If you ask any CEO, what kind of candidates you are looking out for your esteemed organization, the answers are usually “Someone with creative mind” or “Looking out for self-driven person, a leader” or “an out of box candidate”, etc.
Wow! That seems pretty interesting. So, you go ahead, try to find out the way the so-called leading companies hire people.
March 2020, I decided to look out for a fresh challenge as I was not satisfied with the outcome of my current career engagement. I reached out to a couple of connections, worked on my CV, floated it around, and waited patiently for opportunities to knock at my door. Some seniors advised, do not look out for a change now. You will not be getting a good hike, due to recession and market slump by COVID situation. But I waited patiently, having a belief, I can sail through this. After all, ships are not made to stay at the shore.
In a week or so, I started getting interviews scheduled. Aah… a sudden ray of hope! I started off enthusiastically, created notes, revised my previous projects, updated some on GitHub, revised some core concepts and yes, I was ready to brace the storm. After working 8 years in IT industry on numerous projects and technologies, I believed I can convince any interviewer that I am good fit, given, the role extended would be as productive as I am seeking out.
I even got calls from some big tech giants in Banking, e-commerce, etc. domain and some upcoming and fresh funded startups which had backing of some solid investors. Pretty exciting, No? Especially, if you have put a considerable effort on your resume and you are getting calls from some big names. Hopes are bound to rise; light seems to be just around the corner. The belief to make a difference gets a boost. I did not graduate from Tier 1 or 2 colleges, so, I always believed, I will have to work smartly and move up the ladder. I expected some interesting conversations or discussions ahead.
In the next two months, I gave around 30–35 interviews, and to my despair, I was frustrated and exhausted. Nothing changed. Be it one of the giants from e-commerce jungle or a leading investment bank, or a startup building its core team, the interview pattern remained almost similar. Rarely, I came across an interviewer, who has gone through or studied my profile prior interview. Not a single interviewer bothered to go through my GitHub projects or LinkedIn profile. By the end of 10th or 11th interview, I was answering like a machine, the same set of questions with expected twists. No questions asked about the project I am working on or the projects I have worked on. What they used to ask 5 years before, they are still asking today. Some of the interviewer’s act like a bully, who has been bullied all life and now has got a chance to make others taste the same cup of tea. Not a single interviewer tried to explore the potential of my candidature or even bothered to discuss the ideas I might have about designs and architecture. I was made to solve some useless puzzles in the name of problem solving, which are never going to make sense once you design or develop a project. If you are familiar with the question pattern, you might solve it instantly or else, if you try to take a different approach, you are disqualified. Why? Because, interviewer is not bothered about understanding the thought process of the candidate or wants to take the pain of having a discussion to solve the problem. Expectation is to solve the problem in exact same way, as it is expected by the interviewer. I was asked some theoretical questions on topics which are not even the requirement for the role I had applied. Some questions are asked just for the sake of asking, keeping the traditions alive. Hardly any interviewer seemed to intrigue me to think out of the box. Constructive feedback is a myth. The recruiters do not even respond with a positive or negative after taking 4–5 rounds of interview.
Err….! It does not make sense. Does it? Hiring process is not creative at all. Most of the interviewers are bullies of some sort. They have a set of questions with pre-determined answers. Nobody is interested in what have you done in past. No one is looking out for a leader, but they are looking out for just another brick on a plain wall. It does not matter how many challenges or problems you have overcome in your career, your whole agenda of interview becomes pleasing the interviewer, to prove yourself on his/her scale, which may have deviations based on referral or other prejudices. There is hardly any human interaction in the interview, it is more of a robotic conversation. So, I wonder what kind of working culture and team environment these HR folks talk about.
Well, somehow, I got the role which I was looking out for, but I don’t see much hope in near future for creative talented job seekers in IT sector, as it is full of bullies and ego maniacs. It still works in the shackles of bureaucracy. People like to talk about creativity but when to comes to implementation, it is same fixed boring pattern.
I had written an article about a prospective and productive strategy for the leaders who are hiring and want to build a great team in reality. Do read if you want to make a difference.