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Skipping Traditional Recruitment, Going Straight To the Source

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the by-which-they-mean-the-source dept.

Programming 207

theodp writes "Out of necessity, reports Slate, tech startups are changing the way workers are screened and hired. Take database technology startup RethinkDB, whose old-school recruiting effort — job boards, external recruiters — yielded hundreds of resumes, dozens of phone screens, and numerous four-hour meetings with viable candidates, but no one who fit their criteria. 'They [recruiters] can't tell the difference between the competent ones and the stars,' complained Y Combinator's Paul Graham. Instead, the RethinkDB founders turned to sites like Github.com and stackoverflow.com to pick up six people (they're still looking), a mix of full-timers and interns, both senior and junior. 'You can see the code being written and how technically accurate they are,' explained RethinkDB's Michael Glukhovsky."

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207 comments

Personally I think recruiters are worthless (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401358)

I've never used one/been contacted by one, I've gotten my jobs the old fashion way of knowing someone who works there :D. However a good friend of mine was recently out of work for a long time and talked with numerous recruiters (he used every avenue he could to get a job). He'd call me regularly to vent about the process. They were just universally stupid in the questions they asked. They did not at all understand the kinds of positions they were hiring for and had a very much "One size fits all," attitude. For example some of them just flat couldn't deal with his years of consulting. It was a legit business, actual company (consisting of just him) making money and so on. However they couldn't deal with the fact that he didn't have a boss, and that the company phone number was his cell. There was no conception that someone might have worked for themselves. That wasn't the only stupid thing, just one example of many.

To me it really does seem like they provide little value to companies other than maybe to gather resumes, but there has to be a better process for that. Also, their process seemed like what it was most likely to get you was good liars. They didn't ask the right questions so someone who answered honestly wouldn't pass screening in almost all cases. So the candidates you would get would likely be the ones who were willing to just answer in the manner they thought was most likely to get them past that phase.

Maybe he just had a really bad experience, but it has given me a really poor opinion of recruiting companies. Seems to me like this company is on the right track: Do your own searches for people you want, solicit resumes, interview potential candidates first round, etc. Don't think some recruiter will filter all but the best, unless by "best" you mean "People who will say what it takes to get past that step."

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (2, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401384)

...there has to be a better process for that...

Linkedin should be that better process. Sadly people give out recommendations like confetti. I've worked with a sociopath and a lazy slimeball ( two people ) who both got good recommendations on there.

If you can't even trust personal recommendations recruiting anyone will be a very hard process.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (3, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401534)

I've worked with a sociopath and a lazy slimeball ( two people ) who both got good recommendations on there.

From each other, by any chance? ;-)

Well I don't really consider Linkedin personal (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401636)

The problem is that people view social networking as just some sort of big ole' party. Most people I know can't believe I won't accept any and every Facebook friend request. For me, it is someone I know that I would consider a friend, even if fairly distantly. For most people, the more the merrier. They just say "yes" to anything.

Well that attitude spills over to Linkedin, even though it is supposed to be more professional. People just associate with whoever the hell they happen to know, regardless of how they think of the person. I know people who have "linked" with people they really don't like.

The kind of recommendation I'd take is an actual, in person, personal recommendation from someone I know who's judgment I trust. Those kind of people would have trouble looking me in the eye and lying to me (that's why I trust them). That doesn't guarantee anything, maybe they don't know something about the person or have misjudged them, but it is a much better sign.

In terms of more cold hiring I think companies just have to put in some more legwork. I work at a university and our hiring process is all our own. Does mean that you have to work more at it, the manager has to write up the position, HR posts it on the site (it can be posted/linked elsewhere is you like), resumes are collected and the manager has to review them, decide who to interview, etc. Not as easy as just telling some recruiter "Go find me a programmer," but you get better candidates. For example in the campus environment, we've found that hiring student employees to staff, if they are interested, works well. Pay is lower than industry but benefits, including work environment, tend to be good. Students who are interested in working there know this and are ok with it, whereas other applicants sometimes view it as a temp job due to the pay.

I think companies need to be more willing to do that. Yes, it sucks to have to spend more time on hiring, it is a crap process. However if you want candidates that fit you better it is what you have to do.

Re:Well I don't really consider Linkedin personal (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401948)

The problem is that people view social networking as just some sort of big ole' party.

More like a bath house with a lot of glory holes.

Re:Well I don't really consider Linkedin personal (1)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402906)

The problem is that people view social networking as just some sort of big ole' party. Most people I know can't believe I won't accept any and every Facebook friend request. For me, it is someone I know that I would consider a friend, even if fairly distantly. For most people, the more the merrier. They just say "yes" to anything.

And this disproves one of the greatest fallacies about social networks, the one that somebody's network of contacts is an evidence of his identity.

Re:Well I don't really consider Linkedin personal (2, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402982)

> In terms of more cold hiring I think companies just have to put in some more
> legwork. I work at a university and our hiring process is all our own. Does
> mean that you have to work more at it, the manager has to write up the
> position, HR posts it on the site (it can be posted/linked elsewhere is
> you like), resumes are collected and the manager has to review them, decide
> who to interview, etc. Not as easy as just telling some recruiter "Go find me
> a programmer," but you get better candidates.

I've been both a participant in and the decision maker for hiring at some fairly large technology companies, and I have to say I have always been baffled by people who report that "HR screens the resumes". What the heck does HR know about the technical capabilities and backgrounds we need for this position or how to pick them up from a resume or cover letter? If the manager making the hire isn't directly involved in the process from the beginning what are the chances he will make a good decision? Similarly with all these filters people talk about their process using (advanced degrees, 23.7 years experience in a technology released in 1998, etc). I generally do specify a high school diploma (or GED), but what I want to know is what has this person _done_, what has he/she accomplished, what new things has he learned and successfully used rapidly when the chips were down.

And don't even get me started on "certificates", "certifications", etc. The one filter I have considered putting in place is "no one with a PMP certificate shall ever be hired", but that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of useless pieces of paper.

sPh

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401850)

Linkedin should be that better process. Sadly people give out recommendations like confetti. I've worked with a sociopath and a lazy slimeball ( two people ) who both got good recommendations on there.

I think there is even a negative correlation between the number of recommendations people have on LinkedIn and their actual competence.

Of the persons I know on LinkedIn, those who have many recommendations are mostly 1) those looking for a job 2) the incompetent ones.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (2, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402004)

Linkedin should be that better process. Sadly people give out recommendations like confetti. I've worked with a sociopath and a lazy slimeball ( two people ) who both got good recommendations on there.

People are corrupt. They value their friends above the common man and will give them a free pass no matter what. When Joe recommends his good friend Mike, who he knows is a shitty developer, it is the same form of corruption as when politicians accept bribes. It is very unfair to those who are not "linked in."

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402336)

It's not even people giving recommendations to friends. It's people giving recommendations to anyone. Some jackass who went to the same college as me simply spammed everyone who went to there asking for recommendations. Perhaps back in the day it was a bit of the norm for people from the same university to skip together, but my school had nearly 5k people in it's graduating class and I certainly wouldn't vouch for just anyone from there. However, with the level of anonymity and lack of accountability on LinkedIn, I'm pretty sure someone eventually just clicked the "recommend" button and that was that. Similarly, I've seen people just asking everyone in their network for recommendations as well. This is a bit more legit, but it becomes a bit fishy when you are asking people who have only tangentially worked with you for a recommendation, but I wouldn't doubt that there are people who still click the recommend button even in those cases.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (3, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403012)

Soft skills like the ability to make friends, work together without coming to blows, etc, are frequently valued more highly by employers than pure technical skills. Right or wrong (and I happen to think right), that makes being "linked in" an early proxy for those skills, and is in no way 'unfair' to those who can't make friends. If you can't work easily and comfortably and sociably with significant numbers of people, we really can't use you in our large organization.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (0)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402182)

I've worked with a sociopath and a lazy slimeball ( two people ) who both got good recommendations on there.

So did you work for Microsoft and then jump ship to Apple, or was it the other way around?

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402416)

Linkedin is no better.

The process is broken, simple as that.

Your resume says NOTHING about who you are, and what you can do. It makes no difference between 20 years experience, and 1 year 20 times. And everyone lies on there resumes.

Keyword matching is the worst - and it's going to cost you candidates.

My resume had zero experience writing multithreaded servers in c, but the place I eventually worked at, their lead was leaving, and they had tried a half-dozen others before they decided to "scrape the bottom of the barrel" by going to an "older" worker - which by their definition was anyone over 30. The code was terrible, the database design sucked, there was no documentation, and it was obvious why the lead had left for greener pastures - it was "fish or cut bait" time. He had milked this job as far as he could.

So, get familiar with the code, study the posix threads docs online, and start fixing the problems. End result was 3 inter-related specialized linux/bsd-hosted servers (depending on -DBSD for make) that can handle a thousand requests a second (including db lookups on the same low-end hardware), never kills off a thread to "reclaim memory" (zero memory leaks, even after running for months at a time), and it does the job.

Only one problem - the code was now stable enough, and clean enough, that I was no longer needed, and the extra delays meant a round of cost-cutting.

The job hunting process since then has convinced me, more than anything else, that most people doing "recruiting" don't have a clue, and that employers aren't willing to take the logical step - hire a programmer on a contract basis to help them weed out candidates.

It's also why I absolutely refuse to hand out a resume. I am *not* my resume, and my resume is not me. If you have a problem, either I can fix it, or I'll tell you that I can't. The main concern really isn't that anyway (studies show that the leading cause of project failure is bad communications, not lack of technical skills).

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402848)

If you can't even trust personal recommendations recruiting anyone will be a very hard process.

Well, there you go, you can't. Or better, who trust personal recommendations?!

I know for example if person X recommends me someone I would trust much more than person Y

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (0)

sodul (833177) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401464)

The only job I did not get through recruiters was my internship out of college. I had a classmate who had a brother in a Sillicon Valley startup looking for interns. Since them I got interviews at big name companies and got hired without any insider's help. I have to say that in the ones with the reputation of 'hard' interviews the recruiters where quite excellent. I think the worse one I've talked to was working for Apple ... she pretty much hanged up on me when I told her we would have to do a H1-B transfer (takes 15 days and is actually very simple) since I did not have a green card back then. I've had experience with other Apple recruiters and they seemed OK ... the main problem being that Apple takes forever to move between each step.

So I don't think recruiters are useless, not only do I think they can find good candidates, they are also a huge help big taking care of the 'paperwork' side of hiring; both for the candidate and the interviewers. Head hunters on the other hand ...

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401512)

One good thing about recruiters is that they do the dirty rotten lying that I don't want to do myself.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401550)

I think recruiters have their place, as filling in the number of applicants when you're hiring internally. In the public sector in Britain, if there's a job going they [local council] _have_ to advertise it to the general public, even if they're going to pick Bob from the adjoining department. Then they have to interview so many men and so many women and so many of an ethnic origin and .... you get the idea. It's pretty much just to cover their backs. Calling a recruiter for that sort of thing, it doesn't matter if "One size fits all", because they know they're not going to hire any of them.

Personally I use recruitment agencies as a fall back position. At the beginning of looking for work, you sign up with any you can get your hands on, and then make sure to prod them every week or so, so they they remember you. In the meantime, you go for the normal methods of job boards, individual companies and actually asking the companies you're specifically interested in whether they have a position coming up.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (2, Interesting)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401626)

My mom ran a very profitable business for about 20 years, from before I was born until I was 16 or so.

When I was 16 my parents got a divorce, long story short, my dad was to blame.

She had a hell of a time finding a new job, because the only job she'd ever had since highschool was as the office manager for her own business. At times they'd had up to 10 employees, she did all the payroll, bid on jobs, everything on the office with the help of one secretary, etc etc.

No one wants to hire someone when they can't verify their employment. She finally found a job (which was was laid off from 2 years ago) as a phone answerer / secretary for a small business. Took her forever to even find that.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401628)

I guess this story would make more sense if I said it was my dad who ran the other side of the business (labor / running the equipment). So when they divorced, the business was dissolved.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402974)

I guess it's tough to get a "job" after having been a business owner. I've met someone in that boat as well. Perhaps if a person is good at running a business and they need to (or have to) dissolve the business, the best option would be to start another one.

Not that it would be easy, but the decision to be entrepreneurial is often a one way street from what I've seen and heard. Perhaps the mindset requirement is to be open to starting up more than once.

The guy I met who was in that boat ended up finding good work but he had to network with other small business owners to find a position worth having. Traditional means (headhunter, etc) was just a no-go.

The other issue is, I imagine, that a business owner would be reluctant to hire an entrepreneur because the person obviously has that mindset and they could be seen as a threat to the business.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403068)

This seems like an inexpensive problem to solve. You buy a pay as you go cell phone, and answer 'Beowulf Inc, how may I direct your call?', in your best secretary voice. Then whoever they ask for, you answer in a different voice, and answer their questions about your employment. You can set up a website to back this for a combined cost of maybe $50 / year.

Quality varies greatly (1)

rundgong (1575963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401798)

As with all other professions the quality of recruiters varies greatly. I have talked with a few different recruiters and some of them know exactly nothing about what is a good programmer. They are generic HR people that can do little more than check the bullet points on the CV. To get past these recruiters generally require more bullshit and less actual knowledge.

On the other hand I have also talked with some really skilled recruiters that are dedicated to finding people for tech jobs. One guy had worked as a programmer himself for 15 years before he decided he should do something else. He asked good questions and I am sure he would sort out the people that exaggerate their CVs

Sadly, most recruiters belong to the first category.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401848)

The distrust of recruiters is well placed. I don't know how many of them I've come across who say something like, "We need someone who knows SQL databases." I've gone so far as to ask them, "Which one? You realize that SQL is a language, not a database." I usually get blank stares as a result.

We recently went through some rounds of interviews. We usually bring the candidate into a conference room with the entire team and sit with him or her for a couple of hours and ask questions and just talk. One of the candidates we brought in had a resume that looked like the interview process should've been a matter of formality and only to determine if we liked the personality or not. Instead we found that the resume was like it was shot full of steroids. The candidate said he had extensive experience with several things we used, yet when asked questions he admitted that he had used the technology once a couple of years ago for a few minutes. He was looking for a senior level position, but we weren't willing to give him anything above a junior level. He took himself out of the process. What surprised me the most was the source of the resume... the contracting firm that presented him to us... because they usually do a reasonably good pre-screening with the candidates they want to forward on.

In our interviews, we ask questions that have "one right answer" and some that have "no one right answer." In some cases, we're looking to see if you really do have the basic knowledge you say you do and in others we're also trying to determine your methodologies... how you attack problems, etc. This way of doing things only failed us once, but we weren't exactly able to predict that the guy was going to step on toes the way he did.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403082)

We try to hire for someone who knows sql databases on a pretty regular basis. We need someone who knows sql databases. Preferably comfortable working with as many as possible.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402080)

Most recruiters are a waste of time, but the good ones are fantastic. All my best jobs have come through recruiters.

That said, remember that the company is their customer; you are the slice of beef product.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402258)

What's the difference between a used care salesman and a tech recruiter? The used car salesman knows he's lying. Sure it's a joke but there is a lot of truth to that statement.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403038)

What's the difference between a used care salesman and a tech recruiter? The used car salesman knows he's lying. Sure it's a joke but there is a lot of truth to that statement.

I can only confirm this. After many encounters with recruiters over the years, I tend to get really surprised when I stumble upon one who is not completely dishonest. Remember folks, a recruiter has the capacity to screw your life very badly, so practice caution.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402278)

They were just universally stupid in the questions they asked. They did not at all understand the kinds of positions they were hiring for and had a very much "One size fits all" attitude.

Another frustrating practice: You reply to a new job Ad the day after its published, but the recruiter says you're too late. Usually this means they've been given a job spec from the employer with instructions to vet the applicants, select the best, then submit maybe the top three. This goes out to 2-3 agencies. What happens in practice is that the first three applicants to tick the skills and experience boxes get forwarded in the first day and that's it. There's no real vetting done by the agency at all. Never mind that you might be able to run rings around the other applicants, the employer isn't even going to find out you exist. If you want in, you have to trawl the job sites 2-3 times a day and hit apply as soon as you spot anything interesting. No time to tailor your CV to the prospective job. I have two brothers who both contract and both say the same thing: it's a numbers game. You have to be quick, and then for every 10 jobs applied for expect 1 telephone interview request.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (2, Insightful)

yarobernstein (1888614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402288)

Since we replaced recruiters with on-line programming tests (we use Codility), I never had to talk to idiots in interviews again. From recruiters we have been getting mostly well-spoken bullshitters.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402308)

Like many others I have my resume on my website and it gets a fair amount of traffic. Not a month goes by where some headhunter makes it past the gmail spam filter to tell me that they've read my resume and they want to offer me $JOB_I_AM_NOT_QUALIFIED_FOR_BY_ANY_STRETCH. External recruiters are worse than worthless... but then, so are most HR employees.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402988)

Like in anything, there is a range of competencies. A good recruiting company would have viewed your friends' self-run business as a huge positive, an opportunity to advertise him as having that capability to run his own business, drive to succeed, etc.

Re:Personally I think recruiters are worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33403004)

Not to mention recruiters are very good at lowering your salary prospects in order to take a bigger chunk.
Generally speaking 99% of them are just suckers.

Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401360)

It should be no surprise to anyone who has dealt with job agencies that they are only after their commission. They don't understand IT in any meaningful way and can't tell a monkey from a genius. They are corporate BS artists.

Having said that sorting one good guy from a few thousand applicants is very, very time consuming.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401410)

Yes, and job interviews are often like dating: a scripted, mechanical jump through hoops in which questions are asked and only the canned, standard answers are accepted. They want to see that you're not a weirdo or a kook and that you're properly assimilated, using the right keywords, spinning negative experience into positive, etc.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401496)

They want to see that you're not a weirdo or a kook and that you're properly assimilated, using the right keywords, spinning negative experience into positive, etc.

Talking from experience? BTW, welcome back! I see the Slashdot administrators have removed you from the bitchslap list -:)

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401720)

Talking from experience? BTW, welcome back! I see the Slashdot administrators have removed you from the bitchslap list -:)

He made a good point, you didn't.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401718)

Yes, and job interviews are often like dating: a scripted, mechanical jump through hoops in which questions are asked and only the canned, standard answers are accepted. They want to see that you're not a weirdo or a kook and that you're properly assimilated, using the right keywords, spinning negative experience into positive, etc.

Assimilated is right. Most multinationals are full of clueless middle managers who look for people like themselves, everything else scares them. I gave up on big companies after working for a well known oil multinational only to find it was impossible to get anything done without justifying every tiny step to a whole bunch of clueless losers who don't understand any of it.

In a previous job I once got change control approval to clad my entire building in two foot thick lead to prevent ram parity errors.The fools were too dumb to know what they were approving. When I told them they just brushed their ignorance under the carpet and carried on with the same ignorant change control process.

I'll bet the dumb recruitment agencies survive because most huge companies only want dumb, untalented, middle manager drones.

Small companies are the only way to go. Once the 'professional manager' types get a foodhold any company is screwed.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401752)

Thanks for having my back, but --

Small companies are the only way to go. Once the 'professional manager' types get a foodhold any company is screwed.

Usually when the mothership buys out your small company. I have to disagree with you on this point:

I gave up on big companies after working for a well known oil multinational only to find it was impossible to get anything done without justifying every tiny step to a whole bunch of clueless losers who don't understand any of it.

If the division is profitable enough, then they don't want the newbies to fully understand what is going on...tribal knowledge is job security.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (4, Insightful)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402084)

"In a previous job I once got change control approval to clad my entire building in two foot thick lead to prevent ram parity errors."

And you didn't go through with it? A schoolboy error!

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402316)

In a previous job I once got change control approval to clad my entire building in two foot thick lead to prevent ram parity errors.The fools were too dumb to know what they were approving.

Sounds like ISO9000 retardation. There appears to be an unshakable belief infecting more and more companies that process fixes everything. That process can fully encapsulate knowledge so as long as you follow the process, everything will work out perfectly.

In the real world process is primarily for stupid people because smart people already know to do the right thing. Of course that's kind of a circular definition of 'smart' but the real world is messy like that.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402902)

In a previous job I once got change control approval to clad my entire building in two foot thick lead to prevent ram parity errors.The fools were too dumb to know what they were approving. When I told them they just brushed their ignorance under the carpet and carried on with the same ignorant change control process.

Well I guess you shouldn't have told them and let them go ahead with it!!!

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401918)

I could not agree more. I had an agent who could not tell the difference between Web application and a "real" application when she was looking for a C# .NET dev. Or a guy who thought that the XP in the Unix spec stands for Windows XP instead of (sorry, buzzword alert) eXtreme Programming. I have moved towards grilling the agents on the phone to find out if they have a clue, because they take the liberty to judge my CV to put me forward for the job. I rather have an agent with a clue to put me forward.

Re:Newsflash - job agencies are jokers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402322)

We force job agencies to run candidates through 3rd party assessments (usually Brainbench or Codility) before sending them to us. This is the only way to reduce the amount of crappy candidates they dump on us.

More companies should follow RethinkDB approach... (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401362)

I agree 100% WTFA. In the time I've been employed in the I.T. field, it astounds me that managers and bosses hire on the pure premise of line items on a resume and talking-the-talk, and take a side-line approach to not asking or quizzing outside the realm of if the interviewee still has a pulse and is breathing. It seems like everything is taken at face value and if the 'buzz word' scan on the resume succeeds, so-I-guess-we-are-going-to-hire-them approach becomes all to comfortable.

Any time that I've interviewed anyone, sure, I take their honesty on a resume with some consideration, but I'm more interested in you, the interviewer, proving those skills you have written down on your resume, whether that be an online open-sourced repository, tossing a dry-erase marker at them during the interview, ect and showing your soon-to-be employer you got the stuff than I am wow'ing about someone word-smithing the shit out of their resume.

Re:More companies should follow RethinkDB approach (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401402)

HR's the only one with the buzzword matching filter, and lord help any IT department that lets HR do the actual hiring! We match for two things, technical skill and your ability to jell with the team, specific technologies are rarely that important (no must have 5 years experience with Windows 2008 here) because we figure any potential candidate who got that far and passes the sniff test can probably learn on the job.

Re:More companies should follow RethinkDB approach (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401462)

HR's the only one with the buzzword matching filter, and lord help any IT department that lets HR do the actual hiring!

I would say if you think the IT department is some exception, that is because you know it. If they are unable to do it for IT, why do you think they are able to do it for any other department?

Re:More companies should follow RethinkDB approach (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402838)

I would say if you think the IT department is some exception, that is because you know it. If they are unable to do it for IT, why do you think they are able to do it for any other department?

That indeed is the problem with allowing HR to be involved in selection of candidates. Their job is to provide a list of people who can legally apply for the job to the manager, then he hands them back a shorter list of people who should be contacted, then HR disqualifies everyone who obviously can't do the job after the brief contacts, and then interviewing begins. HR's sole job in the hiring process (besides legwork) should therefore be to hate on people. It's unfortunate, but true.
Also, any HR department which does not include an employee advocate whose job description says that they are there to represent the concerns of the employees and to do their best to ensure that the employees get what they need to succeed is your enemy at all times unless you are an executive, this is not really relevant to this conversation, but never forget it. :)

Re:More companies should follow RethinkDB approach (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402674)

Unfortunately, in larger companies (and yes, there are people that are happy to work for larger companies), corporate policies get in the way and require HR to do the filtering. Then the IT manager has to choose between using relevant topics that HR is likely to screw up, or use irrelevant topics that will just lead HR to pick at random because everyone matched. Or worse, pick the people that state the lowest required salary (which, BTW, I never put on a resume).

Re:More companies should follow RethinkDB approach (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402758)

We match for two things, technical skill and your ability to jell with the team, specific technologies are rarely that important

...So you match technical skills but the exact technologies you're looking for aren't important? You're kidding right?

That comment alone should make you give up doing the hiring and turn it over to someone else.

That's the whole point to not hire a "...hell of a good guy who get along with everyone but has zero skills in the area you're seeking or lacking in." Where can I put my application in at? Sounds like a hell of a place to work for.

And you should be, because we must tell lies (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401488)

I'm 20 year old software engineering student and my resume... I wouldn't perhaps say that it is full of lies but I know that it is full of exaggerations. Gross ones. For example, I list Python under my skills even though my knowledge of it is pretty much limited to one course I took.

I don't like doing that but feel that I am expected to do that. When I browse job advertisements it is obvious that many claim to require skills you would never actually need in such a job. They have often been written by people who aren't software engineers themselves so my process goes like this:

-See a job that I think I would be skilled enough to do or learn quickly enough

-Ignore all skills they claim the job to require

-See if I can in any way justify adding them to my resume without outright lying

-Try to get to an interview and sort everything out there.

Of course, if I actually do get to an interview and there is a technical guy present and we begin discussing my skills, I will make it clear what I really can do and what I can not. If there isn't a technical guy present (IE: a mid-sized company is hiring their first in-house webmaster) I pretty much have to use my own judgement about whether I can do the job or not. That is a horrible way to do things because it sometimes wastes employers' time, etc. when I am not actually qualified to do something. But if I wouldn't do it like that, I might not even get to an interview for some job that I would be very competent at.

Re:And you should be, because we must tell lies (2, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401570)

Beautiful comment. And sometimes you have to lie as much as they do, especially if they're asking for 5 years experience with a technology that was invented 2 years ago. Those bastards are often as guilty at buzzword bingo as we have to be.

"-See if I can in any way justify adding them to my resume without outright lying"

Way back in my stupid days, I applied for a calibration technician position. The technical director asked me if I knew how to calibrate a Spectrum Analyzer, and of course I did. It was simple - you just navigated the menus and activated the autocal. He told me that calbrating a specan requires actually opening it up and performing over 200 adjustments. Then he chuckled and told me to GTFO.

Re:And you should be, because we must tell lies (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402136)

For example, I list Python under my skills even though my knowledge of it is pretty much limited to one course I took.

Meh, I did the same thing then ended up writing a decent program of ~thousand lines of it. Although am hardly a Python expert after only a single in house app.

School teaches you how to learn. If need be, you know how to go about learning Python, that is what counts.

Re:And you should be, because we must tell lies (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402738)

I remember one job I interviewed for. They wanted one particular skill I didn't have. I told them I could learn it and be fully productive in 4 to 6 weeks, using all my other skills as a foundation. They declined to offer me the job, saying they really needed to have someone who could hit the ground running. Six months later, they will still looking for that talent.

Karma: Excellent (2, Funny)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401386)

I have excellent Slashdot karma, does that count?

Go work for RethinkDB! (1)

cperciva (102828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401394)

I've talked to Slava a lot, and he's a really smart guy. Unlike most startups, RethinkDB is actually doing innovative things. If you're looking for work in the bay area and you're good at algorithms, GO WORK FOR RETHINKDB!

(If I didn't have my own startup, I'd be working there right now -- instead I'm cheering them on from afar.)

Re:Go work for RethinkDB! (0)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402764)

What if you don't want to go to the Bay area, or anywhere in California?

And what's wrong with rsync for backups?

Re:Go work for RethinkDB! (1)

cperciva (102828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403002)

If you don't want to live in the bay area, then don't work for RethinkDB, I guess? I don't think they're hiring anyone remote (but I might be wrong).

And what's wrong with rsync for backups?

  1. rsync isn't backups, it's synchronization. It will happily synchronize corrupted files and (if you use the relevant option) file deletions.
  2. rsync requires you to trust the location you're syncing your data to.
  3. Because rsync is designed for synchronization, it doesn't store your data compressed.
  4. Because rsync works file-by-file, it can't take advantage of duplication between files.

Probably other things too, but those are the first ones which come to mind.

Google does that (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401424)

Google did that in their glory years. I've been contacted by Google recruiting because of posts I made on comp.lang.c++.

Re:Google does that (1)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401818)

Was it really just because of a few comp.lang.c++ posts? Aren't you somewhat (in)famous for a couple interesting things in hackerdom?

I've seen some of your posts, and while I don't agree with everything I have seen, on matters of technical issues it seems you're pretty solid, to say the least.

I'd say the only mark against you (in the unlikely event I would be on the other side of an interviewing table with you) is that you continue to hang out in this cesspool*.

* Note to idiots: there is no hypocrisy in this statement, since I never claimed to hold myself to a higher standard. An anal-rapist telling you anal-rape is illegal and can cause you problems is not a hypocrite.

Low Salaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401454)

The real reason why they have recruiting problems....

The flaw with this approach (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401498)

It pretty clear that Slava at RethinkDB is clueless about his problem. Sure, he has trouble finding top people. It apparently has never occurred to him that top people probably don't want to work there. I'm sorry, but from what I can see, it looks positively inane. My version of hell, because I like far tougher problems than can happen in that area.

Honestly, this strikes me as the narcissists' approach to interviewing. Wake up guy. You're not Bell Labs, and you're not going to get Denis Ritchie to come work for you.

Re:The flaw with this approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401710)

They can't because Dennis Ritchie has a resume to go by.

Meanwhile, his twin brother Donald didn't get the job at Bell labs, got his girlfriend pregnant and is now flipping burgers and posting on Stackoverflow.

As long as they aren't going for Dennis, they should be okay. Of course, maybe Bell labs discovered Donald was a psycho, then again maybe they just had an opening and H&R dropped the brother with the less amazing resume.

Still, better to get to interview him for a change than yet another "Senior" Java "Software" "Engineer" with a golden resume.

Re:The flaw with this approach (3, Insightful)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401888)

It pretty clear that Slava at RethinkDB is clueless about his problem. Sure, he has trouble finding top people. It apparently has never occurred to him that top people probably don't want to work there. I'm sorry, but from what I can see, it looks positively inane. My version of hell, because I like far tougher problems than can happen in that area.

It seems like its possible. I do like that they are upfront with their salary/stock options. (Stock options that *may* be worth something if this company of geniuses manages to come up with something that could be marketable to a buyout). Pure statistics alone, they will not.

And I can buy that the management is very technically able (as has been cited here), but not so realistic about hiring.

Probably read too much Joel on Software. Remember that tripe? He's implicitly and explicitly telling you to go about insisting on hiring future Nobel prize laureates and programmers that have their consciousness tuned for a power-conserving compact bytecode, so their skills can be applied to a recently web-enabled bugtracker in a job that will probably pay slightly better than the mean (this is essentially what the part about giving them better benefits/pay means) for similar work (ie not that much for that labor pool).

As a data point, I consider myself slightly above average, but not quite Turing or Dijkstra, and I was making their Engineer II level pay in a region of the East Coast with far lower cost of living (but not in the deep sticks either) a few years after high school. I can't imagine those smarter than me are so cavalier about the risk/benefit ratio of jumping to a startup with no product ready to go.

I point out my case, because I think if they really believe they are going to impress people with simply the salary quote, they are only going to attract people below my capabilities, which would be well below what they seem to "want". Sorry, but if those SV salaries look good to you (mind you this is a startup and not Google with fringes galore and other things), you are either underpaid and unaware or you just are not as good as you think (Dunning-Krueger, ahem).

A startup is far better off being upfront about exactly where they stand, what they do, and be prefectly frank with the risks involved and not blow smoke up your ass. The idiots will go batshit with your pie-in-the-sky, the *brightest* not so much. Don't try to PR style market to the brightest, they'll see though it and not like it.

And it might just be that those smart enough to know what they don't know, are not so quick to rush to a place where the website sounds like they have all the answers to DB problems. I, for one, took pause at their job postings. They see "visionary," I read into and between the lines and see "dogmatic adherence to our superior view"

That's another thing, you don't generally hire the best and brightest (the real best and brightest--in more than just code monkey) into "staff" positions, they usually don't fit well.

You have to have a little irrationality to go on the startup ride and it helps if the founders realize they are not *all* geniuses and smartness is multifaceted. If they can't find people in a market as liquid as Silicon Valley, they apparently can't pay the price and have to make their expectations more realistic, or simply wait longer and let probability do its thing.

There are bright people willing to work for low-pay (high short-term risk) if they feel the other benefits (thrill of doing something worthwhile) are worth it, or they like/believe in the reward. It's not all about base, of course, but that is something too.

Re:The flaw with this approach (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402144)

As a data point, I consider myself slightly above average, but not quite Turing or Dijkstra, and I was making their Engineer II level pay in a region of the East Coast with far lower cost of living (but not in the deep sticks either) a few years after high school. I can't imagine those smarter than me are so cavalier about the risk/benefit ratio of jumping to a startup with no product ready to go.

Yah their pay scale sucks if they want to attract "rockstar" talent. Given the stupid high cost of living in the Silicon Valley area, that pay scale sucks. It'd be great almost anywhere else in the country (except for the New York area, or any of the few other stupid high cost of living areas around the nation).

Re:The flaw with this approach (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402624)

It apparently has never occurred to him that top people probably don't want to work there

This seems to be the heart of his problem, although I don't think it's for the reasons you list. He wants experienced database internals programmers who hate SQL, know LISP, and can modify the LINUX kernel. He boasts about getting a whopping $1.25M in funding for 2010. No market for his product and no sales. Those should be huge red flags for anyone with experience in the field (if such a person exists).

Re:The flaw with this approach (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402922)

I think you're right

How much money did they spend screening and pre-screening candidates?! Are all THAT bad?!

Go ahead and hire someone already. It's not going to suck, unless they are really stupid at finding people (probably not)

And still, you can always fire the guy.

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Re:Cheap replica handbag (0, Offtopic)

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There's the problem... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401742)

If they are looking at people using GitHub, no wonder they are still looking for people who are competent.

How About Programmer's Web Pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401786)

Remember "web pages"? Before facebook, before linked in, before myspace and geocities, programmers posted their resumes on their own web pages that they ran on their own web servers. They still do. They post code samples, demonstrations, and sometimes entire applications. It's strange how some employers seem to think that they need to use some kind of meta search or intermediary site to find them.

Trade one BS method for another? (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401802)

The problem with filtering your developers through Github, or limiting them to those who have contributed to other open-source projects, is that you will be bypassing by some very good prospects for employees.

Not everybody who works in the field, including many who are very involved with and passionate about their work, also has the time or inclination to be coding in their spare time as well. Sure, you expect people who are dedicated to do some continuing education outside the office, but that's not the same thing. Many people, besides the hectic day at the office, and constant "continuing education" at home, also have families and other interests to deal with.

For the most part, if you limit your search to open-source contributors, you are skewing your results toward single people, mostly men, who may or may not have any social skills outside work, and leaving behind a great many well-adjusted people with well-balanced lives, who are equally great coders.

Not to mention that according to most people in the Agile industry, the idea of the "rockstar developer" has been dead for about 2 years. There are damned few of them, and you are making up bogus criteria for trying to identify who they are.

Re:Trade one BS method for another? (1)

blanck (1458239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401826)

you are skewing your results toward single people, mostly men, who may or may not have any social skills outside work

I think this is exactly the point. RethinkDB seems to want the most productive individual they can get. By going after someone who does dedicate him/her self to coding outside of work, they will more likely find somebody willing to go the extra mile outside of work hours. The slight of "well-adjusted people" appears intentional to me.

Re:Trade one BS method for another? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402926)

Intentional, perhaps, but then there's the question, "Does someone who works for 12 hours a day produce better code than someone who only works 8? Or 3?"

Re:Trade one BS method for another? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402064)

If this works for RethinkDB fine. As long as it doesn't become the norm, good luck to them and anyone else that does it. If it does become the norm then a lot of talented people will be leaving the industry.

Re:Trade one BS method for another? (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402628)

The rockstar programmer is not dead. They are just working for someone else right now. The conventional job hunt is not the way to find them, for the most part. When they do lose a job (because the company's financial people fail, for example), they usually have contacts in place and can latch a new job quickly. Those that don't have such contacts might build them online. Open source projects are one of the places (though RethinkDB might be working way to narrow with just a couple places). Hopefully, they will be approaching this less as a quick-hire place, and more as a build-contact place. They might well find the rockstar there today, that they can hire two years from now.

But I can understand the want to hire the top-talented core people, often just two or three of them, who will then be surrounded by a team of twenty to forty eager beaver programmers who can at least understand new concepts, even if they are not seasoned enough to create them on their own. It seems to me RethinkDB is trying to do this, but doesn't realize it actually is very hard to do.

California itself is problematic. It's perceived as the go-to place for tech jobs. So everyone that wants one goes there. That's why it has both a surplus and a shortage at the same time. It's being diluted by the lower 50%. Once they can spread out and hire people from other locations, they'll find out where those lower-end programmers moved away from. Top-level talent doesn't need to move and it will exist in its small proportion everywhere.

FYI, I've turned down a job at more than double the pay these guys are offering, just because it was in California. I would have taken it if I could have telecommuted and visited in person three or four times a year for a week each. If they were hiring within 100km of me, or in any of the places I'd be happy to move to, then I'd send them a resume and see if they will still look at those.

Re:Trade one BS method for another? (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402908)

For the most part, if you limit your search to open-source contributors, you are skewing your results toward single people, mostly men, who may or may not have any social skills outside work, and leaving behind a great many well-adjusted people with well-balanced lives, who are equally great coders.

I think it's natural to want to hire people who have coding deep in their DNA, who enjoy programming in their free time, just as if I were to be hiring a gardener I would want to hire one who had some plants of their own.

Not to mention that according to most people in the Agile industry, the idea of the "rockstar developer" has been dead for about 2 years.

To most rockstar developers, Agile is probably just another stupid buzzword. So I guess the feeling is mutual.

Its the middle-man problem.... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401808)

Sadely today, for every interactions between two entities, there seems to be a person trying to be a middle-man. For physical wares trading, they can be a bit useful, by taking care of all the exporting/importing work, all the advertisment work,.. But for things envolving two entities for an exchange that doesnt involve the middle-man's skill? They are kinda useless... A company would be better off recruiting people from SourceForge.

Ditch recruiters, screen on programming skills (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401914)

I have been wasting lots of time on candidates from external recruiters -- most of them were unable to get a few lines of code right. I ditched recruiters as soon as I discovered Codility.com -- it runs the candidates through on-line programming tests to filter out lame programmers (majority!). For me it filters out 8 out of 10 folks who apply from a standard ad. We run the surviving few through interviews with our tech staff. If I am ever going back to non-tech recruiters I will make sure they use Codility first before even asking me about a candidate. I still have to see a single tech recruitment agency which does any tech assessment.

Maybe their requirements are an issue. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401974)

Maybe their requirements are an issue.

If after hundreds of resumes you still have no-one that "fits the criteria" maybe you're looking for someone who doesn't exist. Or they are not willing to pay enough for someone who can fulfil their obviously very high expectations.

They are a startup, developing tech "that changes the way how people store and access data" (wow, they must be up to something), and are now looking for people to help them with it. Well the criteria are not listed so hard to say where the problem lies, but finding people with experience in their database tech well that will be hard of course.

Great they found the people they need now, from the article it seems to me that not only did they change the way they were looking for people, they also changed their selection criteria and the way they were looking AT potential candidates.

Re:Maybe their requirements are an issue. (1)

garaged (579941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402630)

I have told the salary issue to a small startup, over twitter, and they felt ofended and gave me the "you know nothing" and the "this is capitalism", but at the end of the day I know they are loosing good people just because they feel too good to accept they are doing more harm than good with their "looking for geniuses but wont pay accordingly" method.

Re:Maybe their requirements are an issue. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402964)

Yeah, I noticed their salary levels are more in line with Pittsburgh.

Recruitment agencies blow ass (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402050)

I've always found it much better to interact with companies directly. Recruiters rarely know enough about any job to find people that fit the job. I think a used car salesman has more integrity than a recruiter.

Re:Recruitment agencies blow ass (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402124)

I've always found it much better to interact with companies directly. Recruiters rarely know enough about any job to find people that fit the job. I think a used car salesman has more integrity than a recruiter.

I'm not sure where the idea that a recruiter means you somehow don't (ever?) interact with the company before getting hired. You interview. The same as if you were replying to a job posting, which is even weaker than dealing with a recruiter. I'm not sure how getting me interviews with places I might want to work, for people who might want to hire me == lack of integrity. I don't see how the inability to get a job or find qualified people, is on the recruiter, or why all the headhunter hate in general.

Re:Recruitment agencies blow ass (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402880)

I need to reply out of order for this to work out...

I don't see how the inability to get a job or find qualified people, is on the recruiter, or why all the headhunter hate in general.

Out of hundreds of contacts (I know some of you have had thousands, but apparently I'm just this guy) I've had only a couple of invitations to apply that actually matched the skillset on my publicly posted resume. From managers I know who have done hiring from a recuiters' pool of applicants, I know that most of the applicants delivered by headhunters are clearly and obviously unqualified for the positions for which they are presented.

I'm not sure how getting me interviews with places I might want to work, for people who might want to hire me == lack of integrity.

Simply, it is because most of the time they're interviews with places you don't want to work (they were clueless enough to try to hire you via headhunter) and most of the time they don't want to hire you because most of the applicants are not matches for the positions (which is why it's clueless to try to hire via headhunter.) This is not to say that there's nobody good out there, of course. Exceptions, however, prove the rule.

Before anyone gets any ideas ... (2, Informative)

Toon Moene (883988) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402194)

... We (the GNU Compiler Collection) have a policy about this for our mailing lists:

"Recruiting postings, including recruiting for GCC or other free software jobs, are not permitted on this list, or on any of the other GCC mailing lists."

We can't (and won't, of course) prohibit you to contact individual developers personally. Note, however, that most are already employed.

Great idea (2, Interesting)

neuro-commando (1888256) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402234)

I would prefer if browsing stack-overflow and similar sites was the preferred way of finding possible workers, like the article said, it shows a much bigger picture, as well as a person's strengths, and major areas of interest. It sure beats a resume that's designed to make the recruit look like a golden angel, especially because there are bound to be hundreds just like it, finding the right guy is pretty much a "pin resumes to the wall, and throw darts" type of science.

Frost p1st! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402304)

came as a 3omplete

They need a clue (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402334)

yielded hundreds of resumes, dozens of phone screens, and numerous four-hour meetings with viable candidates, but no one who fit their criteria.

If this is true, then either they don't know what they are looking for or they are looking for someone who perfectly fits a description. If they can't tell who is good and who is not after a four hour meeting with a candidate, then I would suggest that the problem is not with the candidates but with the people doing the hiring.

Re:They need a clue (1)

adewolf (524919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402456)

This sounds like 90% of the companies out there. They need someone yet their criteria is too narrow. They need to stop "grocery listing" and start to talk to people as people and not a list of skills. How long before computers start spitting out C or C++ that is "better" than human designed code. Jobs that I applied for 6 months ago are still listed. None of these HR or hiring manages go with their gut feeling any more. I am fortunate to have gotten a job about 6 weeks ago, but I feel really bad for the tech folks who are qualified with experience but cannot land a job.

Re:They need a clue (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402534)

If no one can solve that simple C problem they posted, then I can understand their concern about the lack of good programmers. I looked at their job posting and it isn't a long grocery list. It still might be shortened, but it's nowhere near the typical I have seen from larger companies which overly formalize the process with clueless HR people. Relatively speaking, this company is a breath of fresh air, even if their level is set a bit high. One thing they should learn is that building a top-level team isn't done fast. The very best talent is often in contact for years before they make the jump.

So do you think you didn't get the job because their requirements are too narrow? What didn't you fit? I wonder if you would fit in where I work (we just signed for more funding, and will be hiring more soon, maybe before the end of the year).

Re:They need a clue (3, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402498)

Actually, they do seem to be able to recognize when people are not the right fit during that four hour interview. Their whole story is that they are finding that everyone they do interview that way are people they don't want to hire. The problem is, this is inefficient considering the glut of programmers below the level they want. The article is about finding alternatives to this process where this glut can be avoided. Maybe better phone screen skills might have done so? But they seem to think there is success in going to the source, where the good programmers are known to hang out. Of course, the big problem there is most of them don't want a new job.

Bypassing HR seems to work... (3, Interesting)

weav (158099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403032)

My current boss put an ad on Craigslist which said send your CV and write a perl script that does [thing]. I did so. That turned into a 90-min. phone screen in which he grilled me technically, and then he set up an on-site interview. 5 people, 45 min. each, intense technical drilldown.

The hr person was annoyed that he'd gone to Craigslist (mgr. never told me to say otherwise...), but the mgr. found somebody who could do what he wanted.

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