Joel (of Joel on Software) has spoken once again and this time he has spoken about the legendary “Top 1% of Developers”.
He points out – and rightfully so – the fact that just because a company accepts 1/200 of their applicants, it doesn't mean they're getting the top 0.5%. It means that they hired 0.5% of their applicants and nothing more.
After a bit of further thought, it means even less than that. About a month ago, I spoke with a Recruiter who had posted on Monster and in a single week they received 6000 resumes. Yes, six thousand resumes in five business days. Monster makes it so simple to spam a resume out to a thousand potential employers with little effort. Therefore, if the recruiter simply deletes all resumes without a cover letter, that may bring the total down to 100. Without any assessment of skillsets, we're already down to 1.5% of the applicants and this is still not a reasonable number to do simple phone interviews.
Unless there is a way for an applicant to stand out, the game is over. The worst part is that there are fantastic applicants who haven't had to do more than a few job hunts in their entire lives. Employers have beaten a path to their doors and these people will never stand a chance to make it into this pool because they simply don't have the skill and experience required to make themselves look like a good applicant. They will always get jobs via word of mouth or as a coworker/manager moves to other organizations. They have a skillset and experience that other people vouch for and the resume process is completely bypassed…
As a side note, watch this space. A big announcement will be coming in just a few days.