May 5, 2015 Agnostic Unicorn ™ Wanted

The economy is recovering but employers seem to have unrealistic expectations. I call them unicorn jobs. I am not a database developer or database administrator, but I know the difference. Last Thursday a recruiter contacted a database developer for what was called an engineering position at a trendy San Francisco company. Normally they hire young subsidized hipsters who work cheap on the hopes that their stock will turn them into second generation millionaires.  Last week their stock took a serious hit. Why? Because they needed to quickly develop a system to deliver enough accurate information to their advertisers about their users.

Nobody inside the company had the skills or wanted to do this very difficult project. They were going to have to pay a lot of money to an old Silicon Valley company to fix their part of the problem. On the hope of cutting costs, they also contacted a recruiter or job shop to see if they could find someone cheaper.

Last Thursday Recruiter One called a database developer and said they had a position at the trendy company. The developer expressed interest and asked for a contact name and job description.

Late Friday afternoon Recruiter Two from the same company contacted the database developer and said they had a database administrator (DBA) position at the trendy company. The database developer contacted Recruiter One to clarify who was the primary contact for the trendy company and for additional information about the job. A developer and administrator are two very different jobs.

Instead of Recruiter One responding, Recruiter Three from the same company contacted the database developer Friday evening and essentially said to ignore what Recruiter Two said. Recruiter Three said he would send a job description and the name of the person at the trendy company right away so that the database developer could prepare for the phone interview.

Saturday passed. Sunday passed. Monday morning, Recruiter One sent the job description, title and contact info less than two hours before the scheduled job interview. When it arrived, the job title said database administrator not database developer. Everything in the job description was about being a DBA. Even worse, the trendy company was asking for three years experience in a product that was not commercially available until two years ago.

Recruiter Three calls the database developer, who is no longer interested in the position. Recruiter Three says the job title is agnostic. The title does not represent what the job is. The job description is not what the job is either. The database developer thought the whole deal was misrepresented and was very definitely not interested in the recruiting company or the trendy company. The experience was like trying to buy a used car.

Always the stone cold professional, the database developer immediately contacts the trendy company interviewer and says that while the company is very nice, the position is not a good fit.

When things go so wrong, I try to figure out what happened. The trendy company tried to build a global presence without the internal IT structure to support it. They created a job title and description that no one inside or outside the company wanted or could do. The recruiting company staff did not honestly communicate with each other, the trendy company or the database developer. They were going to send the database developer into an interview unprepared. Were they hoping that it would buy them time until they could find another magical unicorn for a candidate? Were they hoping that the database developer would try to fit into the unicorn job?

If you have a unicorn story, I would like to hear it.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.