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June - 2006 - issue > Protocol@Work
Job Hunting Ethics
Sridhar Jayanthi
Thursday, June 1, 2006
In the very wild Indian software job market, the IT companies have been looking for dependable professionals quickly and in large numbers. Needless to say that has been a challenging task, made more so by a disregard for professionalism and job huntingjob-hunting ethics by a larger-than-acceptable segment of the job seekers. It is almost an asset in this market to show sensitivity to this issue for a smart techie.

For those good software pros whothat want to differentiate in this market, there are many characteristics to focus on, but showing an awareness of job huntingjob-hunting ethics will help in your job search process. I am not really talking about punctuality or dress code, although those aspects are important. The more pressing issues are related to keeping commitments, communicating decisions, and being professional both at the time of interviews and joining. The most blatant violations of these ethics are embellished resumes, “no shows” at interviews and worse, “no shows” by candidates on joining day.

While everyone has a right to pick the interviews and the jobs they please, doing it professionally by understanding the employer’s challenges will give you an edge in being considered “dependable” and will result a higher success rate in your search. Here are some tips:
When you start your search, try to figure out how the next job fits in your career plan.

· Tailor your resume to suit that position, but stick to facts; you are always better off looking good on what you have actually experienced.

· List the companies or category of companies where you would like to work, and try to stack rank these companies based on your preference as an employer.

· Commit to interview schedules that you can keep, and show up well in time, and bring some extra copies of your resume.

· Provide accurate information on the employment application, including employment and salary history;

· If a job offer is made, ask for time to review it. For most junior level jobs, 2-5 days is an acceptable request.

· The offer stage is where it gets tricky for most junior techies: If you decide to accept the offer, you have to let the other companies where you are interviewing know that you are out of the race, and not available any longer. If you are not ready to accept the offer, and would like to wait until you hear from one or more other companies, let the offering company know exactly that. Ask for a reasonable time extension for accepting the offer. You may or may not get the extension. You cannot have it both ways. It is unprofessional to accept a job just to buy time for other offers. If you have done your homework on your list of preferred companies, this decision gets easier. Sometimes you may have to reject an offer, without another offer in hand.

· If you accept an offer and subsequently decide not to join for valid reasons, let the company know immediately that you will not join them. There is a lot of contempt in the industry for “no shows”, and often such behavior is remembered by a colleague or a manager that could affect your future prospects.

If the market does not mature quickly and eliminate these violations, I predict the requirement for a candidate “recruitment history” service similar to the “credit history” service in the U.S., utilized by HR managers to assess the professional behavior of a candidate. Meanwhile, a smart techie should stick to job searching ethics and stay ahead of the pack.

Sridhar Jayanthi is the VP of Engineering and Head of Indian operations-McAfee Engineering Center. He is responsible for the Indian R&D and product development operations including the organizational development, operations strategy and project execution. He can be reached at Sridhar_Jayanthi @McAfee.com

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