September 18, 2003

Tivo Needs an Undelete Option

Because I did a bad thing.


Posted by jzawodn at 09:32 PM

Silly Recuiters

This is an amusing story. But to protect the guilty (and innocent) I'm not going to use real names. Otherwise regular readers of my blog would easily identify a few of 'em. I'll begin with the cast of characters:

  • TechCompany: a well-known technology company that's hiring software engineers. (No, it's not the company I work for.)
  • TechCompanyRecruiter: self-explanatory, right?
  • OtherTechCompany: another well-known tech company. HappyFriend, HappyHacker, and UnhappyHacker have all worked there at some point. HappyHacker still does.
  • HappyHacker: currently employed at OtherTechCompany.
  • UnhappyHacker: currently not employed at either TechCompany or OtherTechCompany but job hunting. Would like to work at TechCompany.
  • HappyFriend: a friend of UnhappyHacker and HappyHacker, currently employed at TechCompany.

Recently, HappyFriend thought "Gee, I'd like to get UnhappyHacker and HappyHacker jobs here. I'll submit their resumes for jobs and see what happens."

Well, as it happens, their resumes were under consideration for the same position. HappyHacker and UnhappyHacker discussed this before their interviews. There was no secret.

UnhappyHacker went first. There was a few rounds of phone screening and UnhappyHacker was ultimately told something like "sorry, we're not hiring for that position anymore."

This occurred roughly one day before HappyHacker was to begin a round of phone screening. HappyHacker thought it was odd that TechCompany would say that and not cancel the upcoming call. So HappyHacker decided to mail the person at TechCompany who was set to conduct the interview, asking something like "I guess we'll be talking in more general terms, since I understand that you're no longer hiring for the position we were supposed to discuss."

On the day of HappyHacker's phone screening, no word had come back from TechCompany. So the screening occurred and went quite well. The questions were basic and HappyHacker had no trouble with them. It went well. At the end of the discussion, the topic came up. The interviewer asked why HappyHacker thought the position was filled. HappyHacker explained that a friend (UnhappyHacker) had recently interviewed and was told that. The interviewer asked who it was. When the answer came, he realized that he'd interviewed UnhappyHacker. He said that his interview with UnhappyHacker had gone quite well and that he recommended UnhappyHacker with a thumbs-up.

HappyHacker relayed this info to UnhappyHacker (who was very interested in the findings, of course) in nearly real-time, thanks to instant messaging. After a bit of discussion, UnhappyHacker decided to e-mail TechCompanyRecruiter to ask for clarification. UnhappyHacker included the information that a friend (HappyHacker) had just interviewed and been told that the job was, indeed, open.

TechCompanyRecruiter responded that she'd look into it. No further communication has come from TechCompanyRecruiter.

Meanwhile, HappyHacker tells HappyFriend (via IM): "Hey, your recruiter people are funny. Here's what they did..." and explained the story. HappyFriend was then upset (rightfully so) that TechCompanyRecruiter either lied or genuinely screwed up. When HappyFriend asked TechCompanyRecruiter why UnhappyHacker was turned away, the response was roughly "we were looking for someone with more experience."

Strangely, nobody told UnhappyHacker. Furthermore, HappyHacker and UnhappyHacker have similar levels of experience (at least where it's relevant to this particular job). So one wonders if TechCompany will make the same "mistake" again.

The moral of this story, if there is one, probably goes something like this: It's a bad idea to lie to job candidates. And don't assume that candidates don't talk to each other. Assume they do.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:36 PM