How To Apply For a Job That Has Impossible Requirements

It is sometimes a comedy of errors to observe the (sometimes) disconnect from reality between recruiters, job seekers and well-meaning hiring managers. Case in point, Google released a new programming language called “Go” in November 2009. Here is some hype sharing how cool it is.


Why do I bring this up? I was curious about its popularity and looked it up on the Tiobe index. At this writing, it was ranking at #20. (Already? Wow!) Good for Google, but maybe a conundrum for jobseekers. Why? I believe that eventually I will see job ads where companies will require 5+ years of experience in this programming language. Yes, I know that the language is barely a year old. Think I am way off in my thinking? I’m not.

When I used to work for Siemens (way back when), I remember reading an article in VOIP Magazine about how a certain HR manager of a certain cable broadband provider contacted a certain expert for assistance in finding experienced IP communications people. It seems that this certain company had made a decision to deploy Voice over IP next year to round out a consumer package. What this certain HR manager wanted specifically, was a Director Of VoIP Operations. Since Director Of VoIP was a brand spanking-new position, involving a new technology, and a new service model for the company, whomever landed that gig would need an excellent understanding of emerging technologies and a crystal clear view of the impact that this service would have on this cable broadband provider’s business model. The writer of the article was not wholly optimistic of the HR manager’s success. Why? Long story short, there were not many people around that fit the job description the HR manager described. And this got me thinking.

“Self,” I said to myself, “How would you go about applying for a job with Bigfoot requirements?”

“Bigfoot requirements?”

“Yes,” I continue to say to… ummm… myself.

“Bigfoot requirements are job descriptions (or part of a job description) that some recruiters and hiring managers believe are legitimate, but jobseekers in the know accept them as general myth.”

Bigfoot requirements are not uncommon in HR, as they usually occur whenever new technologies become popular. Case in point, when the JAVA programming language was released in 1995 (or was it 1996?), it was not uncommon to see job postings for Java developers with 5 years (or more) experience. This was laughable on one level and frustrating in every other sense for both recruiters and hiring managers alike. How was a recruiter going to find the perfect candidate when (overall) they did not exist as the technology itself was barely a few months old?I ran into this when I was recruiting Executive and Technical personnel for startup companies in the 90′s. So what happenned back then? Well, some businesses changed their mind on how they chose to proceed on certain projects, delayed their initiatives (until the dotcom bubble burst), or dropped them alltogether. If I could go back in time, I would rattle off a list of what they could do (or I could have done) to find Bigfoot candidates skilled in Java or any other hot new emerging technology. Alas, I can not go back in time; but perhaps you dear reader can benefit from these finite pearls of wisdom.

When you are applying for a job where when years of experience is required in a technology that is only a few months old, do one (or all) of the following:

1. Look for the best of the best in last year’s technology. Ask yourself this, “What technology out there is like (fill-in-the-blank) technology?” If (fill-in-the-blank) technology does the same thing as (last year’s technology), but faster, perhaps I can share with the Recruiter that I am really good with (last year’s technology) and potentially could take it to the next level?

2. Explain to the Recruiter that experts in (fill-in-the-blank) technology are in short supply and that it would be infinitely easier, more productive and cost effective to train someone like you in (fill-in-the-blank) technology especially since you are so good in (last year’s technology).

3. Create a program in (fill-in-the-blank) technology and post it online. Get people to give you feedback. Approach the Recruiter with “I do not have 5 years in a tech that was just created. However, I am very good at (last year’s technology) and have used the principles of (last-year’s technology) to build this prototype based on (fill-in-the-blank technology). My project seems to have garnered a lot of positive feedback in the developer community. Here are a few quotes…

Good luck with your search!


What else can you do?

One thing that can be especially aggravating in a job search is not finding more of the same work that you’ve always done since your career began. After hitting your head against the wall for so long, you become frustrated and potentially depressed. (Hey, it happens.) May I make a suggestion? Work in a different field where companies are actively hiring.Sure, okay, that sounds simple enough but a) “What if I don’t have the budget to go back to school?” or b) “I don’t have the desire to start over in a new field?”

I can dig it. I have a suggestion for you. Look for ways to use your existing skills in different ways. Let me share a way for you to do that by hopping over to CareerBuilder.

1. I go to their “Find Jobs” section and instead of looking for Recruiter jobs (I have 10+ years in that field) I search on some of my job duties. For example, as a Recruiter I would manage relationships between candidates and hiring managers throughout the interview process. So… I search on “manage relationships” and “interview.”

2. What returns are jobs in HR (go figure), but also jobs in Sales, Business Development and Professional Services. Hmm… I can easily see how my skills could work well in these arenas. Perhaps if you do a search on your past job duties instead of your job title, you will find jobs that correlate to your skills as well. (Smile)

Although I chose CareerBuilder for this demo, you can do the same thing with any job board.

Happy Hunting!


Google Suggests Hot Job Markets?

Are you familiar with Google Suggest? Chances are that you are well-acquainted with it, even if you did not know it was called that. Here is a quote from a blog explaining what it is and what it does.

“The utility offers search suggestions below the text input based on completing what the user has typed so far with a list of suggestions based on popular searches by other users. For instance, typing “the dog” would return a list of the most popular searches beginning with “the dog”, not necessarily ranked by order of results.” – The Coffee Desk

So, after reading this, I wondered what were some of the more popular job markets based on Google Suggest. Check out some of the results I found:



How To Find Hidden Jobs (Video)

Did you know that traditional job searches leave you at a disadvantage? Why? Simply put, there are a lot of unadvertised jobs that you are overlooking everyday. If you do not know about these hidden jobs. its because you have been looking in the wrong places. Its time to do something different! In this video on job search strategy, Jim Stroud gives tips on how to prospect the hidden job market. Tune in now and PLEASE share with other jobseekers in your network. (Be sure to download the notes for even more information not covered in the video.)

How To Job Hunt Like a Spy (Part 4)

Okay, not sure how much longer I will be on my Spy kick, but here is one more installment. (Smile)

As a job seeker, you are most likely unaware of the various tools that recruiters use. For example, there are several resume sourcing tools designed to automagically find resumes and make them manageable at the click of a mouse. I did a review of these various tools and if you are curious to read it, click here to download your free copy. But I digress, the reason why I bring this up is that these various tools pull resumes from various sources. Such being the case, if you add your resume to the websites where these tools pull from then… Yeah, you get it.

Now, do all of these tools list the websites they use to gather resumes? No, for competitive reasons they tend not to. However, there is one company that dares to do so – Infogist. Click here or on the screenshot below to see where they get the resumes that they send to Recruiters via their tool. (Wink)

See ya’ on the next post!