Too Many Gurus

Guru Thongdrol

Why do so many web recruitment ads ask for gurus? CSS gurus, Rails gurus and so on. Gurus are fine, if you can get them, but where are the jobs for beginners? For intermediates?

A good indication that someone is using this term too loosely is when it is accompanied by a low salary offer. Why is someone who has transcendental knowledge in their field going to work for what you’re offering? Firms are bad at selling themselves, at the simple act of making an offer, often because they think they are in a seller’s market, but the true gurus are not scrabbling to take any offer.

One of the interesting parts of Zen Buddhism is Shoshin or Beginner’s Mind. This idea is that an expert will treat a subject very much like a beginner, with an open mind and an eagerness to learn. In this aspect, beginners can be as useful to a company as experts. In fact, an expert can be stuck in a routine way of thinking, resistant to new ideas and not the kind of person you want to hire.

In practice, recruitment is a kind of witchcraft, producing wildly unpredictable results. But it is worth thinking about the qualities and values you want to invest in and not be so quick to demand a high level of knowledge or experience.

(photo by Bhutan-360 on Flickr)

Leave a Reply