The hiring process

After moving to the US from Germany I have had some interesting thoughts on why the whole hiring process sucks, for anyone involved.

I’m mostly talking about hiring people who are currently not employed since most of the issues I’m talking about here don’t really apply to people working in the field they’re looking for work in.

For employers it seems like finding an ideal candidate for a job is amazingly hard. Even harder when the unemployment rate is fairly low. You’re spending probably hundreds of hours trying to find someone who would fit in with your company and do a job well. And even after all that you won’t find out if you made the right choice for another few thousands dollars spent. And then, even if it doesn’t seem to be the right candidate you need to wonder if it’s actually worth it to go through all the hassle of replacing them or if they’re doing almost well enough not to get fired.

For employees it doesn’t seem any less complicated. I have just spent close to 30 hours just preparing a résumé (that you can see here…. shameless plug intended), and with that I obviously haven’t even gotten to a cover letter, which obviously should be different for each application. Then you need to actually find a company that wants to hire the likes of you and for which you want to work. So far I have spent about 50 hours and the time of a few friends before even applying for the first job.

Now there are companies who are supposed to make the process easier for both sides. But do they really ? If I hire a company to do the hiring for me, will they really evaluate a candidate or will they just go through their résumé like I would ? If I hire a company that will go around and show off my résumé to companies, will they actually do a decent evaluation ?

Now I know this isn’t all that feasible, but there should be a company that hires and trains people and then actually knows what skills they have and what companies they would be useful for. Or even specifically trains people in the technologies that are in use at the company that wants to hire someone. And I know what you’re thinking: that’s what schools are for. But you would be wrong. There are so many people attending very good schools who really haven’t learned much of what the school wanted to teach. Being able to repeat things on a test isn’t quite the same as actually using that knowledge in practice.

Obviously I’m talking mostly about IT jobs here. And I’m really advocating against using standard programming tests to see who at least understands some fundamentals of programming. It’s fairly easy to memorize the fizzbuzz test and similar ones without really understanding them.

I don’t really have a solution to this whole problem right now (beyond people calling themselves experts in whatever technology the company uses, it’s fairly easy to test those people by making them actually write something useful), but it’s obviously something that’s on a lot of people’s minds.

Idiocracy and the reality it has turned into

Assuming you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a future of more and more dumbed down children and a president straight out of an action movie.

The weird thing about it is that now people start actually seeing this future happen. We’re having a republican primary season that’s dominated by boasts of a retarded billionaire that has so many failed businesses that it’s hard to take him seriously as a businessman or more importantly a candidate. He’s an entertainer that has no substance and no plan.

And yet, somehow, in a national poll he would receive over 30% of the votes against either democratic candidate. Both of them being well qualified, both of them having plans, both of them talking about issues.

This whole thing obviously started a couple decades ago. When somehow the republicans convince a whole nation that we don’t want elitists in the white house. We somehow want a man of the people. We wanted George W. Bush ???? I’m still not sure how we got there. But from there it only got worse.

John McCain would have made a decent candidate. Obviously not a great one. Ever since Bill Clinton won the presidency with debates about plans, budgets, the future the republicans withdrew more and more from debates about issues and got drawn to debates of morals and ethics (while, unsurprisingly their morals and ethics are lacking). Debates about abortion, gay marriage, and religious beliefs took the place of issues, bills, economy.

After McCain we have Mitt Romney, another decent (and obviously not great) candidate. Himself a rich wall street guy who prides himself in abusing every tax loophole there is. Proudly paying far a far lower tax rate than someone making 10% of his income. Obviously way out of touch with most of the american population.

But then here we are in 2016. With a field that initially had 16 (qualified) candidates, with some candidates that were serious about their budgets, their plans, their issues. And we go with the candidates that has none of those.

The republican party apparently has decided against looking for a brighter future. Against having qualified candidates. Against elitism in all its forms.

We, as Americans, need to make sure we reverse this trend. Do we not want someone in the white house who’s smart ? Do we not want someone who has brilliant advisers ? Do we not want someone who thinks about the implications of the bills he signs into law ? Do we not want someone who takes a minute to think before acting ? Before making a choice that can alter the course of history for America ? Do we not want to be elitist when we choose our president ? Do we not want the best and the brightest for the job ?

I want the highest qualified candidate to be in the white house. I want the smartest person possible in the white house. I want someone who at least knows about the implications of their actions. I want someone that one of our closest allies doesn’t need to have a special session in both houses to figure out if they can, or need to, ban them from the country. I want someone that Americans can be sure doesn’t just nuke Iraq because there might be Isis there.

I want someone who thinks before acting.