Before opening box, please be aware that it contains a shitstorm

I've seen a few posts pointing to this Macromedia job opening for a Interactive/Web Production Designer. Before I go down this road, let me say first that this post is not meant to single Macromedia out or anything. I mean, rather, to indict corporate human resources procedures as they relate to our industry. It amuses me that people were pointing to this posting. I imagine that most, if not all folks, who pointed to it did not read through the entire posting. I'm sure they saw the title, which sounds grandiose and interesting, and thought it was worth pointing out.

If they did read through the entire listing, they would have run into a list of bullet points under the "requirements" section. These requirements lead me to believe that the job is basically one where this person designs html emails to be sent out to customers. The title of the job doesn't say this at all. I believe that this disconnect, the job title that sounds good but says nothing about the job, is a huge issue in corporate America. Let me single out a couple of specific bullet points for your enjoyment. There is one that says "Skills in web publishing, FTP, etc." What does this mean exactly? Why include something so incredibly general? Do my skills building pages in Microsoft FrontPage and uploading them to a server count? (To be fair they did mention hand coding in another bullet point.) How about this fine bullet point? "Experience working in a marketing environment a plus." I'd imagine that "marketing environments vary greatly, just as Web Development ones do. Don't they do a massive disservice to both themselves and people who might apply for the job? If you want to receive a couple of hundred resumes instead of thousands wouldn't you make things a tad less general? The last bullet point under requirements says, "Demonstratable, strong verbal and grammatical skills." I checked a couple of dictionaries here, and could not find "Demonstratable" in any of them. It's ironic that the bullet point that calls for written communication skills contains a word that doesn't exist. I believe they mean Demonstrable.

It seems to me that the purpose of human resources departments is to speed the time it takes to hire employees, and to find the right resource for each individual position. In practice, I find that the lack of understanding of the actual position being hired for, and the internal processes by which HR departments tend to run and use to filter resumes, not only slow the hiring process to a crawl, but also make it very unlikely that a person with the correct qualifications will be found and interviewed. I could be wrong about this, but my anecdotal observations are that the hires I make myself/have made myself through industry networking tend to be much better fits for positions than anyone who staffing companies, technical recruiters or human resource departments manage to find me. In ten years of working in this industry, I struggle to think of a single person that has been hired through the "established channels" whose performance and skills matched those who I went outside these channels to hire. How do we fix this? How do we correct things so that a position for an "HTML Email Developer" says that, and doesn't create false expectations for the hire, or a pseudo-false entry on that person's resume in the future?

Finally, this brings me to another bullet point in the requirements section. It says "High degree of productivity and accuracy in a work setting that's characterized by frequent change, shifting priorities, delays, unexpected events, meeting commitments, and changing deadlines." As one of my co-workers here said, "Good Lord, why would anyone want to apply for that job after reading that?" It sounds as if they are apologizing in advance for a broken set of workplace processes. To some extent, this is a description of any production environment, but including it in the actual job posting is suspect in my opinion. Wouldn't it be more productive to evaluate this, and communicate it, at the interview stage of the hiring process?

I again apologize for singling this one job posting out. I make this post with the best of intentions, and I mean it to represent an issue that is very general and systemic, in my opinion. I don't mean to offend anyone in Macromedia HR. I'm sure I could have searched on Monster and found hundreds of other job postings with similar faults. It's the system in corporations that generates these faults, not the people themselves, and I recognize that fact. I'm interested in hearing other folks comments about this topic. I could be way off, and my experience could be a rare negative one. I would be happy to hear that, because the alternative is very depressing.

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Something I've found is that corporate job postings are rarely sincere. Having now worked in "big corporate" America since 2000, I have never seen anyone get hired by applying for a position that was posted to the site.

Instead, these positions are either tools for recruiters or, more often, posted for specific people and there just to cover "process". For example, I know somebody who wanted a job. I also knew a VP at my company who was looking for somebody with similar skills and experience. I put them in touch and the person who was looking for work was paged when "his" job was posted to the site. He applied and, lo and behold, got an interview -- which consisted of showing up at the office and eating lunch with me at Baraonda. A few days later, he had a job offer and negotiated his salary with HR.

I suspect that the Macromedia posting could have been done almost in jest. It almost smells like a techie or Project Manager blowing off steam and having a little fun with HR.

Anyway, something to consider...

Posted by Blogger Scotty on 12:04 AM

Not to mention the fact that you could apply for the job, get it, and find out the next day that Macromedia has been bought by Adobe for $3.4 Billion. How many HTML e-mailers do you think Adobe needs?

Posted by Blogger Reid Stott on 11:15 AM

My current job title is "Technical Webmaster," which has nothing to do with what I actually do as an infrastructure engineer.

That whole thing reminds me of a joke I must tell...

Mordy died and found himself at the gates of Heaven. St. Peter informs him that since his life was on the borderline between good and bad he had a choice between Heaven or Hell. Mordy thought it over and asked if he could try both before deciding. Seeing no harm in this St. Peter agrees.

Mordy spends a couple of weeks in Heaven, sitting on clouds, playing his harp, and looking down to see what his loved ones are up to. It's a very peaceful experience. He then spends a couple of weeks in Hell where people are walking around dressed in formal attire drinking fine champagne, smoking fine cigars, eating hors d'oveures, playing golf and tennis, and generally having a good time.

When it came time to decide, Mordy had made a decision and told St. Peter "Heaven's really nice, but I like Hell better."

"So be it," says St. Peter, and Mordy finds himself in the elevator headed down.

When the doors open Mordy is shocked at what he sees. Everyone is dressed in rags, the place smells of raw sewage, and people are lining up to be flogged. "What happened?" says Mordy to the nearest demon.

"Last week we were recruiting, this week we're staffed," the demon says.

Posted by Anonymous Blair on 9:43 PM

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