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Bizarre Situation

I applied for a job with a lengthy application this past summer.  Interviews went well (I thought) but after a week or so I got a form email saying no positions matched my skills.  No problem, life goes on. 

A month ago this company calls me up and says they want me to interview.  I told them I already applied, and I didn't get one then.  Recruiter for the company said, "Well, you were a recommend for hire from everyone that interviewed you, but because because we didn't have a recruiter, people fell through the cracks."  He literally begs me to interview again, so I do.  I ask if I can use application I used last summer, because it was a pain in the neck to fill out.  He said no, send a new one.

The interview goes great, and recruiter calls me back after saying they'll be making an offer in next day or so.  A week goes by without hearing from them, and then I get the same form letter I got last summer.

I call and ask the recruiter what happened, and he said that my second application wasn't as complete as the first application, and so I was dismissed by HR because I was obviously hiding something.  He said I need to fill out the application again and send it in.  I asked if I could have a copy of the first application I filled out so that I'd be sure to "not hide anything."  He said he'd see what he could do.

It's been a couple days, and I haven't heard from this guy (before I interviewed he was calling me 2-3 times a day).  I'm somewhat annoyed that they wasted my time, but more importantly I find this to be somewhat sad.  The software guys are trying their best to hire good people, but crufty HR processes keep blocking them out. 

nathan
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sounds pretty disfunctional.  Might be best to stay away?


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Dysfunctional maybe.  I've seen simmilar behavior from the boys in Redmond.

Elephant
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It sounds like an evil catbert is at work in HR! 
Ask them if they have any pointy haired bosses work
there.  :)

Jokes aside, I second the post above. This much disorganization and distrust towards potential employees is not that good. Why couldn't they just call you up and ask about the discrepancy between the two forms? Did you apply to FBI by any chance? :)

entell
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It's a job that requires a Secret Clearance.  I guess I assumed that the second application was an update to the first application.  I knew they had the first application, they knew I knew they had the first application (I requested they just use the first application), so I don't see how they could think I was trying to hide things.

nathan
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

First off let me say that I can feel for HR these days.  They have to deal with all the hiring/firing as well as insurance, employment regulations, training, etc.  I think this overload is the root cause of why the HR function is no longer effective as it once was.

My guess is the whole company is run this way, not just HR.  If you have nothing to lose, send an e-mail to the software folks that interviewed you and tell them what you posted here.

If they do something to bring you in through the back door then they're cool.  If they toss it back to the HR person, then they're idiots and you know it was truly a waste of time.

Saleo
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I had one company send me a letter thanking me for an interview and saying that they had no open positions at that time...despite the fact that I had never been in for an interview.  After that I had a friend of mine do an end run around the HR department and get my resume' directly to his boss, which resulted in an interview and subsequent hire.

Aaron F Stanton
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

What exactly did you leave off in the 2nd app?


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It may be that the recruiter is to blame and not HR.  Is it possible to do an end-around and check with HR to get the straight story?

Lou
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

There was a question about being involved in any lawsuits.  I mentioned in the first application that I was involved in a class-action lawsuit against a former cell phone company.  I bought stocks from them a couple years ago, and they lied on their books, and the stock price plummetted, and i *think* i'm part of the lawsuit... haven't heard anything about it in about a year.  I actually don't know if the case has been dropped or is ongoing or what. 

I neglected to put that on the second application.  I really didn't think much about it, and since I provided that information in the first application, why would they think I was hiding info in the second?

nathan
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Now that I think about it, I assume that's the only information I left off the second application.  I might have not listed as many jobs on the second.  I think I listed my past 3 jobs on the second app, and the first I probably listed more.  Not sure.

nathan
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

First, keep in mind that an HR person has an entirely different mindset than a programmer.  The things that make them good at their job in general would be considered disqualifying deficiencies in a programmer. They're concerned with routine and proper filing and making sure everything gets done in the proper order.  People who are really good at dealing with this get very flustered when the routine is broken, when chaos sticks its nose into their little corner of the world. Change the interface to the software that they use every day and you'll think that the end times had come.  If they're good at it they'll have a strong need to feel in control of the situation and they'll become very annoyed when somebody does something that challenges that control.  Their emphasis isn't on results, but on process.

This isn't meant as a criticism. Their job is all about process, and if their brains don't think that way they'll have the company in deep trouble and the employees hunting for them post haste.  But developers are definitely not geared that way. If the job could be boiled down to a fixed set of procedures to follow we'd all be out of work in a hurry.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Tangentially, I would recommend that you take copies of every application form before you send it back.

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The fact that they want to hire you but can't reminds me of "Interviewing With An Intelligence Agency (or, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Fort Meade)", about a guy who tried to get a job with the NSA, but got jerked around for months about his clearance, and didn't get hired.

Maybe you should reconsider applying to defense-type jobs, as I would guess that you should expect that sort of thing generally.

Exception guy
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I had bad interview situation as well almost two years ago. I interviewed with a friend at a large company. Interviewers were late to my presentation, and late to meet with me. But despite the glitches, it went well and I was told informally that I'd receive an offer in a week or two.

Two weeks go by with no contact.

Two more weeks go by with no information

I call and inquire as to the situation. I learn that I'm too experienced for the job and it's been given to a recent graduate. This is crazy! They knew I was completing my Ph.D. and there was no indication it was an entry level job!

It takes two more weeks to receive the formal letter.

Three weeks later, I receive an offer. :)

What happened was the position was still be tossed around by upper management as to whether it should be an entry level or experienced-level position. It got switched to entry-level after my interview. And, they had too much work, everyone was overwhelmed, the main HR lady was out and someone was filling in for her and (mis)handling my case. They then opened a new vacancy appropriate for my skills.

I later took a position at a different department of the same company. And on the inside I better understand how things could have gone wrong with my interview. Everyone was just overworked and spread thin. Managers were overloaded with day-to-day issues and trying to hire on top of that.

Unfortunately, I know we've lost at least one good candidate because of a similar paperwork snafu.

I now recommend working around the system when possible. Talk directly to the manager interested in hiring you to understand the situation. Call HR to directly address problems. Inquire repoeatedly for formal decision letters just to get things clarified.

David Fischer
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It's because you're faced w/ the bottom line:
"Working through a recruiter HINDERS your ability to:
1) Get a job.
2) Get paid fairly for the job."

Notice I use the word "hinders", which means it is possible to land a position and even a position at decent pay via recruiters, but understand recruiters first interests are NOT with you. Their first interest is getting the best qualified candidate as cheaply as possible. If a cheaper candidate, who's just as good, comes along at ANYTIME up until the point you have a "signed offer letter" from the company in your hands, *you are expendable*

Trust me and my experience, that IS what is happening. What you'll want to do is go ahead and get snubbed, again, by this recruiter and this opportunity . . . then, shop through the company yourself in a few months. The recruiter is no longer tagged to you at that point and you'll be able to negotiate your own salary.

Technical recruiters are scum. 

Steve
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

"he said that my second application wasn't as complete as the first .... I was dismissed by HR because I was obviously hiding something.  "

Wait a minute.  If they HAD the first application, why'd they make you fill out ANOTHER one?

Reminds me of a teacher I had back in high school. I left my name off my paper (she was a stickler for rules).

She said "I'm giving you a zero because you left your name off of it and that creates work for me.". 

I asked "how do you know it's MY paper?".

"Because I saw you hand it in".

"Then, how did that create work for you?"

This is the same teacher, in physics explained " 1 pound of feathers has more mass than 1 pound of lead because the feathers are more *massive* [waving arms]"

I wish I'd thought to ask "What's the mass of each one?"  ahrrrgggg!!!

The real Entrepreneur
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Steve - I thought at first this guy would be different since he was a recruiter that worked for the company.  But now my impression of recruiters employed by a company has fallen to the level of my impression of technical recruiters in general.  I can't argue your position that they are scum.

nathan
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

real Entrepreneur - i specifically asked if they could just use the first application.  They said no.  I'm not thrilled with HR departments.

nathan
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Here's advice for everyone that I have used to get around the evil technical recruiting empire.

I'm sure you're already aware, but just in case:

1) Be Smart: At a minimum, the job posting will state we're looking for X,Y,Z and located at City, State . . . google for "software city, state" . . . tweak your googling by adding technologies X,Y,Z or those related. Yes, you'll return a great deal of listings, but it's WORTH the work to work around them and I guarantee you'll be able to narrow down to the company (if not, you'll definitely narrow down other opportunties as well).
2) If the job posting contains industrial relations (ie, "medical software" or "financial industry"), obviously tweak your googling appropriately.
3) Go to the technical recruiters website ... many times, the scum will advertise they have worked with firms X,Y,Z . . . couldn't get any easier than that, eh?  :)

Do your best to NOT contribute to this blood sucking industry any longer . . . if you're currently employed, recommend they do NOT hire the services of recruiting firms. Volunteer your time to screen candidates. . . anything other than dealing w/ the scum.  ;)

Steve
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It sounds like the recruiter / company has a policy of not hiring people who might, if they are wronged, exercise their legal rights.

That is a pretty suspicious policy as wrongful lawsuits generally fail. In other words, an honest company has little to hide.

Folks, the answer is to stop putting up with this shit from recruiters.

.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Just saw Steve's post and wish to endorse what he says. A lot of jobs recruiters present these days are actually selected off companies' public web sites.

They're there for you to go direct if you just find them, and that's what everyone should do.

Recruiters try to get companies to force all applicants to either go through them, or work through them, even if they find the job and apply themselves. If you encounter this, complain like hell to the CEO and your local politician.

Recruiters are absolute scum and should be put out to pasture.

.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hold on, there's some misconceptions here about recruiters.

Recruiters work off an agreement with the hiring company, and are typically paid around 25% of the new employee's first year salary. So the more the new employee makes, the more they make... so they can't just pull jobs off of web sites, because they need that agreement.

However, what is correct is that recruiters are scum. Because of the large amount of money they get, they'll "advertise" all kinds of non-existant, sexy jobs in their ads or cold-call extensions at large companies. Once you send them your resumé, they then literally spam it to every company on their list, sometimes including your own.

I guess if you're desperate, it doesn't cost you anything, and you get a job. But they're evil, evil people.

Ron
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The recruiters that I've talked to don't do a lot of spamming because it often doesn't pay off.

They get 0 dollars if you've previously applied to the company yourself.

They only get money if the company hasn't received a resume from you. That's just what I've heard though.

Nigel
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Ron, there are no misconceptions here. Recruiters manipulate and lie to steal as much money as they can. With staff placements, there's not much leeway for them to screw around because the employer knows how much he's paying the staffer, and thus what how much he's paying the recruiter.

That's not the case for contracting, where recruiters pocket as much as they can. This can be up to 70 percent of the worker's pay, and even more, if the worker is uninformed or from a low-wage country like India.

IT contractors used to think recruiters got them the highest rates possible, but it's actually the other way around.

Inside Job
Thursday, March 11, 2004

"[Recruiters] get 0 dollars if you've previously applied to the company yourself.  They only get money if the company hasn't received a resume from you. That's just what I've heard though."


Which handily answers the oft-asked question of why every single company makes you fill out an application.

Kyralessa
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Tangentially? Who the heck uses words like tangentially?

No offence ;)

Jack of all
Friday, March 12, 2004

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