I am really not sure what to make of this...

A local digital agency was (and still is) advertising for several positions - 5 positions in fact ranging across UX designer, senior consultant, iOS lead, Android lead.

I interviewed with their CEO once, 3 years ago, when the company was much smaller and was offered the job but politely declined after much deliberation and went for a different job.

A year later the CEO messaged me and said he still remembers me and if I'm ever looking, please get in touch.

Fast forward to 10 days ago; I see the positions they're now advertising, and faced with a declining situation at my current work, decide "I liked that CEO, his growing company looks good - let's go for it"... and launch into their application process for a senior consultant role.

The process is:
1 - Phone screening - I had a 50 minute call in which I got on with the guy well and he more or less immediately told me I'd passed
2 - Coding challenge - A pretty in-depth one, I had a week to do it and, since I continue to hold down a demanding full-time job, it took me the whole 7 days - balls-to-the-wall coding, wife looking after the kids etc.
3 - An hour of pair coding with their engineers to add a new feature to the back-end of the website I'd produced for (3).
4 - An hours general technical interview.

...not an unusually long process perhaps, but pretty thorough, and one they'd obviously planned quite well with nicely designed emails to 'track' each stage etc.

I feel I did quite well on all counts except one: I didn't write Unit Tests for the website backend as I just ran out of time, but I called this out in the documentation (which I was also asked to produce) along with a strategy on how I'd write them. Since they fairly called this out as disappointing in the otherwise very positive feedback, I implemented all the Unit Tests over the weekend and updated them.

So comes the call as to whether I've got the job... their answer was, to paraphrase, "It's all positive, your X, Y and Z qualities are obviously great for us etc. the only thing the guys thought you might need to adapt to was our branching strategies and so we just need to find the right time to hire you", the guy waxed lyrical about how they need to balance the demand for staff with work coming in etc. and how they're still exploring opportunities to grow the team and they want to stay in close touch and update me regularly.

It was all friendly but I said "I need to ask you a direct question; you have several roles actively advertised, did I lose out to another candidate?". "No no no, not at all" he says "It's not the case that I've had another phone call telling someone they've got the job and giving you this call to just hold you at arms length because we might want to hire you later; we think you'd be a great fit for the team but we need to find the right time to slot you in etc. and with regards to the advertising we always advertise because it wouldn't be a good look if we completely shut that down and we always want to talk to people".

So unless he's just lying because he didn't have the heart to tell me I wasn't god enough (despite giving a lot of other glowing positive feedback), or lying that someone else got the job... then I'm left with the conclusion that there was never any job in the first place... they made me go through a week of coding and effort just so I could sit on their waiting list?

Is this a new thing. Seems like bullshit timewasting to me.

  • 14
    It's pretty common, time wasting and not actually hiring, just to make it look like they are in desperate need of filling a role.

    What's surprising is, they went the full 9 yards with the interview process.
  • 9
    If the coding challenge was actually related to their field + you mentiond that you pair coded, they might just be exploiting devs who apply to get the minor jobs done for free..
    Happened here with some companies..
    One company even tried to persuade me to share codebase of my previous project which was clearly not an open source & so it would mean an NDA breach.. I mean, WTF?!
  • 3
    There plenty of companies who have job listings for jobs openings they don't have. You will eventually learn to recognise the signs.

    I once applied for an internship and the guy said my background doesn't match the Internship opening while they literally asked for someone that was studying what I was studying. Did some digging and it turned out they were just stacking resumes for when someone on their team quits and are not actually growing their company. 90% of their job opportunities were bullshit.
  • 5
    Glassdoor review them. Warn others.
  • 0
    When they need you, you will know it.
  • 0
    Because of this shit I'm not that fond of these "challenges" but I understand their value for employers. That to me is the toughest decision: to actually commit to proving myself again and again in front of the very people I depend on to eat.

    AtuM makes a good point. If they really need a dev, they will settle for a guy that knows his own tech stack well and shows interest in theirs.
  • 0
    I guess you tell them you will do a 10 minute interview, and then leave, if they can't tell you if you have the job or not, before the 10 minutes is up, then you aren't going to waste your time with them.

    That might get them to focus on the most important things they want to know..

    Myself, I've noticed you can do well jumping through hops, and then the job is given to someone else who knows someone in the company as a personal friend..

    Sometimes even before your interview takes place !

    I found out once, still did the interview.

    Maybe I should have told them it was pointless doing it since I heard from a 'spy' that I hadn't got the job anyhow !
  • 0
    You tried entering a dinosaur.

    Search for companies wich aren't big enough to support a bullshit HR team wich does not actually do anything, but just wastes shit tons of resources (even real dev time of that pair programmer) interviewing and testing people that they never intended on hiring in the first place.
    It is companies like that wich have entire floors of cubicles writing code wich never ever gets used by anyone.
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