Amsterdam, Netherlands. Work permit and relocation assistance provided.
We want developers who like to have fun and socialize outside of work, but care about their jobs, too. We're looking for UX designers, front-end and back-end developers.
Back-end developers: you know what it takes to power the back-end of large web sites. You understand scalability issues and can explain the difference between an inner and outer join. You know what O(log N) is and why it's important. Your programming language history isn't important because you're good enough to learn a new language if needed.
All positions: not looking for rock stars. Looking for competent technical talent who are willing to move to Europe (unless you're already here). We have many expats working here and we'll even help pay for Dutch lessons, if you want them.
We also like people who understand business because you'll be expected to make many of your own decisions without having to ask permission from management for every little thing that you do. You will have the power to get stuff done, work with a great bunch of people and be able to spend your five weeks of vacation time cruising across Europe and discovering why Amsterdam is such a beautiful city.
I interviewed with Booking recently. My takeaway was not particularly negative, but that may be because I'm from the US.
They were fairly up front about their business-first mentality, and otherwise did make a convincing case for having interesting & challenging work available at all ends of the stack.
Downsides obviously being that pay is low relative to SF, and housing in Amsterdam is not particularly cheap. The city is also not for everyone, more so than most places. However, from a tech POV I don't think I would have been bored. Can't speak to the office culture, but I didn't get any scary vibes.
The Netherlands has a very attractive 30% tax reduction for knowledge migrants which makes it attractive for foreign talent to come to the country.
It seems to almost be a common denominator that when Dutch companies stop valuing their employees (treat them badly, seeing them as expenses, etc.) they start abusing this tax reduction to recruit cheap foreign labour; often after they've burned their bridges in the small and tightly-knit local tech community.
So ... If you're a foreigner and are considering moving to the Netherlands, be careful with companies where the majority of employees is not native, since there's a good change you won't get to experience the respectful work culture Dutch companies are generally famous for.
If you're already used to a culture with a greater power-distance (e.g. Russia, US, India) it might still not be all that bad for you though and either way it's pretty easy to find good jobs elsewhere once you're in the country.
Indeed, Senior Dutch Perl programmers have left the company as they couldn't take this exploitation any more. The aim of the company management is to get developers from other countries who are unaware/ignorant of this dog treatment. They are trying very hard to stop their bad reputation from spreading but as you mentioned the developer community is closely knit and it doesn't take long for the word to spread.
What is sad though is Ovid-who is a reputable member of the Perl community, still recruits for them despite having worked for Booking and got burnt out for exactly those reasons that the blog talks about.
brian (if this is indeed the same brian d foy, I don't know since he always uses 'd' with his name, per his style guide: http://www252.pair.com/comdog/style.html), I'm rather surprised to see you writing this.
First, it should be clear that for obvious reasons, I can't identify the company in question. My wife and I are starting a company trying to help people live their dream of living in other countries and that's a very hard thing to do. You (if you're really brian) know that I write http://www.overseas-exile.com/ and I've been writing that for years trying to help people move abroad because I love being an expat. We created this company because now we have a chance to really help people do what I'm so passionate about, but when someone tears down our work it also threatens to take away another chance for people to experience life abroad. The fact that we're doing this with IT companies is almost incidental: it's our background and it's what we know best.
What we don't do is throw CVs at a company without telling the candidate what the location and the company are like because it's important for the candidate to decide for themselves, rather than simply rely on rumors. We get to know the companies we work with so we can make sure that the candidate is happy with the company and the company is happy with the candidate. Everyone we've helped move abroad has thanked us and I don't believe anyone has any illusions that we're promising them a gold-plated Ferrari and a personal masseuse.
Regarding your comments about Booking.com and my reasons for leaving, people have asked and I publicly stated my reasons at http://blogs.perl.org/users/ovid/2011/12/moving-to-paris.htm.... However, I was very cagey about that because much of the reason was intensely personal and nobody's darned business, but since you're attacking me by saying it's a "sad" thing I'm doing, I'll say it now: my wife had just had a baby, was very tired, and wanted to move back to her home country. I love my wife very dearly and I would do anything to help her. So off to France we went. Making a decision to move to another country is very hard and there are always many factors that come into play, but that was the primary reason and I've already told a few people about it privately, but I didn't shout it from the rooftops because it's nobody's business that my wife was tired and wanted to go home. Did I gripe about other issues from time to time? Sure, everyone does. But my primary motivation was my wife and daughter and it worked: my wife is very happy.
There are still plenty of well-known senior Perl developers who are at Booking.com: Yves, Rafael, Ævar, and many others who are known by first name to much of the community. Booking.com isn't a good fit for everyone, and not everyone is good fit for Booking.com -- that describes every business on the planet.
I also see that you linked to that "truth about Booking.com" post. I've never publicly commented on that simply because people have strong feelings about that company and just like vi versus emacs, I saw no point in wading into the debate.
So I'll say this about that post: that was clearly an anonymous disgruntled employee and that should be a warning sign to anyone who read it. Whoever they are, they've never been willing to stand up and take responsibility for their words, though if they're still working there, I could understand why. Their post was a mixture of truths, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. Plus, I felt there was a lot of lying by omission. Note how many Booking employees responded (all but one of whom I know personally). They were honest about the company and generally positive about it. Some people don't understand why so many extremely talented Perl developers are happy to work there, but that alone should give people pause.
By now most people probably know that Booking.com isn't a "modern Perl" shop, but they're not "treating their employees like dogs". They're extremely business-oriented and while I don't always agree with their decisions, the fact that they've managed to become one of the largest internet properties on the planet says something about what they're doing right. And if you work for them and do well, you'll get plenty of advancement opportunities if you want it. And I also know plenty of programmers working for them who have earned fantastic bonuses by producing great results. They pay a fair salary for Amsterdam, bonuses, and if you qualify for the Dutch 30% ruling, you get an extra several hundred euros a month.
TL;DR: They're not for everyone, but the rumor mill is just that: a rumor factory.
hmmm, not impressed by your 'help'. i contacted you a couple of months ago and only received the initial default response to push over my resume and info and never got a reply once i sent it over. pretty poor way to communicate and start a business.
papaver, I can understand your being upset and I want to apologize. In going back through our mail queue I can find your email in a backup mailbox I use, but we can't find it in the main mailbox. In fact, you say you received a response, but I can't even find that replied to you! I'm very sorry about this and now we're trying to figure out what happened.
As you can imagine, we get a lot of email for these positions, but to the best of my knowledge, we've never missed one before (but obviously, if we did miss a candidate, we wouldn't know, would we?). Now that I've located your initial April 3rd email, we'll get in touch, but obviously if you're not still interested, we understand.
My takeaway from this is that stay as far away as possible from Booking.com.
You might certainly say they are not a good fit for everyone, but I think when someone in HN community is looking for a job change, I am sure they are also looking at the other "intangible"/not-so-obvious aspects. Like: does the company treat every employee respectfully? Do they provide the right environment where even the underdog can excel? They can be business minded, but do they understand their core cannot be culturally immoral?
On all counts Booking has fell short to me (just from your justification).
For those without showdead on; it seems that Brian (not-D) Foy was hellbanned for his comments.
It seems obvious that he is a disgruntled ex-employee so you should take his statements with a grain of salt, but since I don't see any reason for hellbanning him for that (maybe he got too many flags?,) so I'm reposting them there.
I am not Brian D Foy so stop maligning his name. Brian D Foy doesn't work for Booking and he never has.
Booking tries to keep the big names you mentioned happy so that they don't spill the beans. These names get the best development projects and the big money. One of their job responsibilities as a senior developer is to advertise and say good things about the company. I concur with you that they play this game well. In fact open praise in developer forums about the company is a sure way to land good bonus.
They make tonnes of money but none of that is shared with the developers although they put up with the grunge work of fixing one of the worst Perl code in the industry patched up by people who left in a hurry.
I speak for those who are going to leave their family, friends at home with the hopes that they would be doing good work based on the big names working there only to find that the reality is totally different.
The treatment meted out to the rest of the developers is shameful and you know it and the Perl blog mentions all the pain points.
The expats do not know the local employment laws of Netherlands and Booking.com fully exploits this to the hilt.
And the truth can be found out easily from people who left the company and who currently do not get a direct/indirect monetary benefit of saying good things about the company, and given that you are recruiting for them and get approximately thousand Euro atleast for every successful lead, it disqualifies you.
The Netherlands has employee friendly policies. After three years in a company, employees automatically get an "indefinite" contract. An "indefinite" contract ensures that the employer cannot kick out the employee on a whim unlike in the US.
Good Dutch companies give out indefinite contract to the expats at the beginning of their employment itself but not Booking.com.
Booking.com gives out a 1 year contract to start with and after every 2 years kicks out its developers and gets new ones. So the frequent hiring you see is one of the side-effects of this cheap policy. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the big names Curtis "Ovid" Poe mentioned jumps on this mailing list to say - "not me", but the truth is this is their cheap game.
So after two years the delta of ones career capital can be summed up as:
1. experience in copy pasting code and cargo culting which would translate to nothing when you try out for another job.
2. no monetary benefit. Booking has the most underpaid developers in the industry. Those bonuses they promise never come. Given how expensive Amsterdam is, one wouldn't have saved up a penny after two years and if you have a family you might end up in debt.
In short one is ruining his/her best two years without any increase in career capital or monetary standing.