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The Trials and Tribulations of a Would-Be Facebook Employee 241

Posted by timothy
from the throw-him-into-the-pond dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It may be hard for Facebook HR infrastructure to keep up with the rapid growth of the company, so scheduling and performing Skype screening interviews with the prospective new developers appears deteriorating into disorderly jumble. In a blog post, a recent candidate for a development job at Facebook has shared his excruciation at coordinating and then having this preliminary interview, pointing out the unhelpfulness of HR staff at Facebook during all stages of the process."
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The Trials and Tribulations of a Would-Be Facebook Employee

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  • by game kid (805301) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:03PM (#42372939) Homepage

    Maybe Facebook does not want help. That's a good thing, because no one should want to help Facebook.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:04PM (#42372947) Homepage

    I could see going to work for Facebook before the IPO, but now? You've missed the chance to get rich. Working for Facebook seems to be crunch hell in giant bullpens with bad bosses.

    Facebook seems to have peaked in terms of users and traffic.Now it's all about "monetizing the user base", i.e. shoving as many ads as possible at the users and selling tracking data.

  • HR will be HR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AntiBasic (83586) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:06PM (#42372955)

    HR is always a bunch of ass-sucking sycophants. That is true in every industry. Never count on meeting an intelligent person is HR. And NEVER count on them as an ally -- they are there for the company, not you. They ONLY time they might take your side is (if they are capable of understanding you) when you explain to them their managers have fucked up so badly, they will likely lose a lawsuit.

    Fuck HR. It is always a pink ghetto.

  • by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:06PM (#42372957) Homepage
    This should come as no surprise though. In these modern times of recession and people being made unemployed due to robots it really is a buyer's market and employers can pull as much "shit" as they like and still have a queue of people outside the door looking for jobs.
  • In summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:08PM (#42372963)

    - Email problems with the HR drone
    - Skype call interview organised for a time not convenient for him
    - Network issues during the call

    Um, cry me a river?

  • Typical n00b (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:18PM (#42372995)

    from the rant:
    "I've been using the best Internet connection available -- the wired LAN at the Israel Institute of Technology. (To give an impression of its network infrastructure: the Institute had been allocated two of the handful Israeli class-B IP ranges.) On the day of the interview, I've made a test call to a friend in Israel (some 120km away from the Institute), to confirm that the call quality is perfect. Nevertheless, when the interviewer called me, I couldn't hear him properly"

    Does he have any idea how the internet works? Just because you have a good connection to another part of the country does not mean you get good connection to the rest of the world.

  • by carlivar (119811) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:19PM (#42372999)

    I don't think this guy understands much about how corporate networking works. If he's a developer, I suppose he doesn't need to, but maybe he could check into details before writing:

    "isn't it worthwhile for Facebook recruiting to prepare for such a case, and make the interviewer able to switch to a different Facebook IP range, to give Skype routing a second chance?"

    Yeah, um, I don't know of *any* company that would set up their HR staff for such a scenario. And this interviewee doesn't seem to understand how Internet routing works. Assuming the particular Facebook HR office is BGP multi-homed, the Facebook NetOps staff would have to determine what IP address the interviewee is connecting with and then modify BGP local-preference for that AS number to use a different ISP outbound. Or, have two networks with different outbound ISPs available at every desk with staff trained to switch between them.

    It would be utterly ludicrous to do something like this for an interview.

    What's surprising is they didn't try another option like Google Hangouts. Perhaps as a Facebook competitor, it isn't an option. Did the interviewee not have a speakerphone? He mentions being unable to both type and talk... I think they solved that problem in the 1980's.

  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rurik (113882) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:23PM (#42373019)

    I was confused in reading the write-up. If the interview was scheduled three months in advance, why did he say that he only had one day to prepare for the "CS" style interview? Where did this "December Interview Preparation Tips" come from? Only partial bits of data are given, none of which support the poster's side of the story.

    And what phone were you using that didn't have speaker phone capabilities? Nearly all land line phones do that, as well as all mobile phones. Skype crap happens all the time, even on perfect connections. You roll with it. And, if you can't, then you'll likely have problems in a technology company.

    In summary, this reads as: "HR department had too many applicants and I slipped between the cracks for scheduling, then I bombed my interview but it really wasn't my fault. Really!"

  • He wasn't prepared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:26PM (#42373021)

    The HR rep told him in October that his interview would be in December and he procrastinated prepping until he knew the exact date. Yet he bitches about not having enough time to prepare? Also, I don't understand why he couldn't type and talk at the same time if they ended up having to use a phone call for audio. All cell phones have a speaker phone function and if he was using a landline he could've held the phone to his ear with his shoulder.

    His whole blog post is just a giant whine-fest. If he can't handle the stress of the unknowns in an interview then how can he expect to handle the stress of working at a fast-paced company like Facebook?

  • Re:In summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ink (4325) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:30PM (#42373029) Homepage

    Yeah, after reviewing his "tribulations", I'm not sure I'd want to hire such a whiner.

  • Re:In summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:33PM (#42373045)

    Seriously. Why should we care about this guy's complaints in the least?

    I've had job interviews in the past that left me with a bad opinion of a company... and know what I did? Hint: Whining about it online wasn't it. I chalked it up to experience and thanked my lucky stars I figured it out before working there. In the few cases I got an offer from them, I politely declined.

    I'm tempted to complain about "kids today", but the grass is in pretty sorry shape right now so I don't care if they're standing on it.

  • Re:In summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:37PM (#42373061)

    - Email problems with the HR drone
    - Skype call interview organised for a time not convenient for him
    - Network issues during the call

    Certainly we can ignore the network issues... but I think he is wrong there anyway. If the interviewer had simply called back 5 minutes later, the call would very probably have taken a somewhat different route.

    But as for those other two? Not so fast!

    He didn't have "email problems" with the HR drone. He showed a very clear pattern of negligence.

    As for the actual scheduling, he also showed a persistent pattern of negligence.

    That's not the same as a simple mistake or foulup here or there. The pattern seemed pretty clear to me.

  • by jhoegl (638955) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:50PM (#42373095)
    Good point, except when has it NOT been about monetizing the user base?
  • Re:HR will be HR (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:53PM (#42373103)
    You use that word as if it's an insult.
  • Re:In summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ktappe (747125) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:56PM (#42373111)
    I wouldn't hire someone who uses the word "whiner". It shows a lack of empathy and ability to recognize that situations can be improved.
  • by ktappe (747125) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:00PM (#42373121)
    >I don't know of *any* company that would set up their HR staff for such a scenario.

    Then they shouldn't use Skype, period. Skype is so notoriously unreliable, that for FB to not have a plan to reconnect a bad Skype connection is absolutely unprofessional.

  • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:14PM (#42373173)

    Well, in the early growth years it wasn't the immediate strategy.

    The way I look at it (along with every other free social network type thing) is that you grow it as long as you can, and then when it starts to level off (because you either don't provide enough value to expand beyond your niche, or in the case of Facebook, just about anyone who could get on is already on) you figure out ways to monetize that captive audience.

    Facebook is only different from Myspace, Friendster, Sixdegrees and so on in that they were able to appeal to a broader audience and sustain the growth for much longer. It will plateau, and it will fade away just like all the others, but it will take much longer from peak to irrelevance (I'd say roughly 8-12 years) because that many more people were there at the peak.

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:16PM (#42373185)

    This should come as no surprise though. In these modern times of recession and people being made unemployed due to robots it really is a buyer's market and employers can pull as much "shit" as they like and still have a queue of people outside the door looking for jobs.

    A queue of desperate people. The good people will never put up with this shit and get jobs through their own personal network that bypasses HR. Ask any manager who needs to fill a slot about the quality of people they get from HR. And I have not gotten a job through traditional means for about 20 years.

    I do not know why companies still put up with this...

  • by Goody (23843) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:19PM (#42373195) Journal
    That's how I would describe the summary for this article. Does anyone interview candidate Slashdot editors before offering them jobs?
  • Re:HR will be HR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwizard2 (920421) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:35PM (#42373227)
    I even take issue with the term Human Resources. Resources in an office context are computers, filing cabinets, copiers, etc. I'm a person, not a fucking resource! If management places people in the same category as furniture, then no wonder these companies are such god-awful places to work.
  • Re:HR will be HR (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Demonantis (1340557) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:53PM (#42373275)
    HR was introduced to stop the development of unions and handle unions where they already existed. A pseudo management limbo if you will. Anything else they now have on their plate they fail at miserably. The biggest downfall is not understanding they should be an internal customer service oriented department like IT or facilities.
  • Re:HR will be HR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 23, 2012 @12:07AM (#42373327)

    I even take issue with the term Human Resources. Resources in an office context are computers, filing cabinets, copiers, etc. I'm a person, not a fucking resource! If management places people in the same category as furniture, then no wonder these companies are such god-awful places to work.

    Yes, you are a resource -- a source of profit that is to be exploited as hard as possible for as long as possible, to extract as much value for the company as possible; then discarded and abandoned at the first instant you no longer provide profit.

    You are not a human being to them, because they are not human beings. They are management drone units. You are work drone unit. Nothing more. It's just business.

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @12:30AM (#42373437)

    Mainly because HR has wormed it's way into companies via legislation...Sarbanes/Oxley, various harassment type legislation, etc. They seem themselves as some great service and necessary but everyone knows that they are just idiots. If you're lucky the only time you will ever hear from HR is the day you are hired, benefits enrollment and the day you quit.

  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @12:31AM (#42373439)
    A whiny Israeli blogs that he doesn't like the way Facebook interviewed him. I'm going to bed.
  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @12:43AM (#42373475)
    You have to remember though, that the film was a work of fiction, because he really is an asshole.
  • Re:HR will be HR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @02:19AM (#42373751)
    I had an HR drone haggle me so much in response to the money issue that when I was hired, my manager appologized that he wouldn't be able to pay the agreed rate. The HR person put down a number lower than the lowest range for the position. I was given a $2000 raise before I even started. There's no reason for the HR person to have haggled me down so low, when the range was was well above the ranges we were talking. I'd been offered a job before, only to have it disappear when I asked for too much (then found a similar job for more elsewhere, so no great loss), so I was concerned about that again, so I was realistic but not pushy. Then he talked me down $10,000, implying that my initial number was too high, when it was still at the low end of the range, and he talked me down to a number lower than they could pay.

    The only good thing is that I'll get many years of raises before I'm close to the position ceiling. I spent 7 years at the pay ceiling in a previous job I held for 8 years. Not even inflation raises there.

    Another place I worked, I met the HR recruiter my first day, the first contact I had with him. Turns out I was hired in the back door, the IT department doesn't use HR because HR is incapable of screening IT professionals reliably.
  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @11:48AM (#42375583)

    So here is mine.

    The author is a whiny brat. People need jobs right now. He fills an entire page bitching about the scheduled time of his interview.
    Sometimes, management wants you, and HR is there to ensure you will pursue no matter what. This may not have been the
    case in this instance, but regardless, dude needs to grow the fuck up.

    Here are his 3 complaints;

    1. Scheduling issues
    2. Lack of time to study for an entry test
    3. Issues using Skype

    First, just because they ask you for times, doesn't mean they can always honor them. Hell, I get 1 hr with my boss a week. It's called work, get used to it.

    Second, you are complaining that the scheduling didn't give you time to study for something you should know like the back of your hand? Companies on the size and scale of Facebook don't need fresh out of Uni candidates. They need people that can get the job done, and know their trade.

    Third, issues happen with VOIP, since you will always be at the mercy of the intermediary nodes in the path between point A and point B. The OP proposed a solution that was the most ridiculous I had ever heard in my entire life. He asked about using a different network (i.e., IP range) for the call to take place on. He didn't ask about using a land line, or cellular instead.

    Long story short, he is a prime example of why many college kids can't find work. All expectation, and no social value.

  • Crybaby (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @01:56PM (#42376297)

    I was all eager to read the article and nod in disgust at Facebook's incompetence, but after reading a bit, I have to say, "Grow up, crybaby!"

    Do you have many candidates that know three months in advance their available timeslots? Do you expect all these timeslots to remain reserved for the three months, until the interview is finally scheduled?

    Boo hoo hoo! It's called living life as an adult. Sorry you're used to not having to plan future commitments. If the interview is so important, keep your day open, kid!

    My interview was finally scheduled three weekdays in advance, leaving me in fact one day to prepare, because I've already had plans for the other weekday and the weekend. Do you have many candidates who can prepare for a CS exam in one day? Or do you expect them to be ready to abandon their plans at zero notice?

    Boo hoo hoo! If preparing for the interview is so important to you, cancel your precious "plans". How is their HR supposed to know you have a keg stand to appear at over the weekend?

    In the one day that I've had available, I've been reading up like mad, and still obviously I couldn't prepare as well as I'd like to. The feeling of coming to a CS exam unprepared builds up the lack of confidence during the interview, and contributes to the stress -- as if the stress from the important interview itself wasn't enough.

    Boo hoo hoo! I don't know my shit like I should, so I'm going to have to "cram" instead and try to sound smarter than I am! This is really stressful and hurts my feelings!!

    Then comes the punch: the coding exercise during my interview didn’t involve any intricate algorithms or data structures, none at all, just robust coding. Exhausted and stressed by the rushed preparation, turning out useless, I was so perplexed -- as if I’ve not only come to an exam unprepared, but after all to a wrong exam.

    Boo hoo hoo! I couldn't guess what my interviewer would ask me, which is sooooo unfair, and I wasted a lot of time trying to fool them!

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