How to find the perfect job in IT? The psychological approach. P1: Recognize Manager From Hell Analyzing Job Description
After submitting more than three hundred job applications to completely different positions in different companies in different countries, I began to notice a clear pattern in how the job description directly reflects what is actually waiting for you in the workplace. It is not always possible to easily and immediately understand what is behind and what HR really means, for example, under the item “stress resistance” in the list of requirements for a candidate. In this article I want to share my experience in finding the perfect job, and the skills that I acquired after hundreds of interviews from the three hundred applications mentioned above. I want to show you how to analyze the description of vacancies before employment, in order to find a job that will really suit you according to your criteria for an “ideal” job. Here, we will consider job search as a separate science, with clear examples.
This series of articles is aimed both at green graduates who have just received a diploma, and at seasoned senior men who have replaced more than one team. It can also be useful to HR managers as an overview of their activities from the outside to analyze errors and work on them.
And in order to slightly reinforce the strength of the arguments that I intend to give in these articles, I will talk about briefly about myself, and about my attitude to IT and psychology. This section can be skipped. I graduated from two directions: psychology with a bias in counseling and software engineering (double major, for those who are familiar with the American education system). In my last undergraduate course, I was able to practice a little in psychological counseling, working with real clients, and also practice in developing while writing a web application in python with a flag to automate the analysis of psychometrics. Now I work as a neuro-date analyst at the Institute of Neuroinformatics in Germany, and I believe that I have completely achieved the goal in finding my “ideal” job.
So, let's begin. The first thing to remember when reading job descriptions is that people wrote them. Oil-oil, right? But it’s much more important, then to understand who exactly was given the task to write a job description - HR June/Timlid/not HR June, but still little understanding of what the development is, etc. Such an analysis can be very useful in the subsequent stages of employment. I came across a huge number of vacancies that require incredible skills for the N-th position, which often led me to the conclusion that the person who wrote this description of the position does not have the slightest idea of what they expect from the candidates (a small sidenote, often on at the later stages of interviews, even relatively more competent employees than HR jones, team leaders for example, do not understand what exactly they expect from candidates for this role, but more on that in the following parts of articles from this series).
Unclear requirements for candidates: They want to be able to do everything at once, and at a low cost
An unclear, extensive description of the necessary skills is a very good preliminary indicator that you will be “driven” and you will have to deal with tasks outside the scope of your specialization. For example, among those three hundred vacancies about which I spoke at the beginning, there were many vacancies for the backend position of the developer, where the requirements were quite pulled by the fullstack, which often attracted domain knowledge and understanding of ML/DL, and not the backend. Managers and the team as a whole should have a clear delineation of tasks and an understanding of who is doing what.You can’t hire a backend developer and force him to develop a front, and also train ML models for the salary of a backend’s worker. If, for example, the company is small, and there are not so many people in the team that justifies such a use of personnel, then this should be in the job description, just like the company in this case should specify that it is not the backend developer who is looking for, but the jack of all trades, well, or just a fullstack developer. However, nothing is perfect, and you have to put up with what is, and therefore pay attention to such details when looking for a job.
Unclear requirements for candidates: They themselves do not know what they want
There is another variation of the ambiguously described vacancies when a set of similar technologies is mixed in the requirements for candidates. Below is an example that I found and even saved among those three hundred vacancies during a job search 2 years ago.
Django, Django-rest, Django-rq, Flask, Tornado, CherryPi;
Knowledge of docker/docker-compose;
Understanding http, https. REST, RESTful, SOAP;
Knowledge of React Redux, AngularJS;
Despite the relative simplicity of these frameworks, it’s hard for me to imagine a candidate for the backend position of a developer who understands all of these technologies at the same time. It can be assumed that knowledge of one framework is probably enough for this position, but again, recruiters require too much, and the main essence of what exactly you will do is not completely clear. In fact, the requirements should specify exactly the technology stack with which you will directly work; requirements must be clear and precise - this shows that people hiring you for a job have a clear idea about who they are looking for in this position, and how they need to be developed.
Basic requirements: stress resistance
Finally - my favorite item on the candidate list is “stress tolerance”. This is the most common of the controversial items that can be found on job search sites. What does he mean? I still do not fully understand what kind of personal quality employers are looking for in candidates under such a clause, but one thing I know for sure, there are several very good reasons not to get a job where there is such a clause in the description. Firstly, a normal, healthy person who does not suffer from masochistic tendencies will not want to stress at work. Contrary to all myths, work should NOT be stressful! Work should be nice! Secondly, this is another indicator of what is happening in the team, and what are the tasks with which you may have to work. There are an infinite number of reasons why recruiters are looking for stress-resistant candidates. Most likely, project managers are incompetent, and are not able to correctly assign tickets by skill and by the number of tasks. Those. a manager may not know how to manage human resources, and how to manage a team. Another reason is that perhaps the company saves on the number of employees: the team does not have enough hands, and there are more tasks than the number of people who can cope with them, and everything constantly “burns”. The company can also save on the quality of employees by hiring those who simply requested less salary for interviews. In any case, the whole point of the existence of managers is that ordinary developers do not have to stress because of the tasks that they were thrown at; while the main task of team leaders and department managers is to ensure that the team has a sufficient number and quality of employees for the projects that they are going to develop.
Contrary to the clickbait title of this article, unfortunately, the topic of the psychological approach that I used at the later stages of employment (telephone and especially on-site interviews, where sometimes I literally consulted my interviewers as clients) was not revealed in it.However, in the following parts of this series of articles, I will try to immerse you more in the topic of applied analysis of behavior, and at least teach you to pay attention to the little things in the behavior of interviewers, just as I tried to teach you to pay attention to the little things in the description of vacancies.
What do you think about this? I will be glad to discuss with you in the comments.