Why would a skilled developer fail to get a job offer from a Fortune 500 company?

According to the IT labor market, giant tech companies, including those listed in a FAANG abbreviation, will double the salary a medium-sized company offers their developers. For example, an experienced US-based developer who works in a small-to-medium company will get, on average, 160 to 200K US dollars per year. Meanwhile, someone with the same background, skills, and experience in Google can expect to get 300 to 400K annually. 

FAANG meme

This difference in benefits makes thousands of the best tech talent apply for open positions in American Zaibatsu corporations. However, 75% to 99% of applicants with exceptional education, breathtaking skills, and two-digit years of experience fail to get a job offer. Why? 

It’s not you; it’s them

Even the best team leads and HR managers (or whoever will interview you) can be biased. Amazon once tried to eliminate a human error from the recruiting process but ended up with an AI that hired only men, as the big data it was learning on had more hired men; hence, an AI decided that men are better than other genders for Amazon. 

In the worst-case scenario, you can be interviewed by an inexperienced interviewer who can be naughty.

  • They might give you college-level test tasks and neglect the knowledge you can bring to the team. 
  • They can be too orthodox and unable to recognize the validity of your original solution. 
  • They can ask you questions that have no relation to the job you’re applying for.
  • They can ask for a coding test when you’re applying for a C-level position. Like forgetting that team leads are managers and solution architects. They don’t usually code themselves.
  • They can dislike you for one reason or another and be simply unfair.
  • They can ignore your thought process and focus only on actual answers

But if you look at it closely, it’s not just the recruiters’ fault. The situation with IT recruitment seems to be vicious in itself.

It’s not them; it’s the system

Every single developer has been tested with one or another LeetCode task. This approach for selecting tech talent is quite efficient when you’re interviewing yesterday’s college students that search for their first job in development. However, the older you become and the more experience you get, the more forgetful you become of ways to reverse a String or print out a Fibonacci sequence. Instead, you’re quite skilled in completing the day-to-day jobs as a developer, which is completely different from solving test tasks.

When FAANG recruiters approach you, they email you with things you should do to prepare for the interview in their company. The preparation itself can take even the most experienced developers up to 40 hours, which seems insane (and it is). Apart from that, there will probably be a take-home test that you should spend up to ten hours working on. You invest your precious time, and then you see the stats saying, “We hire only 1% of the best tech talent on the market.” The competition is extreme. The chances of getting a job offer are extremely low. The possibility that you will be happy with a no-life, coding ten hours a day, competitive and arrogant weekdays is even lower.

The result – experienced developers who value their skills, time, and work-life balance are not even thinking about applying for a job that requires sixteen interviewing stages. Most developers agree that this systematic approach to recruiting is disrespectful to senior-level tech talent.  Experienced developers tend to be older and have other priorities. They’re not ready to waste their time on something as unproductive as LeetCode tasks.

The maniacal desire of tech companies to “follow the leaders” and make recruiting in their structures as selective and as difficult as in Google leads to hiring developers who are good at test solving and following and not making things done and leading. People who are creative and passionate about innovations don’t end up as FAANG team members. They go to companies that value their time and their experience.

Well, maybe it is you to some extent

Let’s be honest – experience doesn’t always equal skills. So, sometimes it is understandable why recruiters get too picky and ask you to do things to prove your worthiness (especially if the open position is worth $400K+ a year). 

Disclaimer: it’s not our opinion on Twitter. It is just a joke.

The big problem is it is hard to identify good developers. As many CEOs say: “You give them three months and see what happens.”

Wouldn’t it be great if employers simply looked through your previous projects and decided if your skills match their demands? But wait, there is such a possibility! If you code beautifully and don’t want to get involved in development testing, add a link to your Git account to your CV. 

Five recommendations from MWDN Recruiter Oksana Makarova

Follow this advice to increase your chances of getting a job offer:

  1. Work on your Linkedin profile and post good peer and client testimonials. 
  2. Renew your CV (describe your projects, responsibilities, and technology stack, thus saving time on unnecessary questions from recruiters) and write a motivational cover letter.
  3. Check out if the company you’re applying to does share your values. In a perfect world, a recruiter will look for the cultural fit between you and the company.
  4. If you do really want that half-a-billion-a-year position, but they send you an email with a mock interview and recommendations on how to get ready for the interview – try to get yourself ready! By the way, some countries have whole towns where young tech savvies spend their youth on your take-home tasks (just saying). 
  5. Visit some interviews before applying for a job of your dreams. Getting through tests and interviews is a skill that can be forgotten if you’re working at the same place for a decade. Refresh your capabilities of being instantly likable by recruiters. Showing up to some interviews will also help you deal with interview anxiety.

interview anxiety meme

By the way, if you are actively looking for something new, why don’t you check out our job opportunities? Maybe your dream job is just around the corner.


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