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Show HN: Recordings of phone screenings for employment
34 points by freework 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments
I have installed a program on my phone called ACR, which records all incoming and outgoing phone calls. I have recorded 26 phone screens from the past 3 or 4 months of trying to find a job as a full stack web developer. Some of the interviews are non-technical screens, some of them get technical.

I have not gone through and beeped out any names or personal details. I maybe should have, but it was bad enough I had to live through these moments once, I didn't want to have to relive them by listening through them again to add in the beeps. Some people may get mad at me for giving away their company's interview details, but it is what it is.

The main reason why I'm posting them is because there's this myth that is commonly spoken about on the internet that the unemployment rate is at an all time low, and that companies are dying to hire developers, and if you're a developer with basic skills and a few years of experience, they you'll be flooded with job offers. Hopefully these recordings will put an end to those myths. No one is throwing jobs at me, as these recordings make very clear. It is also very clear that the burden is on me to prove to the company that I'm the person they should hire, not on the company to convince me to work for their company.

By the way, not s single one of these phone screens have lead to a job offer. Most of these screens are with startup companies, but some of them are established companies as well.

About half way through these recordings, I began the habit of asking how many people the company has interviewed before me. In very few cases do they say that they've interviewed less than 10 people. If programming jobs are easy to get, then companies shouldn't get to interview 10 or 15 people before finding a person to hire.

Anyways, here's the link: https://soundcloud.com/freework/sets/phone-interviews

1. Depending on where you live, recording a phone call without the consent of all the participants may be illegal.[1] For example, California requires the consent of all participants, and violators could face prison time.[2]

2. Even if it's legal, publicly sharing a recording of a private conversation would be frowned upon by most people. (Would you want it to be done to you by someone else?) So you may be damaging your career by making these recordings public.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_call_recording_laws#...

[2] https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/penal-code/pen-sect-632.html

I've interviewed over 900 developers. I can tell you in terms of soft skills you are in the bottom 1% for sure, at least based on my sample. I can only recall a handful of people who made me feel the way you make people feel when you talk to them.

Learn to understand people from diverse cultures and their accents. And when you don't understand them, don't be so rude about it. Of all the people I've met in my career, you are probably bottom 5 in terms of fit for a leadership position.

You don't even have a thing that you're interested in. "Anything that's programming" is a horrible thing to say when someone is trying to get a picture of you as a developer.

Went through all the recordings you've posted and this has to be the worst - https://soundcloud.com/freework/0d20190604110203pnull?in=fre...

Yes, the burden IS on you to prove that you are worth hiring. I understand that job hunting can be daunting and almost 95% of the effort you put into it leads to nothing, however if you aren't willing to put that effort in, then no one is going to give you a chance.

I've only listened to this one, but...

1) You sound very anxious and/or nervous. Which is normal, interviewing isn't fun and can be stressful, but it does not come across great. See if you can relax a bit?

2) "Why do you want to work here?" is one of the most softball questions you can get in a phone screen... they want to know that you've done 5 minutes of research about the company, their tech stack, their values, basically anything. It doesn't have to be your dream job but you have to sound like you're somewhat familiar with what they do and at least partially interested in being a part of it.

"I don't actually know what your company does, sorry, I just sent my resume out to a bunch of places" is about the worst answer you can give here. Why would a company want to hire someone who doesn't know anything about the company and doesn't even pretend to care?

Anecdotally, just knowing what the company does and various stacks they use is a huge plus.

Knowing a bit about the founders and the corporate structure can help too.

Why wouldn't you do just a little bit of research?

>See if you can relax a bit?

Sorry (to OP) if I'm jumping into conclusions, but the "I didn't want to have to relive them by listening through them again to add in the beeps." part makes me think that it might be more serious than "have you tried not being anxious?". Speaking from personal experience, a therapy for social anxiety can help a lot in such cases.

For #2, "how much do you know about our company? what do you think we do here?" is what I usually ask. If the candidate has no clue, it's not good. I mean, they can't take 5 minutes to look at a web site before the call?

Disclaimer: not a lawyer, not giving legal advice. That said, I would agree with greenyoda, although I understand your intent and your point; making that point via recorded phone calls seems to be a bit of a foolish decision. Perhaps write a blog post on your experience, or, preface your interview calls with a notification of the fact you are recording.

Your profile on soundcloud states you're from Miami Beach area and many of the companies you spoke with, or at least a few of them, are based in California. Both Florida and California are two party consent states, opening you up to a large degree of legal liability. That liability includes criminal charges as well as a potential cause of action in civil court (which could be initiated by each company against you individually). Personally, I wouldn't be sure a potential of 26 civil lawsuits and criminal charges are worth the point you're trying to get across here. Similarly, not knowing about the law or not realizing this was illegal, likely won't get you far as a legal defense.

Not to be harsh or negative towards you, everyone's opinion is always welcome here, just be careful on how you achieve/articulate it. I just hope you're aware of the law and I wish you luck.

Disclaimer: also not a lawyer, not giving legal advice. In the soundcloud recordings he says he is residing in texas which is one a party consent state.

Disclaimer: not a lawyer. The California Supreme Court ruled essentially that the stricter state's laws take precedence, in this case, California's Two-party consent law [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_call_recording_laws#...

I know you're frustrated. Its okay to be you. Not having the gift of gab, and knowing that will help you to optimize for something else. I think something that would help you would be to make an amazing resume website, like a custom python back-end with a custom JavaScript front end. Something must speak, and if you're voice does not, you'll need to have something step in for you.

Listening to the audio (again, I appreciate you sharing), it sounds like you're not wanting to play along with the conversation game and that makes it a hard sell to put you on a team. Now, this is just a perception. So, if you don't feel like you could change that, then what I'm suggesting, is that as soon as you can, while on a call, ask them to open your custom website that fires off python back-end code when they click on a cool button and so on.

Then I would just clarify, "I'm kinda socially awkward, I love to code, and would be happy to help your company make great software experiences for your customers".

I wouldn't consider OP to be "socially awkward", though I do agree with your point that they seem disinterested in playing the "conversation game". Unfortunately, that's likely what's hurting them the most.

If a candidate isn't fun or interesting to talk to, it comes across to the interviewer as though they are annoyed, bitter, or apathetic about the position.

It's possible we are saying the same thing, but I think he sounds a bit awkward. In many of the calls, when the other person says "thanks", he responds simply with a "goodbye." He should at least respond with a "thanks for your time. looking forward to hearing from you soon!", something that makes it look like he's interested and leaves a positive impression.

>I wouldn't consider OP to be "socially awkward"

Are you kidding me lol? This guy is borderline autistic. Look at the google interview. He has zero ability to mirror emotions, is unaware of his long silences, and generally sounds super tense and whiny. He lets the recruiter talk for like 5 minutes without making a single sound. Then when he finally does, he gives dry, monosyllabic answers to everything. Then the only meaningful exchange he had with the recruiter was a bunch of whining about a prior Google interview. You could sense that the recruiter felt tense and Chris made him feel awkward.

I think you should review these recordings, some introspection may help enlighten you as to why you haven't been hired.

Some of these are hilarious. Are you sure you are not a comedian?

> If programming jobs are easy to get, then companies shouldn't get to interview 10 or 15

They'll never be easy to get, even if there are a severe shortage of developers, because companies need more than just someone who can code, they need to make sure you are professional, can work with a team etc. So they need to screen people for this.

The only way for programming jobs to be easy to get (for a "person off the street") is if they are not interviewing properly. I.e. they are so deseperate to hire someone that they will hire someone who is not effective.


I have listen all the interviews and basically I found some mistakes, which you made.

1) On every recording you sound very shy (desperate). For recruiter is that sign, that you are not interested in the position or something is wrong. If you would really be interested in the position, you should sound enthusiastic! Really exited for that position. You should ask more question, be more prepared and don't let speak only the recruiter - also is good to say, that you have more offers not only this one.

2) Don't ask about how many people has been already interviewed, you sounds more like desperate and they can feel, you have been rejected many times.

3) Don't say, that you looking for job, because you are bored. That sounds just unprofessional.

4) When you retired at 2007 can you make some list of projects which you were working on? Did you learn something new? Did you get some course? Some certification?

5) You are asking for 150k or 130k as salary, if you were off the market for some time, probably you can lower your salary and work for one year just to get again some professional experience in team.

6) Don't talk about your rejections - layoffs, quits, talk about the success that you had.

7) Don't mention that you don't do anything now, say you are looking for job or you work on your own projects. Play it like you have offers and the company should want you, not that you need the company.

8) Mention your hobbies, try to play that you have also another life instead of coding and programming.

There is probably more mistakes, that you made but this is what I noticed. You should really work on your communication skills, be more enthusiastic, optimistic and don't sound so desperate, specially in job interview.

So good luck with the next offers :)

I've listened through half of recordings. I like that you sound sincere and looks like you answer what you really think, like if you don't care you really say it.

One thing I found strange is you saying like you want to get salary the same as everyone else and ready to move to any city without any preferences. Also, you want to work with any language and you don't care about the project.

For my concern you are really excellent fit for outsource companies :) but in general I would recommend you to try name your preferences and try to apply to the companies you most care about. For now it looks like you are not interested in working relationships with that particular company.

I understand you're tired of interviews but it doesn't work that way. You are native speaker, citizen, have 10 years of experience. All you need to do is just apply to companies you care about and show you are not desperate to work in general with anyone but that company.

Reviewing others comments and not listening, I recommend to clients they practice for interviews 20x longer than the expected real session. You must be able to field the hard questions about your background, critical thinking and abstract ideas in a polished manner. It is like acting but you are playing yourself. Nothing but practice, practice, practice with someone who has your best interests in mind, and won't let you avoid the tough questions, will do.

It's like online dating. If someone have had a profile for 3 years, don't bother talking to them. And when you get interviewed, act as if you are super interested, even if you do not know them yet. Make them feel special, but also hinge that you are very attractive on the market. Don't go into details about how your last relationship did not work out. Never mention ex employers if possible.

Watch out, depending on the country - recording might be legal , but publishing without consent usually isn't.

Sorry you've had so much difficulty finding something. In one of the calls you mentioned you were "retired" for a while. Why did you retire?

It was because it was a startup and he was not getting paid properly, as I understood it. So, he must have gotten burned, maybe worked a lot of hours.

Can you anonymize the participants?

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