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My job search


July 8 2017

This blog is about what my most recent job search was like, and some of what I had to put up with to get my new job.

==The Unicorn hunter==

Now hiring! Must have ten years of React experience! (Note: React has only existed for a little over four years as I type this) Ever since my 2005 job search, I have seen a whole bunch of recruiters post a bunch of jobs where some start-up, having secured its first round of funding, is looking for someone who is unrealistically senior to develop the actual technology the start-up is supposed to have.

Since there is nobody who can fill the position, the company starts contacting more and more recruiters to see if there really is someone out there with ten years of React experience. They haven’t gotten this position filled yet, so positions like these end up being the first listings one sees when they begin their job search.

A variant of this is the company who appears to have fairly reasonable requirements in their job description, but decides any resume they get is an underqualified candidate.

==The cash strapped visionary==

I’ve experienced this a few times over the years. You talk to someone. They have the perfect vision. You will become incredibly rich if you take a chance with them. They are, however, having a very temporary cashflow problem and can’t pay you, but you’re really talented and they’ll pay you as soon as the money comes in.

Once, when I was a lot younger and more foolish, I worked for one of these. After working at the guy’s house and not seeing a penny for nearly half a year, I left the “company” in disgust. (I actually remember this part of my life fondly: It was a time of very positive personal and spiritual growth, and an important coming of age event of my life.)

One variant of this is someone who finds you on the Internet, flatters you, but then asks you do a lot of work for a small amount of money.

The other variant I have seen in third world countries is the scammer: They claim they have a big company, that they are hiring you for $X a month, but the actual “office” is their mother’s living room, they put a lot of pressure on you to complete the project before the first paycheck is due, and they never actually pay you. This is so egregious I will name names: Alexandre D’Lara, whose website went down for non-payment about two months after he pulled this scam on me. I haven’t seen him anywhere online since 2013.

(Edit: Just when I thought I would be spared seeing this during my 2017 job hunt, someone on LinkedIn emailed me with an “equity only” offer. Ugh.)

==The flaky recruiter==

One recruiter was so flaky, they didn’t call me when they said they would. When I call them up after waiting for 20 minutes or so, they were at a company lunch. They told me to give them my resume, even though they already had a copy. After I gave them my resume a second time, I never heard about any job offers from them.

==The spammer==

My inbox constantly gets filled with potential job offers from people who send out email to everyone and their sister. Replies to their spam email are usually ignored. When someone offered me a .NET job position — even though I, at the time, never wrote a C# program (I have since written one) — I wrote them back with a “please at least read my resume” message. They replied with a bulk email telling me to fill out some online form to see if I would qualify for the position.

To be fair, while CyberCoders can be pretty bad about sending out a bunch of emails, I did have a positive experience with one of their recruiters who took time out of her busy day to talk to me for about thirty minutes about the job and the position. While we felt I was qualified for the role, the hiring manager ultimately felt I didn’t have enough experience on my resume — he was looking for a Unicorn.

==The cool recruiter==

Now that I’ve shared some of the more negative experiences I have had, time to share a positive experience: Sayva Solutions. A recruiter there, after looking at my resume, took me out to have lunch with them to discuss positions.

Wonderful lunch and wonderful people. I will remember to say a good word about them whenever the topic of recruiters comes up.

==The offer==

I ended up getting hired at a company which I directly contacted on LinkedIn; no middleman recruiter means I get more salary and a direct W-2 hire position. The interview was the second or third easiest interview I have ever had for any position; after three phone conversations, I went in to the office and the manager spent about an hour describing what I will do once I start working for them; I got the offer eight days later.

==Why I am keeping my current boss secret==

The Internet is not the same place it was ten years ago. These days, with the amount of toxic hatred around, I need to keep my current employer secret from the kinds of nutcases who would blow a gasket because I, say, disagreed with them about politics or whether Linux is a viable end user desktop OS.

For reliable recruiters who know me, I have no problem sharing my personal information such as my current employer, but that’s not information a random Internet troll is privy to.

==I’m excited!==

Wednesday will be my last day at Synthetic Genomics. It has been a pleasure working with a great team there, but it’s time for me to move on to bigger and better things. And, yes, despite the positive experiences, I’m glad my job search has come to an end.

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