It ain't gonna happen - its the same thing as in PR-speak where a company will deny wrongdoing, speak in platitudes, etc, even when everyone and their dog knows what the real story is.
Engineers will just need to do their own due dilligence and find out through other avenues what the culture and working conditions are really like - I think this is just the reality of corporate culture. There are very real and tangible benefits of being employed and having a stable month-to-month paycheck, instead of striking out on your own, and the sooner everyone just accepts these annoyances and moves on with life, the sooner they can concentrate on the things that really matter.
Basically, don't hate the players, hate the game.
We already understand our own value. We probably overlook our faults. We don't trust potential employees to be as good as we want. We'll make it hard for you to work for us, and try not to pay you more than the value you provide. You need a job - try to prove your worth to us, and we'll consider letting you work for us.
From an employee's perspective:
We know we're one of the worthwhile employees. (We probably overlook our faults.) We don't trust potential employers to be a place we'll actually enjoy working. We don't want to work hard to prove ourselves - we expect you to win us over. We expect you to pay us a little above market value (since we're above average.) You need employees to exist and get work done - try to prove we'll enjoy working for you, and we'll consider giving you our expertise and time.
Both parties will withhold information in an attempt to appear better than the other so that initial negotiations go in their favor. The interview process will fail to disclose all relevant and interesting information about how well the two parties are suited to each other.
Beyond the general negotiation/trust problem, what are problems unique to engineers and their prospective employers, and how do we improve upon them in mutually beneficial ways?
I try very hard not to do this. When I'm interviewing for a position, I'm trying to determine honestly whether or not I'm a good fit for that employer, and that employer's assessment of how good a fit I may be is an important part of that.
Fit is important to me because when I'm on board, I'm on board 100%. It's a large commitment for me, and I want to minimize error.
So I try to be honest about my weaknesses as well as my strengths, to allow the employer to make a better assessment about fit. That greatly benefits me in the end.
No employee (or employer) is perfect, and a large part of what makes a good fit is if the imperfections are things that are tolerable by the other.
What's wrong with hating both?
I'm tired of recruiters try to hype up the company. If employer said, "Our product is not exciting but we offer great benefits, you just have to put in 30-35 hours a week, come to few meetings and meet reasonable deadlines that we agreed upon" I'm sold. I don't need ping pong table. I want decent salary, decent benefits and kind/honest coworkers.
Also i have to laugh at the fact that you "just" want to work at a company thats honest and then you throw in the 30 to 35 hour work week requirement
A lot of people took that option, especially parents.
(it was actually 30-39 hour/week option)
If someone is of the opinion these sorts of orgs don't exist, I put forth that they might not have looked hard enough, and would encourage further exploration to better understand the employment landscape. If you're a startup and expecting workaholics for under market rate with a trivial amount of equity, I can imagine you would be upset your hiring pipeline isn't as robust as you would hope.
And that's fine. I'd have a hard time not sawing off a hand before working at three and maybe four of the "FAANG" group. And I like having a life, so I'll leave money on the table all day long.
I may be weird, but getting that level of compensation is honestly not something that would be that compelling to me. I mean, all else being equal, more money is better -- but all else is rarely equal.
What I want from a job is to engage in fulfilling work at a company I can be proud to be a part of, while making enough money that I don't have to worry about money very often. For me, where I live, that amount is around $80k (although I currently make a good deal more than that).
If I don't wake up in the morning happy to be going to work, then I'm in the wrong job, regardless of what it pays.
You're right, its still too much. If you want the best engineers to do their best work, I'd put 30 hours as the upper limit.
However, this is one of the things I ask about when I'm interviewing for a position -- if the company keeps track of hours rather than paying for work product, then it's not likely to be a good fit for me. So, my experience is not random chance and may not be representative of the industry as a whole.
If I instead stay at my desk consistently, my week is over by Friday morning.
I agree and think 5-6 hours is the magic number. Then, I start making errors, taking shortcuts and producing shit code. However, if someone is a super human and can code for 60 hours every week, breath code and make $400k at some unicorn all power to them.
In reality, after $75k your happiness will generally not increase very much if you increase your income.
Or, put more simply: I end up in way fewer meetings.
This quote came as a surprise.
Maybe the most realistic thing we can say is that while brand likely matters a lot for getting candidates in the door, once they’re in, no matter how well-branded you are, they’re yours to lose.
When I was interviewing, that was entirely true. Visibility and branding matters for initial contact. After that, I turned down interviews for all sorts of reasons. Interviewers that lacked social skills, interviews that asked for too much work, interviews where once I met the team I decided it wasn't a good product, and in one particularly egregious case a recruiter who initially asked for a resume then didn't respond until a month later with a two sentence message that the position got filled but was there another one I wanted to apply for?*
Based on my experiences job searching, if it weren't for all sorts of perverse incentives and bad actors who would mess up a name-and-shame blacklist, I'd wholly support such a list.
I want to work for a company that does interesting things, provides good support for engineers, behaves in a responsible fashion, and treats their employees well. Branding is irrelevant.
There's a very simple way to do that: give them ownership
Otherwise, why should I care? I don't get paid a single cent more for coming in and kicking ass everyday vs. just showing up and phoning it in.
In other words, if you take this too far, it becomes obviously painted on and, to use an old word, the recruiters become "posers".
But if you earnestly take her advice, I think that it's a good write up. Honestly talk about your unique point as a company. Who you are. Why you are. What you uniquely do. No BS. I maximize my corporate BS sensor when I'm job hunting.
Provide a private workspace (ideally private offices) where your knowledge workers can do their job without distraction. Don't cheap out on equipment and tooling and learning materials - it's moronic to quibble about buying an SSD or a monitor or a piece of software or a book that costs a couple of hours of your employee's hourly rate.
Provide clear direction, without micromanagement or silly infantile circle-time processes. Don't engage in ad-hoc walking-around status checks, don't demand immediate responses to asynchronous communications. Don't waste time in superfluous meetings.
Don't vacillate or chase after every customer request. When one of your employees says that something is unwise, and provides solid reasons, listen, and don't go around them to find a stooge who will obey your whims and slag in a big pile of technical debt.
Don't try to push any culty workplace culture stuff. Treat your employees like the highly paid professionals they are. Respect their time and other obligations.
3) Demonstrate that you have half a clue how to run a project.
4) BONUS ROUND: No hours-long puzzle-question-memorization interview bullshit if you're not paying FAANG money and providing FAANG levels of résumé prestige.
If you are interviewing Facebook execs or management it would seem reasonable to question their ethics.
> I think it's a little far to suggest that any rank and file ENGINEER would have compromised ethics just from choosing to work there. Facebook uses cutting edge tech and pays really well,
I give people benefit of the doubt, recognize that sometimes we have to compromise, etc., but let's not hand out ethical freebies in advance.
If the engineers quit, the company can't do it anymore.
They are all accomplices. For whatever reason they don't stop and thus their ethics are compromised.
They should have the ability to think about the ethical impact of their work, or have awoken to the necessity.
“never thought about it” is a worse answer than “I’m OK with it.” I may not hire someone who answers the later, but I can respect them for having a thoughtful answer.
that's the point. If they are continuing in any way to benefit the operation of a business that does those things then they are morally corrupt.
The prestige is that they are hard to get into so if you made it you passed their bar and you probably had some impact there and learned good process that you can bring to a usually less disciplined startup.
I find copyright and patents to be unethical. Probably not many people I could hire if I employed a similar tactic.
* The candidate focuses on hoop-jumping for the frat hazing, rather than on how skilled the people giving the one-way interviewing are, and what they'd be like to work with. (In any other context, this one-way behavior would be an oblivious and kinda jerky move, and also suggest a dysfunctional organizational culture -- something you wouldn't want to work with, but we don't make that connection.)
* Tries to estabish the power dynamic of the company as the cool kids and the authority, and the candidate is the one applying for acceptance. (The terminology is already loaded: "candidate", "applicant".)
* Related Jedi mind trick on the candidate: the fact that the candidate is investing in submitting to employer games makes them think that this must be something they want, or they wouldn't have invested.
My body of work is on the public internet, it's all about what you can offer me, not the other way around.
I look for collegial peer interactions, in which we have a mutual interest in finding the right mutual match for everyone.
And I think demonstrating that from the start, during interviewing, bodes well for a good working environment/relationship in practice. (An employer not demonstrating this from the start constitutes a failure of a behavioral test for the employer, if we're talking about "tests".)
Job descriptions need to state where the job is, and/or if they allow telecommuting.
That's the first thing I look for. Now that I have a two-income family, I will not move under any circumstances.
In our experience, successful employer brands turn on a startup's willingness to be transparent. Everyone in the Bay Area (not just engineers) has a bloodhound's nose for bullshit. I can't overemphasize this—the norm is vicious, laugh-in-your-face skepticism.
Our best projects are with startups who get this, and the solution isn't rocket science: you have to address your struggles.
Marketing teams are most likely to balk at revealing their company's flaws, but what's surprised us is how often technical leaders also refuse to address their team's shortcomings. In part this is because technical folks are deeply skeptical of anything their recruiting teams want (that's another story), but it's also a function of embarrassment...or even outright shame.
The classic case is the eng leader at a small startup who was previously at a FAANG company. They've spent the last few years as part of a well-oiled machine—but now everything is broken! Processes aren't just inefficient—they don't exist! The mobile app doesn't just suck—nobody knows how to fix it because that one guy who built it ditched for a FAANG job! (Oops.)
A huge part of our job, as an agency, is coaching leaders to see transparency as a competitive advantage. We say something like, "This isn't about confessing your sins. It's about revealing challenges that the right engineers will be THRILLED to solve." It's not that [thing] is broken; instead tell candidates that "this is an opportunity to implement [thing] the way you've always wanted." It's not that your failure to build [blah] is hurting the business; instead tell candidates to "come build mission-critical infrastructure." And the more specific you are, the better.
This is a mindset shift more than anything, and when we're able to pull it off it opens the door to an employer brand that candidates will trust.
Oh, and a quick note for any product marketing people who are reading this: Jobs are not products. You can't return them to the store or ask for a refund. Every person your company hires is taking a huge gamble on you. If you only 'put your best face forward' with an employer branding project, you risk emotional apocalypse if, during the person's first 30 days, they realize they were misled by a rosy employer brand. Tread carefully!
As we like to say, assume your audience (candidates) is as smart, or smarter, than you are. Even if they don't trust you, you need to trust them to self-select in—or self-select out—and the only way they can do that is with the truth.