The Great Rehire


Article from ADMIN 74/2023
Be prepared for some bizarre interviews during The Great Rehire.

It's funny how tech companies always do what other tech companies do. If one company puts a Ping-Pong table in the breakroom, they all do. If Company A starts having catered lunches, they all do. If Company B puts TVs in conference rooms, they all do. You'd think tech CXOs would be more creative, but they're not. From Ping-Pong tables to salad bars to big layoffs to offshoring – they want to do what everyone else is doing. One company brought remote workers back into their offices, and then every tech company brought their workers back into their offices. When one company decides to rehire the people they laid off during The Great Layoff, they'll all do it, and so will begin The Great Rehire.

I look forward to The Great Rehire. I like to see people gainfully employed. Employment gives us dignity, independence, and opportunity. It stimulates the economy and can help everyone to thrive. I've helped dozens of friends and acquaintances find work over the years and was happy to do it. I didn't expect anything in return except a "Thank you." Everyone should pay it forward and build some good karma. You never know when you might need to make a withdrawal from your karmic bank account.

The return to employment will likely come with lower salaries, fewer extravagant perks, and crazier interviews. If you've participated in the interview process lately, you know precisely what I'm stating. Interviews have become more than a little weird. First, there's the screening interview to prove that you're a real person and possess a few basic "weed out" skills, which separate those who toss their résumés into the wind to see if any stick from those who are at least minimally qualified. The second interview is likely with an audience of one: The hiring manager. They will ask you questions about your career goals, specifics about your job history and skills, and perhaps a few open-ended questions to construct a personality profile to see if you're a good fit for the organization.

If you are granted a third interview, it's with the team. They will ask you the tough questions. They want to see how much you know and how much you don't know, as well as how you answer their questions. The problem with the team interview is that you never know the team's collective agenda. Are they looking for a leader, a follower, someone compliant, a go-getter, or someone who fits into the group's dynamic and demographics?

You might be asked to complete one or more tasks to secure your continued status as a candidate. These tasks might include developing a tutorial, writing a script, or creating a presentation for the group. It might sound pretty standard, but some requests can be crazy in scope or content. For example, one group asked me to work through installing their product and then write a complex shell script with no real-world application. Another asked me to write a tutorial for feeding my pet lion while out on personal leave. Another asked me to write how to deploy a simple application on a Docker container. The team that asked me to write the Docker tutorial wanted some discussion of Kubernetes in the how-to, although that requirement wasn't included in the task description, nor was it required for the tutorial.

Those weren't the only tasks given to me, but they're the most extreme examples. I often wondered if every candidate I competed with received the same tasks that I did, but I've heard stories from other job seekers that my tasks were tame and silly compared with some of the ones given to them. I'm unsure why torturing a job candidate is necessary, but it is the new normal. If you successfully navigate through your interviews and task assignments, you'll receive either a job offer or a note stating, "While your skills are quite impressive, we've decided to go in a different direction."

Good luck if you're looking to re-enter the job market rather than start your own business, explore your dreams, or make a career change. Polish your résumé, hone your skills, learn something new, and prepare for a rough ride. The Great Rehire will soon be upon you.

Ken Hess * ADMIN Senior Editor

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