5 Reasons Why CIOs Reject Tech Candidates Like You

You applied for a job, and they called you in. The coding test went well, and you thought you nailed the interview. And yet, in the end, the hiring manager or CIO offered someone else the job. You’re left wondering what happened, and why.

We asked several CIOs to explain the reasons why they favor one candidate over another. Based on that information, we have a few tips to help you excel during your next interview.

You Lack a Growth Mindset

Tech managers don’t base their hiring decisions solely on a candidate’s existing skillset. They look for professionals who are capable of learning new technologies and developing over time.

Raechelle Clemmons, CIO at Davidson College, will reject a candidate who doesn’t exhibit a growth mindset during an interview. It’s not enough to say that you like to learn new things—in order to be a successful candidate, you have to prove that you’re capable of keeping up with the rapid changes in technology.

For instance, Clemmons will ask you to describe the last programming language you learned, or a time when you solved an unfamiliar problem. Most hiring managers ask similar questions, so be prepared.

You Don’t Possess a Balanced Skillset

Michael Skaff, CIO for the Jewish Senior Living Group, turns down the “pure” technicians who lack business, analytical, active listening and communication skills. In his experience, having a balanced skillset correlates with on-the-job success.

“There’s a dearth of candidates with balanced skillsets,” Skaff noted. “Demonstrating key interpersonal skills can give you an edge, because frankly, we can train for technical skills all day long.”

Jonathan Feldman, CIO for the City of Asheville, North Carolina, agrees with that sentiment. He will reject a candidate who doesn’t apply a customer-centric or UX approach to pre-hire assessments, or give satisfactory explanations of projects during interviews.

Initially, candidates may be competing against as many as 100 applicants for a position in Asheville. “By the time the three finalists get to me, we’ve looked at their portfolios, we know they are qualified,” Feldman explained. “I’m looking for someone who can approach a problem from the user’s point of view.”

Your Strengths Won’t Complement the Team

Hiring managers won’t extend an offer unless a candidate’s attributes and background complement or enhance the existing team members. Like a puzzle piece, any new hire should be able to close skill and experience gaps and raise collective achievement to a higher level.

The hiring manager’s decision isn’t (usually) random or based on gut instinct. As a candidate, you have the power and ability to influence the outcome as long as you seize the opportunity.

“Demonstrating your ability to positively influence team performance is within your control,” Clemmons noted. “If you ask the right questions and research the company, you can connect the dots for the interviewer by explaining how you can contribute and add value to the team and the organization.”

You’re Reluctant to Speak Up

CIOs want to hire problem-solvers, doers, people who take initiative. Consequently, they reject candidates who are reluctant to draw conclusions using the information they have gleaned from the environment.

“Your ideas or answers don’t have to be perfect,” Skaff advised. It’s about mastery of the process. Tech managers and execs look for hires who can demonstrate a combination of creative thinking and analytical skills. Being bold can persuade a manager to give you the offer.

You Don’t Seem Fully Engaged

Failing to show passion and enthusiasm for a position can lead to automatic rejection. Yes, hiring managers consider body language and communication style, but they primarily gauge a candidate’s interest by the type of questions they ask.

Posing deep, concentrated questions about the position and the role of IT in achieving the company’s mission demonstrates a high level engagement. If you can show your analytical and “soft” skills, as well as concern for the company’s goals, you boost your chances of landing the gig.

64 Responses to “5 Reasons Why CIOs Reject Tech Candidates Like You”

  1. Sounds like valid points. Looking at the accompanying picture, there are a couple of things I’d point out if that is the rejected candidate. First, lose the big bushy beard: the candidate needs to not look like a terrorist. Many people are put off by beards, or even the trend for men to have a thin scruffy growth covering half their faces. It also looks unclean. Second, if you have an arm covered in tattoos like the pictured candidate, wear a long-sleeve shirt. I like tattoos myself, but it tells me the candidate has more money and time than he knows what to do with, instead of spending the money on food and the time on studying.

      • I got tired of having to speak in politically-correct speech back in the 1990’s. Revisiting my earlier comment, I suppose I can say “mad-angry-bomber-sleeper-faction-who-simply-wants-to-kill-and-destroy-western-civilization” might be a bit less racist, but it is hardly clear communication.

        I don’t see what is inherently racist in wanting a staff that is well-groomed. Perhaps my fallacy is not wearing ode-du-skunk when I interview, or jeans with 50 rips in them, 4 tongue piercings, a nose ring, and a tattoo covering the right half of my face.

  2. Jared Brown

    You forgot #6 (except your article was only intended for whites)
    Discriminatory practice and systemic racism.

    According to Katherine A. DeCelles, the James M. Collins Visiting Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. “A bias against minorities runs rampant through the resume screening process at companies throughout the United States”

      • Oddly for me, since I’m not a white-beardless-straight man, I know that all companies, interviewers, and interviewees have biases. These biases are often called preferences, by the person with the bias.

        How do I personally use the information?

        First, I do dye my hair — while men can get away with “seniority” and the “grey beard” approach, I can’t. As a matronly looking older woman, I just look like someone’s grandma. And when was the last time any of you listened to “grandma” and thought she wasn’t just a little out of touch?

        Second, I make sure I look the interviewer (or interviewee) in the eye and shake their hand with confidence. I don’t curtsy, I don’t giggle, I don’t glance away shyly, and I don’t use my little girl voice. In fact, I may even drop my voice by an octave, to ensure I am heard clearly.

        If they don’t want to shake hands, I acknowledge them with a nod and look in their eyes to determine their level of ease or unease wth my presence.

        Third, I determine my level of ease with them. If I am uneasy, I quickly determine whether it is my preferences kicking in or if there is real danger. If it is just my general fear of talking with someone new or I’m not feeling confident, I move on with the interview. If not, I find a nice way to end the interview after a few questions.

        Fourth, I determine their level of ease or unease with my presence. If they are afraid, then it is my job to put them at ease, and to dispell any myths, they may have about “my kind”, that aren’t accurate about me, personally.

        Fifth, I don’t lie or embellish during the interview. Other people may find lying gets them what they want. I’m a terrible liar, but an excellent warrior.

        Lastly, I don’t take it personally, if I’m not hired. Civilization, technology, and culture have changed radically over the last 20 years. As I reflect on many of the comments provided in this thread, I find that it may be time to reinvent myself again. Nothing I have learned or done is wasted; it can all be used in other endeavors.

        • Dear Teri & John G

          Well said and bravo! I too have been in IT as a Business Analyst for over 30 years. Been there, done that, jumped through more hoops and twisted myself into knots more times than I care to count.

          I’m fed-up with recruiters and agencies who don’t understand what a Business Analyst is, or does. I’m bored with having to explain the difference between what I do, and what the client thinks he/she wants.

          I’m over 50, been around since the days of Cobol and Fortran and legacy systems, qualified in all the methodologies “du jour” and even became ‘Agile’ (which was a bundle of laughs – NOT!)

          I too, am leaving the field, and reinventing myself in a completely new way. Leaving the ICT field to the ‘hot young talent’ and disdaining the nouveau ‘dispensable’ attitude exhibited by corporations and business of today.

          I am SO looking forward to not having to tell yet another manager/client/project manager that ‘I told you so’. Ah well, here’s to the next sexy methodology, and the same old problems.

          Wishing everyone the very best.

      • If you truly believe you didn’t get a job due to some type of discrimination, ask first whether you wanted such a job. If “yes”, then ask what are you willing to do to get it. Dress and act “white”? Die your gray hair
        and go to the gym? Shorten your resume and downplay your last salary. Ask about diversity? Learn to speak the dialect of those you believe advantaged?

        None of the above is fair, and there is a time to fight the system. But that time may not be when you really need the job.

    • Maybe you should approach an interview void of consciousness of your ethnicity and just stick the landing bro. Walking in with a negative assumption about the interviewer based on their skin color is not helping your chances or giving camouflage to your own hidden prejudices

    • I was interviewed by a minority female. I was not hired because I was not a minority, a foreigner or woman. Instead, a minority female was hired who was less qualified. Not let me ask a question: Would you hire someone who has twice the experience for the same pay rate as the person who has less experience? The reason I was not hired: “He’s too nice of a person.” Ugh, right.

    • I’m a ‘white’ Brown, and my company hires more Indians (from the country), than any other nationality. In tech, I’ve found that age is more of a deterrent than skin color by far. The funny thing is that we know responsibility, we show up on time, do our jobs without complaining and we know what it takes to get the job done. When interviewing others, I want to see clean, compassionate and a desire to learn. If that’s packaged in dark skin, a beard or tattoos, so be it.

  3. James Brown

    If a manager is following the procedures above, then racism is in full effect. The piece that will fit in that puzzle is a WASP between the age of(25 – 35).That the real reason black people and others aren’t being hired.

    • Absolutely untrue, Mr. Brown. Companies, especially in overrated, overpriced, “hip” SillyCon Valley are huge in the social engineering game. They desperately want to get minorities, women, immigrants and every combination in between. What they don’t want are male, white, old (i.e. over 35), US born individuals who don’t have the latest “hot” skill keyword on their resume. Why don’t you check your attitude, and your racism?

      • Absolutely, discrimination is always a factor; it might be long hair, a beard, tats, or a foreigner; or one that doesn’t have the creditionals – these are just some of the factors that enter into a decision to either call a candidate back or put that candidates application in “no hire pile!” And for lack of a better word racial implications are one of the biggest issues with hiring managers. We all want to be fair but ignorance and racial profiling are unspoken amount even the most educated. Yes a fresh and savvy 20-something female always gets a call back. But among the older over 40, Caucasian males crowd it’s ignorance in motion;
        As a past recruiter for a larger company finding qualified candidates who are certified is one of the easiest tasks but the hardest taskings I’ve been dealt with is finding hard workers. Because in the end result, regardless of a persons ethnicity I always thought candidates that are over 40, have a military background were the hardest to place! Most recruiters won’t even consider past military? They would prefer foreigners’ or even a 20-something Illegal. Rather than past a military member, they would pick someone who hasn’t done one thing for this country. Especially if he or she is a “Caucasian over 40,” forget it!

        • What do you suggest for us white, “old” males then? I’m not over 40, but I’m getting there. We have a right to work in the IT industry, too. I recently finally got a Bachelor’s degree and now want to find an entry-level job. Are there certain subsets of the industry that are more tolerant of older entry level workers? What I do know is I won’t be so stupid as to answer the question “When did you graduate from high school?” anymore. If only government would step in and do something, since it’s clearly ageism and is illegal, especially if the person is over 40, which is a federally protected group of people.

          • Ageism, sexism, racism, classism, protectionism, … There is enough truth in all of the above to be sidetracked by what is really going on here.
            What we are seeing here is planned or forced obsolescence. I am old enough to remember the little red caboose that was the last car on every train. There was a person that was assigned to the caboose and that person apparently had a very important job. Fast forward to today. Trains are just as important as ever, but there is no employee working on the last car of the train. Hell! There are no more cabooses.
            The one constant through all these changes is supply and demand. Sounds like a whole lot of unemployed yet highly qualified caboose monitors are still out there wondering why they can not find a job.

          • Let’s not forget white females over 50 with a college degree, a wealth of on the ground experience, and no certs who are competing with cute male or female ITT grads who have fresh certs under their belts. I dye my hair, with makeup I can pass for early 40’s, but after 5 years of hunting, I’m working in a dead end job that uses none of my skills or experience because I couldn’t get a tech job again. I’m not even making it to the interviews. The emails I get from “recruiters” that find me on the plethora of job boards I am signed up for are always for things that I am not remotely qualified for, or if I am qualified, the location is too far to commute. This is all so very frustrating. I’m too financially strapped to go out and get certs myself, and plus, what to get these days? Do I take out a loan and spend thousands of dollars on an MCSE boot camp then get hired somewhere as a level 1 tech changing passwords?

          • Dear Jennifer

            I hear you! One reaches the point where one realises that sticking to the same behaviour/pattern/job-search is getting one nowhere. You end up spiralling downward.

            Before you got into ICT, you had – I am sure – many other lives. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is an exercise in futility.

            Take a few steps back from your CV. Unpack it. Unpack yourself – it is never too late to reinvent yourself and walk away from ICT, and into a completely different work environment, especially if you are – like me – completely jaded and pissed off with the ICT environment and vulture culture.

            There’s much more to you than being in ICT. Perhaps you could take some time out to re-evaluate, and find that work-life balance that will afford you a completely new job experience, earn you enough money to have a life, and one day in the future, when the current bunch of cowboys have completely screwed it up, you can come back as a consultant. 🙂

          • DT – here is what I would do differently, if I were under (or even around 40) in this enviornment.

            * I’d figure out where I would like to retire in advance. Wyoming? Canada? Bahamas? Australia? Scottland? on a yacht anchored in the Mediterranean?

            Knowing this, I can research the requirements and start moving myself in that direction. For example, Australia won’t accept work visas for people over a certain age. Oregon will tax your retirement income if you didn’t work in the state for a certain number of years. And I’d probably get dual citizenship for myself and children.

            * There have been recessions, that affected my ability to maintain gainful employment 3 times (in the early 1980’s, the the ‘dot-com’ bust of the 1990’s, and the financial greed of 2008.) I would have “a plan” and money set aside for the next upcoming job-killing event. (~early 2020’s)

            * I would ignore the experts, who have a vested interest in the past. My generation built up the internet, robots, wind & solar energy; the current generation is building the artificial intelligence to manage a world beyond the internet.

            The obstacles my generation faced (and is still facing) is the belief that personal control is power. They believed that in helping the successful, success and power will rub off on them. They created a mental world view about “living your passion”, as a means to help heal the wound they inflicted on themselves.

            The obstacles the current generation faces is relying on emotion (or someone else) to solve problems. IMHO, they will need to ignore my generation’s lead on social issues within the workplace (corporate slavery, horading of information, machismo, intellectual property laws, prefer to pay a fine rather than do the right thing, etc.), and create their own rules and definition of meaning / corporate success.

            * I would be more deeply involved in the leading edge (but maybe not the bleeding edge) technologies. (AI, big data, security, smart cities, smart buildings, smart cars, etc).

            * I would use AI to manage part of my portfolio of stocks and mutual funds. The rest, I would manage in my traditional way.

            * I would continue attending all the various trade shows in my area, as a way to keep myself informed about trends and industry movements. … and it is also a great place to make contact with future employers.

  4. Everybody wants to blame candidates for the reason they didn’t get hired, but how about the decline of REAL LEADERSHIP and REAL MANAGERs in the workplace. How about a rise in incompetence of management over the past 20-30 years, treating people like cattle or batteries. And you wonder why smart people leave tech.

    Most managers and especially hiring managers are using outdated, outmoded, and ridiculous criteria for hiring and managing tech people. Yes you. Most of the attitudes I see from management these days are about cost-obsession, and zero-touch management where the managers stay completely and willfully disconnected with the work force. They hire a team lead whipping boy that can easily be replaced, but never have to own the failures themselves. Do the work, and shut up.

    IT has become a shit-show of recruiters who don’t know the industry, coupled with hiring managers who don’t know how to hire the right people–because they don’t have any skills other than babysitting and using industrial-age methods to run businesses. These dinosaurs are the main reason people are unhappy in the tech industry. You’ll tell us we need a cloud guy, and sell the cloud as a place you can get to from anywhere, but require the team to be all in the office, wasting valuable time getting to the office to satisfy management egos and control. Smart people are puzzled why they can’t work remote, and the answer is stupid management that simply doesn’t care about the work and they are so fucking dumb they need to see people in the office as a measure of productivity. Dumb managers are the problem, not smart people that do the work.

    Management today is just babysitting, and hiring people is just about saving money, the work really doesn’t matter because management doesn’t really know what tech people do or how they think. We have stupid recruiters selling highly skilled people to stupid managers who are obsessed with their fucking bonus as if the money the company spends is coming out of their own pocket.

  5. this article reminds me of the meme picture where a guy is sitting on the job interview and title says “we are looking for candidates between age of 22-26 with 30 years of experience..” the fact is that companies most of the times are looking for candidates that doesn’t exist..

  6. Joe Rhoan

    Been doing this for years , have had no trouble getting work. If the company is any good they will bring you up to speed in regards to product knowledge and applications.
    Agree with one of the posters, the real world out there does not always reflect these surveys.

  7. Playing the race card as some of the respondents have done is a weak argument. It’s becoming cliche. As a senior project manager, I work around all sorts of people of mixed races and national origin. The whining about minority is old and unoriginal and knee-jerk.

    But there is one thing I am seeing and that is the dismissal of older employees, those in their 50s and 60s. Some of you in this thread may even have participated or abetted in removing or demoting older employees. We have to quit pretending this practice doesn’t exist and even lying about it. There’s a lot of chatter and jaw-jacking about mentoring. Dismissing the older worker stifles the possibility of mentoring assistance. Dismissing the older worker just because of age (ageism) crosses all boundaries of race, gender, etc. Remember this for your next article.

    • By “playing the race card”, would you be referring to people pointing out the well-known and widespread racial discrimitation throughout the United States has been scientifically documented in study after study for years?

      People who trivialize the massive effects of racism in the US are ridiculous and abhorrent people who ultimately help keep all of that racism alive and well.

    • I was treated so badly after I turned 60 (actually a few years before that), that, at age 62, I laid myself off and called it retirement. I’ve been working a contract gig ever since. It allowed me to hold off SS until age 66. I come and go when I please, just billing my hours accurately. I am overjoyed at not having to play the interview game or office politics. My manager, who takes a cut, has an incentive to see me stay instead of that nasty corporation which did every nasty trick they could to convince me to leave (without severance of course).

    • I’m 59 now and I am that dreaded older “white male”. If you believe pop anti-white culture, I am the scourge of all mankind, the reason for the downfall of humanity. In reality, I’m just a quiet geek who tried to play the game honestly, and that fucked me.

      IT left me years ago.

      I was 41 when I started having trouble getting work. I couldn’t figure out why after a reasonably good career, often seen as a “wunderkind” when I was younger, I just could not figure out why I was not getting any gigs.

      And then I found out after several years of struggle trying to find out that Corporate Locusts were offshoring all the work to India, and so regardless of how hard I tried, re-writing resumes six ways from sunday, playing all sorts of bullshit games trying to get an interview – and the deck was stacked all along.

      Not only off-shoring, they sold the Corporate Locusts the idea that “there just aren’t any smart Americans who can do this work, we gotta bring in foreigners”. So this bullshit line was used to exploit and abuse the H1B process, thewrby glutting the market with unskilled people who could give a rats ass about America or the work, no creativity, no passion for the work, just sucking money from a corrupted system – all the while killing the labor market in IT.

      I made the mistake of hustling free-lance work, thinking that my hustle and drive was what Americans do, we hustle we invent, we re-invent.

      The problem was that the saccharine-coated HR sociopaths always see independents as some kind of danger to the company, all the while saying they are thinking out of the box. “We can’t hire you – too many gaps” – horseshit. While I was between contracting gigs, I HAD TO MAKE MONEY and so after exhausting what little money I had on unemployment, I had to go out and create my own work.

      I wasn’t very good at it, and could never point to much of it as a success, because the cycle always kept me poor. “Why can’t he get a good job?” – Ask the fucking Corporate Locusts.

      But then, they won’t tell you. They’ll post the bullshit articles to make it sound like with just a little tweaking of you rapproach, a little resume tweak, and maybe a few little other things you’ll be on your way to a great job in IT.

      Back when I got into IT in the 1980’s – there was no limit, “computer jobs will never go away”. Now I’ve been out so long, doing a little of this and a little of that to survive.




      There was one saving grace, and that is my art. While Corporate Assholes were dissing me in favor of stupid Indians with no talent, or creativity, my art was moderately successful, although only in a merit sense.

      I made little to no money in art but the satisfaction of being a real human being pursuing something other than fucking corporate bullshit was and is deeply satisfying. I got presented by a major gallery at a major BIG city event, something I would never touched had I stayed fully in IT.

      Now I do work the sociopathic Corporate Locusts cannot touch, steal or ship to India.

  8. We can always count on Leslie Stevens-Huffman to pile on a heaping helping of everything that’s wrong about you.
    It’s obvious Dice is never going to fire this rich woman, so we might as well read her stuff like the Onion article it is, and have a few laughs.

  9. Discrimination of any sort will never die until those who expect to be treated equally stop asking to be treated special & focus on their skill sets to meet or exceed the standards. As a woman, it annoys me to see “Women’s Leadership Day”, “Top 5 Women in xxx”, etc. If we keep separating ourselves from the pack, we’ll never be part of the pack.

    • Jason Bourne

      Jane, you are absolutely correct. The cry of racial discrimination is B.S. 90% of the time. It doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is. I’m white and the blood that runs through my body is red – the same color as the blood that runs through any other nationality, race, or sex. In order to be treated equally, you need to stop wanting to be treated differently. Stop using race as a crutch and focus on your skill set.

  10. Gray Bubba

    Age is an issue. If you’re in the technology arena and you’re over the age of 50 you’re fucked. No matter your skill set. Hiring managers look at you like you’ve got a third eyeball in the middle of you’re forehead. Yap all you want about companies looking for older folks with strong work ethics and dependability. It’s baloney. At least it is in Austin, Texas. Not a place with a shortage of high tech jobs…

    • So true.
      Unemployed 53 year old in Austin, TX here
      I have been a CCNP for 15 years, CCIE written.
      I have been able to roll with any of the “new tech” thrown at me:
      ACI (Cisco SDN) etc., however, I have been rejected the last 2 months…

  11. you have all missed the #1 reason — supply and demand. We imported millions of cheap indentured servants – H1-B’s! If the US limited the supply of cheap foreign labor, hiring managers would not be able to be so picky and would be required to compensate developers. The young ones coming of of college think they are getting great pay a 70-100K — I made that in the mid-nineties. Allowing for inflation, they should be making 150K to start. But H1-B’s have flooded the market so the pay is down — better that the English major, but still not what they deserve.

    • Absolutely true. In many companies, the interview is just a perfunctory exercise, so that management can say they were unable to find a “qualified” candidate. They can then justify increasing the headcount on their consulting contract (with one of several huge Indian companies entirely composed of H1B workers). We currently have no protection against this. We are desperate for government to do something. However, with the powerful tech lobby crying to our (technically ignorant) politicians, threatening doom if H1B is removed, it looks unlikely that this enormously destructive and corrupt system will be touched.

    • Also agree. I get tons of emails from Indian recruiters for 6 month contract gigs that require relocation. These are designed so that no one will apply for them, and I’m sure that if some poor soul does, they’ll find something wrong with the applicant. This way they can justify an H1-B.

  12. Bart D’Alessio

    It’s interesting about ageism or age discrimination. I am over 50 and by far more productive now than at any other point in my life. This goes for work as well as my personal life, the balance of which we all know is critical to one’s success and happiness.

    • We had a RIF at the office a few months ago. An interesting pattern I noticed was that the younger engineers found new jobs right away, while the older ones took much longer, even though they all basically had the same skills.

  13. Craig Dedo

    Over and over again, I have experienced another reason: Hiring managers want a Swiss Army knife candidate, i.e., they want a candidate who has a whole collection of widely varying skill sets, to the point of eliminating any viable candidate from the job market. Let me give you two examples.

    1. A few months ago I had a phone interview with a hiring manager who was looking for someone with a high level of expertise in Fortran so that person could reverse engineer a large collection of Fortran programs. I have extensive expertise in Fortran going back to 1975 and I have reversed engineered a lot of poorly written and poorly documented programs. As the interview went on, the hiring manager concentrated on IBM mainframe operating system skills. I did not get the job because the hiring manager wanted Fortran and IBM mainframe operating system skills in the SAME PERSON.

    2. Around 10 years ago I had an on-site interview with an engineering firm that specialized in air conditioning systems and heat-transfer technology. On the way to lunch, the hiring manager confessed to me, “What we’re really looking for is someone who has an MS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Software Engineering, and at least 5 years of experience developing heat transfer software.” I told him that I did not think that he would find such a person even if they did a world-wide search.

    • They’re commonly referred to as “Purple Unicorns” because perfect candidates don’t exist.

      I recently was asked by a hiring manager how much AWS experience I have. I replied I’ve been using AWS since 2010, using the core tools since then, and learning some of the newer stuff as required. He insisted that a certified AWS guy was a better choice, and even said I didn’t have enough of the other stuff Amazon has. I replied that Amazon comes out with new products every month, it’s hard to keep up with all of it, but I can learn what I need to. I also mentioned that when __I__ hire people I not only look at experience, but also look at capability to learn and adapt as being just as important as experience. Some people adapt and learn faster than others, and THIS is priority 1 for me, and then comes experience. I’ve interviewed junior people that were more adaptable than senior people and senior people that were more adaptable than junior people. It’s all about the whole person, not just experience, and this never-ending list of what you have to know just to be hired–it’s a rigged game. I also think that people who have a game plan, regardless of time in service, radiate more energy than those who are only interviewing as an ’employee without much of a strategy’ rather than as a ‘person who shows a strategy and plan to what they do’. The experience is important but capability to learn new things and come up with outside-the-box solutions that break all the rules is the person we really want. Come game day this person will be ready to roll no matter what new stuff comes along, at this company or the next. I typically look at each new gig as preparation for the next one.

      But in the past year the tech business has taken a collective shit on Americans and senior American tech people. I think a lot of it has to do with Trump. Companies are able to get away with cutting salaries as much as 50% and tell you to take it or leave it.

      When a farmer sees that kind of drop in yield it’s time for a different crop. Same for tech and exactly why you should say fuck you to any company right now that wants to jack your salary backwards or come up with lame excuses why they’re such a horrific place to work.

      Tech people it’s time to get organized and time to start unions. Reply back your support for collective bargaining please. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s time to reign in the lop-sided management paradigms that want you ALL to get paid less, work more, and have even less protection in the job market, giving your job away to guest workers and slaves off-shore. It’s time to unionize.

  14. If companies can be this picky, then it means that the techie shortage is a lie. I remember when there really was a shortage. All you had to be was competent and you would get multiple offers, and you’d get them within days, not weeks, of the interviews

  15. John Brown

    One major “in my experiences” hiring managers not hiring . is the exact opposite of what you described.
    They somehow get scared for their jobs when faced with someone more competent / communicator and versed than themselves. I did not find any other excuse for so many rejections than that ! or maybe they discriminate for age ???

  16. Take the inverse of all the points in the article and that person wouldn’t get the job either because they would be perceived as a threat. This article is not helpful and if hiring managers were honest about what it is they really want then Dice wouldn’t exist.

  17. Blah blah blah. Always some reason why YOU did not land the job. Spoken like a true manager.

    In my best job interviews, the interviewer assumed from my credentials that I knew the job, and wanted to know how I would approach the task(s) at hand. In the worst, someone wanted to give me a pass/fail quiz. Even had one guy review my approach to coding and critique it, just like college days. Glad I did not end up working for him.

    I’ve been in one IT role or another for 38 years, over 30 with one company. I’m pretty sure I would not have kept any job that long if I did not know what I was doing. No need for a test.

    I just handed a project to a great technician, who completed the assignment ahead of schedule. I found out he makes about $1/hr more than the average trash collector in the U.S. He’s looking for other work. Imagine that. The day of reckoning is approaching, for managers who presume to know more than their prospective hires, and will interview countless candidates in search of the “right one”, yet think it’s OK to pay them like unskilled workers. It can’t get here soon enough.

    I’ll add, I was involved on the hiring end of things for a while and I have a pretty good idea of how to screen applicants. Those I recommended, turned out to be good employees. I did not jack anyone around, in the ways I have experienced.

    Someday, and I hope it’s soon, job candidates will hear “You look like you can do the job, When can you start?” rather than getting the six month wait for an email that claims the position was filled by someone better qualified. Yeah sure.

    I am looking forward to leaving the field I have enjoyed working in for so long, now apparently run by greedy fools who could not do my job if their life depended on it, but fail to see its true value.

  18. Greg Timberman

    Reason #6: You’re 50 years or older. Maybe you could have your genetic code edited with CRISPR so you can appear more youthful at the next interview. Human resource managers don’t respond well to gray hair, laugh lines on your face, or other indicators of age and wisdom.

  19. Dewayne Grooms

    I have just finished reading all the posts in this thread. I believe one reason that has not been touched on is the backlash from the Y2K debacle. Yes, there was a need to fix massive amounts of old code that was YY instead of YYYY. The fear mongers on TV portrayed the world coming to a screeching halt and some (I said “some”) used it as an excuse to go the independent consultant route and demand exorbitant pay rates that the upper echelon had to accept to save their own hides. The rest of us just did what was necessary as employees of the company to fix the code and see the sun come up on 1/1/2000 just as it has done for the past 6000 years.

    Then corporate America declared war the average IT technician and laid him off, out-sourced him or her (so that the IT tech no longer felt like he or she was contributing to the success of the company he or she was part of), got the laws changed to allow for H1B’s to take their places and changed the hiring process into one where now the potential candidate is just a number and not even worthy of a response. I get calls from headhunters that say I have a great skillset (if I can understand them), want me to fill out a RTR form and then I don’t hear from them again.

    Is change in the wind? Maybe. Since being laid-off because the contracting firm up the line lost the contract, I have been concentrating on companies that are hiring people to be onsite instead of on-contract. I’m hoping after 20 years the memory of that event is fading as a new generation of upper management people take the responsibilities of satisfying the greed of 401k account holders hoping for double-digit gains on their retirement accounts (but that’s another story).

    My suggestion? Try countering the H1B lobby in Congress by contacting your Congressman and Senators and telling them you are part of that older (you pick the age bracket) set of highly skilled labor force that can’t get a job and demand the H1B flood be stopped. Tell them the line the H1B lobby pushes that highly skilled Americans don’t exist anymore is a lie and that the flood of coders from India needs to be stopped and these people need to be told (politely, but firmly) to go back where they came from.

    When the market for cheap labor dries up, Corporate American will respond as we would like. No need to unionize. Just focus on how to beat them at their own game.

    I personally have been in IT for over 30 years. I have appreciated the responses by those in similar careers. I started because I was fascinated by the technology as it was developing. I was young. Now that it has become so ubiquitous and so invasive (and I am older), I have become more interested in helping people do their jobs.

    I wish you all the best.

  20. There’s a lot of back and forth between folks who are saying race or age was the reason for their current unemployment. Before you go marching off to war for the “right to be right” with each other, consider the idea that both ‘isms’ are true and real and happening now. The combination of offshore and the massive millennial generation means that lots of companies are filling out their workforce with churn-soldiers – kids that they can pay less and will do overtime for beer, living 3 or more to an apartment, and most likely leaving that job in less than 3 to 5 years. And all of these things happening as a run up to AI, which could render even this very website, and its business model, irrelevant in a few years.
    I’m a designer in my 40’s and I can tell you that a partial solution is to become a founder. Team up with folks that have good ideas or think of ways to productize what you already know and do. C++ and Java are still current via platforms like the Unreal Engine. Remember that the biggest players in the tech space today started with very understated MVP’s that exploited simple niches, and emotional hooks, for better or worse.