EppsNet Archive: Hiring

It’s a Seller’s Job Market in IT Right Now, Especially for Agile

31 Aug 2012 /

I recently concluded a 3-month job search. As part of my networking, I met a number of unemployed people in other fields who were having trouble not only getting jobs, but even getting interviews.

I talked to a lot of people and averaged about an interview a day, including phone interviews, mostly for development manager jobs. For every development manager job, there are multiple development jobs, so if you’re a developer, your situation is even better than mine was.

I live in Southern California, but the demand is not just local. I had multiple contacts from companies outside the SoCal area that can’t find qualified candidates.

I’ve been working again for over two months, I no longer have an active résumé on job boards, and I still get emails and calls every day from recruiters all over the country.

Agile and Scrum are in demand

West to Chicago, East to Toledo

The situation with Agile and Scrum right now seems to be that a lot of people are putting it on their résumé but most of them are bluffing.

One hiring manager told me that he’d talked to three dozen candidates who claimed to know Scrum and only one (me) who actually knew it.

Another hiring manager asked me to describe the Scrum process, beginning with a product owner with an idea through the end of the first sprint. It’s a basic question, and when I finished, he thanked me for my answer. “You’d be surprised how many people I ask that question and the answer is a yard sale.”

Actually, you’d be surprised how little I’d be surprised by that.

One recruiter contacted me about a 3-month Scrum Master contract in Toledo, Ohio. A glance at my résumé will tell you that I’ve never worked outside Southern California, so on a list of people likely to take a 3-month contract in Toledo, Ohio, my name would be far, far from the top, but the difficulty of finding a qualified candidate to fill that job is such that the recruiter contacted me anyway.

If you really know Agile and/or Scrum right now, it’s a seller’s market.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

12 Jan 2012 /

The goal is not just to hire people who need a job; it’s to hire people who believe what you believe. I always say that, you know, if you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money, but if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.

Why I Got Into Management

12 Jul 2007 /

My first 10 years in the software business, I had great managers. They did the management thing and I did the programming thing and we got great results together.

Then, after the dot-com boom torpedoed industry hiring standards, I got tired of working for managers who should not have been allowed anywhere near a software project, people who were not fit to direct a professional software developer to a table at the Olive Garden, much less direct their activities on a complex project.

I couldn’t possibly have continued to work for people like that — it just made a mockery of all the work I’d done over the years to actually learn something — but I still miss being a developer . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Talking to Recruiters

19 Apr 2003 /

The Programmer has been out of work for more than two months now . . .

A recruiter called me the other day, and in the course of our conversation, he asked me which “business requirements methods” I’ve used.

I said, “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that.”

After a pause, he said, “I’m not really sure what it means either. I’m kind of new at this.”

“Well, go ahead and read the next question, then . . .”

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Getting Tired

27 Feb 2003 /

The Programmer has been out of work for three weeks now . . .

I’m getting tired of trying to sell myself to people who don’t seem to understand what it is I do, outside of how well I “fit” into a narrow job description. I’m getting tired of working in a broken industry.

More generally, I’m sick and tired of people and their goddamn opinions about everything.

And I’m getting pretty sick and tired of myself, too . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.

“Hiring the Best” Explained

19 Aug 2002 /

An employer is always somewhat reassured by the ignominiousness of his staff. At all costs the slave should be slightly, even much, to be despised. A mass of chronic blemishes, moral and physical, are a justification of the fate which is overwhelming him. The world gets along better that way, because then each man stands in it in the place he deserves.

A being who is useful to you should be low, flat, prone to weakness; that is what’s comforting; especially as Baryton paid us really very badly. In cases of acute avarice like this, employers are always a bit suspicious and uneasy. A failure, a debauchee, a black sheep, a devoted black sheep, all that made sense, justified things, fitted in, in fact. Baryton would have been on the whole rather pleased if I had been slightly wanted by the police. That always makes for real devotion.

— Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night

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Different Drummers

14 Jul 2002 /

In high school, I was in the school orchestra. There were no auditions; it was just a class you could sign up for, independent of whether or not you had any musical ability.


And when a student with no musical ability signed up for the orchestra, what transpired was something like this:

Director: What instrument do you play?
Student: I don’t really play an instrument.
Director: You’re in the percussion section.

There were three or four of us in the percussion section who could actually read music and play it, so it was kind of depressing that it was mainly a backwater where musical illiterates were sent to bang on cowbells . . .

I recollected my days as a high-school percussionist today when one of our tech leads — tech leads — pulled up some javadocs and announced that a method we were using was “depreciated.”

Now if this cretin is not familiar with the term “deprecated” — which he certainly should be — but since he isn’t, you’d think he might at least be capable of reading or sounding out his own language.

But no such luck there either.

Ever since the dot-com boom wiped out the hiring standards for the software business, this is what’s become of a once-noble profession.

Clang! Crash! Boom!

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Hiring the Best

1 Apr 2002 /

The following email went out at the office:

Please stop by and say hello to our newest Project Manager Skip Intro [names changed to protect the guilty]. He is a great person, lives in [a nearby city], tons of experience, and has two black labradors. What more could you ask?

Leicester Dedlock

Director of Project Management

What more could I ask?!

We’re hiring project managers and can’t think of anything more to ask them than what kind of pets they have?

This explains a lot . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Related Links

Lead Web Developer: No Experience Required

30 Nov 2000 /

Who’s TheMan?

Wood door in a stone building

I’d never heard of TheMan.com until yesterday, when I read that the site had shut down, and replaced what I assume must have at one time been content with the resumes of its out-of-work former employees.

You can get a good feel for the company from this Sept. 27, 1999 Time magazine article.

Cringe in horror as moronic 27-year-old CEO Calvin Lui closes meetings by barking “All right, dudes, let’s rock and roll!’

Gasp in amazement as he draws analogies between TheMan.com and one of his former employers, the Walt Disney Company! “This could be a major, major public company,” he says. Not a major public company, but a major major public company!

Feel his soul-stirring passion to recruit “the A people” for”‘below-average salaries”!

Lui was right about one thing though: “I understand that right now we’re a zit compared to everybody else. But in a year, we’re not going to be a zit.”

What did he think they were going to be? A cyst? An abscess?


Well, no matter. The important thing is that now you — yes, you! — can duplicate Lui’s spectacular results by adding some of his underpaid A-Team to your own staff.

Act quickly!

Are you looking for a Lead Web Developer? Consider William Huang. According to his resume, Huang held the title of Lead Web Developer at TheMan.com, Inc., for the past year.

He has no other programming experience, but he does have 4+ years of service as Assistant Manager at the Corridor Center 55 shopping center, where his responsibilities included:

  • Collecting and depositing all rent checks.
  • Making monthly loan payments.
  • Assisting with the upkeep of facility and maintenance work.

So if you need a Web developer who can also sweep up, look no further.

Huang’s resume lists no educational background, but that has not prevented him from achieving proficiency with WS_FTP Pro. That will come in handy if you have a need to move files around from one server to another, as many companies do!

His resume also states that he plays both basketball and volleyball, if you ever need to get up a game.


You pay peanuts, you get monkeys

I don’t know who said that. But I know there was a time not too long ago when you couldn’t even get hired as a trainee in this business without at least having a college degree.

Of course, at that time no one really believed you could hire “A people” for below-average salaries.

Serious, responsible companies lived or died with their data, so they hired serious, responsible people to work with it, and they paid them an appropriate wage.

Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. The times are changed even as we are changed in them.

Thus spoke The Programmer.