I was hired based on a specific set of qualifications:
- Support experience with a specific corporate website; Perhaps 12 people worldwide could claim to have that experience, and 4 of them do not speak English. I know them all.
- Support experience with three different software applications, all distributed by my employer. Perhaps 30 people worldwide would be able to claim some experience, but half of them at least would not have the depth of experience requested.
- Experience using several specific corporate applications, systems, and databases. Perhaps 6 people worldwide would have that combination of experience worldwide, all of them in the company, and all but one were, at the time, employed on the team I was hired on to.
I was a contractor at the time, and had been doing the job for 6+ years. The corporation decided to convert to full-timers, and the job description was not changed. HR required the hiring team to write the functional and experience requirements specific to the job, and they laid it on. We waited through the internal posting period, and were able to get through that with no other internal candidates being able to offer useful qualifications that justified hiring. When I was hired, now 7+ years ago, it took 6 months for me to be able to work without supervision. I deal with many systems and processes - currently I manage 34 different passwords I use at least weekly, some of which expire every 14 days, and with about 4 different minimum requirements for complexity. Not one of them is written down anywhere, but I use single-character hints to keep them straight, knowing that on one system a hint of 'O' would mean something than on another system. And no, I currently do not use an 'O' for any password.
Crafting those requirements saved the company perhaps 6-9 months training marginally qualified candidates, and preserved a lot of institutional knowledge. Most of this is very difficult to document, though I have my own knowledge base now that is perhaps 60% complete. Much of it goes out of date every 9-12 months due to software upgrades, system decommissons, blahblahblah. We are hiring another team member, and looking forward to training them up for at least 6 months.
I also see a lot of H1-B applications posted, and most I am at a loss to explain what the special skill is that cannot be found domestically. Many pay in the $80-130k range, require Masters degrees, but not specific experience with particular systems or applications beyond MSSQL, Oracle, and Microstrategy, which I suspect are either to retain a current contractor or qualify a specific candidate. All of these applications are actually for sponsored positions with the usual offshore IT contractors You all know their names.
Sometimes, an specially-crafted description is to favor a candidate. Sorry, but you were never in the running. Some, though, seem intended to result in no qualified domestic candidates, and somehow an offshore candidate will have these skills etc. And if you are merely an external candidate, you will never know about the H1-B. No one will ever give you the legal notice. You will never have a chance to make your case.
H1-B is horribly broken. There is already talk of jamming through federal immigration reform by executive order on the premise that most illegals actually entered legally - overstays being the primary problem. Ignoring the logical response, to find and deport them as required by law, many will be presented as crucial to our economy, being key employees, and deportation disrupting corporate operations needlessly. NEEDLESSLY. A lie, but tell the big lie and they believe you.
If we care at all about our nation's economic future, we need to compel an audit of the H1-B and related programs, and enforcement of the current laws, rather than abandoning them due to neglect.
But I'm an extremist.