Why Recruiters and Managers Fear Hiring You

Surveys show that the average interview process for tech pros takes almost 23 days. That’s quite some time, and, according to recruiting experts, it’s because managers fear hiring the wrong person by accident.

Whether you chalk up that terror to the increasing complexity of modern technology jobs (which often involve tasks that recruiters don’t fully understand), or the growing awareness of the costs of a bad hire, the fact is that many managers are reluctant to extend an offer. They’re searching for perfection.

If you’re a tech pro on the hunt for a new job, recruiters’ terror puts you in something of an awkward position. However, you can anticipate the fears of hiring managers and recruiters, and overcome them.

Let’s run down what recruiters fear most:

You’re a Serial Job Hopper

If you lasted less than two years in your previous jobs, or have been working as an independent contractor for a long time, the hiring manager may fear that you have commitment or loyalty issues, explained Payton Blackman, staffing consultant for staffing firm RPC Company.

Surveys show that it takes eight months for a new employee to become fully productive, and many leave before their first anniversary. Given those odds, and the fact that it costs the equivalent of six to nine months’ salary to hire a replacement, most managers simply can’t afford to hire a tech pro who won’t stay three to five years.

Injecting some personality, passion and career goals into your résumé can help you land the interview. Then, when you’re sitting across from the recruiter or hiring manager, be ready to explain why you moved around, how your personal or professional situation has changed, and why you’re in a position to settle down for a while.

“Showing that you’re a real person with goals and objectives, not some sort of unemotional robot, can help you overcome a manager’s negative perceptions and fears about your ability to commit,” Blackman said.

Also, beware coming across as someone who is totally comfortable with change or unafraid to take risks, because a manager may get the impression that you’ll jump ship when something more interesting comes along, explained veteran tech recruiter Katy Imhoff, regional manager with Camden Kelly Corporation. Indicate that you like a dynamic work environment that simultaneously offers job security.

Your Learning Curve is Too Steep

If you don’t have experience with a specific set of techniques, tools, processes, and industry regulations, the hiring manager may fear that your lack of knowledge will slow down the whole system or limit your team’s production.

While it may seem like a viable solution at the time, emphasizing your fast learning abilities typically isn’t enough to overcome the idea that training a new team member will be a burden. “Show that you are willing to take the initiative for your own development and put forth that extra effort to get up to speed,” Imhoff advised.

Describe side projects or mention things that you’ve learned outside of work; a hiring manager is more likely to take a risk on someone who has a track record of learning and creating on their own.

You Act Like a Prima Donna

You certainly have every right to be proud of your hard work and accomplishments. And you want to have faith in your own skills and abilities.

But there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. And given today’s team-based approach to development, which depends on chemistry and teamwork, managers are often reluctant to hire someone who is difficult to get along with or who alienates others.

“Alleviate fear by being proud and confident during the hiring process, but do it in a humble way,” Imhoff advised.

How? For starters, balance your “I” and “we” statements during interviews. For instance, give credit to your teammates first when describing previous endeavors and projects, followed by an overview of your role and personal contributions.

By the way, managers aren’t the only ones potentially apprehensive about bringing someone new into the fold. Your prospective teammates may have something to say about who gets an offer, so don’t overlook anyone during the hiring process. Make eye contact with everyone in group interviews, and attempt to draw out more inhibited or quiet team members, Imhoff advised. You stand the best chance of quelling concerns by appearing both competent and appealing.

Comments

68 Responses to “Why Recruiters and Managers Fear Hiring You”

October 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm, Keith W said:

Only a recruiter use the term “job hopper”, and especially when you use it like the “N Word” – a an epithet. It shows a level of ignorance that is just astounding for his era. It is employers who broke job “loyalty” a couple of decades ago. If you people had real jobs, you would know that.

American employers now openly discriminate against Americans, and stoop to incredibly unethical means to otherwise make technical employment a miserable experience, to drive down salaries.

Recruiters are driving a large portion of this. Misleading your clients about what the market for a skill set and experiences is worth – and the filtering out all but the most junior candidates to prevent the client from finding you out.

I see that you all have been silent while H-1b and other manipulation of the labor pool. How has this worked out for you? More than half the recruiters that I hear from are now Indians. You beat down on compensation, and what does that get you? Over time, it put *YOU* in a lower tax bracket.

You like to beat down on people doing consulting work? I note that you mostly hate those who are doing so independently, and aren’t giving a cut to you parasites. Yes, that is an actual market, and one you can’t screw up with your lies and unethical conduct.

Congratulations on doing your part to squeeze the middle class. Of course, most of you would otherwise be selling real estate or insurance. Typical “Nice shoes, and low IQs” kinds of people.

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October 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm, TNJobSeeker said:

Keith,
I understand exactly what you mean! I am in the same pain. I was asked to train the Indian (off-shore / on-shore) IT Staff, to take over my job, then lay me off. It has been 8 months now, i still in search for the IT job. I am not picky with salary / responsibilities, but it is still so hard. Feeling like the x-Disney employees who sued them. A few of my friends, who are recruiters telling me that the IT Job labors are currently flooded with so many of Indians with MBA in America. It is very competitive, with high requirements and lower salary. What will our kids be doing when they are graduated? They will have to work harder and get lower salary to pay for a higher cost of living. Sad!!!

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October 19, 2017 at 7:57 am, Michael said:

This is very true. Most IT/development jobs these days are at-will. Companies have no incentive to be that loyal to you (or me). So where’s my incentive to be loyal to them? There is none. Besides, at-will says either party can walk away from the engagement for no reason whatsoever. But here’s the rub: when employers/recruiters hear that, the bad ones use that against you as well. Doesn’t seem quite right when at-will is at-will.

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October 19, 2017 at 8:41 am, Chris Fox said:

Companies want a tabula rasa. If you’re experienced you’d better hide your learning because they expect to live for “the team” and have no opinions of your own.

I freelance from Vietnam, I will never again do a whiteboard interview or work in an office. I work on distributed teams I will never meet.

Much better.

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October 19, 2017 at 8:54 am, chang said:

I am a Chinese American and thought my job switching experience is just another “chinaman’s chance” which is special to my ethnic background. This thread shows it is more pervasive than that and would like to share here.
I was laid off 10 years ago after training a offshore Indian team. Luckily enough to get a development job back in 6 months. The nightmare began 2 years ago when a subcontinent guy jumped into our team. A substitute to replace me was groomed by him at my back. The American guy managing us likes this man eat man culture and was able to get rid off me eventually.
Seems that no matter how deep the knowledge your job is involved, you cannot defend it against a group of people intentionally to steal from you.
I am still unemployed now and surrounded by phone calls from India recruiters but non of the opportunities went through.

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October 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm, wageslave said:

Are they recruiters or data miners trying to get you to give them permission to use your resume data for a purpose it wasn’t intended under false pretenses for fun an profit.

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November 06, 2017 at 6:01 am, Peggy said:

I am 55 years old and in same boat. I have only had 4, half hour Phione interviews since I had to leave my last project at the end of March this year. I was told I had to leave for 3 months and come back through a “preferred” vendor but then they had budget cuts so nothing was available at end of June. I know 2 people actually quit but, nothing. I know I was getting paid more than the other people I worked with we were considered Implementation Engineer/project Managers.

November 06, 2017 at 6:07 am, Peggy said:

Wagslave,
What do you mean by data mining our resumes. My friend asked me this Summer, “How do you know they are really submitting it?” and I replied, Good question because I don’t really know. So, I started to wonder about everything that has been posted here too. Do recruiters try to keep some people out of the running?

November 08, 2017 at 12:05 pm, wageslave said:

Data mining is an almost unregulated industry. A resume contains valuable data that can be sold. When an Indian voice on the phone is contacting you about a resume you posted and asks you to send them your resume they are most likely data minors selling you data. They extract the information they want and sell it. You will never hear from them after you send it no matter what your skills are. They are a scourge on labor markets adding entry costs to labor transactions by externalizing their cost of doing business on to unsuspecting folks trying to feed themselves.

November 08, 2017 at 12:21 pm, wageslave said:

Peggy, I think the answer to your second question lies in the recruiter’s business model. Every recruiting firm maintains a list of candidates. Whether it is used as a black list or a white list is unregulated and completely up to the firm. If you find yourself black listed you will never know. All you have to do is express your anger at a recruiter and you could end up black listed.

October 19, 2017 at 6:26 am, Lloyd Conway said:

You nailed it. They want compliant, low-paid sheep who they can dispose of easily when the time comes. American wage scales and American expectations concerning what constitutes ethical treatment are not what they want. The current political climate reflects the widespread anger people have over this, and it is not confined to old factory towns in the Midwest.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:07 am, Bill H. said:

This is one the best summaries of the recruiting discipline I have seen. As a high level Project Management Professional with dual certifications (PMP and PMI-SP) and a track record of performance on many major capitol projects in the US and some international work, I am appalled at the recruitment calls I receive. Recruiters who troll the internet and look for candidates to submit without having the position. There are number of Indian recruiters who are focused on finding top talent people for low ball salaries. Additionally, day long behavioral interviews are dominated by HR people who have no understanding of the actual profession. Gone are the days of loyalty and young professionals having job stability with benefits while building a long term progressive career. Loyalty has to be to yourself, your family and your career. So called Diversity officers are merely filling a box on the Org. chart (toothless tigers) who are well compensated. Age, Race and Gender discrimination is rampant in Private and Public industries through out America. The H1B Visas are out of control. Canadians can come to American to work at high paying jobs. Americans cannot go to work in Canada without a lengthy process to prove no one in Canada can do the job. Enough, recruitment is in shambles and doing a real disservice to a lot of Americans. We understand and support Globalization done in the right way.

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October 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm, Allan Knox said:

How wonderful to hear someone telling it like it really is, especially your first paragraph. Only HR people are more worthless than most recruiters. Finding a good recruiter you can work with is the best solution for the immediate problem.

I don’t remember who wrote this (I think it’s from “What Color is Your Parachute”) that “…the only true security is knowing your skills and who needs them…”

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October 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm, Gary N. said:

To Keith W.
Thank you so much for making me laugh when I really needed to. I’m not an IT person but came to this website in an effort to get the resume circulated. Your presentation and frustration is not limited to IT job seekers. The “ageism factor” is alive and well from my perspective.My experience to date dealing with recruiters is just like you said. I get e-mails to apply for positions that are already filled. Better yet, they contact me to set up an interview and don’t return phone calls or e-mails.What mess.

Thanks again,

Gary

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October 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm, Shawn Perry said:

You nailed it. Kind of hard to be a “serial job hopper” when your contract is up, you get laid off, or the company moves out of state. I would love to stay at a job for more than two years. Unfortunately, it’s the companies who have a problem with staying loyal. Any recruiter or hiring manager who doesn’t recognize this trend should find another occupation. I also noticed the article skipped over a massive issue affecting the workplace and why recruiters and managers have a fear in hiring someone: age. For all the screaming for tolerance you read about in the papers and online, age discrimination seems to be the one thing most employers have no problem with. Very sad.

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October 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm, Ron Mask said:

Excellent comments about tech firms. Foreign currency exchange rates are ruining the job market here in the United States for U.S. Citizens. That’s why corporations want foreigners to work here in the United States because they UNDERCUT THE WAGES OF U.S. CITIZENS. That’s why indians and other foreigners live 3 to 5 people together in one apartment. So they can send as much money back to their home country. I sick and tied as a contractor going into companies and CORRECTING THE BAD CODE. I would not be a contractor if it wasn’t for the corporations making me go in that direction years ago. If any of you idiots studied history, you would know how Rome FELL. it’s going to happen here !

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October 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm, Arno said:

This article is puerile, employee shaming and just plain wrong.

I second everything Keith W posted. On one hand, job boards and industry websites are pimping the new term “gig economy” to put a positive spin on the practice of perma-temping the IT workforce, enabling companies to avoid the responsibilities of paying benefits and providing stable employment to American citizens. Meanwhile, those same corporate mouthpieces are telling people they shouldn’t be “job hopping?

I’ve worked in IT for 18 years, the people I know aren’t job hoppers…..they just can’t compete with foreign labor whose cost of living is a fraction of what theirs is.

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October 19, 2017 at 6:55 am, Joe said:

Arno,

I agree with you totally. Not is it just competing with foreign labor but also youth and inexperience. I have been in IT just slightly longer than you and for about 4 years have not been able to find meaningful, well paying employment.

After being laid off about 4 years ago it seems like the minute i sit across some recruiter/manager whose is young enough to be my child, knows jack sh*t about running a network, I never hear from them again. Dare I say ageism plus their fear that I might take their job because I actually know more and have actually done more then the person interviewing me.

I think the person who wrote this article should talk people like us before espouse their dribble. We wouldn’t be “job hoppers” if we worked in an environment that was conducive to staying there long term.

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October 19, 2017 at 7:47 am, Unconvinced said:

I honestly don’t see what the issue is with this article. What they listed off here is literally what it says it is… a list of things managers are afraid to be true, not a list of things every person with a tech job is and needs to overcome. Furthermore, it’s not like they don’t have a point… distilled down to its most basic, what they’re saying is basically that managers don’t like:

A) Commitment issues
B) Not knowing entirely what you’re doing
C) An overinflated ego

This isn’t limited to just tech jobs… if you get a skilled labor position of any kind, this is going to be the case. NOBODY likes dealing with people who have these traits, be it in the field of computer programming, management, or whatever you happen to do. Not actually having these traits doesn’t mean much if you can’t SHOW you don’t have these traits. All things considered, this is good advice; be humble, stay informed, and be ready to commit to your work, as these are things employers like to see.

Whether it’s *helpful* advice is another matter altogether. If what’s keeping you from getting a job is having competition that doesn’t charge nearly as much for it, then nothing you do is going to fix it, save for maybe resigning yourself to even more impoverished conditions. At that point, it’s not necessarily that they’re afraid of hiring you (which is the only domain the article actually covers), it’s companies outsourcing to an area that doesn’t include you. That has its own ethical implications, which were not the focus here.

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October 19, 2017 at 10:50 am, Joe said:

I think you missed the point. Most of us are objecting to the job hoppers because people like don’t either the guts or knowledge to tell the truth about why American workers are changing jobs often.

As soon as you start making decent money like industry standards and your boss finds out that he/she can hire someone for less maybe even put 2 of them in your place you’re outa there.

So again we’re reflecting back to the writer our disappointment in an industry that doesn’t value it’s experienced, competent slightly more expensive American worker and then calling us “job hoppers”

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October 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm, Unconvinced said:

See, that’s the thing. I don’t believe this article is accusing any of the readers of actually being “job hoppers”.. but to an employer, there’s no distinction on a resume between “cannot hold a job and has been hopping around the field” and “has been laid off repeatedly in favor of cheaper workers”, unless the prospective employee makes a point of including the distinction. The former looks bad and is not a good hire, the latter is more often the reality of the situation and not as problematic for the employer.

I get that even the idea of being accused of being a bad worker/hire, due to being screwed over, is very upsetting and is bound to cause some sparking. But that’s not what’s going on here at all; the article is advising explaining the “why” of having a long list of previous jobs on your resume, and by the sounds of things, most of the other posters here have a ready answer. The author is also advising emphasising your personality and making it clear that you ARE willing to commit to a long-term job, instead of just letting the resume speak for you on its own (because what it seems to say without your intervention does not work in your favor).

Honestly, what people really seem to be getting mad at, rather than the article or the author itself, is that employers and recruiters actually think this way. Most-to-all of the anecdotes shared here describe frustrations with employers and recruiters, as opposed to pointing to any fault within the article itself. Everyone’s taking offense to the idea of being regarded as a “job hopper” (most likely due to the laziness implied), and they’re leaving angry comments on the article in spite of the fact that it contains detailed instructions for how to AVOID being viewed this way.

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October 19, 2017 at 8:51 pm, Beth said:

Hiring managers ask for and WILL check the reasons why you left your previous positions. THAT is their sure fire way of knowing why you appear to be a ‘job-hopper’. I was laid off twice in five years, both times for ‘lack of work’ (as noted on my exit documents). Those facts are in black and white from reputable employers. Hiring managers, if they do their homework, should not ‘fear’ anything here. They’ll know with certainty if a candidate just can’t commit to a position, was fired, or was let go through no fault of his/her own.

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October 19, 2017 at 6:22 am, Mark Ackerman said:

I couldn’t agree more with everything already said. A bad hire is NOT that costly – what a joke. The real problem here? Recruiters and greed.

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October 19, 2017 at 6:32 am, John said:

Thank you Keith and others. Awesome.

You mention that half of the recruiters are Indian. I’d say 90%+ that I talk to are Indian. Not surprisingly, I have had zero success in this brave new world despite having a powerful and lengthy CV. It is incredible. How the average white male in IT can think this current situation is acceptable and doesn’t make them irate is beyond me.

Dice is likely a mouthpiece of ignorance and propaganda, intentional or otherwise. I rarely/never see substance from them; and instead only smoke and mirrors blaming the white males why they shouldn’t have the jobs building society anymore.

It’s especially sad to see articles from white women who secretly want to destroy white males. I’ve seen it my whole life, and daily at this point. The world is changed. Their ignorance and selfishness is profound; attempting to replace masculinity with their own pseudomasculine arrogant insanity.

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October 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm, Wendy said:

Just to chime in…this isn’t all gender-based. I’m a woman. It’s an age thing. And a money thing. I don’t have any bitterness about other races “taking over” our workforce. I just wish companies would be HONEST about why.

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October 19, 2017 at 10:46 pm, John Boss said:

John,

Its not a white man problem only. Why would it be? I am a black man and I am in the same situation with almost ten years valuable experience with the big 5 and incapable of finding a job in this new world….and having to feed my family by driving Uber 24/7

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October 19, 2017 at 6:34 am, Eric said:

Couldn’t agree more. There is a false sense of urgency when dealing with a recruiter, both on the employer and employee side. Loyalty is lost, completely, in both the professional and personal side of this market. As a matter of fact, once you become a senior ‘x’ you are now a target/low hanging fruit when some junior manager wants to save some money to look good. I am tired of dealing with foreigners to get an US job at a US company. They are the reason the IT market has become what it is.

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October 19, 2017 at 6:42 am, Rich S said:

So let’s talk about job-hopping. As mentioned, the company loyalty model is shot. Very few companies are for life companies. Unless of course you like zero promotion potential, meager pay raise, capped salary, and sparse training to keep you current in technology. But of course, pressure for you to spend your $ and time. (Which in today’s market you should)

I have been causally searching for an IT position in a couple different locations. At least 90% of my calls are Indian, speaking and first thing they want to know is my expected compensation. Why? Because companies are making it about $, not skill set. Of course, rhey want you to have 10 years expertise in 5 year old tech. H1b visa abuse anyone?

I can easily promise you this, dear hiring company: Pay fairly. Invest in your workers. Treat them decently. Keep your tech updated. Respect that in IT they work odd hours for you…show them flexibility you expect from them, and don’t give them “HR policy” excuses and you will scoff at the so called hiring challenge.

It is simple: Good workers are sought after. So you, comapny, are either making it easy for your talented IT worker to say no to them, or you are making it easier to say yes. Pick one.

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October 19, 2017 at 6:53 am, dejan said:

“If you lasted less than two years in your previous jobs, or have been working as an independent contractor for a long time, the hiring manager may fear that you have commitment or loyalty issues,…”
in that case, this is NOT the company where you can learn something new… btw, what could be a shame to say simply: I escaped, for example, due to bad management stuff?

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October 19, 2017 at 10:29 am, Teri said:

Yes, Dejan, there is plenty of bad management out there. And I agree with most of you who commented that the companies are not loyal anymore to their employees.

Software Engineers are just a mere commodity these days. It’s not the quality of the work that matters, it’s how much can we get done so we can meet our sprint deadlines. Getting things done is important, but at the expense of good, quality engineering?

And recruiters are capitalizing on this market big time, and yes, I have gotten a flood of calls and emails from Indian people to the point I will not answer my phone anymore unless I know who it is. Thus, I only deal with recruiters I know.

I have worked as an FTE for over two-three years here and there throughout my career, but then management is usually what ruins things and the company goes downhill so I leave. They start laying off and cutting benefits, etc.

Recruiters should not be looking down on me if I contract here and there for 3-6 months, sometimes longer. Besides, it keeps my skillset pretty current and sharp.

When I go through a recruiter, I make them a lot of money!

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October 19, 2017 at 7:04 am, lj said:

“job hopping” Are you kidding? Most employers force entry level jobs into contractor positions which leads to short term jobs i.e ‘job hopping.’ I’m pretty sure employees would like to stay longer on their jobs but simply aren’t given the opportunity because either their contracts end or they are laid off to benefit share holders.

Dice, this article is way off the mark

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October 19, 2017 at 7:43 am, Joe said:

I love it! +1 to Keith, who made my day by speaking the truth. I’ve gotten my last 4 out of 5 jobs without help from a recruiter. Their days are numbered given that a good web app can perform 99% of what they do. In fact, I’m going out of my way to avoid any use of the “Nice shoes, low IQ parasites” in my current job search. (I’m here on DICE to look for employee postings only.)

The BIG problem I see is so many employers posting a list of “must haves” that are as long as my arm. It’s unrealistic, intimidating, and forces one (yes, I’ve done this) to study on their own and then back-fill their resume with lies about their “experience” because for some reason the managers aren’t willing to believe that a dev can learn something thoroughly on their own. It’s the old bootstrap paradox (no one is born with experience, so how can everyone demand it?) only an order of magnitude larger.

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October 19, 2017 at 10:36 am, Andrew said:

For companies to worry about commitment issues actually makes me laugh out loud.

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October 19, 2017 at 7:43 am, Rick said:

Hi. Yep, let go at 60 for replacement by one of those major insurance companies. My mainframe replacemnt now sits at a desk offshore.

Question: At 60 would achieving a Comptia A+ or CCNP really be worth the effort with no experience?

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October 19, 2017 at 7:46 am, JR said:

I completely agree with the other posters. I recently had a phone interview where the interviewers tried to shame me because I have a few layoffs on my resume. I’m a job hoppers because companies change their minds about projects. I am so happy that I have only a few more years in this crazy profession. I am so tired of the age and gender discrimination. My current company has an offshore team in India that seems to get larger every time we have a meeting where they are in the meeting. I don’t think it’s my imagination.

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October 19, 2017 at 7:59 am, wiz said:

I was laid off in Feb 2017 from a mobile testing company still haven’t found anything, heck the only gig that showed me love ever since is Fedex. I worked with so many Indians and too many actually.All they did was complain about the job and pay, they know they are being taken advantage of but neef the money, and don’t let me get started on the useless recruiters telling me to lowball myself to get a gig. Well at least I have the seasonal fedex gig coming up.

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October 19, 2017 at 8:07 am, Victor Lewis said:

Totally agree with what you guys are saying. In Canada, even though the laws here are a little more stricter in employment, the same thing is happening here.
I have been in the IT industry for over 25 years and for the past 10 had to be an independent contractor because the companies do not hire Canadian and Americans, only non Canadians and Americans. I noticed that in most companies their IT systems become unmanageable after a year or so because these people are book smart but not business savy. They do not understand that IT systems ENHANCE the BUSINESS SERVICES. The common thinking is an APP with do everything. The first thing I’ve known businesses doing is getting rid of the business analysts. Now the project managers are trying to do that at arms length from the business operations.
There is a ceiling in the business world between executives and everybody else. And everybody else is simply looked down upon as simply cattle. In their (the executives), all that is important is themselves. R&D no longer exists. the whole business cycle is out of whack and the IT worker is a symptom of that.
Sorry for the rant, but one last thing to add. The government policies of increased taxation and wealth redistribution hurts everybody. Equality of outcome does not ensure a strong and stable environment of a company, community or country. Equality of opportunity does. As long as businesses and governments, take away the equality of opportunity, we will see this selfish behavior continue and further erode the future of everything.

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October 19, 2017 at 8:13 am, PaulMac said:

LMAO…Many of the sentiments of responders represent actualities of the industry and recruiters mindset. How did you like the response to your article Leslie 🙂

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October 19, 2017 at 11:20 am, Leslie said:

Debate about ideas and hiring practices is encouraged! FYI, I did not hear that tech managers are worried about “overpaying” for talent, although I’m sure that salary budgets factor into their hiring decisions and a high salary demand can be a deal breaker in some cases. As far as longevity goes, the truth is that staying too long in one place isn’t always a good thing. Tech pros who are unable to demonstrate career progression or expanded skills and responsibilities can be hindered by their tenure. There are thousands of hiring managers out there, it is really a matter of finding the right opportunity.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:07 pm, Beth said:

Leslie,
HR departments everywhere are broken. We as job candidates are led to believe they know what they are doing, but they don’t. It’s a facade and we are the ones who work hard to apply, interview, bend over backwards, perform, and get rejected for reasons that are unfounded or discriminatory. I have met HR people who are also now unemployed who would attest to that. They won’t talk about it openly, but they know companies hire for reasons that have nothing to do with candidates’ abilities or lack thereof… it is 100% about the bottom line.
Unemployment is at an all time high right now, we all know that, but there is no true way to measure it. And it’s going to get a lot worse very soon when big businesses inevitably merge and/or collapse with advancements in technology. HR departments and candidates won’t be able to keep up with the pace of change.

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October 27, 2017 at 2:52 pm, Elliott said:

I find it peculiar that you would publish a post on Dice in which you say that being a “Serial Job Hopper” can be seen as a negative when interviewing for a new position. Do you know that DICE is an acronym for “Data-processing Independent Consultant’s Exchange?” At it’s core, DICE was a listing service that catered to independent consultants who by their nature were serial job hoppers. I know because I was one of them. Of course, DICE has changed over the years to become a full service technology recruiting website, but one can still find short term contract offerings.

I agree with all of the others who have been critical of you viewing job hopping as a negative. I’m especially empathetic to those who have been laid off and became job hoppers because that was the only way they could earn a living. In fact, the double whammy comes with people who have 10-15-20 years of steady professional growth at well established companies and are laid off. And now recruiters tell them they are not current in the technology when they are looking for new employment. It doesn’t matter that many individuals, at their own cost, obtain new certifications or attend courses to learn the latest tools. The problem now becomes, they don’t have experience in the areas they took courses in.

So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I wish I could believe you when you say, “There are thousands of hiring managers out there, it is really a matter of finding the right opportunity.” Oh really, where are they? I’ve been looking for a tech job ever since I was laid off in April, 2014. The fact that I’ve been a professional programmer and manager for over 40 years, doesn’t mean squat. Long term experience means nothing other than a big negative. The real issue is my age. That’s the 800 lbs gorilla in the room that recruiters want to ignore.

Perhaps I shouldn’t complain. I’m a white male who has made a good living given my privileged station in life. I’ve raised a family, sent my kids to college and stayed married to the same woman all this time. But as someone who is over educated, over certified and over experienced, it’s a shame that I’m under utilized. And I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Do you want to do some good for the profession? Begin writing articles on age discrimination. Talk about when you’ve seen it in action. Call it out when you see it.

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October 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm, Anonymous said:

Elliott:
Thank you. You nailed it. The mellenials feel the term age discrimination is too “harsh.” It’s referred to as “ageism.” That makes it sound more acceptable.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:05 am, Luther said:

Keith spake truths. I’ve been discriminated against as a “job hopping Millennial” candidate for countless of these “roundtable interviews” with 3 or 4 stooges; scowling and sniveling as they mutter through questions and words just loud enough to be heard amongst themselves. Their mealy-mouthed mumbling as it usually turns out is methodic rhetoric used to gauge my technological sensibility and apparently my mental endurance to sit through these sloppy tag team interrogations poorly formulated by obnoxious, nerd raging dweebs shopping for a Steve Jobs while their so called IT Manager waits for the OK. This article unintentionally shed light on these Daft and Cowardly “Managers” and their Blood Sucking liaison “Recruiters” as they crawl to “The Google” for IT solutions and answers for end users in the Unknowns of Lala Land Space Eternity no matter what. Maybe we should be the ones in “fear” of these techno weenie relics charged with running the IT industry… Rubbish mongers! Maybe we should mess things up a bit on their little end of net topology. Check my skills out.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:11 am, Thomasz Krueger said:

That’s the kind of crap you can only find on Dice. We don’t have recruiters anymore, rather we have pimps that treat us developers as their hoes. We are not. I had the fortune of getting my own direct consulting gig and I cost less to my employer and get paid way more than if I had gone through these “agencies”.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:28 am, Henry G. said:

The author’s bio says she’s been offering ‘sage career advice’ for some 20-odd years now.
Sage advice, my ass.
Six months from now she’ll flip the entire script. She’ll say that company loyalists, who stay with a firm for more than two or three years, are ‘staling off’. We’ll need to ‘take a few more night classes’ (on our dime, no doubt), ‘do some consulting or freelance work on the side’, or ‘volunteer at the local homeless shelter’, in order to show our ‘flexibility’ and ‘adaptability’ to the corporate value system du jour.
Then, six months from that (a year from now), she’ll put today’s article in a blender, and pour out the same putrid brew.
Sure beats working for a living.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:38 am, Anthony Nassa said:

Everyone hated this essay. Good! It offered useful insights into how management thinks, I’ll give it that. Here’s what recruiters: no “gaps” on your CV that might have any number of justifications (one of them being simply a desire to take some off); demonstrated loyalty to former employers only when the employers rewarded that loyalty with the opportunity to work with newer buzzwords (loyally repairing legacy code for years is worth nothing on a resume; no twisting life-path (which is to say, they expect you to have the life-path of a younger adult, 32 at most, to whom nothing bad has ever happened and who’s never had to make hard decisions to take care of people who depend on him).

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October 19, 2017 at 9:43 am, Andy said:

The biggest problem with Tech Hiring is recruiters/HR people who are completely ignorant of the tech world…and their absolute LAZY attitudes. How many of us have heard a recruiter or other HR “professional” whine…”there are too many resumes…you can’t expect me to actually read through these…that’s too haaarddd.” So “software” is used to scan for key buzzwords (which many times have NOTHING to do with the position!). If any of us told a boss that it was too haaarrdd to do what needed to be done to properly get our job done…we’d be booted to the curb…but HR people and recruiters do this all day everyday. Sometime I wonder if they don’t have class on how to dodge doing your job!

I actually interviewed several times for a position as a CIO and was basically told that I was to be hired. After a few days of hearing nothing, I called back to speak to the HR Director. “Oh I’m sorry I probably should have gotten back to you sooner. Yes everyone wanted you but I had to disqualify you because you didn’t meet the base criteria. We need someone with AS-400 experience.” What are you talking about, it’s all over my resume. I’m IBM certified and have worked on that platform for years,” I responded. “Oh no sir, you see, we need someone AS-400 certified and you are AS/400. You don’t meet the minimum qualifications…” FACEPALM. This is not something that is uncommon…HR people and recruiters are notorious for being clueless about the position for which they hire! It mattered not to this HR person that she had gotten her criteria for AS-400 via a phone call and SHE wrote it down as that…instead of the correct AS/400. It didn’t matter that I asked her to do a web search right then and there to see if she could find AS-400…and when she discovered her error…it was still more important for her to be right than to make a good hire… That coupled with HR people/recruiters still lost in the 60’s…who can’t understand that a contractor only stays with a company until the project is completed…we don’t get to stay just because we are “cute!” But I hear constantly…well you can’t seem to keep a job…IMBECILES.

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October 19, 2017 at 9:58 am, Warren said:

Agree. I was laid off from a major back in May. Read in the paper the other day how they increased their multi-billion dollar profit by reducing costs, namely employees. The team that I left started as 7 US employees and 2 Indian. When I left if was 2 US, 5 Indian. The bank is building a huge presence in India. I asked why and was told to support their Asian market. Yet, they have no Asian market.
I too would love to have loyalty. But, when you can be laid off without reason and without the opportunity to find another position within the organization, where’s their loyalty. This article is written by someone who got their $50 to fill space, but has no idea what they are talking about.

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October 19, 2017 at 10:16 am, Jim Nelson said:

It is very interesting, reading this river of comments. Keep in mind that 99.99% of the people who share these thoughts and experiences will never comment here (or in any social media) because they don’t want to compromise their job search. They know that HR Recruiters are watching what you write and then they use it to screen candidates out. 95% of H1B should be ended completely.

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October 23, 2017 at 9:01 pm, Ron said:

Corporations, I have heard the comments about the reality of the American Workforce.
listen and learn !

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October 19, 2017 at 10:29 am, John Smith said:

“Job hopper’? At my last job, the manager came and told us that he is going to hire an IT Tech with bachelor degree offshore (India) for the pay rate of 15/hr replacing an onshore (USA) with the rate of 28/hr. Now you tell me if that place is a safe place to work?

I believe 15/hr in India is a good pay, I’m not sure if they pay USA tax?

Another competition is the student with Master degree (no kids, no spouse, no mortgage, maybe 3 months of internship), they are accepting the low cut, and the employer expecting them to be trained with the 20 ears experienced engineer, that will be his replacement. But, what the recruiters don’t know is the low cut pay student is the “job hopper”…

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October 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm, Wendy said:

I don’t know who said this because I can’t find the post in this long thread. (About hiring someone younger and fresh out of college because it costs less, but they are more likely to be job hoppers.) I believe that is just what happened to me. It almost seems better to lie about how many years of experience I have. Leaving off your college grad year doesn’t help in this situation.

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October 19, 2017 at 11:20 am, Jason Head said:

Employers short sightedness and poor planning are a lot of what is going on here. But there is hope; lots of it. The software world is undergoing a dramatic change that a lot of companies aren’t taking full advantage of. They still have their employees doing the same things over and over, rather than unique tasks, and live for the moment of fixing the immediate problem rather than fixing the root causes.

I recently lost my job of 2+ years, with a pretty strong letter from my employer, basically calling me a liar, and reflecting a lack of grasp of the overall situation. That in-spite of prior urgings to get a better logging system in-place so we could actually track what was going on. Things were complicated by health on my end, but with the right systems that should have never been a problem – I still came into work, and still put in a conscious effort. I was struggling with technical issues that could have been resolved if people has listened from the beginning to what I and co-workers had been saying about building a solid foundation.
So I’m going independent and implementing things I have thought about for a long time now.

What counts anymore are not exact concrete skills, but abstract abilities such as problem solving and efficient abstraction of problems turned into solutions. Machine learning and natural language processing are a couple of forces that are radically changing the landscape potential of software.

This is opening up a whole other world of opportunity to people with technical skills, it puts all kinds of problem solving within reach.

The expanding international pool is actually a good thing for all of us, when we stop thinking as employees and about becoming managers – companies are missing a great opportunity.
And those that take advantage of how things are developing could stand to walk all over the old models.

If you are frustrated, unable to find work, and are ready to try something new.
Contact me. Let’s build something bigger.
At the moment, with domestic talent, I have to work as a group of Independent Contractors because I am in the early stages of setting things up, with limited funds (the leftovers from my previous job)
but long-term there could be a massive upside with the right systems. Let’s go find the clients, make pitches banded together, and make something work.
There is a tremendous amount of new world of opportunity to be had if things are done using new tools and models.

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October 19, 2017 at 11:43 am, Mark W said:

One really good thing that has come out of my IT career was that, after enduring all the hypocrisy of outsourcing and offshoring so some exec can say he saved the company money when there’s no real way to quantify what was saved versus how much work got done (but hey, he got a nice bonus I’m sure, and can put down some nice meaty numbers on his resume to get his next job in 2 years and do it all again; job-hoppers indeed), I was able to steer my 3 kids away from IT. They are all in college right now (great family planning :-)) and studying in different, non-IT arenas. They all have the aptitude, as a lot of millennials do, but maybe they’ll have a better chance to have a happy life with companies that aren’t always aiming to take away their livelihoods.

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October 19, 2017 at 11:51 am, Mark G. said:

The whole “job-hopper” thing is utterly asinine. I’ve been asked by several recruiters why I have so many jobs on my resume. I tell them ask the employers. These were all limited term contracts. You know, like the one that you’re calling me about. I WILL NOT teach an off-shore “resource” how to do my job. I just find another job and leave. Payback is rough! The vast number of recruiters that I meet should be working in a fast food joint some where. I’ve had them asking me questions that I should have been asking them. I’m getting out of tech because of these clowns. Enough is enough!

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October 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm, Steve Black said:

Age, Race and Gender discrimination is rampant in Private and Public industries through out America.
This is so prevalent today because our low life legal system doesn’t give crap about the general public anymore. Labor lawyers don’t give crap about YOU. All they care about is your MONEY. They are gutless. They cannot figure out what is real discrimination anymore because of what we call “right to work” rules. HR Recruiters are NOT the hiring managers. DO NOT WASTE your time going through them. Go around these LOSERS to the hiring manager and write a priority mail letter to the hiring manager NOT the resume, but a biographical letter ABOUT WHY and WHAT VALUE you can bring to the company. I have been through FIVE companies in since 2013 all tech related sales job positions. GEE I must be JOB jumper…WRONG!!! four have been the result of company MERGERS with FORCED layoffs and one because of a BK…Gee HR loser…Its the COMPANY NOT ME…quit USING that against me…I have GREAT REFERENCES to proff otherwise.

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October 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm, Joane Doe said:

We are more than a number and a set of random skills which often do not even make sense on doing the job intended to do.

Working relationships in the tech industry should be more humane and more based on interviewing a person face to face. I haven’t had a single face to face interview in the last three years (Two skype interviews with recruiters and one single phone interview with a real employer for a future job opening [0 chance to get a job]).

I’ve been unemployed for about 3 years and I have no idea what I did wrong as an employee. Almost every single task I was assigned I did. My managers were happy with my work; but the people who had no idea of what a Web Developer is wanted to do my job [ of being seating down in front of a computer for too many hours ].

The most annoying part of working through recruiters is that you are treated as an alien where you have no idea where you stand.

I’ve been in places where I was denied an id to enter the premises of the building, denied to participate on the meetings discussions about the project where I supposedly was hired to participate. I’ve seen managers cursing at the job like if he was at a bar or who knows where; and then complaining about you not being professional when you clearly had been on time, done every assigned task, dressed accordingly, and handled yourself professionally.

Some do not talk to you; but about you in a way that makes you feel frankly unwelcome. I had people installing firewalls in my computer against me.

In few words; I know too much, therefore I am too dangerous to work and at the same time, they complain I know too little to do my job. Working with people like this closes your doors for future references from work.

I had heard a CIO apologizing with some workers for exposing them to work with immigrants. The point of the matter here is that as a temp; you have absolutely no rights as an employee and while you are always seeking to do your best, you depend too much of your recruiters and the employer.

Another thing, company culture is not exactly about high working ethics; it’s a great deal about how foreign you are perceived by people who do not know you and have no interest on knowing you because they already see you low. However, they won’t act funny until they realize that you are not under them and probably making more money than they do.

I believe recruiters should have a crash course on how to be a temp, or a consultant before going to work areas that could be hostile and possibly could hurt your career. I am the type who tend to believe everyone is nice and have good intentions because I do. I had realized this is rarely the case in many places. It only takes one or two to make your life very miserable.

The main problem is not how much knowledge or talent the employee has; it’s the working relation created through agencies versus work place where communication brakes. Often Tech professionals are seen like a number and a set of skills.

Let’s say; my job is to create, develop and manage websites. I know about websites, but the company is asking for some technology (There are so many new emerging technologies out there) that I am not even aware of and all my experience is sent to trash because I miss something that I can probably learn just by looking at the code or with a day of training.

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October 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm, Tess said:

What I took away from this article and the comments so far is:

1. Recruiters and companies are afraid that tech people are too smart. — or in some instances too smart, but somehow not trained enough, and that makes them a liability. (Are they truly afraid that top people in the field are “too wild and unpredictable?” )

2. Recruiters have to be tricky, because they often don’t have the background to make decent decisions. Fortunately, a lot of people are smart enough to be onto their tricks, and are gracious enough to share their stories.

3. We should all get dual citizenship, so we can say we are eligible for H1-B. 🙂

4. Encountering crappy, negligent people sets off a fear response, that gets turned into anger. We have all encountered discrimination in some form and we dislike it immensely. For some it defines us, for others not so much.

5. And underlying it all, every so often within the comments, I would see the hint of love and a moment beyond the pain of unemployment. – the love of the technology – the love of learning more – the love of a new challenge – the love of creating something new – the love of solving problems.

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October 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm, James said:

stupid article. Do the research and be in someone else shoes before you write.

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October 19, 2017 at 4:26 pm, Allan Knox said:

The world has changed, and not always for the better, but if you have good skills and/or intellect the best thing by far is to hang out your own shingle. Start your own business (there’s nothing easier), make twice as much money, and be able to simply refuse to put up with any BS.

After being recruited to move myself and my family, then suffering multiple series of layoffs till they got to me (then sold the company), I got tired of it. Spent almost twenty years now self-employed. I cannot tell you how much better it is. The good companies always appreciate me, pay me well, and use me frequently. The bad companies can go suck an egg.

I now treat it as though I’m interviewing THEM. Is this company worth my time? Will they have interesting work? Will they pay on time? I can (and do) simply refuse to do anything not related to my skills and desires, such as refusing to talk to HR people period. If they need me then they will accept me and my conditions as I am. Made more money, had more free time, learned more, and had more fun than any time in my life.

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October 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm, Milly said:

What, is the author stuck in a 1970s timewarp? This is in NO WAY the reality today. Buy some new books or something or get a job in the business you’re supposedly writing about. I’m personally fed up with being pushed aside for H1b visa holders, the game has changed and the author is still looking at the old rule book. Retire or adapt.

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October 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm, Joey said:

We live in an employ at will country. There is no job stability. You are laid off without warning. Normally you can do a contract job until you find something with benefits. But no longer. I can’t find contract work because 99% of the recruiters are the worthless Indian recruiters. And they all get my contact info from Dice. I used to be able to find work through Dice. No longer with the Indian recruiters using Dice to contact to submit you to clients they have no direct relationship with.

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October 19, 2017 at 10:40 pm, Dan said:

After reading the above article I feel compelled to post a comment. Keith’s comment was spot on. I find it amusing and disturbing that employers and recruiters expect and demand loyalty in this day and age when employers took loyalty to employees many years ago. Employers embraced the permatemp model because they can fire easily and avoid benefits. Recruiters embraced it because of the income stream.

Additionally, the statement by recruiters is that they lose money when a worker jumps ship is a load of crap because employers no longer train anyone. They expect us all to hit the ground running and expect an immediate return on investment while they discard us when it suits them for whatever reason.

Also I would say that 70-80% of the recruiters that contact me are either Indians or recently graduated fraternity/sorority types who are in no way qualified to evaluate our skills, abilities and potential. Overreliance on technology to perform the recruiting function has made recruiters and hiring managers lazy. All of which makes job searching in 2017 a hellish experience.

Recruiters and hiring managers continue to pass judgment on job seekers while they themselves have created this mess. The hiring process is broken. Now the question is how do we fix it?

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October 19, 2017 at 10:54 pm, John Boss said:

Seriously, this article is just another of the ignorance of recruiters, HR and companies…I have been an independent IT consultant for almost 10 years with projects around the world (Europe, Canada, US, Asia). Some of the projects lasted six months and some 3 years. How could a recruiter without talking with me evaluate my loyalty or else? I have been looking for an opportunity recently and all i am getting is calls “your resume is excellent” to never call back again. So sad for America’s IT field nowadays. I opened a restaurant, tired of waiting for contracts and exploring Uber and Lyft. By the way, i am a black man for those who are thinking race….it may just be a matter of greed and incompetence altogether….

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October 21, 2017 at 12:49 am, Steve C# said:

I work in the IT Help Desk support field.. I have 3 degrees, one in computers and networking plus an MBA

1) Recruiters are NOT your friend… you are a commodity they are trying to sell
2) I do not work with out of town recruiters… its a total waste of my time, horrible jobs and bad pay… it tells me the employer is trying to low ball the job
3) Employers focus on salary costs, not what you have produced, not how much you have saved them in cost, not how productive you are and not how you get along with the people you actually support…
4) Hiring managers focus on their hardware and software systems and whether you have experience in supporting only those systems. NOT how quickly you can learn and adapt to their systems… they cannot think out of the Taleo box
5) I interviewed for one of two positions for a local government college and had 12 years of proven experience. They hired a woman working in a Hallmark store with zero IT work experience

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October 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm, Jane Don't said:

I can’t agree more with what is being said for the discrimination against qualified American workers. I just found out what a joke my company is when their health insurance requires you call around to no less than ALL of the doctor’s offices in their lousy medical plan to find even one doctor who will take their garbage insurance. Their dental plan is also terrible and their paltry 401 (k) has criminal fees over 1.25% on average. They’re being sued for overcharging on prescriptions and denying coverage they claim in their own contracts is covered.

Unlike the less qualified hostile coworker who is getting paid more than I am as well as getting over time, there is the attitude of not honoring what they say they will do. I was offered X for pay but am actually paid much less at my job. It’s a disgusting bait and switch practice and every single person I’ve spoken to states that in order to actually get a real raise you’ll have no choice but to go work for another company.

If I have to work for another company for better (living wage) pay as well as just decent benefits then being loyal to any company is just stupid. Employees have no choice but to keep looking for, applying to, and getting jobs with other companies. If tech companies actually want to be competitive they’d do well to stop throwing money at technology and invest in their employees. Wasting $400 on headset then telling an employee they aren’t going to be first for OT offers just tells that person they aren’t worth anything to that company.

I’d also like to point out something that Dice has completely ignored so far. Many companies are demanding taxpayer funded corporate welfare in order to grace a community with a certain number of jobs until that tax break has run out. After they can’t get any more tax breaks they’ll just cut the jobs, run to the next city and start all over again. Employees can only afford to be loyal to themselves and it’s sad that the news refuses to report on the facts in this country.

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October 24, 2017 at 4:18 pm, Brian Kennedy said:

Recruiters will translate the information depending if they like you or not. One asked why I stayed at a job for many years and tried to infer I was insecure. Can’t win with these non-revenue generators.

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