There’s a famous thread on Hacker News called “Who wants to be hired?” once every month on the 1st day of the month. Well, famous amongst HN readers I guess. It usually features hundreds of job ads for mostly tech-related jobs.
The common climate seems to suggest that it’s a sellers market. i.e. companies are chasing job applicants, who can pick and choose.
It’s largely true for lots of people with great skills that are high in-demand. But it’s not like the market is completely bone-dry from candidates. Companies might try to “head hunt” some select few people, maybe those already working at the top tech companies (meaning, they at least managed to get through the hard screening process). Otherwise, it’s not uncommon for companies who post job ads to get dozens, hundreds or even thousands of applicants.
Now, I’m not an authority on hiring. I hired only a handful of people so far. But it’s a mind-blowing eye-opening experience to hire even for the smallest freelance jobs.
From my standpoint, it’s shocking how many candidates can (and do) get eliminated within a few seconds.
If you’re applying for a job. Any job. Your chance of getting screened-out within seconds is extremely high, unless you follow some fairly basic rules. And trust me, these are BASIC. Dumb. Simple. Stupid stupid simple.
There’s an expression in Hebrew: “Baltam”. It’s a shorthand form for something unplanned, or more precisely, it strongly implies: [something that is] impossible to plan. I think it has its roots in the military. In the battle field, you always have to account for some surprises. You cannot possibly have everything planned. Israelis are also (in)famous for improvising. Not so famous for planning ahead.
As an (ex?) Israeli, I recently felt awkward, essentially being accused of being overly bureaucratic. And by a German colleague, of all people. Can you imagine it?? :)
Ok, and just to clarify one thing, this post isn’t about cultural stereotypes, but rather trying to figure out a practical approach to a real problem that my team is facing with new ideas and features:
How do you deal with new tasks or ideas, especially small ones?
I really enjoyed reading It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work recently. It’s another bestseller from Basecamp. After reading Rework before, a lot of things felt a bit familiar. Too familiar, perhaps. But their new book still has a few new ideas and covers things from a different angle. Well worth a read.
Working remotely, and at a company with very similar culture and values to Basecamp, a lot of what they write about resonated. Much of the way we structure things at work was inspired or wholesale copied from Basecamp to be completely honest. Why reinvent the wheel when someone hands you an instruction manual for building a perfect one?
But some things caught me by surprise. It felt a little too zen, or even contradictory in some cases? But it definitely gave me pause. Maybe we’re doing some things wrong, and can improve even further? I’m still unsure, but hope we can experiment with some ideas. Let me jump into a few examples…