I don't get it. We're trying to hire (forgive me) a VB programmer and many people still don't seem to realize that the dot-com explosion is over. Companies are struggling to make ends meet and despite the idiocy of the PayPal IPO (have we learned nothing?), the "glory days" of the 'Net explosion seem a distant thing. Case in point: two recent applicants.
The person we first offered the VB position to was a nice, earnest 23-year old kid with only two years of work experience and no knowledge of anything beyong Microsoft products. He expected 65 to 70K. He couldn't even finish the very simple application we asked him to write in the interview (he couldn't get the ODBC connection working - despite being told he could use any reference material he wanted, including the Internet).
So, being out of our price range, we had another applicant that we were willing to take a chance on. He seemed to know a fair amount of VB, though he needed some work. He had strong Perl skills and knew Java like the back of his hand. He said in a phone interview that he was expecting a salary in the 40s. When we actually made him an offer, he said "in the 50s". We offered 50K, pending the owner's approval and the applicant said he'd work for that. The owner agreed, the applicant said 55K and we said "thanks, but no thanks".
What the heck is going on? Both of the applicants had been out of work for months. The first thought he was worth a lot more than he was and the second kept pushing his price higher once he realized we were interested. While our company has a steady source of revenue, we're not rich and we simply can't afford dot-com salaries. And let's face it, with Oregon currently having the highest unemployment in the US, not too many people are going to have sympathy with a dot-com baby demanding a 15K bump in pay for a job he doesn't even have.
On the plus side, we've just had our Perl programmer position filled. The person who accepted will fill some much needed gaps in our company, so life ain't all bad.