I am going out on a very thin, very weak limb with this post. Very far out, in fact. It could have a very negative impact on myself, my family and my future if those reading it don’t take it for face value, try to read too much into it, try to over analyze it or simply don’t “get” it. This post is very long – much longer than I would ever normally make a post, but splitting it, I felt, would diminish the impact, the points and lose continuity of the thought process I am trying to get out here. It is over 6100 words long. Print it if it helps you read it better. This post has about 3.5 hours worth of writing time in it – it is comprised of quite a bit of ranting – however there are many, many calls to action for the intended audience. Many, many pointers are within here. Above all – if you are in my same situation and can relate, I implore you to leave a comment, send a tweet about the post, Digg it, Stumble it, share a link by email and to let people know that there are others that are in the same situation. We are not alone, and I think you will agree by the end of the post if you share my position. If you are on the opposite side from me, think about what I have written, look at how your company is currently doing things and ask yourself – Are we wasting time, money and resources. If you are on the opposite side of where I and I am sure many of you are, leave a comment if you are as disgusted as I am by the fact that others do this, and if you are one that has done things as mentioned – leave an apology for those you have done this too – it will be read, it will be respected and appreciated greatly.
Enjoy the read.
I will ask nicely, and then explain it below.
Please, please, pretty pretty please: Don’t Waste My Time
Simple enough request, right? But what does it pertain to? Who is wasting my time? Why are they wasting it? How is it affecting me and my family?
Potential employers – that’s who it pertains to and that’s who is wasting it. *gasp* How can I say that being unemployed for 7 months now? Easy. 7 months, at LEAST $700 in travel expenses I did NOT really have in my bank account to spend! What? Yes, most jobs I can find that fit my expertise areas are in a city that is a 40-50 mile drive, depending if the potential employer is located on the south end or north end of the city. Some I have even driven 80 miles one way to interview for. Sure the price of gasoline has dropped in the past 7 months, but not that much, especially when in the winter my main vehicle is a Ford F250, 5.8l 351 gas HOG.
I have a motorcycle for warm weather driving, 55-60 miles per gallon – yet something tells me when I show up in dress slacks, button down shirt, tie, with fancy dress shoes on and get off of a Harley-Davidson and brush my hair in the mirror on the handle bar, you’ve already decided you DO NOT want to hire me. *gasp* He’s a biker? Look at him! The nerve to show up that way! Yes, the difference between spending $8 for gas and $50 for gas means THAT much to me right now – it can mean the electricity stays on that month – deal with it please and get past the superficial high school idiocies.
Surprisingly, my hair brushes very nice, easy and professional in about 30 seconds, I am clean shaven save a small goatee I have had since high school and have had at every position I have held in that time – including the one that paid $20,000 more a year than you are currently thinking of offering – if you get past your prejudice about me. Yes, the job that paid $20,000 more than you are willing to pay, that I left, on my own free will after getting tired of hearing cursing slung at every employee for 6 months straight. When it was my turn to be cursed out, I cursed back and walked out. I don’t like that towards employees – you know, really no one likes that, so if that is the environment you wish to put me in, tell me that up front and don’t waste my time.
At least another $300 or more dollars spent on printing resumes, keeping my Internet turned on to showcase my blog, my portfolio and online resumes that I self host – which is MUCH cheaper than a paid hosting service, and MUCH more professional, versatile and effective than a “free” hosting service. That extra $300 also keeps the Internet turned on to access services such as VisualCV, LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook and more to connect and try to grow a network to find a suitable employer. Yes, a suitable employer – you know the kind that I WANT to work for, the kind that WANTS me to work for them. That same Internet connection means I don’t have to travel several miles to the library to access the Internet to do proper research on YOU the potential employer to really find out what you are saying and what others are saying about you. Yes, I do my homework about you – if I find something I don’t agree with or like, I will most likely bring it up during the interview. If that bothers you, let’s not schedule that interview okay, and not waste my time.
7 months, over $1000 spent. No job yet. I know, it’s me, right? Wrong. I will be honest; my mortgage is now due this month. That money I spent for nothing at this point would have paid this month’s mortgage payment. Now do you see why I wish you to not waste my time, Mr./Mrs./Ms. potential employer? It is damaging to my family at this point to have me drive 40, 50, even 80 miles one way and then get wishy-washy and back away or decide that the company just can’t hire someone right now; the company somehow in one day has put hiring on hold or what ever you come up with as an excuse. Please stop wasting my time.
Stop wasting other potential employees’ time as well. If you are going to advertise a position, you and your company had best be 100% sure if you find a suitable candidate, you WILL fill the position. Otherwise, you are wasting our time. You are expending resources to NOT fill a position – resources your company probably does not have, and resources your potential employees and interviewees definitely DO NOT have. So please, just STOP. It costs you money to run ads in newspapers, online job boards, to pay the HR personnel to write and post these ads. It costs you time and money to evaluate resumes, which you probably were inundated with given the economic and unemployment situation in this country right now. It costs you even more should you use a recruiting firm to find a candidate for you. Then you still have to setup the interviews. Whether it is phone, in person or both, it’s a process that costs your company even more time and money. You may take 1, 2 maybe 3 weeks in this process – sometimes even months. Then, out of the blue one day you or the company decides to NOT fill the position right now? Stop wasting time and other resources that none of us involved have to waste right now. It is just wrong, stupid and disheartening to those already feeling a bit down given their situation.
Speaking of resumes, if the recruiting agent has sent you, the potential employer, a copy or two, you should bring that to the interview and not gasp and be taken aback when I don’t bring a copy. If I have sent you a resume, then yes you should have that and bring it to the interview, especially if you have already performed a phone interview with me and reviewed said resume during the phone interview. Better yet, maybe you should research me as your candidate. Google search brings up most all of my online presences on the first page, you might find that I have 5 resumes available online – each slightly differing based upon different positions that the skills, knowledge and experience dictate can be accomplished by me. This might give you insight into additional skills you can utilize that I possess. If you are going to have other people sit in on the interview, it is your responsibility to make sure they receive a copy of my resume, unless you ask me to provide them with one prior to the interview. You are inviting them to the interview, not me because I most likely do not know who your company NEEDS and WANTS in the interview process.
Also, when you schedule a phone interview and you are going to call me at a certain time, make sure you call on time. Please don’t make me wait for 30 to 40 minutes past the agreed upon time to receive the phone call. It wastes my time. I have two children that are home schooled, so I need to make sure they are in the other room and I have quiet for interviews on the phone. If the call is not at the prescribed time, it really throws a wrench into organizing adequate space to be professional, courteous and to be able to perform well during the phone interview. If you want me to work for you, please show a little bit of respect and at least give a quick call stating something came up and you will call back in xx minutes, an hour, the next day – it doesn’t matter – just do NOT waste my time by making me wait for more than a 5-10 minutes.
After I arrive for the face-to-face interview, please do not make me fill out a 3 page application, 2 page questionnaire and definitely do not ask questions that are pretty much illegal in all the states I know of. This is a big turn off and makes me wonder why you care whether or not I carry a major credit card. If you have required a resume, do not require an application just for an interview, especially if you have already performed an hour long phone interview with me. Job applications really aren’t common in the salary range I am looking at, and by requiring that just to meet with me, after everything we have already done it makes me feel cheap and stupid, or like a liar on my resume and you want to compare them to see if they match up. Well, guess what, they do. Always have, always will. It is, yet again, a waste of time and a waste of your resources because now you have hopefully printed my resume, printed the application, printed the questionnaire and printed the 3 other forms I had to fill out, just for me to get an interview. People are desperate and will do many things to obtain a job right now, but this is lunacy at best. Interview them, if you are going to hire them and need these documents, then have them filled out at that point.
After doing these said no-nos, do not make me wait for nearly 30 minutes before you begin the interview – it is very putting off. If you can’t meet me at the scheduled time for the interview, reschedule it for when you can. We all understand that things come up – call down to the receptionist and tell them to advise me you are running a bit behind and will be with me shortly. It’s a waste of time, so please stop doing this. This is especially true if you tell me NOT to show up early, to be there some time around x:30 to fill out paper work and the interview will promptly begin at x:00, and you don’t come to greet me until x:20. Don’t waste my time, I just drove 40, 50, or 80 miles to meet you – and this is the respect you have for me? I don’t think so; it says MUCH about how you would treat me if the position were to be offered and I were to accept it.
When you do finally come out to greet me, by all means you can call me any name you like. I will only be highly offended at this. If you can not learn my name which is Billy or Bill if you have a hard time remembering Billy, do NOT waste my time. This will offend me SO MUCH MORE if we have done a phone interview prior to the face to face interview. So don’t, okay. I know you have seen many resumes, interviewed many candidates and are extremely busy, but if I don’t matter enough for you to even know my name from my resume, applications, questionnaires and other items you have required of me to get this far, then you are NOT worth my time and efforts. Sorry. Keep at it, I am sure you will succeed, but in the mean time I will gladly interview with the potential employer that can remember my name. Also, if you are going to have other people sit in the interview, please have shared my resume with them (as I mentioned earlier) so they have an idea of who I am what I can do and again, so they know my name as well. To be called by a different name once during an interview is poor enough, but two or more times is more than I can truly bear. Again, this impact is triple if we have already done a phone interview prior to our first face to face meeting.
While we are interviewing, if you tell me about all the “experts” you outsource to, and I have done my research and find that they have not done well, please don’t be offended when you ask my honest thoughts, views and opinions about your web site, web application or processes. If you have hired an SEO expert and your site is NOT ranking in Google, Yahoo or MSN, it’s missing basic things such as proper page titles, keywords, descriptions, proper use of header tags, alt image text and other “common” search engine food that is basic to any web site, and has been for a while and I point that out, don’t hold it against me. That should be all the more reason to hire me – you will save on outsourcing costs that obviously are not working.
If you are going to talk social media with me, I will be happy to oblige. However, if you don’t know who at least one or two of following are and you claim to have hired the foremost social media “expert” and they don’t know who at least one or two of the following are, you will lose my respect. The people I know that are good at social media and new media for many different reasons are (and in no particular order): Chris Brogan, Chris Garrett, Danny Brown, Gary Vaynerchuck, Joel Comm, Amber Naslund, Liz Strauss, Darren Rowse, Reg Saddler and Scott Stratten. If your expert doesn’t know any of those names, or is critical of them, the reason probably lies in the fact that your “expert” isn’t really an expert. See, there are many social media “experts” that truly don’t “get it” and they will have you blasting ads to your network, telling you a 0.00000001% return is normal in this new paradigm. In reality, if you build a good network, communicate freely, openly and honestly and genuinely care about your communities on these networks you will get a MUCH higher return. Yeah, that’s how it works, and if your social media “expert” says differently you should be ashamed that you listened to him or her.
While we are talking social media, and you bring up Twitter and ask how that can be leveraged, I can give some tips, mostly what I have learned from others by way of interaction, involvement and community practices. I am NOT a Twitter expert by any means. However, if you ask me how many followers I have, and I tell you I have over 800 and you gasp and in turn ask me why on earth over 800 people would follow a web developer from Pueblo, Colorado you have just pissed me off. Why? It tells me you truly do not “get it” even after you have outsourced your “expert” and consulted your “expert”. Either you are that thick, or your “expert” is that much of a fraud. In reality, this is my Twitter follower synopsis: some of them follow me because I tweet links to good content, some follow because I generate good content, some follow because I send inspirational, funny, odd, off-the-wall or other “general” tweets they find some interest in. Others yet follow me because they just want me to follow back and see their tweets. Still others follow to try to get me to sign up for their latest MLM nightmare. Still, others follow me because I interact well, and respond and reply to them and them to me. Some follow me because we are involved with a similar cause, whether it is a charity, web development, PHP, SQL or hobbies. This all should have been explained by your social media “expert” and the anatomy of followers. If not, I feel bad for you, but that doesn’t give you the right to insult me and the network I have worked to build by being genuine, authentic and transparent and truly reaching out and connecting with others. If you want to squabble over things such as this, you are wasting my time. If you want to learn about this because you do not outsource or have an in house social media expert, I can get you on the footholds, and I know who has the right answers to many questions in this field. If you want to insult me because you just don’t “get it” don’t waste my time.
When we begin discussing my qualifications for the position, which is 90% likely to be a web master, web designer or web developer position do not make a mockery of my experience. I made my first html disaster in 1995, by hand using notepad in Windows 95 running on a P-120MHz, 32 MB ram, and 2 GB hard drive system with a 2 MB video adapter. My cell phone now has more power than that system did – it boasts 200 MHz CPU, 128 MB ram, 2 GB flash storage and higher color screen. I programmed my first PHP script in 2002, and by 2003 was operating my own web development business using the LAMP stack exclusively (and if you do not know what the LAMP stack is, do not waste my time). In 2005 I started offering hosting on a server I owned. In 2006 I moved to southern Colorado and worked for one company creating and maintaining their online presence, which consisted of 4 completely independent web sites.
If you have read my resumes, viewed my portfolio and looked at the sites, (all information that you have requested us job candidates create, provide and elaborate upon) these sites which have NOT been maintained by anyone in 7 months, you would know the technologies, challenges, pitfalls and successes that were attained with each site. Asking me for a more advanced portfolio spanning back more than the past 3 years is absurd. Why? If you are hiring for a web position, you should know that a site that is over three years old, that I have not maintained in 3 years is NOT going to be representative of my skills today, has most likely been changed by another developer or designer and may even be offline at this point. It’s the web, that’s how it happens. If the past 3 years of enterprise class experience I have, along with holding an A.A.S. degree in Web Design, and nearing completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Web Development is not enough for you, you probably should not be looking to hire someone that local, you should be looking for someone from a larger city, possibly even from another state. At that point, given how wishy-washy you have been with me, and the fact that you want to offer less than $30,000 per year, you can’t afford the developer you want, with the environment you are providing. Don’t waste my time.
Speaking of experience, when you tell me you have a large web site and provide some limited details about what you want to accomplish with it, and are condescending to me, I am going to put you in your place. Why? Because once again, you are wasting my time. If, after reading all the materials I have available to you, you tell me a site with a database, 100+ records and content the client can maintain is an absolutely huge project and I laugh, don’t be offended. This little blog has more than that – granted I have not written the code on here, but I have modified it and extended it. By hand with a text editor.
The last site I worked on connected 3 distinct databases, running on three distinct servers, two distinct platforms. The main system contained over 4500 tables, with millions of records. The product line alone was close to 200 items – all of which had product sell copy, pricing information, related instructions and manuals, multiple images each, FAQs attached to each – all from different systems, compiled together via good programming into one web site. Spare parts comprised thousands more products, which means thousands more rows of data. Then, when you ask me if your project can be done in 4-6 months and I laugh again, please re-read all the information I have already provided to you. You will find out that one site, with e-commerce capabilities was start to finish in a matter of a week. You will also find that I ported a Cold Fusion site that ran atop a MS Access database to PHP and MySQL in about two weeks. Both of those projects, you will find were done during the development of a third project, which is discussed above, that had a total development time of 2-3 months. Oh, and while I was doing the web development, I also did video editing, server administration, network administration and end-user support for 150+ workstations. It’s all in my resumes, portfolio and other information that is freely available. Again, you have wasted my time by mocking my experience, by not reading material freely available to you and by questioning if I can really do what I say I can do when I have provided more than adequate proof.
Now, I really do enjoy a good interview, a good challenge and respectful interactions. I am not the best PHP programmer and web developer in the world, the US, or even Colorado, but you can’t afford the best anyway if you are within my commuting area, and within that commuting area I would venture to say I would give most other PHP programmers and web developers a good run for their money. I also have formal education in programming with 1 1/2 years of Java education using official Sun Microsystems curriculum. Top that with over 15 years in the tech field doing everything from phone support, desktop builds, laptop repair, video game support, and speaking with a NASA network engineer and walking him through a fix for 3Com network interface cards when I was a spry 18 years old earning $7.25 per hour, I think I have what it takes to make your company excel and attain success.
However, if you are just “testing the waters” or “seeing what kind of candidates” you get, move on to someone else who has time and money to waste playing your morbid game in this weakened economy. If you are not 100% sure you are going to hire someone, don’t call me, I would rather you be 100% sure so I know that I am 100% in the game with you and that you are going to be straight up, honest and willing to give everyone the same shot.
If you are 100% in the game, prove it by knowing my name, reading my resume and knowing what I have done, what I can do and ask intelligent questions that dig deeper. Don’t ask ridiculous questions that mock who I am, what I am and what I bring to the table. Do not create a hypothetical scenario if you know nothing of web development and web design, as has happened on more than a few occasions, because I will answer openly, honestly and you will probably get offended by that. Again, it is a waste of my time if you do this type of thing.
If during the interview you wish me to take a programming test, I will be more than happy to do so. But you have better do more than give me a list of half requirements, and sitting me in front of a computer and tell me to integrate the requirements into your current testing environment. That explains, to me anyway, why several positions that have done this are still, 5 months later looking to fill the same position. If you interview enough people, and give each of them a test, while moving forward in your prescribed development plan and giving each of them the next phase of development as an interview “test”, eventually you will get all of the development you need in your testing environment, and can tweak it a push it live. That is a sick thing to do, but what else can I ascertain from your actions? Why else would you try to tell us that you have not found a worthy developer in 5 or 6 months, and you continue to look? Either your expectations are way too high, or your pay is way too low, or a combination. Or, you are playing a sick game. Anyway one looks at it, you’re wrong and you are wasting my time and every other candidate’s time that has spent time interacting with you. Please stop. You are not going to get your “rockstar” developer by playing games such as this.
Of the many interviews I have done over the past 7 months, I estimate I continued to see at least 70% of the positions advertised for at least 2 months after my interview. Many of that 70% were advertised for at least a month or two before I interviewed. I was always told that the position was in dire need of being filled as soon as possible. Of the remaining 30%, half of them, 15%, are still being listed and trying to be filled. What? Yes, you read me correctly about 15% of the positions I have interviewed for are still open – some 4, 5 and 6 months now. What happened to needing to fill the position ASAP to get the projects completed and provide superior growth to your organization? Of the remaining 15%, about 10% of the time I was told I was lacking 1 or 2 key skills or longevity of experience in key skills and they needed someone with 100% of what they were looking for because they had no time to hire someone who had to *gasp* learn anything about the position, company, job or spend a week or two learning a new skill. Isn’t it better to hire someone with 98% of the skills NOW and get them to speed in a few weeks to month rather than waiting 6 months and still be empty handed? Learning is life long, and if you don’t want employees willing to learn, able to learn and good at learning, I probably don’t want to work for you. When I tell you I am a fast learner, believe me. When I tell you I am “tech”, that means when I get home at night from a job, after the kids are asleep I am on the computer reading blogs, articles, how-to pieces or I am reading a book on programming, a technology I do not know yet or some other technology related material. If I am going to be competitive, this is what I have to do. I live it as much as possible while still allowing me to be healthy in my family, church, hobbies and other items to make me a well rounded person. If you do not like well rounded, experienced candidates interviewing for your open position, then don’t call me and waste my time.
The remaining 5% of the time I was told my personality was not a match. That equates into a few interviews that resulted in that outcome. Funny thing is these interviews were very similar in nature. I was mocked, questioned about skills and experience that are not only are on my resume, but are in my portfolio and are proven with other documentation. Yes, proven. Maybe that is what scared you, I have proof that I can do what I say I do, and I am not just blowing fluff your way making myself sound better than I am. During these interviews I was called by names other than my own, and was made to wait needlessly. So, if you treat me that way, I promise I will try to put my happiest smile on, crank up the good cheer in my voice, but I am still going to tell it to you like it is. If that bothers you, upsets you or hurts your feelings because you find out that your web site “experts” that you overpaid in the past are liars, frauds or other wise didn’t deliver what they should have don’t call me in and waste my time, because I will tell it like it is. Honesty used to count for something, now I guess it’s called a personality conflict.
What all of this ranting boils down to is this: The economy has many people hurting in many ways – lost jobs, lost hope, lost homes and lost self esteem. If, as a potential employer, you cannot be honest, respectful, and 100% genuine in your quest to hire someone, don’t give false hope. Don’t give the thought that we stand a chance with your organization if you have no plans to follow through. Don’t lead us on for 1, 2 or 3 months more while you try to make up your mind if you are actually going to fill the position you’ve spent so much time, money and resources on already. Even though we are unemployed, we have obligations. Many are needing to do workfare programs to keep their unemployment payments, many are trying to adjust to budget living, many are trying to keep families held together by hope, love and it is damn difficult to do that if you are pulling us around, making us wait, disrespecting us, mocking us and lying to us. You are providing empty hope to an already downtrodden group of people. People who are out there networking, building relationships trying to find something to get them by and trying to find something that will last as well. Which takes me to my next point: over qualified.
If someone is over qualified for a position, but they have a genuine desire to work hard, and can be an asset now and in the future – hire them. We have mortgages and rents to pay, utilities to keep turned on so our family can have heat, food to put on the table so our children can eat. Yes, if the economy improves and the person you hired finds a better job, you will be looking to fill the position again – but it would waste a considerable less amount of time, money and resources to fill an opportunity now, and refill later than to spin wheels and not move forward for months on end. We understand that hiring someone costs money, setting up benefits (if you even provide benefits to new hires anymore), setting up computers, network logins, offices, desks and everything else. In the long run, though, what is interviewing 20, 40 or even 100 candidates over the course of 6 months or longer truly costing you and your business? I wager about the same, if not more. You are hurting your company in the long run, you are hurting your community in the long run and you are hurting families TODAY because of this sick game you, as an employer looking to hire people in a down-trodden economy, are playing. You string us along for months at a time, giving false hope, only to give us some crap as to why you can’t or won’t hire us. Please stop hurting your communities and business and above all, please stop hurting the families of those you play this sick game with.
This takes us to the last point. If you do interview candidates for a position, you absolutely HAVE to communicate with them just as much after the interview as you did before the interview. Huh? Yes, send them an email, bulk produced for all the candidates you did NOT choose and let them know they did not get the position. I would rather get a form letter saying you chose to go a different route than to continue to call, email and send follow up hand-written letters for 2 or 3 weeks to a month and get absolutely no feedback whatsoever. I think many others in my situation would agree with me. In the truth of the matter, if you have no more respect for those that dropped $50 on a tank of fuel for the interview, drove 50+ miles one way and had to find a child care provider for the 5 hours they were gone (2 hours drive time, 3 hour interview time has been my average thus far), we probably would just as well not work for you anyway. Yes, it is that simple. If you do not have plans on providing follow-up with me, maybe even giving me an idea as to why I was not chosen, do not call me for the interview because you are only going to string it along and waste my time and any other candidate’s time as well. This is another very sick game, and we truly wish you would stop playing it. Our lively hood is at stake here, our homes are risking foreclosure and you haven’t the decency to tell us you chose a different candidate. You feel that you don’t want to give us more bad news, but I would rather know that I was NOT chosen and WHY I wasn’t chosen than to be brushed off into oblivion by you and your company and made to feel I wasn’t even worth a 5 minute email, 2 minute phone call or a $0.42 stamp, envelope and sheet of Office Depot budget copy paper. Yes, that is how you make us feel when you completely blow us off. I don’t care if you received 500 resumes, interviewed 100 candidates – you have got to let us know. Truly, if you and your business can afford to keep a position that you are so highly motivated to fill open for 6 months or more, you can afford to send a form email or letter to each of us when you decide not to fill the position or find your ideal candidate. Otherwise, don’t waste our time and make us feel cheap and insignificant. It pisses us off and makes us question many things that really have no place to be questioned. It begins to create self doubt in a group of people that are already suffering enough.
If you are a potential employer that I have submitted a resume to or you have found me through a recruiter, search engine or job board, and this offends you I truly wish I could feel sorry for you. Unfortunately if any of this offends you, you are probably guilty of one or more of the things I have written about that just should not be done. If that is the case, NO I don’t want to work for you, so don’t waste your time or my time. If you are a potential employer and read this and it doesn’t offend you, then by all means let’s talk ASAP about what we can provide for each other, I wager that we can create a wonderful and very productive and cooperative employee/employer relationship.
If you are currently unemployed, and have experienced any of these things – you know full well what I am talking about. You “get it” and you are most likely just as sick of it as I am. To you, my heartfelt prayers and good wishes go out to. You, and ever other unemployed person suffering these same sick games, deserve better and it’s high time we demand better.
Above all potential employer, Please, please, pretty pretty please: Don’t Waste Our Time. It benefits absolutely no one at all.