Halloween is here, and what’s better than celebrating it with some real tech hiring horror tales? As every dev knows, hiring processes in the world of IT can sometimes seem to have been written by Stephen King or H.P Lovecraft.
That’s why during our last Codemotion Conference in Milan, we asked our community to share their worst experiences during tech hiring. The result? 10 tales that will leave you shaking in terror every time you click “send” when applying for a random job offer online. You might want to try Codemotion Talent instead!
10 true new dev job horror stories
The Tech Hiring Horror
“Once I got contacted by company X, asking if I was interested in an interview. I wasn’t actively looking for a job, but I said “why not?”. So I go, do a tour of the office, do my interview, and go on with my day. A couple of days later I get a call from the company headhunter saying how great it went and closing with “So, when is best for you to come back and sign?”. Shiver down my spine: “Er, we never discussed compensation”. Moment of silence, then the screams: “Is that all you think about? MONEY?! The prestige…” I stopped listening. How did I dare to think about paying my bills? Eating? THE HORROR!”
Submitted by Emanuele Maria Valentini.
“Some time ago I was interviewing for a job that involved relocation to Germany. I had a couple of interviews already and everyone agreed on my salary range: X-Y. During small talk I mentioned to the hiring manager that my partner back then already lived there. The salary offer was around 55-60% of X (minimum bound) and the reasoning was ‘you will live with your partner so you don’t need to pay rent’. I obviously went to a serious company and helped them make millions :)”
Submitted by Iulia Pasov.
The Four Riders Of the Devocalypse
“A few years ago I managed to get an appointment with a recruiter from a very important company. On the day of the interview, he let me know that I would not be alone…there were four candidates for the same position, and all of us would be interviewed AT THE SAME TIME. It was a complete mess. A week later the guy called me again, telling me that I didn’t pass and that he would keep me updated for other available positions. Just before the call ended, he said: “I need to ask…what are your plans for the future? Are you planning to have kids? You know, the company…“. Guess how it ended.
Submitted by Fulvia Venturi
A Ghost(ing) Story
“At my old job, we called a friend of mine, a really good developer, making him drive a ~60min gig. They interviewed him (I obviously stayed out of the hiring process). He had everything ok, all good feedback from the team and management. My company never let him know anything. Pretty common story, BUT: months later, they called him again. Another 60min travel, another interview, other good feedback, and…ghosted again. Not even a “no, thanks”. Both times there were no other concurrent candidates.”
Submitted by Luca Dei Zotti.
“Many years ago, desperately looking for a job, I found a “Web developer” position for a publisher: I sent my CV and immediately got an interview that same afternoon. The owner started asking me how to remove news links from Google: he was a scammer trying to lure aspiring models and he wanted a “factotum” to lure models on social media, remove negative feedback online and develop new scam websites. Cherry on top: pay was 1k €/month, 1st-month unpaid trial. I was so scared of being involved that the day after I called back telling him I got a better offer and immediately blocked him afterward.”
Submitted by Elio Castaldi.
“Once I reached a place for an interview at an abandoned building. I thought I was at the wrong address and called them. Someone comes out and asked me to follow him to the office on the other side. I get interviewed in a room with 3 people. They asked me the usual questions about my tech knowledge. Then tell me that they’re an investigating agency. If I accept, I can’t tell anyone about my real job for security reasons and they do surprise drug tests regularly. I laugh thinking it’s a joke but they say otherwise. They don’t specify much about the job or my role, so I thanked them and left.”
Submitted by Amit Rana.
A Sad Future
While looking for a job after University, I had an interview with a recruiter who was quite full of himself. After an interview where we barely spoke about the current company code infrastructure, he went on praising the “huge career possibilities” and told me “In a couple of years, you will just travel around Europe and won’t have to touch a line of code”. When I replied: “Well ok, but you know I applied for a developer position right?” “Oh yes, but nobody should want to stay a developer indefinitely, it’s a poor life plan and doesn’t get you the good life, am I right?” I left as soon as I could.
Submitted by Diego Mathias Olivares.
The Abominable Flash Monster
A rather large bank needed to redo the software for their bank tellers, which was done in Flash (in 2017). Our company couldn’t provide the developers for the task, but the bank asked us to assess the capability of a candidate development vendor. Their PoC was… awful. They had no idea how to use Angular, it was a mess. The bank understood and… gave them the project anyway! 🤦♂️ But wait! There’s more! They asked me to watch over their work for the project. 😭 It was a pain. There was no way to make their code right. 15 devs were working on it with no coherence. After a year I burned out.
Submitted by Massimo Artizzu.
Yet Another Ghost(ing) Story
I did an interview a month ago for an Italian company. I send the CV, and I get an email less than an hour later saying that I have passed the selection phase (wow, quick selection) and they invited me to do an asynchronous interview (video asking the questions and I had to record the answers with the webcam). I do this half hour of interview and after 3 days I get a call that unfortunately, I didn’t pass. Shortly after, I get a text message saying that they had not been able to contact me. I reply that it was a mistake and that the next day I would be available. No more answers. Ghosted.
Submitted by Francesco Fattori.
I’ll start! As a co-founder, I’ll speak as an interviewer! 😬 I was helping another CTO to interview two developers, Daniele and Luca. We were setting up our actual office and we needed some network cables, so I teach them to make those cables from scratch. Long story short Luca started to work with me, so is a happy ending. Did you want a nightmare story? While I was teaching him I cut myself so a lot of blood was involved in the process! 😅 I guess that impressed them since right now they both work with us! 😂 If we’ll win the hoodie those two will get it, so we’ll need twos! 🤓
Submitted by Mario Soprano.
We’re sure these tech-hiring Halloween stories have left you shaking in terror. But don’t worry! There’s no need to have awful hiring or job-searching experiences. Knowing about this common issue in devs’ lives, we have developed Codemotion Talent, where you’ll be able to look for jobs with clear tech stacks, requirements, and salary ranges from day one. Try it out!
Got a tech hiring story to share? Send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org