Here's the time an Amazon recruiter scheduled a call with me just to tell me I wouldn't be getting the job.

A few years ago, I left Uber after the seemingly non-stop public snafus they were getting themselves into (I have a lot of rants about Uber if anyone is interested, some of them mind-melting). I decided to take a two month break given that my financials looked decent for once and I was tired of 100 hour weeks.

During that time, I of course started perusing the typical job-seeking sites I had remembered from before. Somehow, from one of the profiles I set up, I caught the eye of an Amazon recruiter. They emailed me and I agreed to set up a date and time for an introductory chat.

They already had my CV. They already had my StackOverflow/Github information. This wasn't a technical interview, and the recruiter wasn't part of any of the tech teams. This is important information moving forward.

A few days later, I got the call from the recruiter. He introduced himself as the person from the emails, thanking my for my time, etc.. Things started out pleasant with the smalltalk and whatnot, but then the recruiter said "so I have some concerns about your resume".

Under one of the sections I had a list of things I was skilled with - one of which, regrettably, is PHP. Completely ignoring Java, Javascript, C# and C++ knowledge and all of the other achievements I have with those technologies, the recruiter really wanted to drill me about the PHP.

"Do you work a lot with PHP?"
"No, not anymore - from time to time I have to do something with it but it's not my main language anymore. I know it quite well, though."
"Oh okay well we aren't looking for any PHP roles right now, unfortunately."
"Okay, no problem."

Perhaps I could have said more, but from my end of things, I meant "I don't see a problem here, I don't write a lot of PHP and you don't need a lot of PHP".

After a pause that felt like an hour, the recruiter broke the silence and said "Okay well thanks for your time today, I'm sorry things didn't work out."

Bewildered, I asked which technology stack they were using on the team.

"Not PHP, unfortunately. Thank you for your time." and then an abrupt click.

The recruiter found me himself, looked at my resume (assumably), sought out to contact me, arranged a time for a call, and then called me, just to tell me I wouldn't get the position due to knowing PHP at some point in my career.

Years later, the whole interaction still shocks me. Somewhere in my drafts I have a long letter to the recruiter basically going over my entire career history explaining why his call was incredibly... well, fucking weird. Towards the end of writing it I realized it was more therapeutic for me to deal with whatever it was that just took place and that it probably wouldn't change my odds of working at Amazon.

So yeah. That's the story of the time Amazon set up a recruiting call just to tell me I wouldn't be working for them.

  • 8
    Some shit like that happened to me too.

    Without intending to generalize, there are a lot of dumb head hunters out there. They don't understand shit of what we do, and they don't have any aim to learn about the topic. Oh, and of course they are not ashamed of faking it all the time.

    The case of PHP is... special, though. It was a very bad technology for many years (now I wouldn't say that, it improved a lot), and it acts as a stigma for many developers who used to work with it. It's totally irrational, but it really happens.

    There are some people discriminating developers for the sole and only reason that they have experience on PHP.
  • 5
    What the actual fuck...
  • 7
    Fuck that guy.

    There's 455 million fucking WordPress websites.

    As a language, yeah, php is no longer my go to choice either. But you bet your fucking ass if somebody waves some loot in front of my face to fix their WP site I'm going to be coding me some PHP.

    So, to somehow be this disqualifying skill... fuck them.

    I'm not really proud that I code php... but I'm certainly not ashamed. It's a money maker and still probably 30% of my weekly earnings.

    And there are MANY scenarios where a project will need both a LAMP (or .Net) dev and a Node/React dev... that's pretty much what "full stack" means these days.

    Recruiter was just a dumb fuck, and I've literally never met one who wasn't a dumb fuck.

    If they actually knew a fucking thing about programming they'd be programmers and not fucking call center working bitches.
  • 1
    PHP has a place, for sure.

    Just not on my machine.
  • 1
    Huh wtf is that for weird rollercoaster
  • 4
    why didn't you try to make more of a pressing point for the fact that you have additional skills?

    I had a similar situation. Still got hired but it was different, I originally applied for a PHP dev, but had Java experience and somehow they decided to throw me in an Android dev position, shit was weird.
  • 3
    Wow. You sure you weren't an experiment of some AI recruitment thingy? Lmao.
  • 3
    Mind games. Especially at places like the big four.

    He probably deliberately picked a skill they didn't need to see how you reacted and sold yourself for another skill they did. When you didn't, that was probably the end of the process.

    These things suck, and I hate them as much as anything, but you need to be a bit savvy with them to get anywhere. The recruiter calling you also means sod all unfortunately - makes it seem like they're interested in you, but in reality they're just spamming to hope for a response.
  • 1
    I would call his company and ask to speak with the supervisor. I'll tell you what I found out after I had some WEIRD interaction like that with a recruiter. Sometimes they're not actually with the company (in this case Amazon), but a 3rd party agent. THe supervisor told me that management requires the recruiters to be keeping busy, sending emails and making phone calls.... So it sounds like to me you were the victim of one of these mindless processes by a young recruiter just trying to pad his time-on-the-phone stats to keep his management happy, that he was working... and the actual position was probably already closed, for other reasons...
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