Benchmarks of Madness

Yesterday, my professional society sent me links to three articles that illustrate our screwed-up world:

US visa day sparks new debate on IT pros

In what has become an annual rite for the tech sector, the US government opened applications for 65,000 spots for highly skilled workers under the so-called H-1B visa program.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services said it expects to receive more requests than available visas by April 5, and if so will set up a lottery.

So American firms are indeed hiring… just not Americans.  I’ll bet the H-1B candidates don’t have to face the soggy saga that is the subject of the second item….

With Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection

…the average duration of the interview process at major companies like Starbucks, General Mills and Southwest Airlines has roughly doubled since 2010.

“After they call you back after the sixth interview, there’s a part of you that wants to say, ‘That’s it, I’m not going back,’ ” said Paul Sullivan, 43, an exasperated but cheerful video editor in Washington. “But then you think, hey, maybe seven is my lucky number. And besides, if I don’t go, they’ll just eliminate me if something else comes up because they’ll think I have an attitude problem.”

It’s not just pipsqueak firms that go for overly elaborate hiring processes.  So they don’t have money to actually pay new hires, but they do have money to burn on umpteen rounds of interviews.  Is anybody at these firms doing any actual work?  Or are they busily fumbling about on efforts like this….

Tracking Sensors Invade the Workplace

A few years ago when Bank of America Corp. wanted to study whether face time mattered among its call-center teams, the big bank asked about 90 workers to wear badges for a few weeks with tiny sensors to record their movements and the tone of their conversations.

The data showed that the most productive workers belonged to close-knit teams and spoke frequently with their colleagues. So, to get more employees mingling, the bank scheduled workers for group breaks, rather than solo ones.

Let me understand this: Bank of America spent a pile on technology and software.  They made their employees wear wires.  And from this elaborate technological exercise, they established something that a half-decent manager from 20 years ago could have told them off the top of his head, with no software involved?

Yup: we’re nuts.

11 thoughts on “Benchmarks of Madness”

  1. Expects the demand for visaed workers to go up?


    Then our demand for more housing, more cops, more electric on the grid more this and more that, that us little assy taxpayers pay for, will go up also.

    The duration of the interviews have increased?

    Increase THIS.

    It proves nothing and does not magically guarantee you a great hire. That person could up and quit the day after he or she is hired. Meaningless to keep the candidate there a year and a day. Or until the next Mad Men season premieres, at the very least.

    And spying is spying. Period.

    God knows how many times all of us have seen it: how many interviews. How the game plan changes when we get there. How many tests to take. How many “try out” or “Working” interviews are involved. How many companies want you to “Talk to” individuals who will have NOTHING at all to do with you or your job, if you are hired. The little bullshitty “thinking” interviews (“how many streetlights would you see in a city as opposed to a rural area and how is it determined how many lights you will need?”) the “practical exam” interviews (“if you have 3 square feet of tile and each individual tile measures 3 inches square, how many individual tiles do you need for a 3 foot square area?” This question was asked at a tile and brick fabricating company)

    We have seen the casual interviews, the lunch interview, the “creative” interview.

    Not necessary.

    And even IF you ace the “working” interview or their skill set test: NO GUARANTEE you will be hired.

  2. I saw on the news tonight about this expansion and the way the media slanted it was that no Americans can do tech jobs. Of course this is completely bs as I sit here able to do a high tech job but not seeing these jobs.

  3. I too have been on every type of interview you can imagine and still nothing. Everything from lunch interviews (at least I got a free lunch)to third/fourth interview and above.

  4. According to the New York Times, the number of H1-B visa applications has already exceeded the quota, prompting a lottery. There are 2 separate caps: 65,000 for foreign workers and an additional 20,000 for master’s and Ph. D. graduates of U.S. universities.

    1. Honest to God:

      Wher are we going to put all of these newcomers???

      More schools, more teachers — because you know that these slime will definitely be down with pushing out an anchor kid or several! — more housing, more food, more power, more utilities, and eventually more cops and more public servants.

      Meanwhile we have our own unemployed who have post-grad degrees.

      What is wrong with this bleeping picture????

      1. One thing I learned from grad school is how biased the college system is towards foreign students. The school went out of their way to find the foreign students money, work study etc while basically saying FU to American students. I was astounded that I was rejected for the work study program as were most of my American classmates (except graduate assistant positions which were hard to get)but the foreign students all got it. What also angered me was not only were most of the jobs at school taken by them but how many of them showed disgust at Americans, like the Indian students who would work at the gym and be talking to each other in Hindi in front of the American students. Some foreign students actually got offered full time positions at the school once they finished, unlike most American classmates who did not. One did, in fact she is still there (I talk to her on Facebook)but her qualifications were stellar.

        1. This is commonplace, this “we need to speak in our own language” thing.

          I saw it a billion times in the lab. The bosses didn’t have the mettle to say “NO TAGALOG IN THIS LAB” — the bunch of them would sit there and blab away and wow, it is just plain RUDE.

          When in ROME.

          Want to speak Hindi, Tagalog, Middle Earth or whatever? DO SO amongst yourselves when you are alone, not when you are with others who do not comprehend that language. Stop the puerile and rude behavior.

          1. It bothers me tremendously because I suspect they are bad mouthing me and American classmates but even so it is rude. I remember one time I complained about this (not at school, at a different job)and someone told me to learn the language. Excuse me, I shouldn’t have to learn another language to have a job.Yet all too often I will see language requirements in the paper from Spanish, to Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, French and a few others. The French one I understand because this company has a French branch they are always doing business with so I get this. However the others usually have to do with talking to workers who don’t speak English, or what I consider horrific is actually giving welfare and things like that to people who refuse to learn English. I do actually speak Spanish but I shouldn’t have to for a job.

            One of the dirty secrets about speaking another language is that in most of these countries the upper class speaks fluent English. In the Arabic countries for example English is often used as their business language and the upper class Arabic people I have met speak English often with a British accent. In India English is an official language and widely spoken by people in the upper classes. Even many of the Mexicans we get who come here legally are upper class and speak English. Yet what is not mentioned often are that those who don’t have a basic command of English are usually unskilled. There are exceptions of course but have seen this again and again where a company hires someone unable to speak English because they will work cheap and not complain.

  5. I know what you all mean. I saw the head of a tech startup in the Bay Area, in a news segment, say he needs the ‘best’ workers and how hard it is to compete for them in the Bay Area because of so much competition there. A French employee of his firm was himself concerned that he would not be able to stay in the USA, and have to return to France. How terrible for him to have to go back to a country with great healthcare, and healthy food, and the best (IMHO) train system in the world. How will he cope?!!!! “Oh the humanity!!!” The thing is that these Hi-Tech workers do not have to come to the USA—at all!!! IBM has its employees work from home, and meet on the internet in Second Life. IBM saves a lot of money this way, and they can hire anyone, practically anywhere to work for them with no visas required. It is very ironic how these Hi-Tech companies become so low tech when it comes to requiring workers to actually be on site to work. They are just control freaks. Just like the ‘loser’ employers Dude, and NWP have been putting up with.

    1. Nor do healthcare workers need to come to this country. Nor do IT people need to come tot this country: we don’t need any of them. Period.

      Give incentives to companies to hire our own! Let it be the same money the same everything: we will prove once and for all that we don’t need these people.

      They are easy to push around and they’re some of the most reticent people I have seen — when the raises are bad, you bet they won’t complain. (often as not Filipino lab workers have two full time jobs! — and if not one, at least one full and one part time…

      And all of the money is SENT HOME.

      Benefits our economy NOT.

    2. Barbright, that must be the segment I saw too because I remember a French worker and thinking why would someone from any European country want to even come here? I’m not an engineer so I can’t speak of that particular field but know so many people in skilled jobs unemployed while we import workers in the same fields. I have been the victim of this myself several times when a job I interviewed for went to a visa worker.

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