There are certain common HR/headhunter phrases. Whenever someone says one of these, I mentally translate it to “I’m a clueless twit who doesn’t know anything about hiring competent workers.” Of course, I try to be polite anyway.
One common phrase is “I want to hire someone who can hit the ground running.” That’s a military analogy. An expert paratrooper can land on his feet and immediately start running towards the next target.
When clueless people say this, they mean “I want someone who already has the exact experience I want.”
That is false. If I want to learn PHP or .NET, I can easily look that up; it’s well documented. The hard part of a new job is learning all the details of that employer’s business, and the weird ways their software is organized. For example, at my last two jobs, they had lots of tables in their database with confusing names and no documentation. Learning the details of their database is *MUCH HARDER* than learning SQL or PHP or .NET. Learning the business logic is much harder than learning the details of a new language.
When an employer says “I want to hire someone who can hit the ground running.”, he’s really saying “I don’t want to invest anything in helping my employees learn new things.” and “I’m evaluating employees based on # of years experience in each language, rather than overall ability.”
It also encourages lying. If an employer says “I want 20 years of .NET experience!”, then I should lie and say I have 20 years of .NET experience. If I lie, I get an interview and may get hired, and that was a silly requirement anyway. If I don’t lie, I get filtered out at the keyword screening phase. Liars have a *HUGE* advantage over honest people.
Here’s another phrase that indicates the employer is clueless. “I want to hire someone young that I can mold.” In other words, they want to hire someone inexperienced that won’t know they’re being abused. I’ve had headhunters say that employers would rather hire a recent college graduate than me, even though I have 10 years of experience. They say “If we’re hiring someone with no C# experience, we’d rather hire a recent college grad than FSK, even though FSK is asking for the same salary and has 10 years of other experience.”
“I want to hire someone young that I can mold.” is a keyword that means “age discrimination”. If someone says “I won’t hire anyone over 30!”, that’s age discrimination, but if they say “0-2 years of experience”, that’s not age discrimination.
Here’s another new “resume keyword” that’s coming up. I see people demanding “MVC” experience. The fallacy is that MVC is not a specific language. It’s a style of programming. You can write MVC style in ASP.NET or in Rails or in other languages. In my experience, it leads to a mess, because you’re wasting time writing code that follows the MVC pattern, more than you’re writing the code for your actual project. “MVC style” is a fancy name for a simple idea. It enables clueless people to think they’re accomplishing something, as they write code that follows the rules.
I’ve noticed another huge red flag. If you go into a business, and everyone is using Macs, forget it. They’re a bunch of clueless twits.
I’ve noticed some common phrases that indicate the speaker is clueless. “We want someone who can hit the ground running.” or “We want someone young we can mold.” or “We want MVC experience.” or “I work on a Mac.” all indicate that the person is clueless.