Dice.com Latest Upgrade Broke The Site

At least as of 6AM to 9AM, the job search website for tech, www.dice.com is not useable in my experience.

They went ahead and rolled out a major revision of their website today.  There actually were a few things in it that were kind of slick.

When you go in to do a search for a position, and it makes sense to do so, you have a slider for a criterion.

For example, when you are requesting a page for a search, you can tailor the number of results you want back by using a slider to change the number from 10 to 100 in increments.   The 100 is a big help.

Distance works the same way.

There are a few others, but the problem is that there should be a little box at the end for you to enter in a specific number.


Simple – I live in Wilton Manors, Florida.  I used to have a search that would look for a 27 mile radius.  That would include West Palm Beach but specifically exclude downtown Miami.  I don’t want that commute, nor would I want that for anyone else. 

If there is a slider, you need to be able to enter in a specific number.

They also deleted the ability to search for an Area Code or a group of Area Codes.  Broward County is 954 and 754.  Palm Beach County is 561.  Having the ability in a large urbanized area like this to simply search for something within a county is very helpful.  Otherwise, the distance must be used, and will slow one down with extra searches.

They deleted the ability to exclude recruiters.  Recruiters in my experience are unreliable.  I tend to look for direct hire only.

They clearly did not test their site when they went “Live” today – by the time I got to it.  It may be fixed later, even later today.  Much of this could simply be because they are rolling out changes at this moment.

When I get the results of a search, they come back with either “Relevant” or “Date” available, but the default is usually Relevant unless you caught the tick box and set it.  But the link is dead to change it back – normally, but not always.  This sort of inconsistency is very common within the site.

That’s the problem.  Things work sometimes but not always.

So basically their site is not useable as of this writing, 9:15 AM EST, 12/15/2014.

As for the way it looks? 

I personally am not a fan of the Web 2.0 Look And Feel for things where there are a lot of items to search. 

Dice.com is one of those sites.  They are presenting a database of links and a tight list format is the most useable. 

I understand that they want to look different than the other two big sites, www.Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com however, their search results in LARGE FONTS and lots of Whitespace means that you’re constantly paging when you do get the 100 results per page, if you can actually get things to work.

Thank you again for the 100, it helps.

But when you page through the site on a large monitor (1920×1080) getting only seven results per view until you page down is limiting.  Put as much on a line as possible.  I guess that means it’s first page with 4 links, then 13 pages of 7 links (or so) plus the remaining 5 links (or so) – that’s how the math works out.

Your User Interface guy must have missed that particular meeting.  The Testing folk are confused too – I got a page coming up using the old interface and immediately thought “THANK YOU!”. 

Then I refreshed the page and it was back to the new design.  There were no links though, kind of a surprise since I saw links on the Old Format Page.

I’ll be waiting.  The new design needs A LOT OF WORK.  The site has so many bugs in it that I simply closed every window that I had.   All my old links are no longer functional.  If I try to recreate them, the site is so buggy that I can not get anything even remotely like the results I expect.  I can’t page to the second 100 results.  Not even the old text search works properly.  If you want to search for Business Analyst, and put them in quotes, the new software thinks you are looking for “Business OR Analyst”.  It’s not the same thing.

For example, if I search for anything within 20 miles of zip code 33301 I am showing results in California.  California is a great place but a bit more than 20 miles away from South Florida.

Oh and one missing thing that is extremely important.  Dice removed the number of hits that a particular resume has.  It’s a metric that needs to return.  How else would you know if your resume is effective unless you know now many people look at it in a given month?

At this point, there’s nothing else that I could suggest other than telling someone who wants to use a job search engine to wait this one out and hit the other sites.  Dice.com is unusable due to UI, UX, and QA issues today.  

They tried, but … well, maybe tomorrow.  They went with a Big Bang Release and broke what they had before.  Would be best to roll it all back and try an Agile Project Management approach of gradual improvements instead of what they got here.

Careerbuilder.com Update Broke My Job Search

Yep, it’s another tech post.

See here’s the deal.  Everyone who ‘owns’ a website is always looking for ways to refresh it so people find more reasons to come back.  More visits mean you’re more likely to click on an ad and send a few pennies to a few dollars their way.

Sometimes the refresh works, other times they need to go back and rethink it.   This is one of those times.

This is also a good illustration of why I put “User Experience” and “User Interface” on my resume.  I’ve written about how Dice.com made a change, why it was wrong and what they needed to do to fix it.  They hit that blog posting and decided I was right on some points, and used my ideas.   I’m sure they read it because they’re out in Iowa and nobody from that city had ever read my blog before that posting.  It was easy to find.

A little background and high order discussion. I’ll try not to get too “techie”.  In fact, I pride myself and have been told I’m successful in writing about weird tech issues and getting things across to people who don’t understand them.

I look for permanent work around 35 hours a week on average.  I use the major job boards and some of the minor ones to ask the question “What Jobs Are Available within 30 Miles of Zipcode 33305 in Computing Within The Last Three Days”.  You know, IT and Project Management.   Since I live in a major city, that search returns a lot of positions.  I further finesse that by saying search for specific job titles, certain exclusions of companies that are inappropriate for various reasons, and even some arbitrary things.

Once a week I have a similar search that is targeted at specific companies and all of the cities and towns in my county and a few neighboring cities that I know about.

Pretty straightforward, there are millions who are unemployed, underemployed, looking for permanent positions, and just curious that go through similar processes every day.

This process can be called “Data Analysis” or “Data Mining”.  You do the same thing every time you use a spreadsheet.   

One reason why I prefer www.dice.com to all the other sites is that it further categorizes things as to whether it is a “Direct Hire” which is a company vs a “recruiter” which typically is just reposting a position that a Direct Hire had posted the day before.  Needless to say, I know which recruiters to skip.  If they have a “hot deal” they’ll call me with the position and most likely I’ve already made my judgement as to whether to pass or not.  We’ll talk but usually they realize I’ve been there, done that, and moved on.

You can see from this picture that everything that I need to see is presented on one line.  Dice.com has successfully reduced things down to just the information you need to decide whether a position is worth looking at further.

Basically I’ve managed to use Dice in a fashion that is slightly inconsistent with their website.  I save each individual page as a link so that I don’t have to click onto the next page.  Each page is it’s own link in a folder in Firefox and I can look at each page in it’s own tab. 

When you are opening 150 pages a day, you want to save every last second you can.

The list is presented in Job Alphabetical Order, all jobs are within the last three days, and I can tell at a glance whether I need to pursue looking at a link.

By the way, a helpful hint.  If you are looking at a webpage, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the link and it will open in another tab.  You can do that many times, and look at all those links later.  It saves a lot of time!

That’s the biggest criteria about this.  Saving time.  Can you imagine doing this by hand in a newspaper? 

Now here’s what happened with www.Careerbuilder.com

Careerbuilder is a little different.  They’re big and they partner with many newspapers around the world.  You’re going to hit one of their sites if you are looking at a branded website for many organizations.  It also has a few quirks.

One is that no matter how hard I tried, I can’t get it to give me more than 25 positions at a time.  That forces me to open up as many as 20 links for a given criteria.

Their sort is semi-broken.  If I have more than one job type on a given link, it’s going to put a few jobs from “today” at the tail end of the search.  When you are looking at 400 jobs for that criteria, that means you have to load up 20 pages just to get to the tail end. 

Now that you’re committed to opening all those pages in tabs, you have to consider what you want to look at.  If you’re looking at this thing every day, you don’t need to look at three days worth, you can skip to the end.  Check for “Today” and “Yesterday”.  Today, in a list of 20 opened tabs, Today and Yesterday were pages 1 and 2 and part of 3 then again in page 20.  That’s a lot of extra page hits for no good reason.

This screen grab from Careerbuilder.com illustrates how just a few little problems break the page and make it more difficult to get to the information you are looking for.

They used to have a handy page number at the top of each listing.  Minor perhaps, but knowing you are on page 4 of 20 and looking at positions 76 through 100 is surprisingly helpful.  After all, you expect to have to skip ahead to the Next To The Last Page, so you need to know where you are at.  

The date is not shown, but it is implied by saying “posted today” and “posted yesterday” all in grey lower case text.  I can handle the grey, but the date would be more useful since it is more compact.  I would prefer to see the date as “Mar. 18”.  The year can be implied, we all make the same mistakes on our checks but by March or even the second week of January, the mental block against the year has been past.

Most importantly they slid all of the position specific information into a single column.

Position Name
Company Name
City Name

Position Name
Company Name
City Name

… is not as helpful as stringing it out in one line.

Position Name     Company Name     City Name   Date
Position Name     Company Name     City Name   Date
Position Name     Company Name     City Name   Date

The reasoning is that if you’re skimming through 400 positions for a given search, you need to be able to skim the column and check on position name first.   Ctrl+Click to open that position into a new tab and continue onwards.

That brings up another point.  The order it is presented is incorrect and there is no way to specify which column you’re sorting on – and you need more than one column.   The job name should be the most important order.  Ideally this should be Sorted first by Date, then Job Name.   What the result would be is now that you have all the “Business Analyst” positions sorted together for “today” and not mixed in with the “Data Analyst” positions.  They are similar but distinct disciplines and while many of the skills are similar, they don’t completely overlap.

After all they have different position names don’t they?

Luckily they have the position names all in blue and the rest of the text in other colors so with a mind trick I can try to turn off the rest of the info until I need it…

When you redesign a website as complex as Careerbuilder, you are trying to balance a lot of needs.  You don’t want to do a radical redesign because it will get so alien to people that their minds will switch off.   It needs to be evolutionary.   Things as minor as the list of pages you are on will be noticed especially if you’re skipping to the end of 20 pages and can’t get to page 19 unless you go to page 20 first like I did the other day.

Basically the information is all there – Content gets an A Grade.
Presentation?  You can do better.  C Minus perhaps. 

Dice.com did it right. I need more light.

I promise you this won’t be technical.


More “functional” – or the Way things work instead of What You Do To Get them to work.

A while back, I posted a detailed series of articles about the website www.dice.com when they made some changes to their website.  Many of them were picked up by Dice and used, some were not.  My observations were a little flawed since I aggressively block advertisements on websites.  When I’m working to find a Project Management Job, I don’t want some blinky or otherwise distracting piece of “graphics” slowing me down.  I’ve been online long enough to remember what the web was like before they started putting ads in web pages, and for the most part, that is my experience when I surf – I simply do not have time for that when I spend three hours a day looking for work.

Yes, three hours a day, every day, average, every SINGLE day of the year.  Add to that the actual time that I spend applying to jobs and it is well over a full time job of more than 40 hours a week.

I use Dice heavily, and it probably is the first one I hit every morning.

When you go to a page that you use frequently you have times where you have to change your information.  There are ways to protect that sign on, but the most widely known and used ones are called a “Captcha”.  They’re supposed to captcha the computers and let the humans do their thing.  It usually is text but it’s in weird fonts or colors and it makes it hard for a computer to scan. 

It also makes life tough for people.  The ones on Google Sites are the worst.  I have a lot of trouble guessing if “this” blob is a “cl” or a “d” because they’re so twisted around.  A quick jump to this link will show you what I’m talking about.  Just look at the picture and I’ll wait for you to groan “Oh God Those Things”.

Welcome back…

Dice had a system of around six different number strings in pictures so they couldn’t be scanned and it was stable – which is to say repetitious.  “MrVies” was one of them.  I have a theory that he was a farmer down the road from the folks out in Iowa that produce this website but I can’t really be sure.

I’m assuming they, Dice, knew this and realized something had to be done because it changed.

For the better.

You see instead of putting up an almost unintelligeable blue blob next to another, they went to something simple.

Well crafted questions in … GASP!… Clear Text.   You know, like you’re reading now!  The same size as any other text on your screen that you can make larger or smaller, copy and paste and so forth.

Oooo Text.

Repeat after me… “Oooo Text!”!

Ok so where’s the rub?

It isn’t with the website this time.  The problem is in what I heard described recently as the “Organic Biological Computing Interface”.  Yes, you guessed it, it’s that 224 pound slab of semi conscious meat that sits under the computer. 


Yours truly.

Yes, I’m a bit stubborn.  At 645 in the morning when I start, I’m also not completely awake.

Sure, I’m a morning person but even I have my limits.  The breakfast hasn’t boosted my blood sugar levels to “awake” nor has the little weak computing chip that I call my brain warmed up enough with some prime home roasted coffee and its subsequent jolt of caffeine induced energy.

In other words, yeah I’m half asleep when I start.

It’s also not quite sunrise yet and these homes in Florida are built to shade you from direct sunlight.  At that time of day, you frequently need to turn on the brass Orient Express lamp that you gave Mom back in the 1980s as a present and shed some light on the deal.

So as you are looking at a Clear! Text! question like “Enter the number twenty three thousand five hundred and thirty in digits” you are also running into a problem.  Where the heck is that number five on the darkened keyboard???

It also exposed a little problem, I got a little “ferhuddled” as they say in Lancaster County, PA.  I’d swap digits back and forth while I am going through my morning dyslexia and get it wrong.

Three or four times.

That is until I get off my duff and semi-close the lid to the laptop to shed enough light on the matter.

Score:  Dice.Com 1, Moose 0

Yep, I’m satisfied, and laughing at myself yet again.   I do a lot of that.

So if you’re listening Dice.com here’s a little Technical thought for you (You see I lied, but only a little bit, about that functional stuff!).

If the website was done correctly, you should have all these captchas stored in a database.  You should have an internal web page to add new questions as you think them up and delete out old ones that are stale, or just leave them in the database to cycle through.   All in all it’s a good solution that you came up with.

And no, I don’t really need access to that database. Although… hmmmm think of the power!  WOO HOO!

SimplyHired.com and User Experience

Wait, this isn’t going to be as technical as it sounds, trust me! 

Oh well, now that I have scared most folks off…

I’ve mentioned before that I am looking for a Permanent Position in Project Management in South Florida.  I also have mentioned how I go through 170 web pages a day in order to apply to likely positions.  Mostly I do that through www.dice.com, www.monster.com, and www.careerbuilder.com, but there are others.

I also have a weekly sweep of specific cities, counties, and companies that I do on the weekend that is another 170 pages.


Anything that slows down the way I use the browser effects how efficiently I can do this.

I’ve noticed a nasty habit creeping in the way many web pages are doing things. 

First some really basic instruction on what happens when you click on a link – VERY basic.

See a link.  Click on a link.  The link will take you to the next web page.

Simple, right?  That is how it is supposed to work.  If it happens that way, success.  Happy user and the “User Experience” is enhanced so that you are more likely to come back.  That “User Experience” is a very important field, many people are working on that sort of thing so that you really do come back.  After all they have ads and that is how you pay the web page – by your clicks.

Next Helpful Hint.  Control Click.  Also known as “Ctrl Click”. 

See a link.  Hold Ctrl and Click on that link.  The link will open in a new tab on modern browsers.  The old page stays there so you can refer to it.

Shift and Click work the same way except that it opens that page in a new browser window.

Go ahead and try either, I should still be here waiting for you.

See?  Wasn’t that helpful? 

I think so because that is the basis for my opening 170 web pages in 6 browser windows.   My little Core 2 Duo 12 inch convertible tablet is not going to open them all at once.   Too much for Firefox to do, so I broke it all up into roughly 30 tabs per browser window.

For example, I have a set of tabs that open up automatically.  That set goes to Dice.com and says “give me the first 10 pages that show any ‘project manager’ position within 25 miles of my current zip, and exclude the following companies”.  It will happily do that and more. 

The result is one browser window with those 10 dice searches, one page after another, loading in background for me.   Next I can go through those tabs, one at a time and look at the links. 

Remember that “ctrl-click”?

The next step is Ctrl-Clicking the links so they all happily open up in the next tabs.  All the other web pages stay there, it just creates a new one for the next click.

This works well for any list of links like the ones you find on a search engine like www.google.com or www.bing.com for example.  Find a recipe site with 10 recipes all of which include your favorite food?  Just Ctrl-Click and they will all open in tabs as you click them.  It’s really handy and it’s built in to the browsers.

Ok, so now you say what’s the problem?

Simply put, there is a nasty habit many web pages are doing that work fine if all you are doing is one thing at a time.  Who has time for that any more? 

Click on a link on some web sites, and they will put up an overlay on top of your web page that obscures what you had, and presents new information.  This is usually called a Light Box.  Here is why that can be a nasty problem.

www.simplyhired.com does this when you click on a link.  They’re so anxious to get you to log into their site that they put up a light box asking for login information when you click.  Then you have to stop what you were doing and click on the close “X” up at the top right corner of the light box so it will process your link.  Completely in conflict with opening up a bunch of links in tabs and working with these at your own time.

The way around that is to right click on that link and select “Open Link In New Tab”.  Yes, it is another step, and it is usually done after the second or third try.  

www.simplyhired.com is an aggregator of other people’s content.  They try to be a search engine of other job boards and achieve enough success that I have been coming back.  Major annoyance to go through that click-and-shock every time you find a link for this one site that is so different from normal.

A Better Solution is to use www.indeed.com as an aggregator for job postings.  They work “normally” when you click or ctrl-click on them, they don’t get in your way with weird light boxes and unnecessary web clicks.  I have even tricked the website to give me my 50 links in one tab which I do with Dice and Monster.  They’re completely configurable that way if you choose to monkey around with searches.

Another website that is guilty of this nonsense is www.facebook.com in the way they handle pictures.  Their User Interface at this moment is putting up a lightbox that covers up everything you look at with the picture that you were clicking on.  It also puts you back up at the top of the page you were looking at to begin with when you clicked on that picture.   At least links are being opened the correct way – the way you want them. 

Again, this sort of thing seems kind of small and inconsequential but there are many people working on this sort of detail.  When you change the way someone else’s browser works, there has to be a concrete reason for the change and it has to be done so that there is a concrete benefit.

Rarely if ever does that happen.

After clicking on one too many friend’s links in Facebook, and one too many links on Simply Hired, I noticed a review box in lime green with white text.  Lime Green?  White Text?  What were they thinking?   At any rate, I gave them my opinion above, in a condensed format.  I may as well give them feedback.  After all, I told them I would under no circumstances recommend them since there were too many sites that do it right.  I’ll probably keep using the site because I have some searches that once in a blue moon show what I am looking for that are not shown on the big boards, but I really wouldn’t miss them if I could get to the rest.

Job Recruiters Amuse Me

Having my resume on Dice.Com, Monster.com, and Careerbuilder.com I get to speak with recruiters.

It is like saying you will get wet if you stand outdoors.  Underwater.  Repeatedly.

Yesterday I had two things happen that had me amused.  

I have a Lot of Project Management experience.  I’m doing some consulting for New Divine Mercy church where I have migrated their website off of LAMP and Joomla to Google Sites.  I also act as their videographer, and handle their technology needs.  I also have been the treasurer for a political campaign, and a webmaster for two campaigns.  I have written advertising copy and have been a speech writer – all of which in the last year.

I am also the social media director for Wilton Manors Main Street, maintaining their facebook group and their blog, as well as producing the monthly newsletter.  I produce the newsletter and the embedded newsletter site with content from Krishan Manners and it was my idea to get content from other organizations within the area so that there would be one central place to find the information as well as one newsletter going out instead of five or six.  It is well received and is growing each month.  If you would like to get our next newsletter – click on this link. We don’t sell the email addresses to anyone else.

Yesterday I got an email from someone at Robert Half International about a position.  I had read it, shrugged since I thought I was a little “short of the qualifications” and moved on.  A couple hours later I got a phone call from the same “associate” who sent me the email.  After her interviewing me and going past the elevator pitch, I told her my opinion.  I also told her how they typically do their interviews.  After being in the market as long as I have been , I’m a bit more wary of agreeing to go in to talk to recruiters.   They have a habit of wanting to see you, a Meet and Greet, without anything concrete behind it.   Robert Half is guilty of this as are some of the other firms in this field.  I have a hard and fast rule if I have done the Meet and Greet before, I won’t do it again unless you are ready to send me out on an interview.   I told her this and thanked her for her interest but since “gasoline is $4 a gallon and this would take two hours out of my day to get there and back, I was not inclined to come in for a face to face but would consider it ‘if there was something concrete’ involved”.

You see if you are interviewing your time is free, theirs is not.

Nothing against this particular recruiter, she was knowledgeable and understanding, she was polite, and she was willing to listen.  I just didn’t want to play by the script.

The other wrinkle I found over the time of interviewing is that most recruiters are fairly useless.  There are some exceptions and I write THEM, directly.  These are the ones that after going the first meet and greet contact me about specific opportunities.   I keep their emails on a spreadsheet for easy access.  There simply are too many folks in and out of that career for me to bother with the fly by nights.

Why I consider most fairly useless is that there is a pattern.

First the company needing the new hire will post a direct job specification either on their website or on one of the job search boards.  In Technology, Dice.Com is probably my favorite – I can submit a resume in under 5 minutes, a little more if I have to tweak my resume or my cover letter. The State of Florida has a page that is utterly useless, and the Federal Government’s is bad as well but better than Florida’s.

After the company posts the specification, recruiters will spot this and contact the company and find out if they are open to recruiters.  That may be as simple as Recruiter A sees Company Posting B at 8AM, claims it as their own and posts it to Recruiting Company internal website and then onto Dice/Monster/Careerbuilder.  That happens usually by 8:01AM.  It can be that fast.

If it is a Project Management or Business Analysis position I know I will have a busy day because I will notice multiple hits on my resume on those boards.  I keep a spreadsheet that tells me what the raw counts are and how many hits there were since yesterday. 

Usually after the local boards send me a feeler, a couple days later the Out Of State recruiters start calling.   They’re much later because they’re “fishing” for a hit.  The problem with the Out Of State recruiters is that you will never have any kind of a relationship with these peoples.  It is like a door to door contractor showing up and asking if you need your driveway sealed.  That’s a call I get every other week, the recruiters are daily.

If there is a phone call on my cell I immediately look to see the caller ID.  I have a definite priority of who I answer.  If you have called me, I add you to the SIM list.  If you haven’t then it shows as a raw phone number.  

First Priority are people who I have spoken with before – Friends, Family,  Business Contacts and former recruiters who I have dealt with.

Second Priority are those who have a local area code.  954, 754, 561, 305, and 786 area codes.  I’ll consider my own time constraints as it is usually easier for me to go on and let them talk to my phone and I can screen it later.

Lowest priority are out of state first time callers.   If they are from places like NYC Metro, specifically North Jersey I will always let them go to the answering machine.

The lowest priority calls are invariably someone calling from India as a recruiter on a scratchy Voice Over IP phone line trying to pretend that they are here.  If I make the mistake and actually speak with one, I can’t hear the accent over the static and tell them that they need to email me, they have my email address on the resume, and that they can expect an answer “shortly”.

Then I forget they ever called.

After all, there are people here in the United States who need the jobs more than shipping them overseas.  I know one, intimately. 

So if you need a Project Manager, Business Analyst, COBOL Programmer, Web Developer, Social Media Director, Software Development Manager, or one of about 30 other hats I wear or wore, let me know.  We can work something out.

Did I tell you about the telecommuting organization that I built using Skype and functioned as it’s CTO with help from my business partner?

Yeah, I’ve done it.

Dice.com Redesign – User Interface

More of all of this Web User Experience and User Interface “stuff” coming.  On the other hand, it’s a shorter article and there are pictures to illustrate what I’m banging on about.  It’s shorter because they fixed most of what I found wrong with it.

Over the last week, Dice.com decided to do some changes to their site.  The last discussion was on Friday and you can read it here.  There was a redesign to the search that made it less useful.  On the other hand, after taking another look at it, they decided to reverse most if not all of the changes.

It made it better.  Well to be fair, it made it better for me to use, and hopefully for others.   It is now much more useful and much more useable.  What I have now are more on the line of Suggestions than major problems.

Think of it as a “Design Concern” than a “Full Stop”.

Any time you are going to write a web page, or web site you have to make some decisions, whether or not you realize you are going to do so.  You are setting your boundaries.  One major boundary is what size of a page will you be writing for.  There are a lot of people running around with little netbooks.   If they were pink, I would call them “Barbie’s Computer” because they look like a little thing that hasn’t grown up yet.  I am assuming that this is as small of a screen you will write for, because when I write for my own clients, I use that width.

I call this “One K Mode” because it is 1024 pixels wide. In my case, the page I’m looking at has drifted to a wider page because I have a wider monitor, but when I develop I develop for 1024 as my standard width.

I promise I won’t get “too deep” here for my non technical users.  Consider this as a “standard” width.  Anything more gets into numbers that are more like what you see when you are shopping for a TV.  Since most people have a computer to do serious work that are this size or larger, this is your benchmark.

Dice.Com “Detail” search results

Dice has a page with three panes.  A Left Control Panel, the search results in the middle, and the Right Control Panel.

Suggestion one – Merge the Right Control Panel onto the bottom of the Left Control Panel.
Reason – it gives you more room to grow for the search results.
Why should you care?  Because the individual fields displayed are variable in width and you end up with weird truncation if the field has a lot to show.

Suggestion two – For Summary, limit each column in the center pane for the search results to one line.
Reason – It allows the web page to pack more results onto one vertical page.
Why should you care? Because more results on one page increases ease of use for the person looking at the results and makes one more likely to return.

Suggestion three – Consider reducing the white space.
Reason – It allows for more pertinent results and information displayed to the user at one shot.
Why should you care?   More results are easier to manage just like in suggestion two.

Dice.com “Summary” search results

Suggestion four – if you are going to truncate a long description, if you really feel it is necessary in the summary, go ahead and add an ellipsis to the end (the three dots)
Reason – we are used to seeing those three dots in Windows Explorer or Mac OSX Finder.  It is comfortable and useful.
Why Should you care?  It’s really just a nice to have.  I’d lop it off at an arbitrary useful length but definitely not go on to a second line.

The ironic thing is that Monster.com has just done the same thing that Dice.com did back on April Fools Day.  I’m still working my way through recreating my links and my sorts.  The problem is that with Monster.com, I can’t really easily work with their sorts.   Dice.com is head and shoulders above what Monster has done for usability, and in 10 days went from a horrendous mess to something that’s pretty close to where I’d want it to be.

Obviously I am a demanding user.  I’m also stubborn enough to make something work for me by fiddling around with it.   I have to, just like many other folks who are using their services because they are in the job market.  I just am the kind of guy who won’t sit back and complain to myself, I’ll do it here if I find something wrong or if it is right I’ll praise it.

(Pause) It’s a Sales Job (Click)

I talk to a lot of recruiters.  Being a Freelance Project Manager and IT Consultant, I am actively looking for a permanent position.  Nearby.  Within a reasonable driving distance of my home.

There are a lot of “Perfect Positions”.   When I hear the loud shrill ring of my phone sound off, I check to see where that call is coming first.  If it is outside of the Broward County Florida and adjacent areas, it is usually the perfect job that would require selling the house, loading granny on the receiver tray on the back of the jeep and moving out. 

No, I rather like it here.  I have no intentions of moving.  There are some stinkers here, but for the most part I like my neighbors and the city.  You may have gathered that from some other postings.

This week alone, and this is before start of business on Thursday, I have had recruiters call about positions in Jacksonville, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco.   Each position would have been perfect were it here in Fort Lauderdale.  So I smile and think at least I’m shopping the right resume out there and wait for a local offer. 

If you want someone who can telecommute, I’m your man!  Between me and another person who was an amazing person to work with, we built a one of a kind virtual office using open source technologies that was splattered between here and the Northeast on a shoestring.  It was that man that taught me a very important phrase of “Own It”. 

I spoke to a local recruiter yesterday while I was on the way to another interview, and rattled off the Volunteer and Consulting work I have done over the last 2 months and thought “Hey, I should hire Me!”.  There will be an interview out of that one, and it would be The Dream Job.  It’s even here in Broward County!  Just far enough away to justify having a car and listen to my audio books on the way in, just near enough so the commute isn’t boring.

I have got to land that one first though so lets hope.

While that position is completely appropriate for me, there’s the others.  At least twice a week I get some poor confused soul calling me with a sales job.  I’m not a salesman.  If I were, I’d be doing some sort of technical sales position somewhere, I’m sure…  My negotiation skills are more of the “Yes, Director of the Department, you think you need A B and C but what you really have to have immediately is only A so that is what I’ll instruct the programmers to work on first and explain to them that B and C will come next time around” manner of doing business.

Agile Project Management… next step the Joint Application Design Meetings and my hovering over a programmer to get just the right look and feel….

Back to that poor confused Headhunter.   It seems that there are a lot of sales positions lately.   If they are calling me, they must be confused.  I have a long and technically oriented resume.  It is designed for a computer to read it.  I got 25 hits alone yesterday on Careerbuilder on that resume so it is working.  At least it did yesterday.   I have to think someone just went and scanned the resumes for phone numbers and started down the list.

I’m a “W” so I’m sure that was a very tired person in a dank cubicle somewhere.

It is amusing though.  If you have someone who is trying to talk to you to fill their position, there seems to be a rule.  Always hold back the most difficult detail of the position until last.  Sometimes it may be “Chicago”, and others it is that you will be expected to travel 50 to 75 percent of the time. 

Chicago is a great city.  I loved it when I visited.  I will visit again, happily, but when the winds blow off the lake in February I will not be there.   Travel once in a while can be a life enhancing experience but if you’re gone 75% of the time do you ever really live anywhere?

The last one recruiter call I got I knew was going to be one of these positions.  He asked if he could record the call for “Training Purposes” which was a tip off that it was going to be entertaining.  Then he rattled off the location (Telecommuting?  Hmmm interesting… do go on) and that he had read my resume and thought I was just the right person for the job.   Gave a pay grade and a bonus schedule that was appropriate for my varied experience and paused.

By the way, this is a sales position.

By the time he finished the word “Sales” I was already saying “I’m sorry I am not considering changing my career path at this time”.   By the time I got to the word “Changing” he was apologizing. 

Here’s a suggestion.  If you are calling someone who has a position of “Consulting Project Manager” and “IT Manager” as their current and prior positions on the resume, you already know that they won’t be a perfect fit.   State right out that this is a sales position.  Then Breathe.   Most likely you will be hearing “Thanks but no thanks” and the call will end.

It will get you onto someone who may indeed be a salesman.

Color me Amused.  Sometimes the most entertaining thing you will do in a day is talk to a recruiter.

Job scams aplenty

One of the first things I do when I get back from walking the dog after having breakfast is to settle into a two and a half hour average job search on the internet. 

I make up whatever coffee I need for the task, settle into my Poang chair, and bounce away while looking at web pages.  I have automated the task as much as possible, and I usually look at an average of 200 pages a day in that time. 

Granted it is not all job pages, I’m focused but not a robot.  After all, job search pages can be dry to put it mildly.

One of the things that the job boards all say is to not give away personal information when you post.  Or rather, Too Much Personal Information.  Bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers and the like are just too precious to post.  I had to make a determined decision on what to list.   I have a resume on three major job boards, Dice, Monster, and Careerbuilder, and they all have personal information.  I decided that if I were to find a job, I’d have to post what was publicly available.  The problem is that it means that I end up getting spammed daily.

Most of them are patently obvious that they are scams.   Job offers do not come from Hotmail.Com accounts.  Job offers certainly don’t come from Hotmail.com accounts with a mismatched sender name.

Another problem is that jobs that sound like they may be interesting are either money laundering scams, or just “phishing” scams to get your personal information.  I get on the order of five jobs a day from scammers who want to get my information because they think that I would be a candidate for a “Payment Transfer Manager”.  Yes, I also speak Nigerian tribal languages too.  Oh please let me give you my information so the little money I have saved up will feed your Yoruba village.


There are a lot of people in Job Recruiting who have some positions that are a great fit, but are trying a bit too hard to fill the position.   I’ve got a resume that says “Permanently Located in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida”.  That means that I won’t relocate.  Telecommuting would be a wonderful choice, and there are technologies that I am a Subject Matter Expert in that would lend themselves to sitting here and working at a company in Minneapolis or Bentonville Arkansas.  COBOL Programming is one of them.  Certain Mainframe Technologies like EZTrieve and JCL are two others.  I had gotten so many contacts from Walmart asking me if I wanted to relocate to Bentonville Arkansas to work on their mainframe for a while that hitting delete didn’t do it. 

Thanks, but I’m really quite happy living in South Florida.   An occasional trip out of here will be fine, and I do say on my resume that some travel is acceptable.  Palm Trees are required, ice and snow is decidedly not.  As any of my friends or family could tell you, South Florida was the Mermaid on the Rocks that was calling to me like the Siren out of the old Greek Myths since I was 12.  This is where I belong.

The reality of the job market and where I am in my career combined with the depressed housing market are such that I could work in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville or any other city South of the I-4 Corridor if I could telecommute 50% or more and buy a house in that city for the other two weeks for the cost of living in an extended stay hotel would.   Certainly would be worth it for me but none of those positions have come up.

I have also been contacted by one of the newpapers in San Francisco about writing for them but haven’t really pursued it.  Writing for www.Examiner.com would be interesting, but the trick would be coming up with three pertinent topics that are interesting enough every week.  Writing for a blog is one thing, it serves as a brain-dump.  This blog is either a brain-dump or something that I’ve wanted to say to my beloved sister in New Jersey that came to mind.  I can blather on and if it makes no sense, the reader gets what they pay for.  I’m not certain my style is correct for that but we shall see.  The pay isn’t great I’ve been told but I don’t make a dime on this blog.

At any rate, it’s time to start on that two-and-a-half hour epic.  I’ve got a mug of coffee to make while half of the 200 pages load.  Breaking things up was required, even my technical skills can’t make Firefox load 200 pages quickly.

Firefox Tabs Review

To anyone who is technical, this stuff is old news.   To the non technical folks who I speak with on a daily basis, maybe I can explain why I did it.  Does it matter?  Probably not.

Back a couple years back, I had been using IE and I decided I didn’t like it.   Around the same time I was using Linux and I think both are connected.  Firefox had just it the scene, and the browser was one of the choices on the Linux install I used, CentOS, along with Konqueror which just never really felt robust enough.  When compared with IE, Firefox running on a slower Linux machine felt faster, more stable, and there were these neat extensions that allowed me to do all sorts of things like see the weather forecast and control cookies.   I even started playing around with the extension programs for traffic Webcam so that I could look at things through the country at a click.   It was pretty neat, and gave me an opportunity to play with code and see a quick result.

Then I got the chance to move to South Florida and needed to look for work and the Tabs View option in Firefox became the “Killer App”.   So much so that the rest of the industry followed and IE in its lumbering size now has the option to open in tabs.   What this does in Firefox (I never bother with IE since it bogs the entire PC down) is to create virtual windows within “this” browser and load the page in background.   Simple right?  I’m sure there’s a lot of programming effort that happened to make this so useful, but I took this to heart.  When I do a Job Search, I have a folder within my Firefox Bookmarks that has over 115 pages that I want to open, all at once.   The old way to do that was to do a shift click to get the page to open in another browser, and work through the list.   Manually to open a page in a tab in background, Control Click on the link and it loads and is there when you need it.   Try that with 115 pages all at once! 

The wrinkle is that Dice, Monster, and Careerbuilder all allow you to save a search.   Drag the link into the folder in Bookmarks and that page will open next time you start an Open In Tabs.   You can do this on the first page, but when you’re looking at something that has hundreds of links and only 25 per page, you are more interested in having the second and third and subsequent pages in tabs while you’re looking at page one.   So drag those pages into the folder and now you have them all open.   You are only limited by the number of pages you drag into the folder and your PC’s memory.  At the end of an Open In Tabs with 115 pages (literally) Firefox reports as using over 500 Megs of memory and it releases it back to the operating system better now than it used to, although not perfectly since nothing really seems to return all the memory within Windows when written on a “modern language” such as C++.

Simple instructions for Firefox:
  1. Organize Bookmarks by Control + Shift + B 
  2. Create and name a folder where you want it by Right Clicking on the Bookmarks Menu or use an existing one and give it a name if new.
  3. Switch back to the main window in Firefox and surf the pages you need one at a time to set this up.
  4. When the page loads as you want it, drag the icon in the address bar to the left of the “http://” into the Organize Bookmark window and into the folder you created and drop it there.    You can also do this by grabbing that icon, dragging it into the Bookmarks pulldown which will automagically open and you can drag it into the appropriate place.  I do it that way but it is fiddly and I tend to have to do it a couple times before it “sticks”.
  5. Now your Bookmarks Folder has a new link and at the bottom of that Folder when it opens up you will see the Open All In Tabs link.   If you have multiple links, you will get multiple tabs.
  6. Navigate through the tabs by doing a Control + Page Down to move to the next tab on the right, Control + Page Up to move to the next tab on the left.   You may close the tab by either clicking on the little red X box or Control + F4
  7. If you just want to create a blank tab, Control + t will do it for you.
If this helps, great! If it is unclear ask me, since I did this before the second mug of coffee.