Thursday, April 14, 2016

The interviewee side of interviews

There's a lot of advice flying around about how to interview testers. I get that people are concerned about finding the right person to join their team, and recognizing what makes a good / great tester is relevant, and that with the modern team work approaches the person needs to gel into the team. But let's look at the recruiting process from another angle: the one being (potentially) hired.

I enjoy my current work a lot. Things are better because of me. Things keep getting better. We try some great stuff, and I adore my developers for the intellectual challenges they pose me (when they need my help) and for the great stuff they do (making me feel unnecessary). There's two things I'm regularly missing: other testers to grow with me and harder problems to solve. And I'd love to relocate to California for private reasons for the right job, if that would present itself.

I don't actively look for new work, but every now and then there's something I can't quite resist taking a better look at. The positions I've looked into recently would serve my need of other testers to work with and harder problems (being significantly behind in agile adoption and quality-related practices) and I would have a lot to offer.

I've just gone through one recruiting process to the point of having to make a decision of whether I accept the job or not. I'm still undecided on my choice, and wanted to share a concern these recruitment processes have in my perspective.

As the trend of the era is, there can be a lot of work without compensation as part of the recruiting. There's the manager, team and HR interviews (or even more). There's a full day of psychological tests. And there might be a day of working with the team. All unpaid. Things that happen while I should still be at my day job earning my monthly salary. Things that make me take unpaid vacation or give up weekends to compensate for the lost hours.

The feeling these processes give me is that I'm a liability. The processes bring out all of my weaknesses (which I'm well aware of, having been through these tests and discussions many times before) and mention my strengths in passing. I feel I'm being heavily filtered for possible inappropriateness. And this filtering is expensive for me. I don't have the corporate resources behind me. This is significant money out of my personal pocket, and I refrained from writing about this up until the point that I knew this was not a bitter rant of being rejected, but a consideration at a point of accepting me after all the filtering.

I think back to the time I was about to join Granlund. How my manager back then used a bit of the time in the interview into getting to know I was a tester they are looking for, but majority into making me feel like I was wanted and welcome. And I remembered discussions with one of my smartest old colleagues who mentions that the really good candidates need to be approached differently, to make them choose your company over all the other options.

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who has a lot to give (and expects to be paid for that work fairly). I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels many companies could use my skills and expertise. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that I'm interviewing the company and reflecting on their value system just as much as they are interviewing me.

Interview shouldn't be just a filtering process. It's also a sales process. Why would you want to give your capabilities for this job and this organization? Money is not the defining character for quality of life around work. For me, sharing some of my values are a defining character. And making me invest days into recruiting process for the assumption that that is how these processes works just feels wrong and outdated.