically and honestly, you really would expect that all the important (or “need”) requirements would be in the job requisition description. That is the responsibility of the Company and the HR recruiter. Many of us do wonder about that… Could there be some hidden “need” that should be the description… etc.

        In the example I cited, we only have one side of the story but it is all the information that is available. What we know is what we know, and what we do not know, is what we do not know. Attempts to solicit feedback were unsuccessful as were attempts to find out who the real hiring manager was.
        This large Internet company in Mt. View is very good when it comes to hiding information.

        What I did advise my colleague was to NOT dismiss the company entirely but if he finds another opportunity, avoid this particular HR representative as he does appear to be a flake, but stick to the course and not give up. Apply for the new opportunity and again, tailor your resume to the opportunity. “If you do not ask [for the job] you do not get [the job].”

        As for your last question: “the notion of a talent shortage in the US. “ My own opinion is that this is a fabrication (at least for now and especially in the IT/IS Tech industry throughout the US) and it was probably started by executives looking to boost their own bonuses by shipping IT jobs overseas and making it look they were saving their company money. This outsourcing trend has hurt all areas of the US and moved a great deal of the IT/IS and R&D investments to “cheaper” labor countries. Are these workers of the same quality as those in the US? In my opinion, No.

        Now I should say that it’s not to say that this notion of a talent shortage will not be the case within the next 15 to 20 years. As a member of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE, we are seeing the enrollment numbers for IT/IS and Engineering related degrees at US universities on the dramatic decrease. Many US university students who may have opted to go into the IT/IS profession are now seeing US based jobs beginning exported and are changing their majors to business related degrees. Fewer IT/IS and Engineering graduates now mean a talent shortage of professionals in the future – it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        Is there currently a talent shortage of IT/IS professional in the US? No. Should the INS’s H1-B VISA policy have greater scrutiny? Absolutely.

        Are companies “being very, very picky because they see a lot of people out there looking for work in the wake of the recession?” Yes. And I expect that it will be to their detriment both from a Company reputation standpoint, as well as, a real monetary standpoint.

        Thank you,


    • Jim,

      No disrespect intended, but there is a lot of IT/IS taking place outside of the silicon valley. If you believe only that relatively tiny geographic area is affected you are mistaken.


      • Jim L.


        I agree that there is a lot of IT/IS taking place outside of the Silicon Valley. However, as I and my colleagues are in the Silicon Valley and not outside, I cannot comment on that what I do not know about.

        If this same condition exists outside the Silicon Valley, so be it. I leave it for others to comment on if this same condition exists elsewhere.

        Thank you,


  4. Mark,

    I am wondering why you stated you “have an honest question”. Do some folk have dishonest questions? Sorry, I could not resist. 🙂

    To answer your question(s): yes, I am venting; yes, I really mean what I post in a comment.

    I was recently interviewed by the BostonGlobe for an article about the plight of un(der)-employed “older” workers. According to many of the tech blogs, the experienced, educated, knowledge worker (a phrase used by Peter Drucker) should be able to find a position. But the reality is that the education and experience seem to be a liability; too old, too “expensive”, “probably leave as soon as something better comes up”, can’t teach an “old guy” new tricks, etc.

    Feel free to ping me … x32767 [at]


  5. ej_in_michigan

    Of course there is a lot of venting. But most of it is warranted. Far too many HR, and Management folks are unqualified for the tasks they are supposed perform. They are intellectually lazy (e.g. 5 years experience with a 3-year-old technology). Most techs are far more educated, experienced, and skilled in their profession than those who pass judgement on them. Modern technology-based professions are more demanding than those of business. Take away the window-dressing, mark the cyclical fads, and MBAs have been learning the same stuff since World War II.

    Venting is the social response. Your imaginations can construct the anti-social responses. (The “news” will document them.)

    Advising US-based technology workers is a moral conundrum: Package truth so that it sounds like a lie. This confounds people with STEM inclinations.

    Stop coaching those folks on how to weasel-word their way around amatuerish management. Avoid the venting and gain some credibility by imposing a higher standard on your job postings: Forego the obvious H1B shams; Insist on believable skill sets and experience levels; Show some recognition for the value of the skills, and the cost-of-living in the job’s vicinity.

  6. Jon K. Evans

    Mr. Feffer:

    Let me apologize for misspelling your surname. I know now that there is no P in Feffer!

    I really meant what I said about your positive employment news not gibing with reality.. I am a Technical Writer, and despite my training, I have run into a myriad amount of resistance in trying to practice my profession. 4 years after my graduation and 49 weeks of working it constitutes a humongous problem for me. It is now coming up on 10 years since I last practiced my profession

    • Hi Jon –

      No need to apologize about my name. EVERYone mis-spells it. You should hear me trying to spell it for people on the phone.

      Anyway, thanks for your observation. I’m sort of in absorbing mode right now, thinking about what everyone’s saying…

  7. I write code

    Yes we mean it.

    The reality of the job market is very poorly realized by those who are not actually in it. The reality is far, far worse than anything you have read. Almost any positive comment about the market is simply wrong on the facts.

    Get your face out of the office and into actual IT shops, even for five minutes, to get a feel for the real world.

    OTOH, if you wrote about the real situation, employers would hate you and not list. We understand that. So, thanks for asking, but you really don’t want to know, do you?

  8. I too would like to back up Jim’s story of the resume with a 95% match that did not even receive a response.

    About a year ago I applied to a job at a major company outside of Silicon Valley. The job was nearly a 100% match to my skillset. It used the same programming language, database, and development tools I had been working on for about eleven years at the time I sent in my resume.

    To my surprise I did not receive even a single call or inquiry (other than the automated response saying they received my resume). I followed that posting and saw that it stayed up for nearly a year. I attempted reposting my resume with similar results — absolutely no response.

    This was a job that was an exact match to my skillset and on which I was an expert.

    The same has been true for jobs that were parallel skill matches.

    I believe that when employers lament a “shortage of talent,” they are merely laying the groundwork for further outsourcing and it’s close cousin the importation of guest workers on the H1b visa (primarily from India).

    • Jim L.

      Hi Joe,

      Thank you for your comment and thank you for the link to the IEEE article. I have already read the article and have disagreed with this stand by the IEEE (for many years now).

      So, why be a member of the ACM and IEEE? Because it provides me access to additional information, free or discounted training (I do not rely on companies I work for my training), I have access to discounted insurance products, and it allows me to influence the direction of my profession (like in the eduction area).

      The ACM and IEEE quite often support causes and legislation I do not and in many cases I actively oppose. Those that I oppose I am actually quite vocal about… but you see, membership gives me voice to help change things. I wish other members would also speak their conscience because with many voices, this can become a roar that can change things. SOmetime it is easier to change things from within than from the outside.

      I also use my voice with my US Senators and House Representative. Again, few voices do little to change things but with many voices, change is inevitable. It takes less than 30 minutes to let your elected representative know if they are messing up. The same is true with any organization. Use your voice… If they do not listen, use the ballot box.

      I read a book several years ago called “Thinkertoys.” In the book, it said that people exhibit the traits of one of two kinds of animals – especially during difficult situations – either that of a monkey or a kitten. A kitten, when in distress, will mew and crying until her mother comes. The monkey will jump around trying different things. I found the book extremely thought provoking and recommend it to my colleagues to help them take charge of their careers and their lives.

      Thank you for yours comments,


  9. USCitizen

    As I have advised many people, call up your local Department of Labor and inquire about a career in IT. You will be informed that IT has been off-shored to India and that Indians are being in-sourced by the thousands.

    You will also be informed of the annual survey of 5,000 Medium to Large Businessed in the NYC/Long Island vicinity who strongly prefer low-cost foreigners to US graduates.

    The Hempstead, NY Department of Labor cancelled all IT training back in 2009 due to failure to place ANY individuals regardless of age, race or nationality; US citizens need not apply.

    Remember that Congress is beholden to a college drop-out by the name of Bill Gates who frequently informs Congress that Americans don’t have the skills for the 21st century.
    I guess all of the American developers who built Office and Visual Studio all died; I wonder if Mr. Gates attended any of the funerals.

  10. Increased hiring: Many more ads than previously but few hires.
    Talent shortage: “We are looking for somebody working in the same position for a competitor who will switch to us for a meager 10% or so salary increase. If we cannot find such people, that means US is experiencing a talent shortage and we need to look for a recent college grad from a developing country to fill this position.”

    • Marland K.

      EmpireAndWar — I could not agree with you more. Most companies want to hire people who are already employed in the position they are hiring for. Meaning the career advise Dice is giving, is useless. I have over 65 customized resumes and cover letters, in which each one took me 4 hours or more to create. That is a total of 290 hours, and I have only gotten two face-to-face interviews in 3 years. I have 7 years of experience as a Network/PC support technician and 5 years of experience as a Application Developer and I hold a Masters Degree in Computer Science. So far I’ve found your advise on customizing my resume and cover letter useless. I agree with some of the job posters on this blog, that Dice should send out really job applicants to see what job market for IT professionals really is. I would love to participate in such a study.

      • I think it’s true that companies prefer to hire people who are employed in many cases – in many areas of recruiting the holy grail is “the passive job seeker,” the person’s who’s very good at what they do, but isn’t looking for work. In some cases, this is true. But, though I have no hard evidence to back this up, I don’t think that an exclusive channel in most cases. Sure, managers keep their ear to the ground about who might be working here or there, but they’re not keeping a job slot open while they try to find someone who may or may not exist.

        Marland, you may want to take a look at this article:
        It’s about “mass customizing” your search — in other words, customizing each item for each opportunity, but without having to spend 290 hours doing it.

        Now obviously I don’t agree that our advice is useless. It’s a fact that companies are hiring more than they were a year ago — but they’re still hiring way too slowly and are still sitting on too much cash. That, of course, doesn’t matter if you’re not getting the job. No one likes to hear me say this, but I’m going to keep saying it: Every single recruiter or hiring manager I’ve ever spoken to says that most of the time it’s a customized approach that makes the difference. Note I said most of the time. There are certainly people out there who get picked up through a generic resume. But if you want to make the strongest case possible, you should tailor your first pitch (that would be the resume and cover letter), toward the specific needs of the company.

  11. First, this is a very good discussion. As one who dishes out advice (and I’ve worked in technology for ten plus years, consult, been a hiring manager and a person being interviewed), I really want to help people looking for work. How best to help is a big deal and I know Mark is sincere in trying to figure out how best to tailor advice to help people.

    Second, I think, based on the comments, that we need to narrow the focus or ask a few separate questions.

    One of the big areas of discontent is the fact that the job description and the resume match big time (the “95%” match) but there is no phone interview. This, by itself is a big area to explore. Is it that companies put out fake job postings to see what the competition is doing? Methinks yes. Is it that companies have no clue how to read resumes and match to job skills? A lot of times this happens. Regardless, this is a big area to explore, both in terms of overcoming the obstacles and to determine what is reasonable to expect when applying for a job.

    A second area, not well explored in these comments, is what happens after the phone interview. Once you are in a face-to-face situation, does it still suck? Here, as Mark notes, good candidates don’t get the job because the dynamics are different. It’s not just job skills anymore; job skills got you in the door, but don’t get you the job.

    Here, in the face-to-face interviews, it’s much more about synching up with the right management style, making sure you will fit in with the team, and understanding how you think so you can contribute to reaching business goals. Much more subjective.

    Is this the area where it isn’t working out?

    That companies want the most skills for the least dollars should not be surprising. To think that American companies of any size will stop outsourcing is not really seeing reality. To fix all of that is really a movement, not something that one person can control.

    So my question is where to focus: the resumes not getting the phone interview or the face-to-fact interviews not getting the job offer? Or something else?

    Comments around that would be very useful to all of us who write for Dice. We really want to rock it for you.

  12. Hello,

    There is one more trend also being noticed in Silicon Valley. This is something I have gotten from friends that sometimes hiring managers do have candidates already in their mind. They post or open rack just to fulfill legal necessities. Once they have passed the legal necessities, all of sudden they rub the bottle and genie appears, who got internal employee. The job is taken off from the boards and recruiters give you confirmation of new status.

  13. Fred Bosick

    “Fred, thanks for your comment. I’m especially intrigued by what you say about the advice being lightweight. How can we make it better? Should we get into more detail about narrower areas, either about, say, interviewing or focusing each item on a particular skill? I’d love to know more.”

    Sorry Mark, I haven’t visited this thread in awhile, but was was posted in the interim is fascinating! As far as “lightweight” goes, we all should know about dressing properly, greeting the interviewer and customizing the resume’. But what we need is info about things like, recognizing legitimate ads as opposed to placeholders posted to skirt employment laws, or how to read an ad posted by the technically naive and figuring out what they really want.

    It must be remembered that we computer geeks chose our occupations deliberately. If we wanted to be salesmen and women, we wouln’t *be* here. So, advice geared towards brash, clueless and extroverted people wouldn’t work here.

    I Write Code posted this:

    “OTOH, if you wrote about the real situation, employers would hate you and not list. We understand that. So, thanks for asking, but you really don’t want to know, do you?”

    I think this applies to my suggestions given above. You probably don’t have any choice but to give lightweight advice. It’s OK, but we understand more than employers and the financial elite think. When employed, we prefer to spend our time figuring out the systems we work on and play with at home. But when not working, we have lots of time to examine society and the groups and castes that make it up. The social goodwill is eroding rapidly. The recent political news gives plenty of examples. Those who are in charge now might feel that the military and police offer enough protection for the exclusive gated communities from torch and pitchfork wielding mobs. But they have no chance against mobs acting through the Internet.

    • Hey Fred —

      Thanks for coming back 🙂 I take your point about advice – we’ve done a handful on scoping out real ads vs spam ads, we’ll have to do more of what you’re suggesting. But I think we have to keep plugging away at the basics, since I keep hearing from people in all sorts of businesses that a lot of people don’t follow the tried-and-true approaches like, say, wearing shoes and not sandals to interviews, or checking the spelling of their cover letter. I suspect much of that’s happening among younger people, but still…

      Now, let me reply to you and I Write Code about this:

      “OTOH, if you wrote about the real situation, employers would hate you and not list. We understand that. So, thanks for asking, but you really don’t want to know, do you?”

      Well, guys, I don’t have a gentle way to say this so I’ll just come out with it: You’re wrong. IWC, you’re wrong about our approach to the blog and, Fred, you’re wrong about the notion of being forced to give “lightweight” advice. I generally agree your point about social goodwill, etc., but I’m not a part of some vast corporate conspiracy laboring to keep people down. I’ve been a reporter and editor pretty much my whole professional life, the last five of them at Dice. Since I got involved here, I’ve found that at any job board worth anything, people understand that you’ve got to respect those looking for jobs so the community is solid and professional. Otherwise, the employers will just go search Craigslist. Whatever the reason, Dice’s management pretty much leaves me alone. There’s no rule sheet saying what I can say or can’t say, etc. Yes, it’s true I don’t post stories about our competitors but I think that’s reasonable.

      One of the reasons I posted this item in the first place was to find out what things folks thought we should be covering. I’m having all of our job writers look through here for ideas. Ultimately, it’s up to you to tell me whether we’re doing the right things or not.