jobs-discuss

Job hunting, interview process and anything related to the experience of a job writing the Clojure language.
Aron 2020-06-09T03:21:40.248200Z

I never needed references before coming to the UK, but all my best colleagues and bosses marked me as friends on Facebook or LinkedIn or something, I could reach them if I wanted. :)

Aron 2020-06-09T03:22:57.248400Z

I also do not understand why you can't give your current colleagues as references

seancorfield 2020-06-09T03:42:09.248600Z

If your current work doesn't know that you are looking for a new job, you don't want potential employers calling them up about references!

kenj 2020-06-09T03:45:25.248800Z

The real kicker is how trivial it would be to have a buddy pretend to be your manager and be a reference, as thereโ€™s no good way to verify the person on the other end of the phone is who they say they are.

Aron 2020-06-09T03:51:23.249Z

They can look up the person on linkedin too, most of these people have profiles, they can see we worked together at some company, with job postings often

Aron 2020-06-09T03:52:46.249200Z

If I want to hide that I am leaving and I want to switch in secret, it's an interesting issue, but I would say that the problems are due to already pre-existing assumptions about work/life stuff. It's not normal in any case the way we normalized our life in these workplaces, so I don't worry too much that in the details it's even less normal.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T03:56:01.249400Z

Well, I've always quit one job before starting my search for a new one -- unless I've been head-hunted unexpectedly while happily employed (which has happened a couple of times) -- but most people don't have the luxury of leaving their current job before they start looking for a new one...

Aron 2020-06-09T04:02:51.249600Z

Absolutely agree, however I get confused. Are we talking about specifically a veteran clojure dev, a veteran javascript dev, or most people, who, being most people, can't speak english, can't write code, can't talk corporate lingo on an interview, can't properly "price themselves" and most importantly, they do not know anyone in the first place to ask help from, they have to go through the front door which is always an issue if you want to get good deals. But I digress. I didn't mean leave immediately, I meant that it's possible to look actively while working somewhere else. The contract shouldn't say this is not ok, if it does it's probably illegal already. And if current colleagues have issues that means they either don't understand changing circumstances (like moving between cities or countries, in which case I doubt anyone would complain) or they are probably part of the problem that prompts the leave, so you wouldn't want to give them as reference anyway.

dharrigan 2020-06-09T04:34:37.249800Z

For references, it's perfectly acceptable just to give the details of your HR department. Legally, in order to avoid any deflamation suits, the HR department simply confirms you worked for them, what your job title was and the period of your employment.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:37:45.250Z

@dharrigan That's in the UK. It seems to be different in the US.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:39:44.250200Z

@ashnur I'm not sure what you're meaning to say there -- but your words could easily be read as very insulting to a lot of people, so I hope that's just unfortunate wording...

dharrigan 2020-06-09T04:40:42.250400Z

Can you be sued in the US if you discover a bad (maybe wrong? maybe right?) reference was written about you?

Aron 2020-06-09T04:41:42.250600Z

What is insulting? I wasn't aware writing anything like that. Would like to correct it if someone points it out to me.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:47:01.250800Z

@dharrigan Probably ๐Ÿ™‚ The US is very litigious...

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:47:44.251Z

@ashnur Your words sounded very dismissive of a lot of people, as if they have no skills and no value. Glad that's not what you meant.

Aron 2020-06-09T04:50:08.251200Z

Yeah, I find it very interesting that these kind of misunderstandings always, always pop up when I mention all people, since I actually mean all people, like all humans alive. Most people on earth are objectively describable like how I described them, without any kind of dismissal being apparent, in fact I wanted to highlight how bullshitty the world we both are more or less successful, which excludes most people, it is not me who insult the majority, it's everyone who thinks the current situation is normal.

Aron 2020-06-09T04:51:12.251400Z

But I guess I shouldn't be that subtle because then I, as the bearer of bad news, get shot down as the insulting one ๐Ÿ™‚

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:51:37.251600Z

Well, if these kinds of misunderstandings "always, always" pop up, I guess it must be the way you're wording things then ๐Ÿ™‚

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:52:48.251800Z

As long as you're polite about it, I guess you could try being "not that subtle" to see if it leads to fewer misunderstandings.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:53:31.252Z

I think you're just trying to say that a "most people" aren't software engineers... which I guess is a truism, but not actually relevant to the point I was trying to make...

seancorfield 2020-06-09T04:55:04.252200Z

Regardless of industry and skill level, most people are not in a position to quit their job, have no income coming in while they are looking for a new job, and then starting that new job -- most people tend to look for a new job while they are currently employed. That was all I was saying -- as a counter to your comment about using current colleagues as references.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:14:15.252400Z

There are too many misunderstandings to stop and care for each. In this case for example the most important would be that you are yet to express an answer to what I specifically said: you can look for work while working, no need to quit. We obviously agree that quitting before having another job is a luxury that is often not available even for software engineers. Just because you always quit or got headhunted, doesn't mean this is something to be followed by others, and I responded by trying to highlight that since most people are not like you, they don't have to do what you do โ˜บ๏ธ

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:15:59.252700Z

Right, and I said that most people will indeed look for work while working. But that is what makes it hard for them to give current colleagues as references.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:16:30.252900Z

Why though? Why would it be any kind of issue?

Aron 2020-06-09T05:16:45.253100Z

Who else would be the best reference as current colleagues?

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:17:14.253300Z

If your current manager doesn't know you are looking for a new job, and they get a call from some company asking for a reference, that's going to be awkward -- and if you end up not getting that new job, your manager might arrange for you to not have your current job either ๐Ÿ˜ž

Aron 2020-06-09T05:18:09.253500Z

But this is a specific mistake someone might make, forgetting to notify the person, I wouldn't dare giving a reference of someone without first asking them if it's ok if they randomly get called by some company...

Aron 2020-06-09T05:18:18.253700Z

I am not sure why this matters, obviously ask first.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:19:25.253900Z

Are you saying that most people, that is, the majority of the world, lives in a state of affairs where merely by telling their manager they want to work elsewhere, they can get fired immediately?

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:19:57.254100Z

Asking your manager if you can use them as a reference is going to make them think you are planning to leave. And even if it doesn't, when they get that call from another company, they'll know you are planning to leave.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:20:04.254300Z

Sounds ridiculous, surely there are bad managers, I've met a few, but none like this.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:20:48.254500Z

Well, the person giving reference must know I am planning to leave, I still don't see any kind of issue here, unless we assume this person is the biggest asshole on the block.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:21:16.254700Z

Because 1. had to convince me I can rely on them 2. but actually be unreliable

Aron 2020-06-09T05:21:38.254900Z

3. and be spiteful for me being sucked into the situation

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:21:40.255100Z

If a worker is unhappy and planning to leave, a lot of companies will terminate them immediately so they don't cause unrest with other workers.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:22:17.255300Z

so you are saying that if someone shows that they want to leave, that's reason for being fired before you can actually prepare for a switch?

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:23:05.255500Z

Yeah, it absolutely happens. I've seen it happen to friends and colleagues. I've had friends tell me about it happening to others in their companies.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:24:00.256Z

I've seen it happen in both the US and the UK, and I have friends around the world who've related similar things in their countries.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:24:58.256200Z

Ok, so I might understand this now, you are saying that a lot of people can't find work because new work means references, but references are only current managers. E.g. people whose references are not usable anymore or people who are working at their first job?

Aron 2020-06-09T05:25:37.256400Z

So actually, I can call this slavery, since the idea would be that although I am selling my time, at least I can leave, but leaving would assume that I have another place to go and I don't become a fugitive with no home.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:26:36.256600Z

I'm saying that the reference system is problematic because of how some (many?) companies use it. It was interesting to hear @dharrigan say that instead of references, some companies simply contact HR at your previous employers and confirm your employment dates.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:27:27.256800Z

Well, there are other ways to get hired, but if the only way to get work is through this system?

Aron 2020-06-09T05:27:46.257Z

That is, if all the places you have access to, are places that ask for references.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:31:24.257300Z

In the US, it's also complicated by the fact that it's very difficult from a legal point of view to give someone a "bad reference", i.e., if your new potential employers contacts one of your references, they'll either give a good reference (OK) or they'll refuse to give a reference beyond just confirming you worked there. So a refusal to provide a reference is usually taken as being a "negative" -- even if there were perfectly good reasons for them not to give a reference.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:31:58.257500Z

Also, even the suggestion you mention last only works if there are previous employers. For people who might get hired and then work for years at the first place (or maybe work before that is not in the same field), it's easiest to give current colleagues as references. Also also, references are not departments of institutions but actual humans, much more reliable (imho).

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:33:24.257700Z

Right, and I'm talking about direct, personal references -- but I don't have contact details for past managers (and it is manager references that companies most often want to contact).

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:34:17.257900Z

And, sure, if you're in your first job and trying to get your second job, that's an additional complication.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:34:37.258100Z

Which is why I started this thread and wondered what folks do about references ๐Ÿ™‚

Aron 2020-06-09T05:34:53.258300Z

I can see how the US situation is bad, but in the very beginning of this discussion I already said that these problems are about pre-existing assumptions related to how we work and how we live. I am not sure I like the reference system at all.

seancorfield 2020-06-09T05:35:26.258500Z

I completely agree -- I really don't like the reference system either.

slipset 2020-06-09T05:40:41.261800Z

We/I do reference checks. Never had a problem with candidates not being able to come up with a couple. We use the references to confirm our impression of the candidate, and to give us guidance on how to make the candidate thrive while working with us.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:41:28.262900Z

But I think it's all wrong, the way we organize work and the way we value it. Like, how https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle and later https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullshit_Jobs I would say it would be normal that in a global pandemic the people who remain at work get the highest paycheck, and maybe the same jobs should get the most even when there isn't such an emergency ongoing.

slipset 2020-06-09T05:42:23.264700Z

I like to think that weโ€™d be flexible if someone was not able to come up with a couple of references, but I would appreciate a good explanation as to why.

Aron 2020-06-09T05:42:58.265100Z

But when I suggested my Java dev friend that he should pay exactly as much to the cleaning lady as he would take for the same job, he found the idea alien.

slipset 2020-06-09T05:44:47.268200Z

What I think is problematic is when hiring is done by HR if HR is just following a playbook and not able to make adjustments for the individual candidates. (โ€œIโ€™m sorry you donโ€™t seem to have experience with XML, and itโ€™s required for this positionโ€)

Aron 2020-06-09T05:44:58.268400Z

@slipset I think I understand you, but when you say "confirm our impression", I hope you realize that also good for keeping up industry biases, because if the candidate is from a group which is viewed as less capable, you just confirm this : )

Aron 2020-06-09T05:47:16.271200Z

well, the name Human Resources I think makes everything very clear, no one expects anything more

slipset 2020-06-09T05:47:58.272600Z

Not that kind of impression. Say I interview someone, and I get the impression that this is a quiet person who likes to work on problems alone, and a reference says the person is an outspoken person who loves team work, then something is off somewhere, and we might need to get to know the candidate even better.

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:38:58.273100Z

I've had a complicated time finding references for that reason - it's quite common for people to ask for job -2 which could have been 5 years ago or something... even if you are still in touch with people (i am) and on good terms (i am) it's a bit weird to have to ask for a reference

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:39:59.273200Z

super weirdly atm I'm working outside of ir35 (i.e. literally as a bodyshop company where I could supply One Engineer in my place and still fulfil the contract) and I got asked to provide a reference...

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:41:28.273300Z

yeah i mean in the particular case I'm thinking of it was fun to solve if I limited myself to only map/reduce and transducers but it didn't scale as well as loop/recur

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:41:54.273500Z

but I felt like the loop/recur solution was a) boring and b) not an opportunity to show off idiomatic clojure constructs

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:42:27.273700Z

so I did it using map/reduce/transducers and it blew up with a big enough input

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:43:20.273900Z

I was like er yeah it'll stack overflow, although thinking about it today if I'd spent a week rather than a few hours there was probably a fully lazy solution that could be gracefully realised

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:43:29.274100Z

gosh that version would have been a pain to write tho

alexlynham 2020-06-09T07:43:48.274300Z

at that point you def would have to pay me, I've got interesting side projects I'd rather work on lol

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isak 2020-06-09T15:04:32.275600Z

Yea I don't agree with the references thing, it would have to be an extremely attractive place for me to bother with that

2020-06-09T16:13:56.278200Z

I wonder what it'd be like if companies had to give reverse references. Meaning you got to talk to a former employee and ask them about the experience

1๐Ÿ‘3
seancorfield 2020-06-09T17:08:49.279Z

@scriptor I guess GlassDoor is something along those lines ๐Ÿ™‚

1๐Ÿ‘
Aron 2020-06-09T18:43:43.280800Z

it should be a p2p thing though, since any company sitting on it will have immediate conflicting interest... what are glassdoor's own ratings?

seancorfield 2020-06-09T18:48:48.281200Z

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Glassdoor-Reviews-E100431.htm -- seems like they've allowed a lot of 1-star ratings to stand

seancorfield 2020-06-09T18:49:38.281800Z

Lots (and lots) of "Disapprove of CEO" comments... ๐Ÿ‘€

bartuka 2020-06-09T18:56:47.283700Z

As bigger the corporation, I find glassdoor more unreliable. There are several companies inside a big company. I think a p2p like @ashnur said would be interesting