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“Startup” asks internship applicant to build their app before phone screen (reddit.com)
625 points by erklik 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 273 comments

'This position is paid after a 3 month training. This is non-negotiable and keeps us from hiring engineers that end up being toxic to our long term goals and just looking for a pay day'

What the hell? That is the whole _point_ of a job. You know...to get paid for it.

Like, what do they expect their employees to do for three months while they're not getting paid? Live in a cardboard box down by the river?

I mean, I get it. It is probably just a scam to get people to work for free, but regardless, that policy is absolutely idiotic.

When I read that I was fuming on behalf of all the interns that have to put up with this sort of crap. It's disgusting. The original poster has named the company as "Bee Technologies Inc" [1].

They're also advertising for a "Junior Front End Engineer" for no salary and 2-5% equity. They seem to think they are doing the world a favour. Arrogance in the highest. [2]

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions/comments/78rhz7/t...

[2] https://angel.co/bee-technologies-inc/jobs/275465-junior-fro...

>you will also be working alongside one of the leading React developers in the world who will assist you every step of the way.

From the Reddit thread this is a guy who is still in college and brags about his 3 month internship at Amazon. Someone's gotta knock him down a peg, or two, or five.

Fuck it, just throw him all the way down the stairs, he really needs it.

Hey, I know it's hyperbolic, but let's not call for violence against people.

"Throw him all the way down the stairs" is keeping with the "take him down a few pegs" metaphor. It's obvious it was not meant literally.

Yes, thank you.

I guess I was using the idiom wrong, it's apparently "take (one) down a peg" but I've always said "knock (one) down a peg," and when I say it I always pictured, in my head, a bunch of pegs lined up like stairs and someone being knocked "down" to a physically lower peg. it's actually one of the few idioms that prompts me have a mental image of it in my head.

I wonder what the actual origin of the idiom is.

"Violent" idioms are not uncommon:

"My wife is going to kill me when I get home."

"This company is raking me over the coals."

"That's it, the gloves are off."

"She's out for blood."

I'm veering off topic now but I find the English StackExchange an absolute timesink of interesting triviality for this stuff: https://english.stackexchange.com/a/29351.

(Since I can't reply to the inner comment: - the phrase itself seems to have no solid canonical first reference but a few sources online say it's to do with ships and the navy, eg http://jimcofer.com/personal/2011/04/13/what-the-navy-gave-e..., I guess pick your favourite and run with it! :)

That wasn't very helpful, it was basically "I have no idea but here's some wild speculation."

>It has been suggested... or... Either of these might be correct... 'pegs' could relate to many things.... it isn't clear what they were... Lacking any real evidence, we can't be sure of the origin.

>It's obvious it was not meant literally.

Yep, and that's why I acknowledged it was hyperbole. There is no need to then say he needs to be thrown down some stairs.

_holy shit_

Yeah, this company is the absolute worst. I would also bet that the engineer would get fired before ever being able to cash out on that equity.

> Bee is a photo sharing site that connects you with your favorite brands.You post photos to Bee and they're sent directly to the people who matter. You get nationwide exposure and photo credit as your shot is featured on everything from billboards to social media.

Their business model is "paying" people for stock photos with exposure. I'm not surprised they're averse to fairly compensating people who do work for them.

Which makes it extra hilarious that the interview, not even the internship, consists of “write the entire technology core of our business for us”.

We dont use the W-word anymore, this is not a steel mill- we are creating the future here. Our relationship to the people in this office is better described as correlating hobbys. So if you want to ch-oin, you are welcome!

Yep, great business model: collect free photos from users, sell them to companies to use on their social media for $199-$799.

There was a report sometime ago about companies in London (probably happening elsewhere too) asking interns to pay them to get an internship (if I remember correctly, it was in fashion and journalism). And many people did so, because it helps them get a foot in the door.

I guess with more and more automation, problems like these are only going to get worse.

I assume a company in fashion journalism's model is "we sell to rich, well-connected people so we want to employ the kids rich and well-connected people who will be able to appreciate the needs of our customer base, not to mention make the right connections for us too." Using money to screen out the unqualified candidates sounds sensible. Next they should require that the money paid comes from your parents and is not yours.

OK, I was intending to be snarky and cynical but re-reading that...apart from the last sentence it probably is their plan!

There is a racket in Ivey league schools where students with bad grades will pay for help getting internships.

These middle men will the go pay companies to secure internships.

I’d expect more of this happening as the divide between rich and poor deepens.

Whaaaa? What kind of shit company would take a loser on board for a paltry payout,m

Its to rigged to fail. You dont hire the son or the daughter, you are networking with the father.


Not if we use the force of government to flat out ban the practice.

Weiden Kennedy actually did that with http://www.wk.com/campaign/wk_

I’m not sure it’s totally a bad thing. You get to work for a renowned agency. The problem is that it excludes skilled people who don’t already have money

Among authors, Yog's Law is widely known. I assure you it applies to every field:

“Money flows toward the writer.”

or, to generalize:

Money flows towards the people doing the work.

Anything which involves the other direction is a scam of some kind. If Weiden Kennedy thinks that they are so awesome that people should pay them to learn from them, the legitimate thing to do is to open a school, not pretend that they are employees.

To be clear, I'm just the messenger - a neutral one. I'm not strongly espousing one view over another. As for the W+K project, they did sell it as a school or school like experience that gives you a real W+K project, instead of an internship where the interns pay. One guy who got into YC was part of it: https://www.theymadethat.com/people/j81421/rudy-adler

There's a rule of thumb that money should flow in the opposite direction of problems, and if it's not, then the process is deeply flawed and unsustainable.

Pay an employee to take care of the company's problems; get paid by customers to take care of their problems; but if they're not paying you, their problems aren't your problems.

My wife is studying nutrition. To become a registered dietitian and be able to work in many (if not most) US states, you have to do a months-long internship at a hospital or similar facility. __you__ pay for the privilege. And when you finish, dietitian salaries are __pitiful__ compared to less rigorous health professions which don't require a Bachelors degree.

Is she working, or learning?

For example, in most states mental health therapists are required to finish their course of study with a certain large number of hours working "under supervision". They pay for the supervision, but at the same time they are working, so they are paid by their patients. Paying for an education isn't a scam.

If registered dietitians have to pay for their "internship", where they actually do work for the facility but don't get paid for it, yes, I think that's a scam too. Just because it's institutionalized doesn't make it an ethical practice.

In UK, certain hospitals charge 500£ applications fees for Clinical Internships (these are taken on by Migrant Medicine Graduates) so they can get at least 3 month UK NHS experience, so they can get their foot on the ladder... They only shadow to be fair, don't do any work... But, some countries will charge 5 times for visa applications, before they actually grant you a visa... UK, Canada, etc... It's an old age practice... In the old times of the geisha's, parents would pay the brothel to take up the daughters... So why wonder?

She is studying right now. The internship is after she gets her degree.

Yes, that is also shitty and should not be allowed.

> all the interns that have to put up with this sort of crap

There are clearly some (such as at the company in the post) but in my experience software internships have gotten really good in the past years since so many companies are competing for talent. Most places that I’ve seen in SF, interns are paid a pro-rated fulltime salary, but since they’re only working for 3 months they have few day to day operational responsinsibilities and get to spend all their time on interesting projects of their choosing (that are also also still useful to the company).

It’s pretty much the best job I can think of, I wouldn’t feel too bad for them.

Yes, in that case, I totally agree - and I do believe that I'm lucky to be in this field when I compare working days to my peers that are in all sorts of industries. By "all the interns that..." I was thinking of those that don't have the confidence or feel they have to do this. In London I have seen places I worked at hire an intern purely as a "cheap employee" with little obligation. When I hear of people having to do internships to get an entry level job it really annoys me in all but a few cases. There was a time people were brought on and trained on the job.

Companies want it both ways now - they mandate having a CS degree or similar and then in the same breath tell people they expect months of low or unpaid work "so they can be useful". No wonder millennials are fed up with business culture. I don't blame them.

This is of course a particular terrible example of a "company" but I think good, strong internships as you describe are rare - from what I've seen in the UK at least.

I wonder what they expect the dev to eat while he's working for them. Do they have free cookies every day in the office? The dev had better hope so!

Oh, or there's calories in regular Coke, so as long as the guy doesn't prefer diet, maybe he can subsist on that!

Don't worry, the job can be remote! So the company wouldn't provide anything at all. I'd be first in line, but:

"Please do not apply if you know you do not have the skill necessary build something extraordinary."

So I guess I'm out. Shucks.

I've seen this too many times before. They want the developer to show up with a laptop, all tools, documentation, licenses, etc. and work for peanuts. All for the "opportunity" to learn under a "seasoned professional" and/or "build your portfolio" or some other nonsense. There was even a website that used to list these absurd offers. It was "fthatjob.com" or something similar. (sadly, it's gone).

Unfortunately a steady stream of newbies will fall for this sort of trap. The rest of us should follow the wisdom of Mike Monteiro: https://theamericangenius.com/entrepreneur/the-entrepreneurs...

It's a bit rude, but there is a LOT of sage advice therein.

Well, when I was in college I think I survived on nothing but Mountain Dew and ramen.

So....maybe that is what they expect?

Last I checked, even ramen and Mtn. Dew can't be purchased with equity.

I smell a startup opportunity.

I suggest applying, then laugh in their face and scold them once you get an offer.

Getting an offer requires you write a good portion of their needed code for them and hand it over before you even do a phone screening call, so they might be perfectly fine for you to laugh all you want.

Only worth it if it fully vests after, say... immediately? So that I can quit with my 2-5% (come on, it'll be 2%) and go get a real job.

That AngelList link reminded me of just how many of these roles seem to be on the site. I mean, it's filled to the brim with people and 'opportunities' you'd see mocked on that 'For Exposure' Twitter account.

And it gets worse if you're not looking for software development jobs. At least for the former, there are some paying extremely high wages to make up for the low end ones expecting Silicon Valley quality engineers to work for free. In non tech jobs... forget it. Anything that doesn't have 'manager' in the title (and many that do) is probably not going to offer enough to live on in the location its based in.

The site has its uses, and it's not bad in theory, but I suspect it needs more moderation to strip out stuff like this.

I agree this is pretty ridiculous. It does make me wonder though, what is the appropriate way to bring people on when you can’t pay them? I.e. you have no money and are just starting out (1-2ppl), and need someone to help? Do you just make them a co-founder? Or can you structure an employment agreement that grants a substantial percent of equity with a guaranteed salary starting X months after start? I ask because I’m wondering how companies that bootstrap without investment grow headcount.

Edit: I guess I should have been less ambiguous, I wasn't really talking about an employee/employer situation, I agree all work should be paid for. Now that I think about it more, I guess the scenario I was describing was 1-2 people working on a project, and then getting someone else in their immediate circle (i.e. friend, connection, etc) involved. I guess this person would then be called a co-founder, since they are assuming similar risk as the 1-2 original people. My question was more, how have others structured equity for those people, (co-founders?) who join significantly after inception?

This is a real question?

You don't hire people if you can't afford to pay them, holy shit.

"Hi, you mind cleaning my house? I'm a college student so I can't afford to pay you but I might get a job when I'm out of school, so I'll think about paying you then."

What you really are looking for if you are at that "I got an idea but no business plan" stage is investor(s). This could be a bank or one or more people, but these people wouldn't be employees.

Realistically though, you won't proceed with your crackpot idea as you realize "starting a business" is not "finding someone to work for you for free", ie, having them take on all the risk just so you can reap the rewards.

He asked if you should make them a cofounder. In the context of software development, what's the difference between sharing the risk with an investor and then using the money to hire an employee and finding someone to work with you for no pay but making them a cofounder? Either way the risk and rewards are shared with someone who can see potential upside and downside.

If a trusted friend with a good idea wanted me to "invest" in their software idea, I would be much more willing to invest the time for development than enough money to hire a developer. Especially if I could do that and work.

I did not say an "investment" doesn't include an investment in labor, of certainly does.

The context was "bootstrap without investment." The answer is, you don't, you either invest yourself (capital or labor) or you look for investors. You don't "make someone a co-founder," that strongly implies that they are a passive actor, you look for someone willing in invest, you look for someone looking to start a company. You don't have "employment agreements," you have "business partnership."

> what is the appropriate way to bring people on when you can’t pay them?

You don't.

Pay people for their work, or don't hire them. Anything else is at best ethically gray, but almost always bad.

So much this.

If you aren't generating profits, and want someone to work for you, either:

* borrow the money in your own name

* borrow against your house

* don't bring them on

You're the one creating the risk. You've gotta eat it.

Anything else is massively unethical.

> 1-2 people

If you're less than 3-5 people and have no money, you're looking for a technical co-founder, not an employee.

I've done say, 1 day a week of dev on the weekend while having a dayjob to get a project started for a share of equity because I liked the project. (So have others I know.)

Just have realistic asks in terms of time/equity trade so people can balance their risk by having other work as well.

> I ask because I’m wondering how companies that bootstrap without investment grow headcount.

People pay them for their products or services, then they take the money so gained and distribute it to their employees in exchange for their work.

My understanding is that this concept has been quite popular historically.

Spot on. I worked for 7 years as a contractor before amassing enough money to be comfortable taking on my first employee. That was just over a year ago and now I have 5 of them - and plenty of cashflow to actually pay them what they're worth.

It's almost like people have forgotten how a business works...

Hehe, probably you have better understanding of running a business than many business owners.

(One pitfall however is that some bootstrapped business owners become unreasonably cheap even when there is reason not to be.)

You get investors to give you money so you can pay to hire capable people. Or else you realize that the world doesn't owe you workers to generate profit for you to skim/scalp. If you have 'an idea' the first thing to realize is that ideas are worthless. Utterly and completely worthless. The only thing worth a cent is execution. And execution does not consist of expecting others to execute for you for no compensation. That's begging.

"with a guaranteed salary starting X months after start"

If you don't have operating capital now, what guarantees can you give that you will have x months later?

You're missing the point; it's not about whether or not they have the capital-- either way, the employee inevitably gets canned right before that maturity date. That's how "probationary periods" are gamed here in the US.

Well, what guarantees that is the "growth hacker" intern they have working on "an interview project" before their phone screening.

I think it's irresponsible to hire employees at that stage then. Either they are co-founders and are buying into the struggle equally or they are your friends and they're doing you a favour and can afford it (or can sink the cost for you because of your long-standing relationship already). To ask this of a general person who is looking for a job not a dream would be poor form IMO.

If they aren't being paid at the beginning (equity only), then they are a co-founder of the company. If you want an employee, you find a way to pay them either through personal savings pooled together by the co-founders, or because your product is already producing some revenue that you can use for salary.

In my eyes, in this situation you are either looking for a co-founder, and give them equity accordingly, or you treat them as an investor who happens to "invest" with work.

The former means giving more than you would to an "employee" and giving shares rather than options, and giving them a real say in the business.

The latter means going to people like me who earn well enough from consulting etc. that we can afford to spend some of our time on startups without getting paid in cash fully knowing it's a high risk thing, and who will insist on seeing your cap table and investment prospectus so that we can judge the risk, and who will insist on terms that provides additional security.

Note that in the latter case my first question would be "why haven't you been able to find an investor yet"?

I've talked to people who have had convincing reasons, but I've also talked to people who presented me with investor decks where it took me 5 seconds to see why they'd failed to secure investors.

Personally I don't think devs who are inexperienced with startups should consider those kind of arrangements. For me it's kind-of a fun gamble that I take on the side of making more money than most from my paying clients - I expect most of the won't pay, but that's ok.

> what is the appropriate way to bring people on when you can’t pay them?

Secure financing by convincing someone with money you have a viable business model, then bring people on since you can pay them.

Companies that bootstrap without investment wait as long as possible to hire/grow headcount.

Yeah, it might take a bit longer to reach higher revenues.

But what about companies that bootstrap without any technical skills, business acumen, marketable ideas, or morals?

Oh, they just ask reach out to their "network" for a few hundred thousand

I'm going to parrot others and say 'you dont'.

You wait until you have the operating income to afford to hire another. Until then, focus on growing your current business.

Answering the edit: you have to value their equity somehow.

Two people taking on a third after 6 months would probably not split out 1/3 to the new person, but it should almost certainly be more than 10% and on the same voting terms as all the other equity.

Don't forget that this now gives them a say in further dilution when you want to take on a fourth or fifth, or carve out an option pool etc.

(I've been the "first non cofounder employee" at a startup, but they paid me properly from day 1 with actual money, as well as options on a normal vesting schedule)

Apparently they're not just starting out:

"This also isn't one of those startups that is trying to find a developer to do what they can not. We have a fully functioning in house dev team and simply want to move faster. As such, you will also be working alongside one of the leading React developers in the world who will assist you every step of the way."

They probably have nothing. I've never seen a job posting for a junior position saying you will be a key part of the design and implementation of the entire product.

In some (many?) jurisdictions, it is unlawful to trade while insolvent. If you cannot pay your employees, you are insolvent. If they work for free, for equity, they are not employees (and therefore should be getting a lot more than a percentage or two) and are essentially co-founders.

" what is the appropriate way to bring people on when you can’t pay them? "

Go get a business loan. Go get funding. Don't ask others to work to make you rich for free. It's quite disgusting.

I've countered their offer with my own: 3 months of pay before I start work. Non-negotiable.

You forgot this gem as well:

"These 90 days are specifically designated to bring people like you up to speed on our very complex tech stack."

I'm all for onboarding and training, but 3 months to get a grasp on a glorified photo sharing app?

Oh, I've no doubt their tech stack is very complex. After all, if you're clever enough you can come up with arbitrarily complex solutions to simple problems.

Looks like they un-linked their Twitter from their Crunchbase... For reference, here it is: https://twitter.com/thebeeinc

Never mind... They just deleted that, too. :)

In my country it's simply illegal. Either you pay (and it doesn't even matter if there exists a signed job contract) or explicitly state that this is NOT a job, but a training practice or whatever.

Pretty sure this is also illegal in the USA as well.

It is illegal if the work is in anyway valuable to the company. This is probably state by state, but considering I live in Iowa I think it is safe all states have some variation of this.

The example the lawyer used to explain it to me is a railroad can have an unpaid intern who moves cars from place to place. However those places all need to be places where the car isn't needed. If the intern moves a car from a siding to an unloading dock and somebody then unloads the car that was useful work and the intern needs to be paid because it was useful work.

BTW, if you get an offer for an unpaid internship and do useful work for the company you should contact a lawyer after your employment and sue for back pay AFTER you get your letter of recommendation: it is any easy lawsuit to win (be sure to ask for lawyer fees) if you have any evidence.

> It is illegal if the work is in anyway valuable to the company.

Its also illegal if the unpaid training position is directly tied to employment, which the “this is unpaid for three months” listing seems to directly indicate.

I suspect, if someone were actually hired on these terms and subsequently filed a wage and hour complaint, they’d be due back pay governed by minimum wage laws, damages for any violation of mandatory break and other working hours regulations applicable to non-exempt employees (since, regardless of the kind of work, a $0 salary is below the minimum for exemption), plus penalties and interest for payment being after the time required in law. And, on top of all that, the employer would pay additional fines to the government for the violations.

Unfortunately the US government doesn't go after companies who do this in any significant matter and that makes the law worth as much as the ink it's written with. You can try suing but then you get known as the entry level employee whose litigious against their employers. The massive power imbalance between employee and employer prevents you from really exercising that protection.

The only industry I know of where interns get a decent deal is in software as companies are competing to try and get future employees, and those internships are only in the hot markets like SF

"You can try suing but then you get known as the entry level employee whose litigious against their employers"

Any company worth their salt should not care about this. Any company that would be upset that someone sued because their employer was treating them poorly is by definition a shitty company.

I am of the opinion that the Venn diagram of shitty companies and all companies is a perfect circle so I might be biased, but there is literally no reason a company wouldn't take that into consideration. They may not be aware of it, but if they find out they will view it poorly. The only employees who that doesn't apply to are executives and guys like levandowksi. For the average employee it's something to consider.

Otherwise it would be no problem to start a software union cause that's just making sure the company doesn't treat you poorly right? Yet I have not met a manager who hasn't stated that they wouldn't look on someone being involved with a union as a red flsg

>if you have any evidence.

Like a letter of recommendation describing the work you did.

Yep, you can find the guidelines here:


"But all our people are passionate about the product and willing to work for equity Bison Dollars..." Yeah, no. FYPM.

Disgusting and isn't that illegal?

Yes, it is illegal for unpaid interns to do ANY work that has actual value to the business. Full stop. Unpaid interns are supposed to be about the company giving back to the local community and providing training and the laws are such that if they perform work that is used by the business in any way, the business is breaking the law.

This is why many internships are paid, even at minimum wage.

So whatever the interns build is supposed to go unused? What if they build something open source and the company uses it?

My guess would be the intern owns it.

How can any company post something so insulting and get away with it?

Inevitably someone will take them up on the offer thinking they may hit the startup lottery.

Bee is a photo sharing site that connects you with your favorite brands.You post photos to Bee and they're sent directly to the people who matter. You get nationwide exposure and photo credit as your shot is featured on everything from billboards to social media.

How it works:

1) Share photos directly

No more @-ing companies and hoping they see. With Bee, every photo is sent directly to our partner companies. Your photos, not your follower count, is what matters. Take your talent to the next level and get the nationwide exposure you deserve.

2) Bee yourself

Bee lets you connect with your brand judgement free. No more worrying about spamming your friends feeds. With Bee, you can post what you want, when you want. This means more fame for you with none of the downsides.

3) Bee famous

Bee is all about making you famous. We turn brands into your personal PR team. Companies agree to give you photo credit on everything from billboards to social media. You keep all the rights to your photos while the world’s biggest brands give you nationwide exposure.


I don't understand at all what they're trying to build. An easier way for people to let brands use their images for free?

AFAICT they want people to take photos for free and give them to advertisers to use. They expect their programmers to work for free too.

Do I detect a pattern there?

Soon they'll roll out a new tier, you pay them $10 per photo you take. New jobs will open up too, for the low price of $100/hr you can pay to work at a hot new start up.

hahahahha. There will surely never be jobs like that in the furture right ? right ? ...............

> An easier way for people to let brands use their images for free?

The hope is probably that they'll get freebies. Take a photo wearing this sweater, then keep it. That sort of thing. This confuses me though:

Your photos, not your follower count, is what matters.

The whole reason a brand is interested in you is because of your follower count, not because you're good looking (though I imagine that is also a requirement).

Oh, so they're paying their users in Eposure™. Fantastic, I am sure photographers will be chomping at the bit to get on this new and unique platform that will allow people to see their work. Who needs to bother with monetisation when you have so much great exposure?

Yea, the kind of photos that would actually be featured by a legitimate brand on a platform that would result in any kind of meaningful exposure take a lot of time and effort to make.

What do they expect to get? A bunch of cell phone pics and maybe a few discards from a few professional photographers who were curious?

The whole thing looks like severely out of touch wishful thinking.

A copy of Instagram’s glamour and appeal about 5 years too late.

It is illegal for unpaid interns to do ANY work, at ANY point, which provides value to your business. Interns need to know this. Employers need to know this as well, but they've proven that they can't be trusted a million times.

'Make game of that which makes as much of thee.' Employers are going to treat employees like a cost center to be reduced, a factor to be manipulated in order to optimize things, etc and the only way that can not end in tragedy is if everyone is aware and the employees play the employer just as much. This is what employers chose.

this comment would carry a little more weight if you could cite the laws to which you refer

The employer that provides the training derives no IMMEDIATE advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;

Thus, an intern can do work that the company profits from, it just doesn't need to be immediate.

Yes, but in context that clause seems more aimed towards an intern being accidentally useful, not picking up tasks with a deadline more than X months out.

Having something done now that will start being useful later on still has arguable immediate value from the perspectives of scheduling and investing in the future of the company.

This only gets enforced if there's some sort of lawsuit (which happened recently in LA against a film company). What out of college kids are going to go up against a company or even know? It's all about desirability to get a name and experience on the resume and maybe a job. It's not right, and I see it taken advantage of all the time in LA, but it's what happens, with little oversight or enforcement from the powers that be.

Here is the founding team from crunchbase:

  Erik Byargeon, Lucas McGartland, Lukas Huberman, Andrew Ullmann . Three of those guys are not technical.  
Erik Byargeon was an intern at Amazon.

So I am not sure how you are going to mentored by top Amazon Engineers. It also doesn't look like their site has much traction so I don't know how the stock is worth anything.

I guess you fake it until you make it.

I actually know some of the family members of one of the guys here - they are good people and he's got a brother that is also a known entity in the tech world - here's to hoping they can understand why this was a poor approach and learn from it.

We've all been young and made mistakes - I know that does not make all of this OK but I also know I wouldn't want to have to live in infamy for everything I did when I was in college either

There's mistakes and then there's premeditated immoral scamming. They'll learn - how to be more clever next time.

The CTOs Github[0] has a single public project which is a fork of someone doing their test.

I was trying to find this world leading React developer and assumed it was the CTO.

From their job ad[1]

> As such, you will also be working alongside one of the leading React developers in the world who will assist you every step of the way.

0: https://github.com/ebyargeon

1: https://angel.co/bee-technologies-inc/jobs/275465-junior-fro...

Is this what their platform is based on? Are they just using some other guys code? This thing looks more fishy with the more data people have posted.

I think that's someone doing the interview test mentioned in the reddit post

The CTO's LinkedIn says he's still in undergrad. It seems like this is effectively a vanity startup and one of the founders has rich family members. Not rich enough, apparently.

If I was Amazon LLC I'd sue for defamation.

I’m reminded of Donald Trump. “We have a complex tech stack, the most complex tech stack in the world. Tons of great people work here. The smartest people working on the most complex tech stack in the world. Lots of great code. The best code ever.”

Some people are so dehumanizing when it comes to work and full of themselves.

This was my exact impression as well. "you will also be working alongside one of the leading React developers in the world"..... Wow, wonder if he'll sign my laptop.

"I'm reminded of _______. [insert some words]."

Woo-hoo! Daddy Soro's just got a new wrinkle under his eye!

Is there a single interview method on Earth that will satisfy HN? These are all arguments I've heard in the last few weeks on here:

- Whiteboard coding is too far removed from "real work", not effective at testing general aptitude, and is demeaning.

- Asking to see side projects presupposes an unhealthy amount of focus on work, discriminates against people with lives, and is demeaning.

- Asking for a custom piece of real-world code that matches the company's actual stack is exploitative, should be illegal, and is demeaning.

- Basing everything on answers to 'soft' questions about previous experience discriminates against people who aren't interested in showmanship, leads to too many suits and bros, and is demeaning.

What on Earth should we be doing, then? Everyone on Hacker News is so enlightened and skilled at their job, that any form of verification is demeaning and beneath their dignity. Apparently I should make my hiring decision based on their comment history or something.

I mean, I agree that HN find's it much easier to shit on interview methods than come up with something reasonable... But read the post. They're asking him to build a complete application, front and back, that does just what their app is supposed to do... Before he gets a phone interview. And then they offer 3 months uncompensated "onboarding" before ever paying for work.

There's bad interview practices, and then there's abuse.

> They're asking him to build a complete application, front and back, that does just what their app is supposed to do

Are we reading the same post? They want basically two API endpoints, one to receive a POST upload and another to return all the things that were uploaded. You could do this in Django (which they want you to use) in significantly less than 100 lines of code. It seems like an ideal little sandbox.

Even if that was reasonable, did you stop reading after the first sentence?

>...Authentication system that only allows authenticated users to upload photos but all users to view photos -Automated testing -Code coverage does not need to be complete, just generate that some critical functions of the system have tests attached to them. -Write-up on the systems design pattern choices

They are basically saying "make our entire product."

Yes, of course. Authentication is a single Django module, and they want unit tests (not even code coverage). Those are all scaffolding around the code that everyone agrees should be there. When people complain about whiteboard interviews, this is exactly the kind of stuff they argue is missing.

Bruh, they are asking for a well put together app with all the features you'd have in production. From an intern. You are right in that a senior dev could bang this out, but it would still take them a day at least. Interns generally don't know what they are doing. If they did they would be going for the higher paid job already. How does asking for an entire MVP from an intern ever make sense?

Even if they paid him to make this app it would stop being unethical but it would still be silly.

This isn't about the larger issues of interviewing methods.

This "company" is

1) Not a company at all, just 4 cocky and extremely naïve college students who think doing a 3 month internship at Amazon makes you "one of the leading React developers in the world."

2) is asking "interns" to build their entire product before they even consider "hiring" them

3) Has a weird idea what "hiring" means because they won't even bother to pay people they "hire" for 3 months because they think expecting a paycheck in return for labor is "toxic."

   What on Earth should we be doing, then?
You should accept that the process is going to cost you, and that there are going to be both false positives and false negatives.

Trial periods solve false positives, and you eat the cost of onboarding someone and their 1st 3 months or whatever. It sucks, but make the decision and move on. If you have this happen multiple times, your interview process isn't rigorous enough.

To improve false negatives you need a mix of inputs in your interview process. One way to get this is long/multistaged interview, but you will lose people this way too. Accept that if you are asking an interviewee to do real work (e.g. real world code) independently you should pay them for the time, and know that you'll lose some good candidates if you ask.

What does your post have to do with the OP?

The company in question is asking for someone to do actual work that they will use as part of the job interview, and then to work for free for 3 months, "non-negotiable".

You somehow think that is reasonable, and that anyone on HN who complains about it is simply whiny?

There have been a good number of posts on HN as of recent about hiring, interviewing, etc. Generally, the post lands, and many folks on HN come out of the woodwork to criticize the method or approach negatively.

The same happened with this post. (Of course I think in this case the behavior is exploitative and abusive. But do notice that not all folks in the thread disagree with the practice. Unfortunately they’re getting downvoted for disagreeing.)

You either didn't read the post, or you are taking their informal problem statement ("our frontend will call your endpoint [..]") WAY too literally. Hint: their frontend will NOT actually be calling your endpoint. They will probably never even run your endpoint once. It's just a way to describe where in the flow they want you to plug into.

They want an HTTP endpoint that takes a file over POST. Then they want an HTTP endpoint that returns the list of files over GET. They would also like basic things like a way to take an auth token to check if you have permission to upload, some unit testing, etc.

If you think this is anywhere even near to the ballpark of "actual work that they will use in their product", you're insane. This is basically 95% Django boilerplate that an experienced Django dev would be able to type out faster than it takes me to write this comment. To suggest that "write and read a .jpg" is somehow a part of their system that they're outsourcing (rather than the kind of thing you can find written out in dozens of Stack Overflow answers) is absurd.

I think it's a) really bizarre how invested you are in defending this obviously exploitative process -- do real work for us and then work for free for 3 months, sure, all the Django devs line up, it's easy game; and b) ridiculous the extent to which you are minimizing the requirements of the exercise. It's a code screen -- reasonable is making sure the candidate can write code, not that the candidate ships you a full stack functional product with a test suite and design pattern justification document. What is insane is trying to justify this with "its ok Django is basically magic lol". I don't think we have anything further to productively discuss.

I'm with apetresc, describing this as a "full stack functional product" is absurd if you really understand what's being asked for. The company and product might be stupid, and the unpaid offer shit, but as far as reasonable and effective ways to hire people goes asking someone to scaffold out a frameworked app and add a couple endpoints should be quick and is a great way to assess their judgement and attention to detail.

I don't know about apetresc but I'm vested in that being a good way to assess candidates, and think you're doing the world a disservice discouraging people from it just because you don't like the company/product/offer it's for.

Its for an _internship. At what point does anyone think a good test for someone who has years of experience doing the actual job, would be an equally good test for someone who is expected to have literally no experience? The only way that would make sense is if you are the type of company that advertises for entry level jobs with 7 years experience, which is to say that you are trying to get senior work for junior pay. In this case it looks like they took it a step further to senior work for no pay

>experienced Django dev

They are looking for an intern.

It sounds like you guys don't know what the intern market looks like. A significant percentage of students entering my University in first year have multiple significant side projects under their belt before the first day of class. We then all do 6 internships of 4 months at each company before graduation.

If a company in San Francisco wants an intern who knows how to build a POST endpoint, believe me, that is not an unrealistic ask.

Since I very frequently interview interns and was one myself (~15 years ago) I certainly know what the intern market looks like. Whereas it sounds like you're a college student, as you said "we do internships," not "we did internships."

Interns are not expected nor required to have any experience. You're being entirely unreasonable if you're looking for experienced interns.

If you're friends were so experienced already that they could land an entry level job by 18 then why did they go to college at all?

BTW, in the context of a job posting, "experience," means "professional experience," not "I threw together some shitty code one weekend in high school."

> ”Is there a single interview method on Earth that will satisfy HN?”

The simple answer is “no”. The HN community is not a monolithic block. You might as well ask if there’s one that would satisfy everyone. The key is to find one that works effectively for your organization.

Best interview I ever had was a $300 contract to add a feature to a company's API.

It was the only time I felt a fair exchange of time and money was tendered and I also felt that it adequately demonstrated my skills to the company and their codebase (and impression of future work) to me.

I didn't get the job but the company will always have my respect.

I agree, this is the right way to compensate for work that can potentially be used in production as a means of interviewing the candidate.

I faced something similar to the OP and posted the results on Workplace https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/88138/working-...

Making a candidate do actual company-related work during the interview process without compensation violates minimum wage laws in many states. It also could potentially violate IRS laws around employer obligations (tax disclosures, I-9, etc).

I don't see how objectively criticizing the above practice lands squarely in this ivory tower strawman you're invoking.

This presupposes there are actually issues with some of the aforementioned examples. The ultimate determiners of success are on the side of the company, not the applicant. A successful interview process is one that leads to a successful candidate, and really nothing else.

(N.B., The linked Reddit post is indicative of abuse, so I’m not talking about that.)

A lot of SW engineers complain after an interview process, especially a rejection, because of some “if only”-hypothetical. “If only they tested my real skills and not whiteboards. If only they saw that I’m a hard worker at work and I just don’t have time for side projects. If only they read my resume and know that I don’t need no stinkin’ coding test.” This is a strong aversion to false-negatives. But it generally seems to be in the company’s interest to over-reject according to some “stupid” rules than to over-hire.

I’m not saying that there are no wrong interview styles, but I think there is a supposition and sensitivity of a problem that isn’t being framed correctly—around applicant satisfaction and not company success. I think if more folks ended up being hiring managers, they’d understand the inherent difficulty in the construction of these supposed silver bullet interview styles.

(PS, I say this as someone who has complained very loudly and publicly about mistreatment at Google interviews.)

I think the more upsetting thing is the part where even if the candidate passes the "interview" and gets "hired" they must be trained (see: work) for three months w/o pay.

I wouldn't at all be surprised if all interns are let go after three months for a bogus reason ("you're toxic!") so that the company can continuously get free work from unwitting internship candidates.

What do you expect from a new hire? What kind of time to productivity curve do you have in mind?

I think all 4 forms of interviewing you are suggesting are reasonable and whether or not they are demeaning for the interviewee depends mostly on the attitudes of those involved. If the interviewer is a jerk setting out to dominate the interviewee, and does not even bother to conceal how they think the interview is going, it's going to be a demeaning experience. If the interviewer is polite, empathetic to the interviewee, and probes without hinting at the opinion they are forming, even a terrible candidate should be able to leave without feeling like they were unfairly treated.

You come in and hack with the team for a couple hours. You know, the activity that you'll be paid to do. How is this that hard?

You are saying that an engineer from my already resource-constrained team should be allocated to:

- make a quick onboarding of the candidate

- explain the general architecture of the system

- find an issue/story that is "superficial" enough to be taken by someone with zero-experience at that job, but "deep" enough that you can test their experience and knowledge (oh, and that story better not involve anything that might be related to core company IP.)

- do a pair-programming session with the candidate, and be the main driver ALL OF THE TIME (because the candidate does not have any git access, so their development environment is useless)

- evaluate the candidate

You really think that is something for "a couple hours"? Even if it were, do you think it is a good use of the time of the engineer that is going to be allocated to the task?

Never said it needs to be the current system. Make a simplified version if you want. Or something completely different that uses the similar languages/paradigms?

> Even if it were, do you think it is a good use of the time of the engineer that is going to be allocated to the task?

So what exactly is the alternative? Look, if you can't prioritize hiring, don't be surprised that you aren't able to hire. Yes, the engineers should be able to do this.

As an engineer that's been tasked to interview in this style, I have to say that it's possible to do with a few candidates without too much interruption to my regular duties, and it's actually my favorite method of interviewing. Having an inbound candidate build some simplified version of the thing we're making is extremely helpful and doesn't cost too much. You can easily define the simplified work sample project once and reuse it many times without spending too much time on it. The parent's criticisms are valid because there almost certainly won't be some work sample that fit all of the criteria mentioned and is actually a part of the product. But a work sample of a simplified version of the product they'll be working on is absolutely easy to do and insightful for both you and the candidate. Maybe they just really don't like the kind of thing you're working on. Well, this gives them a chance to dip their toe in the pool.

How many "systems" do you think your run-of-the-mill startup has?

What is the alternative? As most of things in life, the answer is "it depends". It depends on the size of the company, the type of candidate they are looking, the industry, and so on.

But let's assume we are talking about the average startup that is neither looking for superstar candidates nor only looking for fresh graduates from Stanford. For those cases, I believe that one simple programming task, that exercises some of the technology required can be used as a screening filter. The task should not take more than 2 hours to reach a working state. If the solution presented by the candidate is satisfactory, then you go to the interview to discuss the solution and how they got to the solution, the things that were easy/hard, and so on. Then you ask about the things that are missing, and the candidate's evaluation on how they would like to tackle.

Is that a satisfactory alternative?

I feel like we are talking past each other.

> How many "systems" do you think your run-of-the-mill startup has?

These dont need to be production systems, they can in fact be simple systems used just for interviewing.

So in your alternative, how long does an engineer really spend on interviewing the candidate?

In my alternative, the engineer needs to:

- Check out the code and review the solution.

- Give a pass or "call for interview".

Let's say that is half-hour of work.

Only for the candidates that get called-in, you can have an hour-long interview. Make it two hours if if you want. It will still save the interviewer time, and allow a better use of the time together.

A simplified version of this is what a whiteboard problem is. Me and a candidate work through some code for a small piece of a hypothetical system.

What if I already have a job?

How often can that really be productive?

You are right, we should do white board interviews mixed with "how many golf balls can you fit into a school bus". Now that's what I programming skill assessment.

Whatever it is, I think we can all agree that "Work unpaid for 3 months and then maybe have a job" is so far from the mark as to be laughable.

This is not HN being picky about interviews. This is a delusional company making absurd demands for which they are rightly being mocked.

Im currently interviewing (and looking for a job (resume link on profile)) and Ive gotten multiple approaches. Most time consuming one has been "do this test before we even talk to you on the phone". Which I get given all the phony devs out there. But it does get a bit tiring.

One thing Ive noticed is that asking for the hardest interview they have or can do usually gets them excited to talk with me. Which I like because there is nothing worse than a boring "reverde a linked list" type of interview.

There’s a difference between “shitty interview” and “predatory, unethincal (and possibly illegal depending on where they are) practices”.

There's a lot of complaining, but it's commonly held even outside of HN that tech interviewing is badly broken.

Its almost like it's a large community, with many different people having different opinions.

However, it does appear as if the community is pretty united on the idea that asking for free labor like this means you deserve to go get fucked.

It's not HN, It's just tech. I might offend folks but I don't care. I believe it's the new influx of over night programmers. Programming is now fashionable, pays well, everyone must learn to code. Take a class for 4 weeks and you are good to go. These folks then don't want to be subjected to the rigor of interviews. Then there's the set that have refused to keep up with the changes and believe that because they have been in the industry for a while and it worked out for them at one company they should get an easier pass.

This, absolutely. If I were looking to get my foot in the door, I would totally code a week for free. Hell, my first freelancing gig, I made 8$/hour.

The three months without pay thing...that's a little different. I'd tell them no way.

I think there's also a big difference in coding for a week for free for a qualified company and doing it for three college students, one of whom claims to be one of "the world's leading react developers" after a 3-month internship.

"If I were looking to get my foot in the door, I would totally code a week for free."

I absolutely would not. They're a company; they can afford to pay me. Me, however, my landlord isn't going to accept "I had to work for free" in lieu of rent.

making your hiring decision based on their comment history is not effective at testing operational development skills, and is demeaning.

> Asking to see side projects presupposes an unhealthy amount of focus on work, discriminates against people with lives

This argument is so ridiculous, because I enjoy programming it means I don't have a life? Is this an actual argument people make?

My takeaway is that it's more a mark against someone who doesn't want to do their job function in their non-working times as well. To me, not wanting to code outside of work if you're coding all day is perfectly reasonable and shouldn't count against you during an interview process, an expectation that you have side projects just feels unreasonable. There's obviously not gonna be anything wrong with someone who also likes to code their own projects outside of work for fun. That's my view from the outside as a non-dev, anyway.

That wasn't the argument though, the argument was it "discriminates against people with lives". That's an offensively wrong argument. If the argument was that it discriminates against people who don't hobby program, than yes I'd say that's correct.

There's some subtext you missed there.

"it discriminates against people with lives [outside of programming/tech/work]."

as in

"It should be ok, if you want to, to not spend all your time outside of work doing unpaid work."

Excluding candidates that don't have a github or whatever is a signal you are looking to get employees that you expect to spend their entire lives at work.

If hobbying programming is your strength, own it. Nobody is going to disregard code samples you send them. The context is employers requiring hobby programming.

i hacked on sideprojects when i had more time, but most of my sideprojects are automation things that i did when i had something to solve or help a friend, or some scrapping for my needs. the rest of my programming outside of work is freelancing. if somebody would ask me for sideprojects i would have nothing of value to show.

Yes, this was the overwhelming sentiment from a post that was on the front page just yesterday.

When you have a family and full time job it could be that you simply don't find the time for side projects even if you love programming.

That's fine, but the argument was that it "discriminates against people with lives". That's offensively wrong, as you're saying I don't have a life because I enjoy to program.

Ah, the startup is a photo sharing site. Of course.

That explains the "very complex tech stack" that requires a 3 month unpaid stint before you can even get hired.

Looking at their vacancies, getting hired equals an unpaid position with 2-5% equity. Maybe the landlord and local supermarket accepts equity with a 4-year vesting scheme.

Well, if your mom or dad pays your rent and groceries like these guys, no salary and 2-5% is totally realistic, I guess?

They're asking an intern to build a competitor, when they themselves have as much traction as a tank in a swamp, and the product is an easily-built-with-React Instagram clone.

I look forward to the inevitable Medium post when they fold next month.

It's been an incredible journey though!

"We had difficulties sending our message across but we still believe in our mission"


* Unclear business model * "Complex tech stack" for a photo sharing site * Building a product against something that has been tried many times, and failed each time (crowdsourced brand identity) * Unpaid "internships" studying under other junior developers * Probably solving for a problem that doesn't exist (see point 3 above)

Man, where do I sign up!

I am surprised they aren't doing an ICO.

Oh boy, don't give them any ideas.

You're right. They will start paying devs with tokens.

According to Crunchbase, the CEO has a degree in Law/Business Economics.

He probably felt this hiring approach was a) legal, and b) economical.

Interesting... it's actually listed as "Bachelor of Arts in Law, History, and Culture"

Which sounds more like anthropology or something, USC defines as:

>This major is designed for students drawn to interdisciplinary study of legal and cultural issues, as well as those who intend to pursue a law degree. It offers students an interdisciplinary education in legal institutions, languages and processes that are central to social, cultural and political developments in the past and present, and play a critical role in shaping our most basic concepts and categories of thought and identity. It combines approaches from history, literature, philosophy, political theory, religion and classical studies to explore the law's position at the nexus of society. The major will help students develop the critical skills of reading, writing and analysis crucial to both a liberal education and the study of law. Students will gain theoretical and analytical perspectives on ethical, political and social issues relevant to law as they explore specific legal issues from a humanistic perspective.

And the requirements seem... um, not very comprehensive, to say the least... There's only nine classes required for a major! I just checked my college transcript, because I have it handy, and I required eight classes just for my minor. Is it actually common to have so few classes required for a major?

He also has

   Bachelor of Arts in French Literature
   Minor in Business Economics

BAs tend to be a bit more lightweight in terms of major requirements, and well, even among BAs I guess there's lighter and heavier major requirements.

I think that's really unreasonably "lightweight" as far as calling it a "major," that's a minor level of education at the most. I really hope colleges aren't routinely giving out "bachelors" degrees for such a small amount of education.

Loved this little gem:

"keeps us from hiring engineers that end up being toxic to our long term goals and just looking for a pay day"

That's why I look for a job so I can then be paid and eat food using that money. Such clown asses.

You don't want to be a rockstar or a ninja?

Pretty sure rockstars and ninjas still get paid. :)

Plus, ninjas DO work for selfish gain. As mercenaries, they only care about pay day in the end, and they're not loyal to a faction.

Good point.

Humans need not apply.

A week??

Our interview code test is to make a URL shortener (two endpoints: create and redirect, use any tech you like). I'd never expect more than 2 hours max to be spent on it. If you can't work out whether you want to employ someone based on that (and discussion of it with the candidate) then you're probably not worth working for.

I feel like two hours for something like this is still too little if you want to actually see a ~relatively~ prod level app. The business logic is obviously straight forward, but starting a new app, adding unit/integration tests, (maybe proper logging), caching etc, and basically anything showing that you're a competent dev will easily eat up 5 hours of your time in my opinion. And if you don't expect anything close to a prod level system, then why ask to build a system like this in the first place as opposed to some basic domain logic functions vs a whole e2e system? Maybe I'm just a shitty/slow dev.

I think that's the test though and a perfect lead in to the interview. Build the MVP. Then in the interview explain to me what it lacks and what you think the next steps are to get it production ready... The task isn't build me a URL shortener that's ready to take bit.ly's load.

well i never said anything about bitly's load, but the ability to write readable tests is a skill in itself. same with caching strategies, etc

You certainly don't need caching for an interview test. And if you want to add tests, how many do you think such an app needs? One to check that data goes in and second that urls come out should be enough to know it works.

Also the really smart people tend to have a lot of choices. Anything too tedious actually puts off the people who have a lot of choices, so you're left with people who really want the job or just enjoy the challenges.

But how long do you give them to finish this 2 hour task? Less than a week? Or is this a task you expect them to do during the interview? Some people are busy doing other things and may need a week to be able to find two hours of spare time.

If you're applying for a jobs you should probably make sure you have at least 2 hours of spare time to do an interview... Take home or not, it's an interview, and if you want the job you can find 2 hours - it's a completely reasonable amount of time for an interview to take.

Yikes, the nerve. For a really junior applicant, getting a startup internship on your resume can be a big deal for your career. You'd also learn a lot from ex-Amazon engineers.

But realistically, I don't think the company would get much from an intern at this level. If they want the intern to build the app, then they better be good enough to demand payment.

Doesn't seem like the company will be successful with this approach.

Just throwing this out there: you can learn a lot by working with current Amazon engineers, and having Amazon on your resume can be a big deal for your career. We train you on our stack, and as complex as it might be it will take less than 3 months.


And they pay you too!

> You'd also learn a lot from ex-Amazon engineers

Reading the thread, it appears they were at most SWE interns at Amazon so the learning opportunities would be minimal I imagine. This feels all sorts of icky and the poster did the right thing by just walking away IMO.

> ...SWE interns at Amazon...

I'm confused by this, when I was at amazon I was not aware of the role of SWE, (can someone tell me what it stands for?). We were SDE's, which was Software Development Engineer, and SDETs: Software Development Engineer Testing, and others, any idea what it is?

SWE is SoftWare Engineer. It's the same thing you know as SDE.

> You'd also learn a lot from ex-Amazon engineers.

You are really overestimating the skills of an Amazon engineer. Or just working at Google/Microsoft/Facebook doesn’t say all that much about your skills.

Worse, the CTO was only an intern.

Any ex-amazon Engineer who is too poor of a leader to see the basic logistic problem with a 3 month unpaid training is probably going to cause the toxic culture they are seeking to avoid.

Yup, having an internship opens so many doors and if you're not going to a top school you hardly get a response from Google/Amazon/Facebook etc.

I'd also bet that anyone who can build a Django photo sharing app with auth has a much better skillset than what I'd expect from a first-year intern.

Intern's at Amazon, etc, tend to be pursuing a Masters and usually have some experience. One intern project was adding Jepsen testing to a distributed database, for example.

Even if this was a fairly paid gig, I'd be out of there the second someone holds complexity up as a good thing. Doing more with a simpler stack has always been my goal. After all, I'm not trying to impress people with how complicated of a system I can design... I'm trying to deliver a product, simply and effectively.

But how do you pad your resume with a simple stack?!

This sort of feels like an anecdotal example of a bubble. People are so sure of big payoffs that a company can run this sort of job ad and seem to be taken serious.

On the CEO’s LinkedIn page: A. Ullmann varies between an idealist and a fool.

I guess he truly does fit that description.

You left out the rest, which is even cringier: ...Andrew can literally always be found working or writing. By banging his head repeatedly against the walls that are un-transparent advertising and unsustainable food, he plans to topple them - no matter the ultimate concussive side effects. A steadfast optimist, Andrew believes that with a little luck he will change the world. "Fingers crossed," he says while looking defiantly into the distance.

Haha that’s hilarious.

I suggest everyone apply for the internship from HN and send them all our resumes with all the mediocre things we have all helped build!

LOL. I'd ask they pay me for 3 months while I did no work just to make sure you know... that they are solvent and going to be around.

After all it's best to avoid companies toxic to ones long term goals that only care about how much work one produces.

The exploitive behavior here is sickening and deserved to be called out. As a marketing person it's also amusing that they claim to want to connect images for brands yet they use company logos apparently without permission all over their web site. The sort of thing likely to irritate the very people in those companies they want as customers.

e.g. https://www.thebeeinc.com/all-pages

I think this says it all (from the employer's website)...

  <meta name="keywords" content="Instafamous, Contacting brands, sharing, posting, get famous, make money, exposure, more followers">

Are we sure this entire company is not satire?

I spit out my drink at "our very complex tech stack."

Their management team is mostly non-technical. So it's plausible they are viewing their stack as incredibly complex.

Should be read with an epic music background

you can quickly find yourself inundated in a complex stack. managing complexity (making it simple) requires huge investment! complex stacks are worse

After 3 months of training and work.. " sorry but we don't really feel your a suitable match for our team" 3 months of work no pay thx and goodbye. I hope nobody falls for this trap !

Looks like they just took down their Facebook page due to negative reviews (as I was viewing it, interestingly enough). Curious to see how they attempt damage control.


They also took down their job postings on angle.co.


You know, this is pretty bad, but I'm also a little put off by the mob mentality that I'm seeing (mostly in the Reddit comments). Following the link in the original post, I see that their entire executive team is between 20 and 22 years old. What they did is definitely crummy and shady, but I also wonder about the harassment that they're likely to be subjected to shortly. Will their names forever be associated with this? Do they "deserve" it? Who knows...I just hold some faint hope that if anyone chooses to reach out to Bee they'll take their level of maturity into context and make this a teachable moment.

This looks bad, but I've been through worse.

After a long, drawn out interview process, which involved a group interview where four candidates were in the same room competitively trying to answer random questions about JavaScript edge cases, I received an offer. $23k/year in NYC, no equity, and a 1% share of profits.

I would've been pretty much the only engineer, so it's not like I would've gotten any training or support. They also never told me what the product was. I had to go find a notary to sign an NDA, but I tore that up when I got the offer. I'm pretty sure the company never went anywhere.

They don't sound like great entrepreneurs just because they don't want to tell you what the product is about before signing the NDA. Telling people about your product is what gets people excited.

All these experiences make me curious as to where the salary floors lie for programmers, city-by-city. And excluding unpaid work, like the internship discussed here.

That's messed up.

Someone should build the anti-linkedin. You know where the co-founders of this company would be added to that list.. and populates any relevant articles on why they're not good people to work with.

GlassDoor can serve that goal

  This position is paid after a 3 month training.
This attitude—along with unpaid internships, expectations of "side projects", international experience, etc.—perpetuates a lack of diversity, particularly in under-represented minorities. They're basically saying, "Unless you come from money and can eat 3 months salary, we don't want you." It's pay-to-play in the worst way.

Not to mention that no self-respecting person would work in an environment that toxic.

I used find "jobs" like that freelancer.com, you don't work for those kind of people you just steal their idea and do it for yourself.

His "idea" is some utter bullshit though. Either they are very very naive or just fools. I am veering towards fools.

it's just instagram but worse


This type of thing is a big reason why young companies with young co-founders have such a bad rap.

To me, as a software engineering student, the take home brief seems like a reasonable one? It’s the uncompensated three month onboarding and training that sticks out to me. I wonder if school credit could be negotiated for that.

Why? You are basically being asked to rebuild a competitor application for them for free.

> It’s the uncompensated three month onboarding and training that sticks out to me.

This part is just cherry on top in all honesty. Its insane.

> I wonder if school credit could be negotiated for that.

Bingo. Unpaid internship for a USC student will put you in $1800 debt (1credit == ~$1800)

I have been given quite a few of these kinds of opportunities over the years. Nice to see this one called out so well and get such a great response.

the best you can do is make a crappy app, and if they still hire you just no show. eventually they'll go out of business.

Wouldn't the best you could do be to just walk away, and not bother with them?

If their test is challenging enough and interesting, just mash a project together for fun and submit it.

I had a similar experience with a company in Bangalore.[1]

I wish there were a law to prevent such exploitative hiring practices.

[1]: https://github.com/surya-soft/Interview/issues/2

It is a perfectly acceptable interview question. You were being a jerk (sorry) on that github issue, possibly because of your own issues/opinions. The fact that you call the issue here similar to your experience shows your inability to think about things objectively.

What's "exploitative" about this? It's a simple coding project that would just takes a few hours.

The "work" for "no pay" part. That's always exploitation, no matter how you try and justify it.

Yes I agree, but this is not about working for 3 months unpaid, this is about a coding interview: https://github.com/surya-soft/Interview/issues/2

This is a completely different company than the original post mentioned.

A 4 hour coding assignment is half a day of work. I don't care if it is a toy project and if there is no business value in the work. But a 4 hour coding assignment is still half a day.

I may have to take a leave from my current work, take half a day off off my current contract or spend a significant part of my weekend on this problem, instead of with my family. I certainly expect to be paid for it.

@jonandersense Honestly, I prefer doing a 1 day onsite interview. The equation is different here. Here, the company is investing as much time in interviewing me as I am putting in them. It sounds fair.

But doing half a day coding exercise even before any technical interviewer in the company is ready to talk to me has a very imbalanced investment of time from both sides. I invest 4 hours in the company when the company invests none.

That's true, it does take time. Interviewing for larger companies at least in the US is usually 1 day onsite. Would you expect to get paid for that as well? In the end however you do it you'll have to spend a few hours interviewing.

You're okay doing a coding project for a few hours? Good for you! I like to get paid by the hour.

I think for an interview, it's a reasonable alternative instead of doing an 1-2h long coding interview. You have to interview people in some way, and a small coding project that you can discuss and talk about has been a nice experience for me. How do you want an interview to be conducted?

In that case, we agree. I too believe that a 1 hour coding interview is reasonable although I am not too sure if it is ethical to do so without paying. But if it is a 4 hour coding interview without pay, I am certain that it is unethical.

Since you asked for alternatives, here are some suggestions I have:

- If you want to do a 4 hour coding round even before a phone interview, at least pay for your candidate's time and effort.

- Otherwise, restrict your coding round to 1 hour. I think this strikes the right balance between lack of pay and my time spent.

"Erik the Greater, built the back end. He conquered the Django in a single weekend."

From their blog: https://blog.beeaweso.me/to-bee-or-not-76f9b0f8b84f

The amount of cringe is literally unfathomable. Django huh, what happened to the super complex tech stack? This company is a joke.

Meanwhile I get bothered by some of the free work companies ask for in the interview process.

Actually, I'm pretty sure this is it: https://www.thebeeinc.com/

These guys are being roasted, and rightly so. But let's also cut them some slack. Lord knows what kind of trouble I would have gotten into if the Internet had been around in its present form when I was in high school/college.

So there was no Internet or WWW when I was young. Instead, when I was 14 or 15, I was into the BBS scene. I found a file manager utility I liked that was shareware. Being dumb and young, I took a hex editor to the executable and modified the name/address of the author to my own, and re-uploaded the utility, hoping people would send money to me instead. Nothing good or bad came out of that, but I can imagine doing the equivalent these days would land me in hot water.

I've always considered it a red flag when a "startup" seems to have no other employees, no product, but somehow enough time to play company by giving four C-level titles away.

I've spoken with seemingly well connected and funded early stage startups that have asked for the same. (Of course I passed.) This kind of thing is not that uncommon sadly.

> "Our mission is to create justice in an unjust world."

That whole page is cringeworthy hyperbole but in the context of what has blown them up on HN this is just hilarious now.

On the plus side, at the end of that unpaid 3 months, you'll have the ability to work "anywhere in the world."

Hey wait a minute, don't I have that now?

I had to do this for my current job. For me it the task was about 4 hours of work and not a big deal. The main caveat is that I was also in the process of my current work project being discontinued. That means I had 4 months to basically do whatever I want while still collecting my salary so spec work wasn't a problem for me. If you have a job, family and other obligations outside of work, completing a project like this is extremely challenging.

Are there no laws against this stuff?

There are indeed laws against this stuff.

Playing devil's advocate here, it's possible they think they're doing the intern a favor by teaching them, as opposed to an educational institution where they have to pay to learn. The intern is not expected to get work done.

Yet the project they are asking to be developed is literally their core app.

Its more like getting your own application rebuilt for free.

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