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Companies prefer Virgins

December 18, 2008

We’ve heard all about how to score an interview. How about jumping to the other side of the table for a change and seeing things from the eyes of your interviewERs.

Okay, so as an interviewer you’ve just concluded 10 interviews in 2 days. Its time to compare notes and choose the top contenders. Who do you disqualify first?

From my observation, the first ones to be shoved to the bottom of the pile are the “rolling stones” or job hoppers, people labeled high risk for no other reason than the fact that they’ve worked 5 jobs in 10 years. Accomplishments aren’t usually a consideration in the first cut (it only kicks in after all the prelim eliminations are done) but “freshness” or virginity is. And the candidate who had held only one job in 20 years is treated as a good catch.

You see, when HR flips through your CVs, they have this self-talk:

– Got zero job experience? You’re an ignoramus, more trouble than you’re worth. Next.
– Got many prior jobs? What a whore. Next.
– Got only one prior job? Ooo… you special. Worth taking a closer look.

That’s what virgin appeal is about and what I’ve observed is the older the interviewer, the higher price he or she places on virginity. Yup, the senior ones tend to be the most hum sup.

Don’t laugh, its true.

So why is this “virginity” so important to them? Because they believe

  • Staying in one job proves you are loyal.
  • Staying in one job proves you have work stamina.
  • Staying in one job proves you are resilient in good times and bad.
  • Staying in one job proves that because they’ve not kicked you out, you must be worth something.

Interestingly, while “freshness” is considered a virtue, not one person I spoke to mentioned the possibility that some people stick to only one job their whole lives because they’re so unimpressive and talentless no one else would hire them.

But that’s not the most interesting part.

While companies like to marry (employ) “virgns,” they prefer experienced “whores” when it comes to one night stands That’ll be the consultants and contractors they hire for short-term projects. You’ll notice that consultants with little experience will not get the job. It goes to consultants who can prove they’ve done jobs with half the town. In fact the longer the client list the better.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2008 9:58 am

    They will hire job hoppers if they don’t expect you to stay for long term. 😀 They just want you to get in, settle the project or fill in that vacant role (headcount) and you can leave after a few months.

    That’s why such position will not have attractive package. Coz they don’t intend to keep you for long.

    Yep, like a cheap short-term rental. 🙂

  2. December 18, 2008 1:29 pm

    If a guy stays 10 years or more at one job, you’d want to know where he started and how far he went up the ladder. If he’s been at the same old bottom rung you’d consider him for a janitor’s job, perhaps. If he’s a job-hopper heading into the mid-40’s you may get one who’s ready to settle down and get comfortable in the right environment.

    I don’t see big companys looking for people with loyalty these days. After all, even big timers like Narayana Murthy, tell you not to fall in love with the company

    That was a very apt article. The different attitudes might be related to cultural differences. I notice a job-hopper in his mid 30’s is handled with far less suspicion in the US than the same in Asia. The former sees it as a normal journey to find the right fit, while the latter sees it as a hallmark of betrayal. It may also have to do with the fact that good talent is harder to find in Asia and talent flight is a lot more painful than it needs to be, hence the clamor for loyalty.

  3. LC Teh permalink
    December 19, 2008 10:17 am

    When you mentioned cultural differences, my mind goes back into the distance

    That breed of worker you wrote about is probably already nonexistent, at least in Singapore. I’m not sure about Malaysia though.

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