It seems like every day brings a new round of layoff announcements. Companies, large and small, are having to cut back, save cash, and stop growing. In this environment, any new hires need to be as effective as possible. It’s all about the bang for the buck. This is a time where generalists may have an advantage – wearing many hats makes you more cost effective.
Given this, I’m seeing several job postings that are asking for an awful lot. It is to be expected, and makes sense from the companies point of view. There are, however, times where this “hire overloading” borders on the absurd. Take the following:
*Senior Linux/Unix Developer/Test Engineer*
Installs and configures clusters of Linux based application and database servers. Drafts and executes test plans of Linux related software on clusters. Experience with Linux application cluster design, administration and tuning (including san) required. Experience with virtualization technologies required.
Strong software development skills in multi-tiered and distributed environments using iterative development process, including 5+ years of advanced programming experience
* Application performance testing plan drafting and execution.
* Experience with usage and customization of open source application performance test tools.
* Multiple Programming Languages: C, C++, Perl, Python, Cold Fusion, JAVA
* 4 year technical degree or higher at an accredited institution.
* Linux Cluster and cluster storage design, configuration and tuning.
* Linux Kernel customization and compilation
* Databases: Mysql, Postgresql, Oracle
* Multiple Operating Systems: Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, etc.
* Experience with multiple virtualization technologies: Xen, VMWare, KVM,
* Excellent analytical and problem solving skills; with the ability to analyze business processes and create application models utilizing project-management standards
* Strong verbal and written communication skills and ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a cross functional team.
* Telecom and/or internet domain knowledge and experience with solid experience with eBusiness processes and/or back-end applications
So, here’s what I read into this request. This company is looking for a QA engineer who has been a mid/high level software engineer, with linux administration experience, fairly advanced enterprise hosting experience, and project management experience. The hiring manager is asking for a chocolate cake that has just the right amount of fish sauce and onions.
This is at least two different career tracks. Any software engineer that has professional experience setting up virtualization clusters and SAN is not likely to be very skilled in one or both areas.
Hiring managers that cram so many diverse requirements into a single job posting really bug me. If you want a generalist, then ask for a generalist. Asking for such specific and wildly different requirements does nothing to increase your chances of finding a quality candidate. It just turns away those quality generalists that are capable of learning your specific system. If you need someone who can set up test environments using a virtualization system, then either train one of your test engineers – if muddling through is acceptable – or hire a sysadmin who has experience with virtualization. If you need someone who can write test harnesses, then hire someone who knows how to write test harnesses and exercise programming interfaces. If the harnesses require an obscure language, then asking for familiarity in that language makes sense. Remember, a good engineer can learn whatever elements are specific to your system. If you want someone who can analyze your current business processes, and help to reorganize them, don’t expect the person to also be down in the code – those are two totally different disciplines. “big picture” people, who can give quality feedback on business process tend to miss the details necessary for writing a good testing suite, and vice versa.
I feel bad for any technical recruiter who sends out job requests like this because though they are just the messenger, they look foolish. The hiring manager looks just plain silly. This was a request that was likely written by a team of engineers. They all looked at what they do, and tried to “fill in the gaps”. Bad practice! Anybody who actually fits that request is either dishonest (resume padding) or probably doesn’t require the depth of knowledge that the team is hoping for. The team, or hiring manager, should request a generalist, who has experience in the main area of the job request. Then during the interview process, explore the candidates willingness and ability to learn. Perhaps mention some of the systems that are required to do the job. Focus on concepts and approaches, not on specific technologies or processes.
I know it’s a tough job market, but come on. A little sanity please.