Why selling yourself might be more difficult than you thought, or The art of being humble

We are still hiring.

It is difficult to me to say that and not express my deepest disappointment as to the fact that we still haven’t found a match for our team. But unfortunately, I still don’t think that it is us who are the problem. Rather, I think that the overheated IT jobs market in Ukraine makes the candidates to be unable to estimate their chances and skills objectively.

Last case we had, a guy was fresh out of university. He started working as a sophomore and therefore already had some experience, which made our HR qualify him as a potential match for us, albeit looking for a senior. Still, we gave him a shot.

It wasn’t a bad shot.
It wasn’t a good shot either.

He did know the theory, somewhat. Problem was, we felt as if he spit out the things we learned, rather than the things he tried. He didn’t really have the experience to back him up, so he flailed when we tried to go a little deeper. He was quick though. He was so quick that I felt myself aging and slowing down by a minute. A little more of that interview and I might have excused myself to go to the bathroom and check for new grey hairs.

But he didn’t feel any qualms. He was sure he deserved a senior-level job. And we weren’t.
Fortunately for us, we get to choose.

I know there’s a great difference between how people were taught to estimate themselves before and now, or in Ukraine and in the West. Basically, the american model is “you can do it”, “if you don’t value yourself who will”, “you are the best” etc. In Ukraine, until recently, it was “‘I’ is the last letter of the alphabet” (and in Ukrainian, it really is). Being humble was a virtue. Now, as people are starting to adopt western behavioral models, – not anymore.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I wish it still was. A virtue.
Maybe just a little of it?
Just a very small portion.


About Maryna Cherniavska

I have productively spent 10+ years in IT industry, designing, developing, building and deploying desktop and web applications, designing database structures and otherwise proving that females have a place among software developers. And this is a good place.
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