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Ask HN: Unusual Recruiting Stories?
21 points by hoerzu 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments
My first big job i got through Twitter.

One job i got by coincide running into someone in a WeWork.

What are your most unusual ways you landed a job outside of indeed.com / LinkedIn jobs






In my first round of interviews at the end of college, one was with this consulting firm in Dallas. It was small, but successful. It felt like they respected their engineers, the office and everything was impressive, and by the end of the day I felt like they liked me and were going to give me an offer.

Only one problem: I didn’t want to live and work in Dallas. I wanted to be in Austin. That corporate sheen, so prevalent in the city’s culture, embodied by this shiny company, just wasn’t me. I’d been suppressing that thought all day because it seemed like such a good opportunity, but I knew deep down I wouldn’t be happy.

End of the day, final interview with the CEO, in his office. I took a deep breath and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to be in Dallas.”

He smiled, thanked me for being honest, and said “We have a sister-company upstairs. They have an Austin office. Want me to take you up there and introduce you?” That ended up being my first software job.


A race of quadricyle in my town (in Belgium) :)

I put up a team with friends to compete in that race and we were drinking special beers during the relays. The team next to us was cooking a barbecue and saw our beers: we traded sausages for beers... I was unemployed at the time, and through a happy discussion with that other team, I was offered a job by one of their member who had a computer shop and needed a technician.

best job interview ever !


I was studying hard at Uni. This meant my internship applications were poor and despite a few interviews, I never got one. Disappointed, I accepted this.

Then out of the blue I got an invite to an internship interview at a local very reputable firm, and ended up getting the job. I never applied for it. Eventually I asked how it happened. The guy running the department looked up (public) exam results and invited top X% in my STEM subject, me among them.

Was much better than what I’d get at a corporate graduate puppy mill.


A recruiter related this story once at a former employer. I have no idea if it's true, but it remains incredible to tell.

In a past life, he'd been hired to find a cybersecurity expert in a very niche field, where there are really only a handful of people with the proven chops. Naturally, all of them are happily employed and unlikely to switch, so he decided to get clever.

He zeroed in on one target. First, he thought, let's find out contact information. A quick Google search turns up nothing (no email, no phone number, no social media handles), but a more advanced one with boolean filters brings up a link to a personal website that had long since been taken offline.

So my recruiter used the Wayback Machine to inspect the link, and finds, to his joy, it's been cached. In the About Me section, there's a small snippet about how he enjoyed playing chess and a social media handle.

Now the recruiter gets even craftier. He uses the Foursquare API to track his check-ins from the social media handle. Over the course of a few weeks, a pattern emerges - every Friday, maybe a Thursday, the expert would check in to a local bar. So this recruiter simply shows up at that bar on a Friday, and waits for the guy.

He lets him sit there for a bit, nursing his drink, and then sidles up to him and starts a conversation about chess. They bond over it. The guy invites the recruiter to his local chess club, who meet every Sunday. Over the next few days, the recruiter gains his trust, learns what this guy wants. Then finally he pitches the company he represents, addressing everything the guy had brought up to him in the conversation. He walks away that evening with a willing candidate who would go on to get hired.

I have no idea how true this story is. This recruiter was an unusual fellow, and he only stayed for a few months at my former employer.


I'm not sure if this story is a shining exemplar for how to do, or how not to do, recruiting. There's a lot of be admired and a lot of be admonished.

DBA friend asked for help with a critical performance problem, let me in the building as guest. I identified the (network) problem in minutes, his manager walked by and ask how the issue was going.

When my friend explained I spotted the solution in minutes, he offered me a job on the spot.

Applied for a job in another country. Was invited within days. I landed the job instantly since I helped a guy with a big zombie network problem years ago via a mailing list. He was now the hiring party and recognised me by my background.

Re-met a school buddy while bringing my kids to school, where he brought his. Needed help with a large, multiple year, consulting job. We rocked it.

Met some googlies at a conf I attended while on holidays. Had a couple of great conversations. Was "interviewed" on the spot and accepted the job offer 2 hours later. Wife not so happy since we had to move countries again :)

Coming to think of it, most of my jobs I landed "unusually" compared to how that process seems to go for many people.

Edit: not all went well, BTW. Once I was interviewed and some HR person wanted to explain the results of a "test" I had done before the interview. Told her no, I have no interest in what looks like an astrology drawing. She instantly left the room and after 10 minuted I figured I was not the ideal candidate and left the building unattended.


I've never really had to do the formal send a flood of resumes thing, jobs have showed up when I needed them.

I did electronics repairs for a friend when I was a kid. I ended up working for him on a project at Westinghouse.

I then got a job making a prototype inspection system on a referral from that job. The customer hated the computer the prototype was written on, and I got another job for the same task from a different person. I sketched my solution to it on a napkin over lunch at Wendys, that became my job for about 8 years, writing and supporting that inspection system,

After that folded, I was visiting my local ISP in the days of dialup. I ended up a system administrator, and bench technician for a few years.

Then a friend from my local computer user group needed "someone he could trust" to replace his computer consultant when he was hired in to manage a marketing firm. I contracted and they hired me after 2 months. 6 months in, he was fired, and I stayed there for 15 years until things were so reliable and stable they didn't need me anymore.

From my contacts at a makerspace, I got a job making gears, no experience required. It was a physical job, but I loved it. The commute and pay truly sucked, though.

As I said, I've done many, many things, but sending out a flood of resumes and hoping for a reply wasn't one of them. I've been quite lucky.

[Edit/aside] Not a job, but once an offhand comment "Why don't you just levitate the filament" had me building a machine to do so, to allow tungsten filaments to be seasoned during manufacture of halogen lamps.

That was a fun little challenge during my years as a programmer supporting the inspection system.


I was living in a country when a war broke out. Ended up with a ten-year humanitarian career after getting involved in the response.

When I was a junior in high school (15 years old), my local (dialup!) ISP offered linux shell access for the small handful of people who even knew what that was. The /etc/passwd file was not shadowed, and I ran john the ripper against it and "hacked" a bunch of accounts. The owner of the ISP was pissed and found me out, but decided to give me my first job as a tech support rep there.

I was a dumb script kiddie and never went to college, but that experience helped me land another job post-high school, and a few more jobs later I have a pretty good career at one of the big companies.


These days you'd be hauled off by the FBI, not given a job. How times have changed.

My thoughts exactly.

I had an interview, that was supposed to be C#, but the manager did not know enough about C#, so he had some DB contractors interview me. Obviously all their questions were about how to build and debug a database. When we were at the part where I asked questions, I asked 3 questions, to each they said 'that is not relevant' and did not answer. After the 3rd one, it was clear to me this was not a job for me. When I left I went straight to their HR person and told them to remove me from consideration.

My first (developer) job was in a small software firm that sell a school management app (around 2000).

We need another dev, and i was in charge of check them.

A very simple interview: make a single CRUD form for a database, in FoxPro, that is like asking for make a hamburger in Mc Donald-,

We tried a lot, most from Universities, all sucks (as is: Not even finishing the form after left them alone)

you know... the normal.

The boss get tired.

Then he say "the NEXT guy show up, is hired, period".

It show up a guy in a wheelchair, and was hired in the spot.

It actually was a decent dev!


I went to medical school for 2 years; I didn't like it. I resigned at the end of 2nd year. I got an MS. in comp sci about 6 months later (online, but accredited university). Got a few rounds of FAANG interviews, and eventually 2 offers. There was definitely considerable luck and networking involved, but I make equivalent to my physician buddies and happy as can be :)

> There was definitely considerable luck and networking involved

Please elaborate.


My high school best friend said he was joining the Army. I went to a recruiter the next day and was shipped out to boot camp a month later.

An old colleague randomly set me up on a blind date (to talk about something I was known for and relevant in industry) with the CTO of his firm. We had a few drinks. I was running a team for him a month later.


Last step was a full day on premises doing some coding challenges. Didn't pay for my parking neither for lunch. They were a bit weird (slack only, no talking). When they offered me the job (the pay was good) I declined.

I think I dodged a bullet there.


I once got a job when someone on a mailing list I posted on reached out for more help with a web dev problem. That was back in 2002.

Showing someone a certain atypical probability distribution I was graphing. Next week, hired.

My first consistent freelancing client few years back on twitter



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