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Don't Expect Much From Tech Recruiting Events

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I want to say a few words about technical recruiting. It’s something, till this day, that I find completely counterintuitive. I expected it to be kind of like the military recruiting experience, where the big companies want you. And in the military, the way it works is you come in, you take this standardized test. If you do well in the test, they want you. The Navy, Air Force, Marines, they will compete, they’ll try throw perks at you and explain how one branch of service is better than the other, and as long as you can sign your name and pass the test, they’ll sign you, they’ll ship you out, they’ll find a job for you, they’ll train you for the job. They want you. They’re actively coming after you.

This is not how tech recruiting works at all. Tech recruiting will seem similar in the earlier stages, meaning they will throw events, recruiters will come to your college, they’ll organize evening coding hours and “come meet our engineers” type of events, and they will go to places and they’ll give out swag and all that stuff. But if you go to one of these events that they organize… For example, you could go to a night with coding exercises, and you’ll have a room of 40, 50, 60, 80 people showing up, and you can tell they’re all kind of honored and a little curious why they’re there, and they want to see what will happen. And the show up and then there’ll be probably somebody from the company, and they’ll tell you, “Here I am. Here’s what I do at the company. I love my job,” blah blah blah. “Okay, let’s do some coding challenges,” then before you have any time to really finish, then it’s already time to go home. They’ll probably have some snacks and appetizers and some food. And then it’s done and you go home, and you’re like, “Okay. What was that about? What was the point?”

[00:02:00] And I see that time and time and time again, and the more I do it, the more I kind of get used to it, but it’s still surprising me to this day. It’s like, okay, you go through all this effort and there’s nothing at the end of it? You’re not going to try to upsell the company and get people to take the next step or something? But they don’t. They really don’t. They just kind of do those things. And my best guess of what is happening is I think the name of the game for tech companies is fill the pipeline. They have this pipeline of candidates and they want to have a steady stream of interested people applying to work there, and these kinds of events is their way of making sure that this stream of candidates never dries up, although I don’t even think Google or Facebook or Amazon, any of those companies, have a hard time filling the pipeline. Like, everybody knows about those companies. Everybody will probably try to apply there at some point in their lives. But for some reason, they still do those events all the time.

But my point is, if you go to one of these events, don’t expect much. Probably nothing will come out of it, not even a follow-up from the recruiter. Maybe a follow-up from the recruiter if you’re lucky, but usually, just recruiters will be kind of like… There will be a recruiter reaching out to you, inviting you to this event, and then they’re not going to say anything. They’re just going to wait for you to make the next move. Not sure why, but that’s how it works. I think it’s stupid, personally – if you need people, why don’t you go after people? Why don’t you make them feel important? And I think that would work, but they don’t. They just wait for you to make the first move, sort of invite them to dance, so to speak. Then once you do, then you just go right in the pipeline. Hopefully, things work out. Probably some hiring manager will review your resume, but you obviously were prescreened by your career, otherwise they wouldn’t have reached out to you.

[00:04:00] And then you do a phone screen, and then you go in person and do an on-site interview for four, five people, typically speaking, and that’s that. It’s always how it goes.

So, my advice to you: Those events, recruiting events can be a huge waste of your time, because there’s nothing that will come out of them. So, if you can get into the recruiting pipeline by just sending your resume to a recruiter, or having somebody in the company you refer to internally, that’s a much better use of your time than the two, three hours that you would go to talk to some random person with no outcome at the end of it. Probably a little bit better spent by just practicing technical interview questions that will be asked at the technical interview, if you make it this far into the pipeline.

So, that’s my take on technical recruiting. It’s mainly misleading. It’s mainly a waste of your time. If you genuinely have no other way of meeting or knowing anybody who works at the company, it might be fine to go and to talk to some people, try and probe the culture a little bit, but that’s the only thing that’s going to come out of it. You’re not even going to get a follow-up from recruiters, as I mentioned. So, just be mindful of that. Don’t expect anything from those things. And if you have other ways of getting to the pipeline, your time is probably better spent there. That’s my take on tech recruiting. If I’m wrong, if I’m missing something, please let me know. Thanks. Bye.