The state of hiring and job hunting in 2018 is beyond frustrating

In my end of the year post titled, “To infinity and beyond! My plans for 2018” I highlighted that I’m currently looking for new job opportunities since I’m no longer pursuing KYA. I’ve been “on the market” since around September / October, meaning I’ve been actively looking and applying for new jobs and to be quite frank, the whole process is pretty sucky. I had some luck early on with a few places I interviewed at, but in the end there was never an offer made. Towards the end of the year the search went pretty cold, though I guess that’s to be expected during the holiday season. Nonetheless, undeterred and excited to make a positive impact somewhere I kept applying to things I thought seemed interesting and cool. In fact, the day after I wrote my post outlining my plans for 2018 I stumbled across what I thought sounded like a very cool position at what could be a really cool company. The job posting for the role had the title, “Business Development Director,” and after reading the job description I applied.

A day later I received an email back from the founder of the company–they wanted to speak to me about the position. Great. We scheduled a call for later in the week. And this is where the story begins. I’m going to be providing screenshots from all of our email correspondence over the course of the past two weeks. I’ve redacted things such as the founder’s name, a name of one of the founder’s employees, the company name, their email addresses, and certain other pieces of information, that being said, none of the redactions take away from the story and what happened to me is as clear as day.

So as I mentioned, I wrote the initial email to the founder and attached my resume. It’s important to note that in the job description the founder had asked a few specific questions that they wanted the applicant to answer when applying. I did that in my initial email. Here’s the first four emails between us.

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Excellent, right? A quick reply to my application and we had a phone call scheduled the same week. This is going well so far.

We had our call, it was a fairly lengthy phone call–probably around an hour or so. Overall I would describe the call as one that went fairly well. The founder had some hesitation about whether I would be really passionate/interested in the industry their company was in as it was a bit different than what I’ve done. But at the end of the call the founder asked me to send them an email pitching why I’m the man for the job. It was clear to me that this email would dictate if they would move forward and continue speaking with me. Here is the next set of emails.

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“Thanks so much for this follow-up email. It’s really outstanding.”

Awesome! I mean, you can’t ask for a better reply than that, right? Well, it actually got a bit better. As you can see the founder continued to think about me and my background after our initial call and how my analytical expertise could actually prove useful.

This past Monday I went to the company’s office space, I spent two hours at their offices–the majority of the time speaking with the founder. Towards the end of the meeting, the founder made a verbal offer to me. They asked what my salary expectations were, I told them what I was looking for at which point they let me know that my expectations were a bit higher than they were thinking. We continued to discuss salary a bit where the founder assured me they wouldn’t be paying me pennies and that it would be a “livable wage.” In addition to that the founder said they planned to incorporate a commission structure into the salary offer. I mean we even discussed revisiting salary 6 months down the line. Ultimately it seemed settled that the founder would crunch some numbers and see what they could make work and we could continue to negotiate after I received the written offer. The founder then asked me to provide them with three references. I said of course and told them I would email over my references as soon as I got home after I let them know. The last thing the founder mentioned was that they would send over an NDA for me to sign so they could send me their strategy deck to review. Perfect, I thought. After we finished discussing salary, references, and the NDA the founder took me to meet the team and showed me around the office a bit more. I even asked them where I would be sitting, they thought about it and pointed, “probably over there.”

We shook hands and they walked me out. Here are the emails following the in person meeting.

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This seems to be going really well. During my in person meeting the founder and I were discussing restaurants nearby where I grew up on Long Island, I couldn’t remember the name of one of them so the following day (Tuesday) I looked it up and sent it over.

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Now fast forward to today, Friday, I still hadn’t received the strategy deck or any update really. I was told I’d have it sometime this week, so I wrote an email this morning to check in and that’s where things fell apart. Badly. As you’ll see the founder’s response to my “check in” email is very strange. It’s all over the place and somehow over the course of three days the role we were discussing in great detail on Monday had “evolved” into a much more junior role and that I should keep in touch and maybe in six months they’ll have something for me. I mean, WTF. Here’s the last set of email correspondences.

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What did they expect me to reply with? “Oh, ok, sure no problem. I’ll just sit around and twiddle my thumbs and hope you have a role for me in six months.” I don’t think so. I’m not going to lie reading that was infuriating and yes I realize I was very direct, blunt even in my reply but I definitely think it was warranted. As I said in my last email I never did this to someone when I was hiring and I certainly never will in the future either. It’s so unprofessional.

I thought a lot before writing this post, I thought long and hard because I realized as someone who’s looking for a job right now it could possibly reflect poorly on me. I ultimately decided if this makes me look bad to someone I wouldn’t want to work with that person anyway. What I just experienced is appalling. I know I can’t be the only to have gone through something like this while looking for a job so I felt compelled to share my story so others would know they’re not alone.

The last thing I’ll say regarding this series of events is if you do this (or have done this) to someone: screw you. I will not let this experience demotivate me or stop me from advancing my career because as you all know now–I’m not wired like that.

Have a job hunting story? Feel free to leave it in the comments.

About the author

— Jeff Weisbein

Jeff is the founder & CEO of BestTechie. He has over 10 years of experience working with technology and building businesses. He loves to travel and listen to music.

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