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Ask HN: Startups Interviewing Like FAANG
26 points by anonreeeeplor 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments
Just got off a call with a recruiter for an ok company. Their process involves multiple interviews and a take home assignment.

I plan to just tell them if they want to recruit me, I would like to talk to the CEO first and see if it is worthwhile.

It used to be the CEO would seek out top talent. Increasingly I feel like CEOs are leaving hiring to the lower ranks who basically do a random job and hire people who don’t scare them.

It is a recipe to 100% ensure you get the worst talent.

Is this normal? My understanding from all the literature is recruiting is CEO’s #1 priority.

My experience is most teams throw out a random dragnet and hope someone good wanders in, and then gets past the low level intermediaries who are 100% chance to not be able to discern who the best talent is.

I am no longer interested in these interview loops. I am pretty sure I’m in the top of the talent pool.

Is there a polite way to say: “I am transformational to your company; I’d like to see that you understand what I can do.”

Startups hiring like FAANG is a red flag - It means they are adopting an approach to hire the middle tier.




Do not do things that make you uncomfortable without good reason.

If you feel that interview process is not going as you expect it to go, you may just say:

" I understand that you have an established interview process that works for you, but it is not exactly as I imagined it.

Extensive interview process is a big time and energy investment. Before going this path I would like talk to the CEO to see if there is a match between what I could bring to the company and what company is looking for.

If it is not possible to have such a conversation, this is fine with me, I definitely do not want to push or convince you to do something you are not comfortable with.

But going throght the whole inteview process and realizing that there is no match only at the end is not really my flow. "

The drawback of this approach is that if they will reject your proposal for the meeting you will need to walk your walk.


Everybody thinks they're the cream of the talent pool


And every company thinks it’s the next billion dollar unicorn.


I don't. A couple times in my career, I've worked with someone who was clearly vastly better than me. They're the cream of the talent pool, I'm just adequate.


I've worked with people smarter than I am but most of them absolutely sucked at producing quality results. I've only worked with perhaps two decent developers in my entire life, the rest were mediocre. I'm also mediocre but I'm less content with mediocre results than some of my peers so I've done ok. I really want to meet the "vastly better" devs but I think perhaps I'm just not good enough myself to work where they work.


The context is more around the pool of applicants for a role rather than the entire tech industry.


The applicants are putting a show to impress. They may not think they are the cream of the crop but if they don't behave like such, they don't pass the HR filters.


If you don't have people to learn from at work, it's perhaps time to switch.


It wasn't just learning (although I've learned a lot from them). They were just bundles of pure energy and talent. Clearly above anyone else in the team.


Just tell them you are at an advanced stage with another companies, your timeline is pretty aggressive and if there's a way to skip some steps it would help make it work for both of you.


Saying you are "transformational to [their] company" implies the companies are in need of, or could be improved by, transformation - that can be a rather foreign idea to many people who are used to maintaining the status quo.


I've been interviewing with an Australian company out of Sydney for 2.5 months. 14 interviews. They want to do 2 more and a multiple day in-house.

This is the world we live in now. There just aren't jobs and employers just play with you instead of hiring you.

In the old days I would have gotten an offer 1.5 months ago already instead of keeping me on the back burner.


name and shame bro , sounds like your time is being used to justify some salaries

edit: seeing as your reputation is on the line this is an unreasonable request


I have somewhat different interview preferences than you, but I've been politely declining to go forward with companies that just have incompatible processes. I hate live coding and whiteboarding interviews and at this point have just been opting out. Some companies are flexible and arrange skip that step. They might do a conversational system architecture interview instead for example, or arrange a take-home test (which I vastly prefer) that is subsequently discussed live after completion. Others just have their set hiring practices and we're not a match.

Lately I just thank them for their time and tell them the company and work sound great (if so), but our interview processes aren't compatible at this time. I am very up-front and transparent with the reasoning. Then whether they want to come back and offer another process or not is up to them.


Stop thinking they want to hire the best talent.

FAANG isn’t trying to hire the best talent. They’re looking for people who will be productive at FAANG.

Startups are compounding the error you’re making by thinking what works for FAANG will work for them.

Also if you are sure you’re top talent and their process is designed to find top talent, then surely the interview process will be easy for you. So just get the job if you want it?

Or make demands and see if you can get them to give in. Might work.


If you consider it a red flag, leave the process yourself in place of thinking you are entitled to talk to the CEO. You are not who they are looking for.


Lol I had few months back at a startup from Belgium paying 1k per month below market average and having 7 interviews steps


Pretty sure that for any company with more than a few people the "CEO" reaching out to you is just a recruiter with the CEO's LinkedIn login.


its terrible man, i got hired as a contractor at AT&T 6 months ago. I had a phone call with a java guy who admitted he didn't know shit about webdev...got the job.

that is very rare these days. that's how it used to be back in 1999, you show up for one interview, maybe get asked one technjical question like how do you link an image to a url. man i miss those days.


The fact that the faang virus is spreading to startups is really bad news.

Startups are high risk high reward and do unconventional things, hire unconventional talent.

The fact that any startup is taking a faaang approach -

The ceo of a great startup must be the talent detector first and foremost,

If the CEO of startups are not doing the talent sourcing and attracting, what are they even working on.


It depends on the stage of the startup. Once they've taken enough VC money and have a yearly budget of say $10m, they often just need a certain number of bodies to flesh out whatever idea they have already implemented in their PoC. They don't need geniuses.


Depends: Is it really a 'startup'? I always find it odd to call a company with more than 100 people a startup, yet it happens all the time.


Startup used to be small companies with really big plans that would grow really fast, attract most investment, etc.

Nowadays, 20yo small companies are being called startups. I think the word lost its meaning.


wait have FAANGs started that take home test BS?

That’s beyond dumb.

I really do feel people don’t understand the point of white board coding questions, and have constructed a whole new system of weird and unnecessary steps. I do not understand what a take home project is meant to accomplish other than filtering for people who have resources to give them free time.


Honestly, I think the best interviews are a discussion, where the company sells their vision, plus bring some code project and explain interesting parts you did to the hiring team. This can easily let the candidate show whether he knows and has deep technical know-how, without requiring a massive energy investment.




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