Another issue is how years of experience aren't by themselves enough of a metric to gauge the value of a given candidate. Felix Fermin, recruitment manager at Mondo, pointed out how the nature of a candidate's previous experience is crucial -- "if their previous positions are permanent positions or if they have been contracting a lot," or "startups vs. reputable established companies."
"Years of experience is not an effective metric," Owen says. "We see this with [technologies like] Puppet, Chef, MongoDB, and Cassandra," which are new enough that they make the years-of-experience metric less useful.
For such emerging technology, Owen believes it makes more sense to use a practical examination, where the application is invited to complete a given task -- such as set up a MongoDB instance -- and can be evaluated based on how successfully they perform that duty, or to troubleshoot problems commonly found in the world.
Yet another issue -- most relevant to job seekers but also problematic for companies -- is how technical job postings don't always reflect the actual position. For example, there may be one posting for multiple jobs or vice versa. Fermin feels this is because "a lot of hiring managers are looking for candidates that can wear many hats." Thus, "they list every skill that they would want in the ideal candidate." But narrower expertise, he believes, is better, since such ideal candidates almost never exist. "Hiring managers should try and shorten the job descriptions and only list must-have skills sets."
The folks at TrueAbility routinely poll job listings as a way to determine what IT job skills they should be creating tests for, and they too are concerned about how job listings can be a misleading index in terms of what skills are being asked for and which ones are being used.
"We're constantly looking at [job] data and trying to get an accurate idea about the positions out there," Owen said. "We're able to go back and take the population of jobs across these boards categorize them, and then assume with some of the [U.S. Department of Labor] hiring data how those are distributed across different positions."
This article, "Mobile dev chops? Cloud infrastructure skills? You're hired!," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.