Letter to the Editor

Comments by Letters

Tech grads: job search will worsen dramatically if immigration bill passes

The employment agency is also guilty of mass mailings. For a tech post, they mistakenly think any technically trained person should be capable of handling any tech position. This can result in an Electronics Technician being offered an ad that is looking for an Optical Lens Polisher or a Systems Enclosure Packaging Engineer being offered a cardboard box CAD Designer job. So now the candidate’s in-basket is swamped with useless ads to weed through, including offers for far away posts, even when one does not wish to relocate. The deluge of useless input only increases with social media and networking. The problem is amplified here in San Diego by having so many medical companies and military contractors. They are being crippled with their fanatical adherence to only hiring workers with previous experience in those fields; resulting in no new blood. They just hire an ever-aging workforce by stealing workers from each other. Those little filter boxes labeled FDA, ISO, DOD, Mil spec, and SolidWorks are keeping good people away. They are just regulations and software as flavor-of-the-month. Knowing those bits does not make one a good engineer. It is not impossible to simply offer a little training to a real tech worker to get an exceptional employee. They need to start thinking of people as software rather than hardware and fix the broken hiring system. Signed, Out of work engineer and not alone. (Name withheld by request.)
— September 23, 2013 8:59 a.m.

Tech grads: job search will worsen dramatically if immigration bill passes

Sadly, those pigeon-hole requirements don’t address the duties of the actual job. Is the person organized, works well with others, able to spot impending trouble and solves issues efficiently? Gone is the main ingredient of character. Is the person a leader, honest and trustworthy? Will interest in the betterment of the company come before self-interest? Is the person in the moment or thinks long-term? All the things that the filters look for can be trained into a person capable of learning. How can any person know (or even afford) the particular software knowledge for all the various ones that are out there? Should one study one thing with the hopes of getting matched to the company that happens to have that particular prerequisite? There still won’t be a match to all the other requirements that are in the ad. Companies really need to start thinking along the lines of continuous training for the workers by hiring people that are flexible-minded enough to adapt, rather than finding just the right person to put the round peg in the round hole. Age is incorrectly factored in. Engineers don’t typically want to retire and their experience is proof they can adapt. What does one’s level of college education matter after being in the work force for 30 years? The stereotype of slowing down to the point of just wanting to tell old stories doesn’t represent all (and they are easy to spot in the hiring process anyway). Worse yet, the very people that should be weeded out play the game the best and succeed the most in getting hired. This lack of attention during the interview process lets them slip through. What seems to be good aggressive management behavior can come from the corporate psychopath, the narcissist, or the egotist that results in destructive contamination. The problem is further compounded when businesses go “lean” and trim the workforce to the bone. Everyone is overworked and little attention is put into the hiring process. They offer fancy titles (Senior Specialist!) and yet compensate with less than the national average for pay. In the rare occasion where training is involved, they advertise the job as an internship position to get away with little pay and no benefits, while enjoying the labor of a technically experienced worker. They move on to the next person after the probationary or contract period is over. (continued in next comment)
— September 23, 2013 8:59 a.m.

Tech grads: job search will worsen dramatically if immigration bill passes

The H1-B visa program isn't the only reason American tech jobs are in peril. The entire employment system is broken. Everyone knows it but it is not being fixed. Tried and true methods for finding suitable employment have been replaced with what used to be marginal criteria. Many businesses won’t give a job seeker a moment’s notice unless one is a veteran, a minority, a previous corporate employee, or knows someone within the company. How did the exceptions become the rule? What used to be factors that tipped the scale at final choice now become the main factors. Companies, or the employment agencies they sign up with, are inundated with countless resumes that clog the system. The unemployed mass-mail to jobs they should not be applying for in the hope that something gets through. Computers have made this too easy. Companies cannot have a staffed personnel office large enough to weed through the incoming deluge to find the worthy applicants. So they fight fire with fire by having their own software filters that search for keywords within the resume that match the requirements. The unemployed respond by simply copying the ad into the resume. This means a separate resume of lies for each job applied for, leaving the real work history all but ignored. And simply playing along with this futile game doesn’t work either if one can’t pass the fringe filters of who-you-know. Now that the human is totally taken out of the equation, no one sees the experience and potential the candidate really has to offer. The employment agencies add to the problem. San Diego has a wonderful collection of tech companies that need to hire the best and the brightest. To accomplish this, they mistakenly hire employment agencies to find those tech candidates with little communication involved in defining the real needs. For a technical position, the ad is often written by a non-tech person that grabbed a boiler-plate description from a Bing or Google search based on the job title. This often includes specific software knowledge, perhaps some professional certification, a high level of education, and familiarity with industry standards and practices including safety procedures. The agency is loath to understand what is actually necessary and modify the ad accordingly, leaving obscure requirements intact. Can you imagine chooising a great artist that way? Would the filters look for Italian origin, Photoshop skills, familiarity with the health and safety data sheets of the paints used, certified in wood frame construction, and has at least 6 years of higher education? (continued in next comment)
— September 23, 2013 8:57 a.m.

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