Where's the brick wall for technical hires?

Survey shows economy still hurts hiring

In a survey of 1,371 technical professionals late last year, tech employment portal techies.com (http://techies.com) found that most applicants never hear back from many of the employers to which they apply. About 52 percent of techies say their typical advancement in the hiring process ends after submitting their resume.

That most techies don’t get an initial interview after submitting a resume isn’t alarming, staffing experts say, pointing out historical terms. But staffing experts note the rather large lack of employer response—whether it’s a phone call or post card—probably signifies a downward trend thanks to reduced budgets and staffs.

The more experienced you are, the more likely you'll hear back from an employer after submitting a resume, techies.com studies show. Women are slightly more likely than men to be invited for an interview after filling out an application. But they’re less likely to be chosen a finalist.

It’s hard not to deem the economy the big scapegoat for the rough job search right now. Nearly 62 percent of survey participants say that’s the number-one factor keeping them for their ideal job. That aside, many feel that not being able to have face-to-face interviews is really hurting their ability to land jobs. A fair amount of respondents believe a lack of experience and certifications are hurting them—but not a lack of skills.

Beginners differ from their advanced peers in that they blame a lack of experience as the biggest hurdle. Women also acknowledge a lack of experience as a leading hurdle for them, but men rank that as a lesser obstacle. Additionally, women more than men say a lack of skills is hurting them right now.

More than anything else, techies say access to tech associations and organizations is the biggest potential time, money and pain saver for their job search. Although techies don’t rank high the need for resume-writing assistance, our separate survey of 244 hiring managers and recruiters found lots of problems with poor or incomplete resumes. Job seekers rank active Internet searches as their top job-finding strategy (39 percent), followed by building a network of contacts through friends and groups (23 percent).

When we asked what assets or opportunities have most helped their job search—now or previously—techies said it was the opportunity to verbally articulate their strengths. A well-written cover letter and resume also seemed to have a relatively large impact on searches.

For more in-depth analysis on the job search, check out the State of the Techie Address on techies.com at: http://home.techies.com/Common/Content/2002/11/stateoftechie-main.html

About the Author

Nick Doty is editorial director of Techies.com, an online career and training center for technology professionals based in Minneapolis.