Well, another interview season has come and gone. Each fall and spring we go thru a busy period of filtering thru resumes, finding the right matches for specific openings, phone interviews and deciding who to invite to our headquarters for personal interviews. One thing I have loved about our company is that we have software developers interview software developers which seems to work well i mean, who better to interview someone than their future co-workers? And each year all us involved with the process seem to learn more about what we are looking for especially with tips from industry experts like Mr Joel Spolsky – his Guerilla tips for Interviewing is a must read for people looking for developers.
But lately each year what started as an idle observation has become much more than that and now has started gnawing at me – the college kids lately seem more ill-equipped each year for life outside of college. Could it be my age? I mean I am 40 years old now – seems early for grumpy-old-man-itis to be setting in and I suppose each generation feels like the ones that follow are less prepared than they were but here is what I have been noticing more and more and these are measurable observations:
- Lack of actual work experience (ANY work experience)- each year a higher and higher percentage of college students are somehow making it all the way thru college without ever actually having a real job – that amazes me – no actual work ethic to base expectations or comparisons to – it would seem to be a very shaky foundation to build a career on. Do they suppose that a work ethic will magically be formed within them the day they get their college degree? And who are their parents that watch them pay so much for college but don’t help them with the basic building blocks of what will form and define their career – a strong work ethic and self-motivation?
- Sense of Entitlement – wow, the unrealistic stance of some people has become mind boggling – my favorite answer to the title of this blog (yes I know this question is too subjective to provide valuable information but usually its how they come to their answer which helps me evaluate them more which is why I ask it for kicks)..but commonly the answer to this question has been "management", they see themselves managing others and no longer developing software themselves in 5 years. Are they crazy? They just spent $40K or more on a college education and already are hoping that within 5 years they are no longer doing it??? Dude, companies are looking for passion and motivation and if your only motivation is to exit the field as soon as possible – this answer will stop your resume dead in its tracks. But bottom line – most of them don’t seem too motivated to try hard in the interviews, they don’t try hard to build a resume, they aren’t researching candidate companies, and are sleep walking thru college expecting that with a degree on paper – they are entitled to a career and that everything else is a formality.
I know that I will be encouraging my kids, nephews, and nieces to be prepared (must be the former Boy Scout in me) but I still don’t get it. I guess that as I progress in my career I should be happy that future competition for me will be getting weaker on average but it is still baffling to me.
How about you guys? What life lessons should we be passing to our family members who will someday be in the job market and how do you teach motivation? Or maybe it can’t be – maybe its like that old basketball saying …."you can’t coach height so you better recruit it".