Why don't I talk to recruiters at Google
This is a true story that is not exclusive to Google. I receive emails from recruiters from Amazon, Facebook and smaller start-ups from Silicon Valley. They find me somehow, most likely through my blog, my books, and my github account.
Message from and to recruiter
They always start the same way: we are impressed with your profile, and end in the style of: let’s make an appointment for an interview. I always say the same thing, and they always disappear to come back in a few months under a different name. Let me make my point. Maybe you can do what I did, and we can make a difference in this business.
To begin with, a caveat: I do realize that these are companies worth billions of dollars and I am nothing compared to them. I also realize that their recruiters don’t care about my answers, they just press “delete” and move on. I also know that they will never read this post, and this article probably won’t change anything. But I have to write it.
This is the response I send them:
Thank you for your e-mail. I’m actually very interested. I don’t mind meeting you for an interview. However, I have one condition: I ask that the person I would like to work with in the future, that is, my future direct supervisor, talk to me.
The recruiter who gets my answer never comes back to me.
Why am I answering like that?
Well, because I learned my lesson when Amazon tried to recruit me two years ago. I received an email from the company saying they were impressed with my profile and were looking forward to working with me. They need me and no one else. I was naive, and I was really flattered by the news.
The meeting was scheduled at their headquarters in Seattle. They paid for my plane ticket from San Francisco and a five-star hotel. I was impressed. You could tell they were interested in me. You too.
What happened during the interview was more or less similar to what Max Howell, who had this experience with Google, went through: several programmers who had no idea about my profile asked me to create some algorithms on a white board for four hours. Did I make it? I don’t think so..
Did they make me an offer? No..
What have I learned? That it’s a waste of time.. For both sides.
You can’t beat the bureaucracy.
Their bureaucratic machine is designed to move several hundred candidates a month. An army of ape recruiters sends warm e-mails to people like me to catch us out and encourage us. They have to X-ray the candidates somehow, but they are too lazy to do it creatively and efficiently. They pass them through meetings with randomly selected programmers who are supposed to ask them the most complicated questions possible.
I’m not saying that people who pass these tests are not good programmers. Nor do I claim to be a great programmer myself, since-let’s face it-I failed that test. I also believe that this filtering system is rather good. What I mean is, he denies the letter I originally received from the recruiter.
If she’d started her message with, “we’re looking for an algorithm expert,” we wouldn’t have gone any further, which would have saved us a lot of time. I’m definitely not an algorithm expert. There is no point in giving me binary tree transition tasks. I don’t know the answers, and I’ll never want to learn them. I’m trying to be an expert in something else, like object design.
There was a big discrepancy between my profile and recruiters ‘ expectations. I don’t resent them any more than I resent that first recruiter. After all, they are only slave workers. I feel bad for myself that I didn’t make it clear at first.
I should have told her that I didn’t want to meet with any programmer because I was sure to fail such a confrontation.
There was no point in trying. I wanted to have a conversation with the person who really needs me, which is my future boss.. Such a person would understand my profile information and would not ask pointless questions about algorithms, simply because she would know what duties she foresees for me, and what problems I will solve at work if I am hired.
Unfortunately, from my two-year observation of the bounce of such emails from recruiters, it turns out that nothing changes. They have to let everyone through the same formal path, beginning with these warm and flattering promises.
I’m sorry, dear recruiters, but for such standard recruitment talks, I already thank you.
As many as 88% of the IT experts surveyed in Poland indicated that the ideal recruitment process should be attended primarily by a direct supervisor.
Source: IT Industry Survey Report 2019