Finding a Job in Software is Impersonal (which I do not like) 6/19/2023

Addressing the elephant that may or may not be in the room - this page may not be formatted. I am playing around with making this blog and if I end up writting I will go back and add some styling, but at the time of writting this dude is going to be good ole fasion black and white, Times New Roman, 12 point font, HTML. *Note: evidently by the formatting, I did format this, because I think I like blogging from this first experience so I will probably keep going and don't want my blogs lookings shitty.

I want to kind of vent about the job search process for software developers. I hate it. I hate it so much that I am wrtting a blog post about it.

The issue is I understand why it is the way it is, and I cannot think of a better way these firms could do it, but it still sucks. For those reading this (which is likely nobody) who are not software developers, the job search process is different than other industries. The process is as follows:

  1. Comb over the entire internet looking for job listings
  2. Apply for jobs by tweaking your cover letter to fit the role description
  3. Wait, maybe for months (looking at you Code.org) for a response, likely you won't get one
  4. If you are lucky, get asked to take a online, impersonal coding assessment. You likely won't even get to talk with a human being for this, as you will be using an assessment site like Code Signal or HackerRank. These assessments are not a good way to show your skills other than you Leetcode prowess.
  5. Wait again, this time probably for weeks on end, for a response. I have found you actually will get a response but it is often just a generic email saying the firm is not moving forward with your application.
  6. If you get a response, at least for the level of internship I am looking for, you will then be moved on to some Zoom screenings. From what I have heard these are not technical heavy, but more of a culture fit.
  7. If you past that last round, you will likely git an offer letter, unless a recruiter decides to ghost you, which is suprisingly common.

My issue is not that I am super burnt out and have failed in my search, in fact its actually the opposite. Throughout 2022 and 2023 I applied to many jobs that traditionally require Junior or Senior standing, despite being a Sophomore. I did this because I figured it couldn't hurt and would give me experiene with the process.

My problem is that I know how this system works, and I really do not like it, but I will have to be playing this game for the next couple months. Most big tech companies and banks will be posting internships for Summer 2024 starting soon and I am dreading it.

My key issue is that there is no opprotunity to actually speak to the company before the technical assessment. See, I am confident I can pass these, and am actively studying to do so, but these assessments are 70+ minutes long, and I am not someone who breezes by, I have to think and plan out my approach. So, I am spending 70+ minutes of my time on this company before I even know anything about who works there and what the company is like. I feel this skews the job search process strongly in the favor of these companies, where if I pass the assessment, and later when doing a more cultural fit interview, and think "damn, this company does not fit me" I have already invested the time to write a cover letter, submit an application, and submit a coding assessment, most people, including likely myself, won't back out then.

The process leads to an incredibly cut-throat, impersonal feeling job-search.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to work at Meta, Amazon, etc. but I do not want to work there just because I passed a test. I want to work there because I am excited about the work and because I fit the culture. I would prefer to know if I fit the culture before I invest countless hours, maybe to not even meet a single human from the company.

The logical move is to reach out to these companies and do some networking to see if it is the fit. I have done a bit of that and have barely received any responses. In fact, I applied for the Google STEP internship and found out months later I was rejected. That is fine, they do not have to take me, but I reached out to the woman that emailed me that I had not made it, asking for feedback on my application. I received a response saying she did not have "visibility for specific roles". The whole thing feels so impersonal and I hate it.

But there is not a better way

I generally like to brainstorm solutions for anything I have problems with, but with finding a way for Software Recruitment to feel more personal, I am really at a loss. The scale at which software/tech firms work make it impossible. From a quick Google search, most the big tech firms opperate with tens of thousands of developers. There is no way to make the process personal at that scale. The best I can think is that they should offer more opprotunity to come by to schools. I do not think I have ever seen big software firms at Job Fairs at the University of Michigan, probably because even if they came, which they would not need to do because everybody already knows who they are, they would be absolutely swarmed by students, making it impossible to be personal. So even that idea crumbles.

So I will be playing the game.

For fellow entry level developers, keep your heads held high this recruitment season. It will be exhausting, but we will get through it. I am excited and nervous to see where I end up.