Provide what information you can (company, job title, post (if it's still alive)).
The previous company I worked at, I hired two people through who's hiring posts. We pretty much tried it out for about six months as we didn't have much luck through the more traditional channels our division's HR department used. So yes, there are real positions being filled through these posts.
That said, just because it's on Hacker News and this is an informal place doesn't mean you don't need to put at least a little effort into your application. I don't think I ever received that many emails in response to a job posting that didn't even contain one complete sentence to go with the resume. I seem to remember that I received multiple emails from candidates that contained fewer than five words. The best one was the one that just contained a random link (presumably to his/her resume, but I didn't need to click on a potential phishing link that badly), no words, nothing else...
The two people who ended up getting hired (one a very junior developer, the other one a mid-level developer) wrote informal cover emails that showed signs of intelligent life at the other end of the keyboard, much like you'd expect from someone trying to apply for a job :).
You might send out 20 resumes. As a hiring manager - especially when using a "no filter" approach like posting on here (keep in mind that IME people posting jobs on Hacker News are more likely doing "guerilla hiring" and circumvent their HR departments) - I easily get 100+ resumes, and I don't have days to spend trawling through them. I think it was rands of randsinrepose who mentioned before that the average time an HR person or a manager gets to spend on figuring out if a deeper dive is worth it is about 30s.
So I have to filter them by something. If you as an applicant - who would like at least an interview with me -can't even put in the effort to write in a few sentences that tell me why I should look at your resume, I somehow have to assume that you'll put in similar effort after I hire you. That's not a good first impression and IMHO it counts when you're dealing with a hiring manager as opposed to an HR department.
Keep in mind I'm not asking you to write a cover novel. Put yourself in my shoes and tell me which of the resumes you'd look at if you have only limited time:
1. The one that says
"My resume attached", or fewer words to that effect
2. The one that says
"Hey, I'm applying for your job opening because I love writing web apps in Ruby on Rails with a ClojureScript front end".
Your strategy is yours to choose.
PS: I had someone insist on the opposite process where they only looked at people who HR rejected, their team was awesome if a little odd.
Clearly this is not going to scale, but it really depends more on other companies being defective not a poor culture at your company.
PS: I am more of the opinion that focusing on great people is a mistake. Most competent people can be great, when in a role and team that fits them.
This seems like a reasonable deal to me.
You do need to demonstrate that you can solve the problems of the potential employer.
People advertising for a job have a business problem to solve. If you can demonstrate that not only can you solve that problem but that you have solved similar problems for other businesses before, then you stand a greater chance of making it through to an interview.
However, software engineering is not such a job. A cover letter showcasing a software engineer's ability to author vaguely reality-flavored prose and get past the HR drone doing the reading is not showcasing their ability to perform critical job functions to address business needs. Such an engineer is spending significant amounts of their time to tick a prediction-value-free box on someone else's ill-informed list.
I've literally never had a good experience with a company that wanted a cover letter. I've done it dozens of times. In every single case, with precisely zero exceptions, it's produced no value for me. I've been on the other end of hiring processes as well, and there I've similarly found precisely zero value in cover letters across dozens of cases. Fact-dense and fluff-light resumes are much more valuable.
Code samples? Great! Toy problems? Great! Prose? Not so great.
Do you need help solving the problem you appear to have where you may be misevaluating candidates by measuring them wrong? I have some ideas! It could be costing you the best candidates!
> I've literally never had a good experience with a company that wanted a cover letter.
To provide a counter point, for a recent contracting job, I got an interview with a cover letter only (no resume), and then the position.
I had responded to a 'we're hiring' link at the end of a technical blog post (linked to from HN). I wrote a brief email introducing myself and talking about the value I thought could bring to the company (with links to examples of prior, related work), and that led to follow up emails and an interview. I don't think it would have gone any further if I had just sent an email saying 'Please find my resume attached' and then sent a generic resume.
When I'm applying to a company of greater than fifty or so people, I tend to assume that any general-purpose resume-inbox will be read primarily by an HR person or recruiter. Not personally by a hiring manager. That would almost certainly be a poor use of time.
What, precisely, does a cover letter show that a well-composed resume doesn't for an in-house full-time engineer? A willingness to accept the received wisdom that authoring prose on demand demonstrates critical core competencies for software engineering job performance, perhaps?
To cap it all off, I've found that at scale the improved response rate from submitting applications with cover letters doesn't justify the increased time spent applying. Doing the reading and writing to create a halfway decent cover letter takes at a minimum 10x the time it takes to click "Apply with LinkedIn".
What if the all the people who tell how they love writing web apps in RoR are just bullshitting you in the hopes that you really believe it? What if they're mostly just very excited newbies who haven't yet had the time to figure out that maybe it's not so exciting and lovely after all?
I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong, but it sounds like you choose very arbitrary filters. Not that I can recommend a better filter, if your time is indeed so limited.
You've pretty much hit the nail on the head about the filters - they have some arbitrariness to them, and most people outside (and, if my experience is anything to go by, inside) HR use filters that work for them based on experience in the past. I'm not saying they are fair and unbiased (they aren't), but they work for that particular person.
I for example would perfectly OK with you emailing me (if I were hiring, which I'm not) a cover email that says something like "I have the skills you're looking for, I like the area your company is in, and I'm looking for a job that allows me to bring my dog to work and have a work/life balance". That's again specific to the hiring manager tho', I'd take refreshing honesty over someone trying to visibly BS me any day.
What a lot of people don't immediately see is that if a company is hiring, they're not looking to hire your resume - they're hiring a person (which a specific skill set) that they're going to spend 8-10h/day with. A cover email can convey more about you personally than a list of past accomplishments.
You don't need to say you love writing web apps in RoR, but you should at least say that you are good at writing web apps in RoR (if that's the position being hired). If you have real world examples you can point to of things you have built as well as approximate site load/scale stats, even better.
You don't need to love the work, but you do need to be able to solve the problems the business is facing. In my experience, the better you are able to convey that, the better your likelihood of getting an interview and then a job.
Probably not. If someone is doing something they don't like, they tend to stop doing it so well as time goes on. While it may work out for a while, people usually need to care at some level about what they're doing to do a good job. Not everyone, sure, but I wouldn't take the chance.
There is also a lot more to working than just doing a job. Working around people who don't care about their work is demoralizing.
Maybe it's not so common in SV startups that insist on hiring lovers. But in other industries it might be more of a rule than an exception.
Plus, I assume that the NY area + security engineering has a lot of companies competing.
It is your job to look through resume's. This is what you are paid to do. You claim to be a hiring manager. It is not my responsibility to convince you to do the job you are paid to do. My resume contains all the information you need to make the determination of whether I am qualified for the job, including "I love writing web apps in Ruby on Rails with a ClojureScript front end" adds nothing to the application but does waste my time.
As such, it is up to them how much time they spend hiring, and it is up to them what heuristics they use in that. Because, ultimately, time spent on hiring is time they're not spending actually helping the other team members who they have already hired, and it is only indirectly related to actually delivering the thing they are supposed to deliver (whereas they may have demands on their time that -directly- affect the delivery).
It is also up to you whether or not you try to help them by showing you have actually read the posting, and know something about the company, and whatever other heuristic they have. That's totally your prerogative. But you do not have -any- standing to fault someone whose job is delivering something with not considering you because you didn't want to put in some effort.
I agree with this point. Writing that sort of sentence is meaningless fluff.
That being said, you need to think of things from the position of the people hiring you. The manager is going to give the tech lead a bunch of resumes and cover letters and ask them to read through them and make a short list of 5 (or whatever) to interview.
If they are looking to hire someone to build RoR web apps with a ClojureScript front end, then you make the tech lead's job easier if your resume and cover letter highlight your experience building RoR web apps with a ClojureScript front end - or if you don't have that, at least point out how your other experience means you can still solve their problem.
While it is possible that a generic resume contains all the information needed to make a determination of whether you are qualified for the job, you should be emphasizing the parts relevant to the current job so the person putting together a short list doesn't have to study your resume, instead, they can look at your application for 30 seconds and go:
Yep, yep, yep, wow this person has everything we're looking for, onto the short list they go.
Because here's the thing. The tech lead is usually a busy person and they've got better things to do than spend and hour or two sifting through resumes.
When I've had to do it, I'd take a quick first pass through all the resumes and put them in one of three piles: easy yes, easy no and maybe.
If all the relevant information is in your resume but I have to hunt around for it, then you'll likely end up on the maybe pile.
If I get through the stack of resumes and my easy yes pile has enough candidates, then the maybe pile doesn't get a further look, because I'm trying to minimize the time I have to spend looking at resumes.
I diligently entered cover letter and resume information into a spreadsheet when hiring, and to be perfectly honest, the only correlation I could find between cover letter + resume and interview results was resume length.
What I have is interviewing lots and lots of people over a couple of decades, first contributing to hiring decisions and eventually making them myself. As developers you see patterns emerge and you start making use of them. For a halfway efficient review process you have to make a first pass over the resume submissions and whittle the pile down to a manageable size quickly, making use of patterns spotted in the past.
In that respect, my experience tells me that "no cover email at all" = "shotgunned resume to every job listing" = "not a good fit". That might not always be the case, but it's an 80/20 rule. Yes, I'll potentially overlook a couple of qualified candidates, but I'm probably already doing this after work instead of spending time with my family because I've decided to essentially circumvent the HR department.
Part of the cover letter conundrum is that if you come in through the front door (ie, the official job listing curated by HR), your resume is likely landing in some HR system and the hiring manager might not even see it. In that case, it's a total waste of effort.
If you're coming in through the "back door", say, via a post here on Hacker News, there is a good chance that your first contact is the actual hiring manager. She or he will probably at least skim your cover email.
Number two strikes me as trite enough to earn negative points, particularly the use of 'love'.
But assuming the cover letter doesn't matter is as much of a mistake as assuming industry experience, or years of experience, or having gone to a particular school doesn't matter.
a) different companies prioritize different things, even if the requirements list is the same.
b) small things can get your application silently rejected (or more often, delegated to a 'maybe we'll come back to them' virtual pile), because employers get dozens of applications (hundreds over multiple positions) and the cost of interviewing is high (and worth noting, much higher than your cost of writing a cover letter).
If you're a programmer and you're approaching problems this way, I most likely don't want to hire you. Strike a balance between automation and giving a personal touch where it's necessary.
Dear Sir and Madam,
i always greatly admired the spaghettis <autosearched product> growing in your <companysname> yard. The idea of adding <featurename> to <autosearched product> was asthma taking and diamond.
Now finding myself, in need and desire to accomplish, a similar feet, ladder jump several feet deep up, i hereby apply for your post <jobname mined> which i will embrace with great pressure on passion fruit and tail end.
RegEx full Regards
I'd rather hear from someone specifically interested in this job vs someone looking for just any job.
Note that most of them do not even read the résumé either, since they often obviously go through it for the first time while they call you on the phone.
As a hiring manager, I love a good cover letter.
So no, I don't see it the way you describe.
Weird way to look at it. I would think a company that would accept a one sentence cover letter would also accept a longer cover letter, but that the inverse wouldn't be true.
As such, wouldn't a classic job seeker always sell to the longer-letter requirement, since they are otherwise automatically disqualifying themselves from an unknown percentage of employers?
People might also think that since companies are still crying about the shortage of programmers it's still a "renter's market" and that enough employers are desperate enough to not squabble over missing cover letters.
But I still have no great theory about why people wouldn't have at least a single paragraph about themselves that they paste into emails to make them seem slightly more personal.
I realize that getting to this point takes time, and usually involves working in the same town for a good while. But when you can do it it's a nice way to get your resume on someone's desk for real consideration rather than, say, getting culled by a recruiter because you don't have the exact incantation they were told to look for.
I've never found that. In fact I've found just the opposite.
I've always tailored cover letters and CVs to highlight the points mentioned in the job description and why I can solve them, and I've always had a high rate of applications to interviews and then jobs.
It makes the job of the person sorting through CVs that much easier.
I've been on both sides of the table, and if you have 100+ CVs to go through, the short cover letter+CV that covers most of the issues raised in the job description will almost always make it to the short list for interviews.
Whenever I apply for a job, I always take the time to write a good cover letter. Why wouldn't you maximize your chances?
You're describing what worked for you. You don't know what works for other companies that are hiring.
You don't know the percentage of companies that look for the same things you do, the percentage that use an automated resume filter that simply ignores cover letters, the percentage that do something entirely weird and unexpected, the percentage that believe the cover letter is much less relevant than an active Github profile - and so on.
I wish employers would stop making this basic mistake. If you want a cover email, ask for one. Don't assume that you have an industry-standard application process (you don't - no one does), that applicants who don't match your unspoken requirements are bad (they may or may not be - you have no more information than anyone else does), that your special hiring process quirk gives you a deeper insight into applicant quality than any of the tens of other possible hiring quirks (it doesn't), or that your company is special enough to ignore all of the above (it isn't.)
If you want to articulate that you're looking for personalities with enhanced conscientiousness as an explicit hiring goal, that's one thing, especially if you're willing to trade off other qualities in the Big Five.
But randomly picking an action and assuming it gives you hire/fire information with no further context doesn't seem usefully rigorous.
Most companies around these parts use similar services for resume intake, and those that don't seem to use email.
For the former, I haven't seen a resume handling service that doesn't have a "Cover Letter" text field, so if we can stipulate that those are common enough, why would an applicant leave it blank?
For the email case, it's a bit cold and impersonal to send an email with a resume attachment or URL with only whatever few words are necessary to keep your email client from popping up a warning questioning whether you really want to send an empty email.
* Because it generally goes to /dev/null. Possibly literally.
* Because the time you need to get a cover letter ready and uploaded, the fucking session has expired and you need to restart the whole fucking process. Again.
I do write and send cover letters, and I hate all the online application systems with all my heart. It's awfully time consuming, nerve consuming (those web forms always suck donkey balls, the required fields are cryptic, and you need to re-type in a gazillion fields what you have already typeset in the CV you'll be required to attach anyway) and you (well, I) never get any answer past the automatic acknowledgement that I sent an application.
I am fine with any requirements for the interview process as long as they are clearly defined.
On the applying side, I choose only 5 companies last time and wrote very strong cover letters. Got a call from all of them. HUGE time saver when job searching, be picky with who you apply to and craft a good cover letter.
For the last two jobs I got by actually actively seeking out an opening rather than being contacted by a recruiter, I only send out 2-3 applications each, but with a cover email that was custom to each company.
On one occasion I had a 100% interview rate, on the second one a 66% one (1 out of the three companies had an automated screening system and I'm pretty sure I was too expensive for them).
Whatever experience you have, it won't get you through the door if you give less than a single sentence as a cover letter.
Whatever cover letter you have, it won't get you through the door if you have no experience in your resume.
Have some experiences + have a few sentences cover letter. That's the magic recipe. If you have any less than that, you're going with a disadvantage.
Thus, if I just put up a code/app demo site I am not matching up to what I should be solving for the startup, that is app and in-app conversions. Thus, in my case I have buckled down in some 100 hour weeks to produce some UX app demos that are somewhat lite full apps that show how I would solve the app and in-app conversions issues through UX design.
Once I have the intro conversation established with that I can than point out that its actual working code and talk about the code architecture.
So at the end of Nov when I post the UX demos of videos,screenshots,etc I know that I will see a huge upswing in both visits to my stuff and some full qualified leads opposed to my meager non-effective approach that I tried in previous months.
A few local companies reached out, and I interviewed with one or two, but for whatever reason neither ended up working out. At that point I wrote it off and went on with life.
Two months after the post someone from RethinkDB reached out explicitly mentioning it. It later turned out he had gone back through all the posts. After two phone interviews they flew me in, had a the hardest interview in my life to date, but ended up with an offer which I happily accepted.
The rest is history as they say. I had a great time at RethinkDB until about two months ago when we unfortunately had to shut down.
I will say it's pretty rare, but when searching for a very particular skill set "Who wants to be hired" can totally work for finding new to mid-level devs.
Since it was RethinkDB I suspect the combination of C++ (which RethinkDB is written in), Python (one of the 4 languages for which there are/were "official" libraries), experience with 2 different DBMSs and an interest in "a challenge as a backend enginer to further hone my C++ skills" were probably all factors.
Currently, I see about 30 HN applicants per month. We interview roughly 30%. The rest are unqualified, demonstrated no understanding of or interest in what we do, and/or were spamming their resume.
These get interviews:
* Strong candidates who did their homework (this is always the best)
* Strong candidates with minimal or lightly tailored emails
* Borderline candidates who did their homework
* Borderline candidates who did no homework
* Unqualified candidates
* Candidates who send blatantly templated emails
* Candidates who apply via "email blasts" (e.g., BCC all recipients; send via an email campaign tool)
This part always makes me laugh. The only possible true answer is usually "to get a job", and not much more. The applicant generally does not and cannot know about the company, nor about the job at that point.
The only info about the company is some bullshit in the job posting; and on the company website, some info intended for clients, i.e. in advertising format, and a bit more of the same bullshit in the company description.
The job is just described through technical requirements and a list of tasks. Tasks that you may or may not have to perform on a regular basis, you don't know. You cannot know which task will represent 90% of your work, and which one will in fact never show up, because it was there "in case", or to attract answers.
There are so many different domains in computing that you generally don't know beforehand which will really interest you; and you often have no idea of what the specific domain in which the company works even is a thing. Anyway you could work the same way on the same satisfying job in various domains and trades, whatever these are.
So, why this specific company? Because I need a job, this offer seems to fit me, I seem to fit it, the purpose of the job does not make me sick and the location is OK for me, the rest remains to be discovered. During the interview process, for example. But why this specific company, I cannot answer, for I don't care what its name is, and yet I have studied it more than most applicants who will write how much they'd love to work in company XXX to design YYY.
Of course, people have different personal situations that might result in them ending up at a job that's not in one of their particular areas of interest, but it's overly dismissive to say "the only possible true answer is to get a job", when in fact many candidates could get jobs at tens or hundreds of companies and are very selective about where they end up. We recently hired a candidate who took a sizable pay cut to work with us. I'm sure he could've gotten a meaningfully higher offer to work elsewhere, but ultimately he actually just believed in the long term value of what we were building, and that's valuable for both parties.
It is true that some people don't really care at all, but that actually seems to be the minority in my experience. I've had candidates answer me in the past with "to be honest, I saw a job listing and applied" when I asked them why they want to work at our company. I appreciated their directness, but ultimately if that's how they feel, it probably wouldn't be a good fit for either of us.
When I read your writing and you say things like
the purpose of the job does not make me sick
It takes less than a minute to skim a resume and determine if a candidate has the requisite skills/experience to merit a phone screen. On the flip side, it takes at least an order of magnitude longer to research a company, figure out what the role is actually about, and tailor a cover letter. Meanwhile, my experience has been that hit rates for applications typically follow the 80/20 rule for most people (80% go to a black hole, 20% get a favorable call or email response), regardless of how much time is spent buttering up a profile vs. just sending a resume.
Unless you spend as much time as your applicants responding to their applications and telling them why they're not a good fit (which would be great), you're basically asking someone to work much harder than you for a less than even chance of getting a response back when they likely have better things to be doing.
"I'd like to be able to pay my rent this month, but gosh I don't have a passion about this company's area of interest so I think I'll pass on this job" -- said nobody ever.
"...the rest remains to be discovered. During the interview process, for example."
In my experience as both employee and employer, the interview is a discovery process for both sides. Prior to interviews, the candidate should have some hypothesis about why they want to work for you based on an extrapolation of publicly available information, and it's worth following up with them after the interview process to see if their hypothesis has been confirmed with more concrete information. If it's still vague, then there may be a problem.
Works in reverse for the company too, of course.
- One said they decided to merge their two listings and I wasn't qualified for the new joint role.
- One asked me to do a small programming challenge, but afterward indicated they were pursuing a local applicant (they had said upfront relocation would be covered).
- One invited me for an on-site interview weeks later, but I had already taken my current job (found through Craigslist).
I'm not upset at all for the behavior of the companies that did respond. Even if they were working the market, from my perspective they were very respectful.
I am very pissed at the non-acknowledgements and it makes me more and more likely to start sending shotgun emails. (I definitely have crafted my cover letters carefully and researched the companies up til this point.) At the very least, I'm going to start being more extreme and aggressive in my prose, and skip traditional fluff.
That said, I adore my current job, so I don't expect to be leaving anytime soon. :)
Company 1 wanted me for a remote position, but wanted to pay me about half my market rate. This is a casualty of the salary dance -- everyone is so busy hiding their numbers that sometimes you get too far into the process before you realize there's no way to make the numbers line up. If they'd listed a salary range on the original post, or I'd given a salary range in the initial contact, it would have saved everyone time.
Company 2 brought me in for an interview, then went silent for a month, then re-contacted me to resume the process after I'd already taken another job. They're a small security startup, and were really busy due to a security emergency that flared up while I was interviewing, and I slipped through the cracks. Understandable in that case, I guess, but good engineers are rarely on the job market for long, and if you're not able to focus, you will have a hard time hiring them. (Unforgivable in a larger company that has full-time recruiters and HR people, which doesn't mean it doesn't happen all the time.)
Is it possible to get anywhere close to a Silicon Valley salary on a remote position?
I also have a "no salary negotiation" rule since I do a lot of negotiating, while most people don't. If I'm hiring two Scala developers, why should one get paid more because they possess better negotiating skills when what I actually need from both of them is good Scala programming skills?
(Not hiring at the moment -- at new company none of us are drawing any pay yet).
I frequently negotiate with clients over requirements and implementation details. I can save a lot of development effort by negotiating away a detail that ramps up the complexity of a feature significantly. Often the client doesn't place much value on the particular detail that makes my job a lot more difficult, and is quite willing to accept the alternate approach I propose.
Some developers don't even try to negotiate that sort of thing, and end up doing a lot of work that doesn't provide much value to the client.
From the other side of the table, this is a red flag for me. In 100% of my anecdotal cases of seeing this (admittedly only like 3), the pay was way under market rate, and there were people who worked there that did have negotiated salaries, and were paid a lot more. I think lots of other people have this connotation, too.
If you've filtered for basic competency where you can be sure you're not being BSed about their basic capabilities, I think I as a hiring manager would predict a slight correlation between better negotiating skills and better programming (and other) skills that I actually need them for. Often better negotiating is just asking for a higher-than-average price up front because you know you're worth it, because you know you're probably more skilled than the other person, and you know that in all likelihood you'll be contributing beyond the official bullet-points of your role -- i.e. your "given position" on paper is the same as the other person but you're doing a lot more.
Of course many places just need average skilled programmers, and if you can fill your roles with good enough people at a cheap price that's good business. But the general assumption that everyone implements the same Cog interface so they should get paid the same, while fair, is incorrect -- just like everyone has a different cost of living, I've never come across two identical devs nor two identical (except maybe on a short piece of paper leaving out a lot of details) dev positions. I think cutting out the possibility for negotiating better than others will also cut out the skilled-and-know-it batch from joining you unless they're super passionate about the product for some reason.
In this case, it wasn't that the company wanted to pay me less for the same job because I was remote, rather than in SF. (Though some companies do that.) It was that they only allow remote work for a few positions, which happen to be lower-paying. They want to keep "core engineering" local, for communication or whatever. I can't really argue with that -- it's their company and they can run it how they want. But I'm sure not moving to SF and doubling my cost of living for a job that pays largely in lottery tickets.
Where on earth is that? lol
The folks that I did hear back from were great, though. Nothing ever actually worked out in my case, though.
Even though I've been in this industry awhile, the _luxury_ of being sought after in the job market still shocks me. Every time a recruiter reaches out to me on LinkedIn, even when they're clearly spamming, it is still mind-blowing. Every time I get a casual job offer from friends or acquaintances who are hiring on their teams, I'm flabbergasted.
Back in the day, I would've been thrilled to hear even a "thanks but no thanks."
It says a lot for the professionalism of a company when they can't even auto-respond a receipt, although a personal rejection would always be nice - if you can't be bothered to say you're not interested, why should I be bothered to apply ?
I had one job I finally got a rejection from a week after I had started someplace else. As much as I may have liked any one position, I had mouths tl feed. No point in waiting 3 weeks for a simple response.
Hiring managers & HR: Tired of getting "spray and pray" resumes? STOP DOING THIS.
Point is it's nothing personal. If you're not getting replies, try to stand out more. Don't just send a resume, send a GitHub link to a project that's relevant to the company.
I get a dozen resumes a day (not joking), so give me a reason to not hit "Archive" immediately.
You say that replying to everyone isn't a good use of your time, but having to apply to everyone, with the likelihood of being ignored apparently is a good use of my time ? My time is just as valuable as yours.
The Github idea is great... except there's no way I can magic up a project 'relevant to the company' for all of the applications I'm making - which I have to be making because nobody replies any more. I'm certainly looking to get some projects going in my spare time, which is minimal.
I'm too old to 'stand' out - if 20 years of programming isn't enough to get a more personal interview, then I'll just move on - I have no interest in competing with people from a marketing perspective.
Of course, I don't expect us to agree, as we're coming from completely different sides (and requirements).
In the modern world, it's amazing how many old-school (Business time is more valuable than employee) mindsets still exist.
Thanks for taking the time to reply though. I genuinely do appreciate that.
The co-founder's time is worth what? They just got investors to hand them millions of dollars over a few meetings, on the assumption that if successful, they'll be worth hundreds of millions one day.
You are one of dozens of applicants. Some guys with 20 years have the problem that it was the same year over and over. How do they know your skills are even current and relevant?
If you're an experienced programmer, maybe you're going to make $50 to $100 an hour (depending on your market). But if you're applying to multiple firms, wouldn't you put yourself to work at that opportunity cost to differentiate yourself enough to get the job you want?
Why wouldn't you be willing to jump through whatever hoops necessary to get the job you want?
Building good relationships is a good foundation for future success. I have had interviews that didn't result in me getting/accepting an offer, but the process was smooth and the decision amicable that I look forward to meeting/cooperate with/work with the same people in the future when the stars align. On the flip side, I have had interactions so terrible I won't ever consider working/meeting with or recommending the companies and the people involved, should they move on. It's a small world.
Because I'm not a performing animal.
A 'reply' template is rarely useful. If it is not a yes/no response, then you are just wasting more of the candidate's time by making them wait.
As a founder if you aren't able to handle the volume of the applications that you are receiving, then you should delegate the work to someone else and get them to filter the applications.
I get that they're trying to be different and evaluate candidates on metrics other than just resume, but to send that kind of thing in (which takes a week of effort outside of your real job) and receive no acknowledgement or response to a follow up a couple weeks later is lame.
The recruiter knew my inexperience with the technology but have it as "a challenge to observe my performance in an unfamiliar setting."
It made that rejection much worse. Particularly when I had my code judged for a framework I'd only used for a week.
I have a feeling those positions will be open for a while ;)
Perhaps H1B fraud? There's a local company just a mile from my house that's been advertising the same $50K CCIE position for near fifteen years now.
To your second point, they are probably fishing for good devs that will work for lower than market rate. They don't actually have a job but are hoping to find a unicorn.
If you haven't done that part yet, I actually wrote a scraper in Java for the "Who's Hiring?" threads when I built a job searcher.
Not the prettiest, but it's pretty fast.
Some numbers of reasons that I felt I didn't get through the hiring process at the positions I applied for:
* Company changed their mind hiring for the position - 3 cases
* Didn't get through due to insufficient experience - 2 cases
* Didn't get through due to for poor performance on the hiring test - 3 cases
* No response received - 1 case
These numbers are a bit flaky since in the end it's a combination of factors that results in a yes/no decision. But I tried to roughly divide them into what I felt was the main "deciding factor" of the interview process.
For background, I'm a backend / "full stack" developer with 5 years experience (Most of the places that I got filtered out for experience reasons were because I didn't have enough of Brand X, etc)
I was searching for "scala" and they had the word "scalable" :-)
I search "scala" and get excited when I see 20 or so hits, but almost all of them are "scalable"
You wouldn't have found your current job if you used it.
Saw the company go from 6 people to 120 people. Incredible ride!
I have been watching these for months now - for a long time just out of curiosity and recently because I'm starting to look for a new job.
My own experience is that a single digit percentage of these jobs actually sound like there might be people who can interview for those if one had to check all tick marks on the skills and experience requirements faithfully!
This to me is baffling and discouraging as I typically don't want to bother with jobs I can't check all boxes for even though I am fairly confident I could easily do those jobs!
Anyone who was hired - can you comment on the delta between what the job posting asked for and what you actually had along with how closely what you actually did matched with what was asked for?
Avoid the confidence gap; you do not have to match all the listed requirements exactly to apply.
For the ones I did get interviews with recently, I generally met about 80% of their requirements and maybe one or two of their reach requirements.
Sounds like a good thing to try out - I suspect I didn't try that out until now because I avoid going out of the way to convince people in person - One more thing to work on! :)
This has been my experience as well. It seems every job is for a Senior with 5 years of experience in 10 specific technologies.
What happened to the days of on-the-job training? Or was that ever a thing in the IT realm?
I reached out to them, alongside a number of other startups that were interested in remote workers or had an office in Copenhagen (my SO and I wanted to move there from southern France). I got to the final stages of interviewing with a handful of companies before choosing Realm.
I initially applied for an engineer position on their C++ backend database, but was offered a team lead position. I'm currently leading the Realm Object Server team in Copenhagen.
We're always looking for great people around the globe, either remote, or through relocation packages.
(I really appreciate the effort Realm has put into supporting the development community by hosting conference videos; you're definitely creating a lot of goodwill that way.)
Apologies if I created any confusion by claiming something without fact-checking first.
I don't browse them anymore, there is no way there is anything better for me out there right now.
The one that consisted solely of multiple rounds of phone/Skype interviews went on over the course of a few months and had positive feedback each time. Very recently one of the cofounders emailed me and said they have decided that they aren't going to hire for this role at all. So it was interesting to see this company advertising the same position yesterday. The cofounder emailed me a week ago.
The two interviews I had that progressed from multiple phone/Skype interviews to actual on site interviews were very similar. I felt that the onsite went very well and the feedback that I got from the recruiters was that "everyone really liked me" and "thought it was a good fit" and "how did I feel about it. In each of those I had mutual positive feedback and said I was interested in moving forward.
What followed in both of these was unprofessional and disrespectful behavior. Recruiters responded with "Great, you will hear back from me by the end of the day" and we talked salary and relocation issues. And then days and weeks would go by with radio silence. Needless to say this puts the candidate in a really awkward position. Feeling that enough time had significantly passed I reached out to the recruiters and new assurances would come about they are waiting on something and they would be getting back in touch asap, by the end of the day or latest tomorrow etc. Then the dithering and silence would be being anew.
All three of these companies had postings yesterday for the exact same positions. In fact all three perennially post these same positions on the "Who's Hiring" threads.
Anyway, thanks for letting me share.
First time: Sqor Sports (~50 person startup), I was an entry level 'Platform Engineer.' Sent an email with my resume, got on a Skype call with the CTO, talked about some code on my Github. Then went in for an in person interview, talked to him, VP of Engineering, and the head of DevOps who would eventually be my boss. Only technical questions were about linked lists. Learned a lot, made friends and connections over the 7 months I was there. Then the company had a huge round of layoffs which I survived, but knew the company was going downhill, so I started looking again.
The first of the month came around, and a couple days later I got a response from another email I sent via a 'Who's Hiring' HN post, a company by the name of Distribute (~20 person startup). Showed the CTO some of my code on Github again, then met in person, did a very quick, to the point interview. Was asked to implement DFS in python, took 5 minutes. Talked a bit about Python modules and unit testing and in about half an hour I had a job offer as a Python Engineer, with a salary 1.5x the previous company. The entire process from my first email to the offer took less than a day. Gave my two weeks and I've been working there ever since.
Some of our more recent engineers have come via the monthly thread too.
I currently work as a full-time remote software developer for Rackspace's OnMetal product (https://www.rackspace.com/cloud/servers/onmetal), which can be succinctly described as a bare-metal cloud.
It's been an enjoyable position in many dimensions: interesting work, open-source focused development, a large degree of autonomy and flexibility, and highly competent teammates.
I believe the main reason I got a phone interview was due to the email I wrote in response to that post. It described my most recent professional experience in terms of how it challenged me to grow as a software developer, an overview of how it worked and what technologies I used to build it, and what value that work ultimately provided. That modicum of effort was well-rewarded.
Actually getting hired also depended on doing fairly well during the subsequent interview process, but that process wouldn't have happened without standing out somehow in that initial interaction.
tl;dr: Write a good cover letter!
The company's mission was exactly what I was looking for -- a chance to do good in the world with technology. I reached out via email, got a prompt response, and have been here since.
We are still alive, still trying to lift people out of energy poverty, and still hiring. Our entry in the most recent thread:
My story was - getting interviewed by progressively more senior folks with positive feedback on the spot from whoever I was talking to. So then finally after 4 rounds of technical interview calls I get to talk to the hiring manager who is telling me something along the lines of "the feedback has been awesome BUT we didn't expect to find someone this fast and now need to wait till the next hiring cycle".
1. look at resume
2. recruiter phone screen, just basic are you a human who knows how to answer the phone, usually 15-30 minutes
3. tech phone screen, 45 minutes
4. half-day in-person set of interviews, some tech and some not
And then make a decision, although we'll filter out at each step.
It's been forever since I was involved in on-site interviewing but it used to be pretty standard to have more than one (but usually not more than two) rounds of in-person interactions.
The point being:
A) avoid "having a bad day" bias on both sides
B) not decide too quickly on the "maybe" candidates
C) get more senior people in to convince the outstanding ones
Any strong "don't hire" reactions could cut this short of course but it seems like a good idea to give it a little more time for a serious candidate.
Is that not done anymore, or are you trying to make your hiring decisions faster than other companies?
(And in either case, do you have any insight as to why?)
Since it's a buyer's market for developers (supposedly, I haven't always seen evidence of that out here in the midwest), a developer that's already employed (and thus, signalling that they're good enough to keep their job, which makes them more desirable to other corporations) isn't going to want to take a bunch of time off for interviews with a single company (especially if they're actively looking for work with other companies too - going through the process with 4 or 5 companies could easily eat up most of my PTO time for the year).
I know I hate to take a PTO day for an interview, and if you made me take two you better be willing to pay me an ass load of money and be doing something I really want to do.
Besides, the interview process is exhausting enough. Since so many companies have intense coding exercises or quizzes you have to practice for (especially since they rarely warn you what you're going to be asked you pretty much have to refresh your entire computer science degree), I may have spent 20-30 hours in my spare time refreshing my knowledge ahead of the interview already. I had a five hour intense onsite interview at Google and I needed a couple days just to recover from the mental exhaustion of it. If I know you're going to do that to me twice, for maybe a 25% chance of getting the job (assuming a handful of other good candidates), I might just not bother altogether.
My girlfriend is going in for her second onsite interview in a couple days, but she's in corporate real estate, and all she had to do to prepare is get dressed and make sure she had her portfolio. The first interview they asked her a bunch of personality questions, some questions about her job history, and looked at her portfolio. If that was as intense as a developer interview was, it wouldn't be AS big of a deal to have two onsites.
Flying someone in twice probably only makes sense for higher-level positions, though you could always schedule two days of interviews on the same trip. Having already paid for the flight and expenses, you could make an argument for it that most flown-in candidates would I think accept.
(For local candidates, AFAICT the "doctor's appointment" or similar excuse seems pretty easy to manage.)
As to the exhausting Google-style interviews, I guess they're designed as a one-pass filter. Which seems unfortunate -- many people are more compelling on the second pass -- but apparently works pretty well for giant ad brokerages that also happen to do lots of computer-science-y stuff.
My favorite interview, in fact, was one were a grizzled veteran (he was the Lead Programmer on NBA Jam), asked me a couple questions on the code sample I brought in, showed me an example (uncommented) class from their actual code base (I verified later) and asked me to interpret what it's doing, asked me a couple more questions, then said "Okay, I know you can handle the job, now let's see what you really know."
And he proceeded to ask me deep questions about memory and graphics, which I could only partially answer most of them, and then he proceeded to teach me about the details.
It felt more like a mini-lecture at that point than a pop quiz ("Do you know this? No? Well tough! Better look it up later. Next question!"). I legitimately learned things from that interview that I can still recall today.
Then I had a friendly chat with the president of the company afterwards, who used to work for Midway and designed many classic arcade games, most notably Rampage, about what they do at the company. I played that game a ton when I was a kid, so I was happy just to be chatting to him like we happened to run into each other at a family BBQ.
I was in and out of there in about an hour, and there wasn't even a weed-out phone screen.
Then I got a job offer a few days later, which I ended up accepting.
It stuck out to me because my hiring manager put his email in the post. Since I would be talking to an actual person rather than applying into a black hole, I decided to send an email asking for more details.
A few months and several remote interviews later, I got an offer.
I can't find the actual post anymore though.
They posted in the last Who's Hiring and it was similar to the one I replied to.
I've even tried doing a "who's hiring" post myself, but it didn't produce strong candidates.
I submitted a thread yesterday about doing reviews for who's hiring companies but it seems like it was deleted or I didn't submit it correctly. I think there should definitely be more open dialog directly related to these companies posting.
I have had a lot of luck getting interviews through this process and I'm currently writing a blog post on how I approached it and tried to game my way in almost to interviews.
After reading the post by TheMog about the emails they received I can see now why putting in a little effort goes a long way for this.
I was hired recently as a product designer, and my understanding is that the CTO saw me in a thread and passed me on to the design team. Overall, a great experience, because I was talking to real people from the jump, rather than going through a recruiter/web form layer in the beginning.
I've gotten many other inquiries from similar postings, but few were of interest. In general though, the answer to the question "do people respond to the postings" is a strong yes.
The freelancing section is a different story. I've only gotten one serious lead ever from that, and he dropped off shortly after in search of cheaper labor. So it goes.
I am a recent grad and I was looking for a job since May to Sept. I applied to a lot of places from the HN Who's hiring threads.
I thought I'd post my stats below:
I applied to around 25 of these posts - I got only ~3 replies.
* Coinbase: Had a hacker rank challenge that didn't work seem to work (and was disqualified)
* Hola Networks: Extremely slow & async (took almost a month)
- Google Docs code test (2 questions - was not allowed to use an external editor or compile my code) and the contact refused to talk to me before I had complete this challenge.
I must have applied to over 50 companies posted in that timeframe. A few rejected at first reply (needed more experience although the posting itself didn't mention how much experience was needed), a few didn't bother replying and finally of those who did reply (~10):
* 1st interview stage: went to about 5 companies (rejected for culture fit, not enough experience, didn't do well at the white board ). Others made me use hacker rank or other similar tools.
* 2nd Stage: white boards (most went well apart from ). One hired an internal referral (and rejected me).
* 3rd Stage: Rejected because they had better candidates. One offered me a Job Offer (but not in my field at all - it was a call center support role - they why even interview my coding skills? :/)
Overall, while I didn't have a lot of success at HN Who's hiring, the quality of interviews was much much better than from other places I had applied. If I were looking for a job again, I'd definitely use it as a source of Jobs.
 - It was at an American car manufacturer:
First stage: phone call with coding questions over the phone (and verified against answers his paper) and
2nd stage: in person, they kept asking me THE EXACT DEFINITIONS of various stuff in Java (I explained what they were, and what they did but they were not the exact definition as in Wikipedia - WHICH THEY WERE VIEWING AS THEY WERE INTERVIEWING ME)
Robinhood.io (it was 3-4 years back). Got a coding challenge on HackerRank. I did horribly and obviously did not make progress.
Intel's position was in Portland, OR. I am in Bay Area. I inquired about working from Bay Area offices. The position required me to be onsite.
Can't recall 3rd company. Email communications only and figured it doesn't work for us.
So, I had 100% success in terms of responses, by far best acknowledgement rate.
Apart from that it was a really pleasant experience and handling the emails was an interesting break from what I usually do.
Not everything is about liking the candidate. You don't have to like them for them to do a good job, because if you don't hire the ones with high salary requirements, you end up with no one.
The company shut down in '14. A few former Moveliners and I co-founded Crater in early '15 (https://crater.co).
I'd bet that freelancers (or people hiring freelancers) are way more successful than people looking for full-time jobs, because the process of hiring an employee usually involves a lot more people than just one "normal person" typing up a comment on HN - a handful of people will work together with budgeting, interviewing, salary discussions, HR, etc to get a person hired as opposed to a freelancer who can be hired by just one person who says "sounds good, here's the project, let's get started."
The post in question: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2431094
Based in London.
For example, on yesterday's Who's Hiring I saw a London advert for a full stack dev with 4-5 years experience for £38k-£44k.
That's a very low salary for London.
The ones around £40k are not even trying to recruit.
On this - I was one of those hired by iRobot from one of these threads, and this was the guy who I first spoke to about the job!
Also, y'all better be nice to my first-cousin-one-removed-in-law.
I'm sorry that we didn't get back to you, though - I saw that I replied to you when you asked about your status, but our HR people should have closed the loop with you too. That's our bad; my apologies!
I think we've gotten a lot better at recruiting communication in the last couple of years, both for "yes" and "no" situations. Of course that doesn't help you from a while ago, but hopefully it's better for more recent candidates.
If I can make a recommendation, go for the companies that supply personal email addresses. If they don't supply them, go find them.
But I did get flown to the US (from Australia) for an interview.
It was for a DevRel position at a (quite successful) YC company. I've never done DevRel, but I did have a background in the field. Almost my communications was with the CTO.
Now there are probably 1k+ posts in those threads so I'm guessing that feeling is gone, but I still recommend it to friends that are looking.
I had a very good phone interview and then an interesting set of coding questions with Silicon Valley Bank. Unfortunately, before we could meet in person and possibly have an offer - I got an offer from a startup I really liked but they wanted me to respond within the next few days. Given that my start date was less than three weeks out, I accepted the offer and had to quit the process but nonetheless it was quite a positive experience.
Despite obvious reasons like lack of corresponding skills or lack of intention on the job poster's side this can have a lot of other reasons, though. Finding a good match and having the right ressources, department green lights, etc ready just at the time when you want to hire is also tough. Lots of things can go wrong. Hope you keep up trying!
Even though the emails had lower response rates, they work much better in my experience. You get to talk to someone (usually an engineer or manager, sometimes a founder or exec) at the company.
Wish you the best!
We've hired front-end, data engineers, and eng lead roles. A bunch of full stack engineers are in the pipeline.
I personally respond to every candidate that reaches out (scott.shumaker at credit karma dot com), so that helps ensure they don't get lost in our HR pipeline.
First I was hired for a mid-level mostly-remote web dev position at Moveline and stayed there roughly a year until the company folded.
My current job at Socrata, where I've been quite happy for the past 18 months, also came via a monthly HN jobs thread; it has been mostly doing frontend web dev (but with enough variety).
If I find myself in need of employment again, I will undoubtedly turn to the jobs thread again.
And.. I'm still working there a year and a half later with no intention of leaving any time soon! The people are great and things are going quite well.
Very nice people indeed. Projects varied in topics and difficulty. From editing HTML pages to managing RC Robots via internet and gathering/analyzing data from huge databases.
Not sure if they want me to share more info. But I'm thankful to this monthly post for it. It was a nice gig.
This was the post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7830111.
The developer was remote - we did a couple of phone screens and sent a contract over within a week or two. I still work with him and he's one of the best engineers I know.
I believe I got a lot more responses when applying through HN than I did elsewhere. My experience has been very good.
If the VISA does not work... square one and I guess remote work again.
I really wish every candidate had a one page lander that let me evaluate without clicking so many links.
SRE, not going to post the name of the company but its a distributed org and former YC alumni company. It's only been a few months but I am very happy there so far, and the process that resulted from reading their post here was one of the more enjoyable interviewing experiences I've had.
Maybe 1 in 5 stopped replying before we could have a serious talk.
We're still hiring like crazy :).
Oh, and we're still hiring! Happy to help if you have questions, or want to be referred. All positions are in London, UK.
1) recruiters get a lot of applications.
2) it's risky providing feedback. "Unlikely to be a team fit" could lead to discrimination claims.
I have hired one person through who's hiring. Terrific results.
I'm a front-end engineer.