Professions of a Silicon Valley Double-E
Monday, August 27, 2007
  Luck, and the Job Search
"And my favorite tip for sorting through resumes: Throw out half. That way you won't hire anyone who is unlucky!"
- Scott Yates - in a comment on Guy Kawasaki's post about hiring folks via Craigslist
I have been given advice in the past that If I couldn't find a better way to make a choice between employer's, to "Pick the Lucky One". But the nonsensical idea above, almost doesn't deserve a response. But It has been grating along in the recesses of my mind, So maybe it does.

On the face of it, it seems sort of obvious and liberating! Would I want to hire someone who is Un-lucky? Of course not! If I throw out Half the resumes, which half would be the unlucky ones? (I'm a great employers, so OF COURSE it would be the half I threw out!!) So if I throw out half, I cut my work in half, and eliminate a whole bunch of "unlucky" applicants.

Of course some of us see "luck" as just superstition, or as "God's providence" or as a story we (Humans: Storytelling Apes?) use to explain something we don't understand, then thinking we DO understand it. Of course, such explanations can be an example of hindsight bias, or rosy retrospection. It also assumes that there are such things as "lucky people" which is an example of the Gambler's Fallacy. As I look through the list of cognitive biases, I see many examples which could apply to this situation.

Of course, there is a common saying that "Luck is when Preparation meets Opportunity". It may also be true that Luck is an attitude of the lucky. So if you REALLY want to hire lucky people, Hire people who prepared, and who have a good attitude. And when its put that way, it doesn't really matter if they are "lucky" or not.. They'll work hard, with a good attitude, and these are both qualities worth looking for in their own right.

Want to be lucky and get hired? Prepare, and build a good attitude, and Clear up your thinking.
Jonathan

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Ruminations about the Electrical Engineering profession as practiced in Silicon Valley by an IEEE Senior Member. Disclaimer: All Posts here are official IEEE business in that they are messages about IEEE activities from an IEEE volunteer. These messages do not constitute official records of R6-PACE activities, nor official IEEE or IEEE-USA policy statements. Website: http://www.ieee.org/scv/pace

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When he is not working on IEEE stuff, Jonathan does Mixed Signal Design Verification at Qualcomm. Senior Member IEEE. Founder IEEE-SCV-SSC (the first Solid State Circuits chapter). Past Section Chair, Santa Clara Valley Section - the Largest Section. Co-founder IEEE-SCV-CAS. IEEE-SSCS Membership chair 2001-2003. IEEE SSCS chapters Committee member. IEEE-SCV-PACE committee member 2001- IEEE-SCV-PACE Chair 2006-2007. IEEE R6 PACE coordinator.

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