I found this topic to be interesting to me because I have been in it for several weeks and it really got on my nerves. I made several example tasks for job interviews and I got an attitude which was really disturbing me. This is why I decided to write this article.
The Big Picture
What is the current situation in the developer’s world? Let’s imagine you are a good developer with more than 5 years of experience with the informal status of „Senior“ – it’s not part of your current job title but everyone knows it. You decide to make a LinkedIn profile and you do it with few clicks. You connect with your colleagues and friends. And then the trap snaps. This is where your biggest mistake happens.
The hunters and the prey
Now, what happens in no more than 2 weeks is a long story of unknown friend requests, 97% of which are from people in the HR industry, various job offers and a ton of „Hey, if you have any friend who is looking for a job, please introduce him to me“. You get more unknown friends in several days than you do know in your whole life. But hey, this is a social network so what’s the big deal?
One day you decide that you want to quit your job because you got an offer which sounds so good that you accept to have the interview. And here the saga continues.
Drowning in a pool of job offers
„Okay, you finally got to the interview, right? Oh, your 3-rd interview is tomorrow and after that is the final one. Great, I am happy for you, I wish you luck for the 4-th time in 2 weeks.“
And you dive into the pool of job interviews, which may happen like 2/3/4 in a single day. You decide to try this, and that, and the other one in the foreign country so the saying „The more, the better“ is the one you follow when it comes to job interviews. But where is the big problem?
Person vs Developer
Finally, after several weeks of interviews and 3/4/5 sample projects, you have made for several companies you decided that it is better to stay at your current job position. Why? Well, here are some of the reasons:
To be or not to be?
The attitude towards you sucks, and I mean IT SUCKS A LOT. You go on many job interviews and the first question they ask you is: „Hey Georgi, nice to meet you, tell me something more about the experience you have?„. Yes, the market is all about selling yourself at the price you feel satisfied with but hey, you don’t sell the programming part of yourself, you sell the person also. No one gives a fuck if you are a good person or you have a shitty attitude towards other people. If you are a good programmer it’s OK to have a bad attitude.
How many personal questions did you get? 1, 2? „What’s your name?“ must be one of them. When I get to know people I also ask about their personal life. How they live, what they do in the free time, what things they enjoy and what they don’t like. Rarely someone asks me why I even want to quit my job. The feeling that developers are not people can make you feel really bad.
Examination is the true test of knowledge
In your CV you shared a link to your Github profile, links to the projects you have worked on and even links to a video of a funny moment in your Facebook account. „But hey, don’t forget to make that task in a 2 days period, otherwise we would not review your application?„. Maybe approving 3 interviews was the biggest mistake you made. Now you have 3 sample projects in just 5 days that you have to code even during your weekend. How sad is that?
And the projects are so „different“ from one another. A men’s wear gallery, a shopping products gallery and a display your Facebook pictures gallery with a details screen. You probably have way more sophisticated projects in your Github profile but hey, who will spend his time reading the README.md of the project. „These are the company rules here, if you want to join you, have to follow them.“
Time is ticking away
Whoa, 3 projects in several days, that’s what I call a productivity week. Now, that you haven’t rested for a weekend, it’s time for the interviews series. After your first interview with the HR person from LinkedIn, now it is time to have your second technical interview about the code you have written. Why, where, what would be the questions of the interview. And if you pass it, it is time for the third one. Again, a little bit technical but with some HR elements in it. You meet the CTO and talk about why the current company you apply for is so cool and great.
And don’t lie to yourself. Most of the companies don’t care that you are at work. You have to make the interviews in your lunch time or even take days off. And fighting for your personal time is the least you can do. „If you want to apply, you have to make a self-sacrifice, mate.“
No money, no problems
Great job, my friend! On the final interview, you got invited to visit the foreign country or the office in another city of the company. But will they cover the costs of visiting the office? Will they help you with accommodation? I have met only a single company which does that. Most of the companies expect you to take the expenses as a proof that you really want to move. But how about the proof of wasting your personal time, lunch time and getting late for your job just because you had to finish that stupid task? Well, it is not enough, probably.
Finally, 3/4 interviews behind your back and you got the job offer. Patiently waiting for the email, it finally arrives. You open it and whoa!? What the fuck has happened!? 50K for a Senior developer in London? But you did pass the 4 interviews, you made a great excellent task and you got along with so many unknown people. How did this happen? None of the companies told you the offer they had for you initially. Some of them even didn’t ask you for your expected salary. Even if they did, they just didn’t care. Take these interviews and if you pass them, we will see what we can do for you. You wasted your weekend and several hours of your working days, missing lunch and getting late at your current job for an offer which is far away from what you expected.And you dare to want more money? That’s the shitty reality.
Go hard or go home
After receiving the email you again have 2 days to make the decision. You are not part of the company you apply for but they already own your personal time. They tell you the time frames and pressure you to make the decision. So, what will it be? Go hard or go home?
We are all humans
You saw what the current situation in the developer world is. Or at least, it is like this through my eyes and my experience. There are several things I don’t like so let me summarize them for you:
No personal attitude towards developers
HR people treat developers as machines. They try to charm you just so you can take the bait and then sell you to a company for a profit. That makes me really really nervous.
Noone gives a fuck about Github
I have enough projects there. Why do I need to write stupid interview tasks? What will I prove? That I can write code. Well, it’s on Github and if I have decided to make it public then why the fuck do I need to write more code again?
Changing the job is a 2 player game
Yes, I want to change my job but my time is more precious to me than yours. I waste it chatting with you, going to interviews and doing tasks. And what do I get from this? Nothing. If you want to make a good impression to your future employee, you will take the opportunity to have a short chat after work and not in the lunch time. I am not OK being the only one making the sacrifices. This also includes things like paying travel costs when you request the person you interview to visit the office.
Money is important
From the beginning of an interview, I want to know the minimum and the maximum salary I am applying for. I don’t waste my time for an offer which cannot cover my expenses. Simple as that.
Talking to a human
I really miss the „human“ thing in the interviews. I don’t judge a person only by his skills. People have different goals, they do different things in their day, I’d love to get to know a tiny part of it. It tells me what this person is like? Is he ambitious or a person devoted to his family? Does he love sports or he stays at home reading books? These things can mean a lot if you take a look at them. Looking at Github will tell me how many commits you make, but won’t tell if you love programming. And having a small personal attitude towards someone is something that can make the conversation so nice to remember.
What I have mentioned here is just something which I have experienced. That does not mean there are no companies which are at the other end of the road. There may be companies which care more for their future employees and make more sacrifices than the person who is interviewed. I do not push the balance more towards the person or the company. I want the middle part of the cake. 50% responsibility from the person, 50% from the company. It must not be one-sided.
Feel free to share if you have experience like mine or better. It would be interesting for me to hear that!