Tech Hiring is Broken

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rant to follow – be forewarned. While I generally try to separate personal and professional lives here, I had an experience yesterday that has frankly just pissed me off and made me realize precisely how badly broken the hiring process is in the information security industry, and more broadly, the tech industry in general.

As a hiring manager, how does someone make a person go through three video interviews, do two coding assignments, be so impressed with the coding that they then fly the person up for in-person interviews, and only then decide the coding skills aren’t exactly what they are looking for?!?

This is the experience that many college grads have at this time of year and is founded in a bit of reality of a recent grad who is looking for their first tech position.

Now, with all of the interviews I have conducted over the years, I’m well aware of the importance of ‘culture fit’. Personality and how someone fits into a culture are extremely critical factors in that person’s success in an organization, so I would completely understand if this was such an issue. In this case, however, he was told ‘he would be a great culture fit and presented very well’, but he was light on python skills.

Wait – I’m sorry, but didn’t his python skills just impress you enough to fly him in for a face to face interview?

As I stewed on this all day yesterday, I realized that, in no small part, this is a perfect example of the problem we have in our industry. There are many talented, albeit ‘green’, InfoSec professionals out there who can’t get work because they are not exactly what is on the job description. Do hiring managers actually think in fields such as information security (or data science), people are graduating college with the experience and background of someone already working in the field?

These must be the same managers who cry and whine about ‘lack of available talent’ in the hiring pool. Perhaps it’s these managers who lack the talent to see what’s in front of them.

Leadership needs to accept the fact that this young, eager, and talented resource pool could be a great addition to your team, even if they aren’t that perfect unicorn candidate. These people deserve a chance to prove their capabilities, to prove they are teachable, and to prove that they can be an asset to any organization.

So ‘industry leaders’, I call on you to get your head out of the sand, recognize the sometimes imperfect potential talent pool you have in front of you, and groom them to be the resources you need. After all it just may be one of these recent grads that thinks a bit differently, sees that initial compromise indicator, and saves you from that unenjoyable trip into the boardroom.

Copyright © 2002-2024 John Masserini. All rights reserved.


One thought on “Tech Hiring is Badly Broken”
  1. Yep. I straight up quit both grad school in Statistics and looking for work in 2015. I even programed in 5 languages. One hiring manager admitted that he thought I wasn’t entry level (thankfully I was interviewing for a step or two above entry) and told me that he’d be afraid to hire me because I’d get a few years of experience and leave. I said screw it and we both ghosted each other. These businesses are ridiculous in their hiring practices. They did this to themselves, 100%.

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