The Truth About Hiring & Getting Hired In Tech

Getting hired in this industry isn’t exactly hard, but it isn’t exactly easy either. There is a lot of jobs out there and many of them are great jobs. The issue is that a lot of these jobs are like strange creatures, with odd appendages coming out at every angle that make them seem a lot scarier in the darkness of unsurety. It’s growing hard to shine a light on these jobs to see them for what they really are, and that makes finding a job that aligns with your career goals rather hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

The Plague of the Buzzword Title

It doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re aiming for, what field you work in, or what specialization you’ve toiled to be the best in. We all have dealt with the plague of the buzzword title. This is the growing trend of buzzword job titles. Titles based on the latest trends in the industry instead of what the job is actually about.

Here’s the problem with this; we search for jobs based on title. We expect specific titles to be specific roles, with specific skill sets and specific responsibilities. With the title paradigm we can no longer rely on the method of job searching we have relied upon for nearly 50 years. We are now forced to rethink the way we look at and search for jobs, and employers are going to be facing a major issue of dealing with hordes of unqualified applicants.

The question is whether the employers or those seeking employment are responsible to fix this. Should the potential employees adapt to the paradigm and find a better way to search, or should employers focus on being clearer in their intentions? Well obviously we shouldn’t choose the easy solution, so that leaves us with one choice: both!

Redesigning The Job Search

Changing habits is really hard, so we’re not going to change employers from using the terms User Experience Designer, Software Engineer, and many more with complete disregard for what the title means and what they’re really looking for. Not overnight anyway. So that means we need to start from the top, and dig our way down to the hot button issue at the centre; getting everyone a job. I know of two key points that need to be addressed.

  1. The search methodology
  2. The education of what kind of jobs we should be advertising and looking for

The first is going to be moderately hard. The second is going to be like trying to sky dive with an umbrella for a parachute.

Rethinking The Search Methodology

Employers are advertising buzzword titles, providing us with a false sense of a job market when we search, making us believe that there are thousands of user experience design or software engineering positions out there, when there really isn’t. It makes searching hard, and that’s our fault.

We need to stop searching based on title entirely. The key thing I’ve learned in the last four years is that the defining differences of a bad, good, and great jobs is not in the title — or even the salary — it’s the responsibilities of the job and opportunity for growth in the company. We need to change the game. This is a fantastic startup idea for somebody with the will, the drive, and of course the skill set. Build a better, more transparent way of posting, sharing, and searching job opportunities.

  • Make titles irrelevant; make responsibility prevalent.
  • Make opportunity more transparent; make it more important than salary.
  • Make it dead simple for employers to build this information.
  • Make it even more simple for employers and searchers to share this info.
  • Make it beautiful; make it simple.
  • Make sure it’s free.
  • Make sure it’s awesome.
  • Make sure you tell me about it. I’ll do everything I can to help.

I have my own ideas of how this could work, look, feel, and be executed, but I don’t have any notions as to my ideas being the right way of doing it. All I know is that in this ecosystem, titles become generalized heavily, and get pushed to the back. Instead of a name, it’s a categorization. The only time we see it is when we share it, under the guise of simple messaging that illustrates the general work that the individual(s) will be doing, and not setting the stage for false expectations. Something like, “We’re hiring an individual/a team to do visual design and experience design for web and mobile interfaces.” Much more clear than, “we’re hiring a user experience designer,” right?

Unfortunately this doesn’t exist right now, but you can still change the way you advertise or search for jobs.

Educating Yourself and Others

When posting, make sure you’re clear about what you expect the employee to do. Don’t just post a generic description for a title and a list of skills required. Explain the different areas of expertise, the type of work you are doing and want to do, and the goals of the company. Make your job posting specific enough to inspire greatness and greatness is what you will find.

When searching, put your desired title to the back of your mind. Focus on what you want to do, irregardless of title, and dive deep into as broad a set of titles and postings that you can muster to find jobs that align with your desired responsibilities and aspirations of growth. And look not just for the current job, for the job you can’t get just yet, because that will give you the foresight to choose a job for right now that will get you the skills to land the job of tomorrow.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, there will be a platform and community that will make all of this a no-brainer. For now however, we need to continue shining lights into the darkness in order to shoo away the ugliness of unsurety and see the jobs that will lift us up, motivate us, inspire us, and make us better.

About The Author

I’m Chris Macrae, creative at SimplyCast, writer for Think Design UX, Freelance Designer Online, and an idiot everywhere else.

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Chalkboard Image courtesy of Leah Gregg
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