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  • Dmitry Amelchenko

How do big companies stay afloat hiring whoever's left?

Updated: Aug 2, 2018

I recently lost a job and it never occurred to me how competitive the job market currently is.

Most of people that were let go as part of the same layoff are either got a job offer (or about to get one) just 3 weeks after they came on a market.

When I first found out that I have to start looking for a job (3 weeks ago), I started to approach the problem as methodical as I could. I had a plan. I did all the common sense things: I polished my resume, I published it on every job board I could possibly think of, I finally responded to few headhunters, who seemed to have some interesting leads, I started blasting my resume left and right to what ever positions I could find through connections, job boards, social networks. While doing it I have kept a detailed log of every submission, and any response that followed.

It's quite amusing to look back through this log and try to analyze a bit.

Well, yes, I was blasting my resume left and right, but, I was still very picky about the job descriptions (I tried to avoid jobs that had vague descriptions, without specific mentioning of technology or responsibilities), location (either remote, or Boston, which is my home town), seniority level (I was aiming at the Architect and higher, I'm definitely not an entry level guy), type of work (I was looking for somewhat new-ish technology and exciting projects, tried to avoid .net, php and alike).

Some interesting results:

* I had 65+ submissions in 3 weeks

* 3rd of companies were small startups, 3rd somewhat established average size companies, and the rest were really big, typically public companies.

* Most of startups responded on the second or 3rd day. Most of them either said they are not interested in my skills, or that the positions is already closed. After all I did get some very interesting interviews and mutual interest almost instantly.

* Most of the mid size companies would take slightly longer to respond (typically within a week), but generally very similar experience. Got some very interesting interviews and waiting for some offers to start coming in very soon.

* However, my experience with the large companies is very different. Typically an automated response from their HR system followed instantly after applying online, very politely explaining that they have received the submission and will review it. And that it. I would never hear back from any of these companies. From my previous experience, I'd usually get an email from them again only when the position is closed few month later.

I have to be fair, some of the jobs that were advertised by these giants were quite cool, and I was not ready to give up easily. As such, I'd try to find some insiders, and would ask them to refer me to these "cool" positions. I have a vast network, and almost always I was able to find someone who works there who could refer me, and who could put a good word in for me.

But, unfortunately, anything I tried, seemed like hitting a brick wall. It's like sending your info into the black hole. Most of my insiders also explained, that there is nothing they could do because their HR is usually completely disconnected from their IT and the hiring manager.

I don't know if Steve Jobs ever said this, but, one urban legends suggests he did: ...A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.

With all that, here is my final question. How do these big companies stay afloat these days. It seems, that who ever is able to snatch A+ players will gain a competitive advantage. If these companies are not optimized to hire A+ players, they are doomed to be stuck with B and C players. It seems that the only advantage these Big Guys have -- they really can pay above the rate, but, I don't think even that is happening. By the time they start opening up their wallets, the A+ players are off the market, working on the next thing that will revolutionize the world.

Am I completely off in my assessments? How do people find "cool" jobs at big well established companies these days?

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