This is where I name names, which I actually try to actively avoid in this blog because the Internet has a Long Memory. So let me run a disclaimer right now: This is in no way a reflection of the companies. I’m sure a lot of this is informed by the 5-minute restriction and the utter chaos of this event.
The process was you stood in one line, hit 4 or 5 tables, then you stand at the end of the other line and do it again. You can choose either line to start. This follows the companies in the order which I spoke with them.
Because they were the host, they skipped the whole ‘Why you should join us?’ opener and went right into what you do. Which would be fine, but I felt like they didn’t listen the numerous times when I said, ‘No, I’m not a front-end engineer. I’m full-stack/back-end. I am not a UI engineer.’ One of them proceeded to ask me how to handle Event Bubbling. We had 90 seconds left maybe. I’m not going to waste it trying to start a technical screen. And then, surprise, whistle blown. I still don’t know what teams they were on. Hard Pass
A last-minute addition that somehow did not make the 3pm flyer. Their start-up was interesting. He asked me what I want in my next job. I said I’m looking for flexibility. We agreed that it might not work out. That’s fine. If you tell me straight away, I am absolutely fine with that. But he knows a lot of people looking to hire because that’s how Silicon Valley is. And I know he’s really invested in his company’s mission and his technical placements. So if he’s looking for someone in PharmMed, I happen to know people. That’s how networking works.
I told them straight up that I looked at their website a few months ago, and their hiring is a bit out of my league. Even when I checked yesterday, they just added one job I could do. So if it’s okay if they give me a pass. I understand. One of the interviewers said he also worked for NASA so we basically traded war stories on trying to get things done. Soft Pass.
After the last three talks, I was already burnt. So I tell him, “I went on your site today and you only have two openings on your site, neither of which is a SE position.” He quickly answered saying that he hadn’t posted them but they do exist and immediately drove into his pitch. I barely remember it except he really leaned into the words, ‘WE’RE CURING CANCER.’ It was emphatic. Okay then! He told me about his stack, I told him about my experience. I asked, “Are you looking for someone who can ramp, or someone already in your Stack?” It’s a legitimate question. Some companies are willing to ramp up while others need someone right away. He said that he’s looking for Competent Engineers regardless of stack and asked for my resume.
We had a similar conversation, except they really weren’t looking for someone with my sort of experience. That’s fine. Another pass.
While queued up for Line 2, this was where the Network Engineer made her UGH sound. Also 8×8 and Techees had opened tables in the meetup area by this time so some people had already spoken to them. This left an open gap at the Techees table. They said anyone who hadn’t spoken to them already can skip ahead. I should have. Then I would be able to skip 8×8, but it didn’t occur to me that I should have done that until someone had already taken to spot.
They had a table in the front of both lines. Except I got a hard pass. I thought it was just the interviewers, so I thought I’d try again. I was wrong. They asked me, verbatim, ‘What bleeding edge technologies do you use?’ Okay, I get why that’s asked, but that’s not always the best way of doing things. I’m not going to become an expert on every new language that a company throws together. Most don’t get any interest and those that do fail after a year or so due to lack of adoption. Also, I am not a UI engineer. And a UI engineer is different than a Front-end Engineer, which is also something that I am not. They are looking for a UI engineer when they see the words ‘Full Stack.’ No thank you. Hard Pass 2.
This is the recruiting firm. They weren’t there to hire, but instead to collect clients. Which considering how resistant a lot of the recruiters there were might not have been the worst idea. It gives someone an instant win. But I didn’t hear from them the sort of people they were looking for which made me worried. I asked them what made them different from a regular headhunter or recruiting service. They don’t sound bad, so perhaps if my current paths to work out, I will check them out. I did manage to scare them with my worst recruiter story ever. That’s always fun.
At this point, the event was over. Which is ridiculous. I know for a fact people behind me only got to see one line. However, that’s when the woman in the next booth just started waving people over.
She was smart. She called over like six or so, did her company spiel and let everyone ask questions. When other applicants started to fall off, she told me they were in an interesting planning state where they were going to start to scale fast. I told her my projects and she asked for my resume.
I feel so bad for this recruiter. He was at the end of the line, and he sounded burnt. He was the only one his company sent so by the end of the event he was out of cards and had no one to shoulder the responsibility with. He was sending people to the company website. He seemed like he was drowning.
And that was only of the few companies they had. Honestly, I was surprised to get as much interest as I did considering the sheet they sent out. But I’ll emphasize that they needed more companies and more variety. It’s hard going to an event where you think ahead of time no one wants you. Worse to go anyway and have it confirmed.