[–] swozey link

And on the flip side bear in mind that some of us were 10-15yo on IRC back in the day. Don't fault those of us too hard.

reply

[–] rlayton2 link

Yes, one of the great things about the "don't use your proper name on the internet" was the ability to let go of the past if needed. Much much harder now.

reply

[–] roel_v link

Getting ot now, but actually you'd be surprised (at least I was) how fast you drop off the internet as websites and services die. I've gotten more careful about using my full name maybe 4-5 years ago (the 10 before that I didn't care, and I never used my real name the 10 before that) and nowadays I'm all but invisible online, save a few work presentations with my name on it left and right. I know the mantra is 'the internet never forgets', and probably if you're high profile it doesn't, but for your average joe, even thousands of comments and tweets and posts die off after only a few years.

reply

[–] Bartweiss link

Every once I a while I end up trying to recover my own posts and accounts from the Wild West days >10 years ago. It's shockingly hard - anything less established than Hotmail has a pretty good chance of simply being gone or unrecoverable.

Which is a pain when I'm looking for it, but vaguely reassuring otherwise; unless the government or the site-owners themselves are after you, much of that stuff isn't coming back.

reply

[–] magduf link

How is it that hard? I still don't use my proper name. The only exception is Facebook, but I don't do much on there besides maintain an account to prevent someone else from making a fake one to impersonate me, to be able to access the profiles of a few select family members and friends, and to sell stuff on the local yard-sale groups. For all my other internet activities, including this site, Reddit, etc., I use pseudonyms.

reply

[–] bpp link

Woah, EFNet...I was definitely 12 years old on EFNet back in the day.

reply

[–] pc86 link

I'm still friends with a handful of IRC folks. Some were older, some were younger. I think I was 12-14 during my heyday, but I was around for a few years prior.

reply

[–] mrbill link

A bunch of us eventually got tired of EFNet politics and started a tiny server network of our own that's run for almost .. 16 years now? Running /lusers shows 22 users on the network across 3 servers, with 5 total channels. Overkill, but it's "home" to us.

reply

[–] pjc50 link

Next time someone says technical hiring is not hiring quite so many women or minorities because it's purely meritocratic, I'm going to point them at this post.

reply

[–] rando444 link

(1) Networking and building a reputation for yourself will always have value.

(2) Most of the things that he's listed are merits. Being involved in his community, having a strong verifiable previous job history with good references, etc.

(3) Having a good job history, making friends, and being involved in online and offline communities are not things limited to white males.

reply

[–] gjulianm link

You are completely missing the parent's point. They say that this is one of the examples where hires are not performed 100% based on merit but that existing networks and references are an important aspect, without denying that this person did not have the merits to be hired.

Also, yes, good job histories, friends and communities are not limited to white males. But they have a strong component of inertia: if those communities, jobs and friend networks have something in common (e.g., gender) it is only normal that they attract persons with that trait and therefore the bias persists. Changing that is difficult and takes time and effort.

reply

[–] mistermann link

I'm curious if you believe this comment belongs to both the Freemason association and "mr_bill on efnet #unix IRC in the 90s", or only one of them? I'd 100% agree on the former, but not the latter.

reply

[–] pjc50 link

In re (3), the post specifically mentions the Masons, which traditionally is extremely exclusive, men-only, excludes Catholics, etc.

They've opened up slightly in response to pressure, and there are some female freemasons, but it's still pretty exclusive.

reply

[–] mrbill link

We have plenty of Catholic members. The Masons didn't exclude Catholics, the Pope banned membership in Masonry by Catholics because he considered the organization a threat to his authority. That ban is pretty much ignored nowdays.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_ban_of_Freemasonry

The Knights of Columbus was formed as a "Catholic equivalent of Freemasonry", basically.

reply

[–] rando444 link

The masons was an anecdote specific to that commenter, my point was that there are many different types of groups that serve the same purpose.

reply

[–] TheSpiceIsLife link

At the very least, I think pjc50's observation highlights that there is a certain inertia in some industries that perpetuates a bias toward one or the other gender.

Edit: changed a couple of words to make my point clearer.

reply

[–] rando444 link

Well if we're doing anecdotes, I work for the second largest IT firm in my country, and the management is largely made up of women, and I don't believe any of them to be freemasons.

Perhaps this observation has more to do with location and culture than it does industry.

reply

[–] TheSpiceIsLife link

Sorry, my point wasn't really about Freemasons in particular, but I'm too tired now to try to clarify.

reply

[–] drewmol link

Do you know any of them to be Catholic?

reply

[–] viridian link

Order of the Eastern star.

reply

[–] drewmol link

>exclude Catholics,

>but it's still pretty exclusive.

Catholics are a juggernaut, the global leader in that market. I'd say it was required strategy in order to avoid a squeeze-out. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squeeze-out

reply

[–] watwut link

Speaking about meritocracy.

1.) We laughed, shook hands and they headhunted me away

The headhunt started on very little information - basically on how he laugh and shakes of hand. Had likely proved himself later, but it was all was on instant first impression - where biases matter most.

2.) Freemason

How is that related to merit in tech? Yes, similar "we have thing in common" bias happen everywhere (and may advantage women in other context), but is not merit. Had he be a women that got hired on sewing hobby or membership in feminist organization, it would still not be meritocracy.

3.) making friends, and being involved in online and offline communities are not things limited to white males

Absolutely, in other context it would advantage women or whoever. However, they advantage people with same hobbies and interests as whoever is already in. They are not merit in any meaningful sense of word, just like call of duty is not merit or world of warcraft is not merit.

I am not saying that any of it is some horrible act or happens only in tech. It is not. Neither is it merit no matter how much tech people like to pretend real world is meritocracy.

reply

[–] aepiepaey link

> The headhunt started on very little information - basically on how he laugh and shakes of hand. Had likely proved himself later, but it was all was on instant first impression - where biases matter most.

No, they already had a previous relation: "[...] from the Oklahoma City-based ISP I'd started my career at and left in '96" (emphasis added). Given mrbill had worked for/with them (three years prior), they definitely had much more information than just a first impression.

reply

[–] hueving link

>The headhunt started on very little information -

At least read the comment before trying to troll. They headhunted him because he had already worked for them. It's hard to get more information than that.

reply

[–] mkirklions link

>no matter how much tech people like to pretend real world is meritocracy.

We are talking highly technical people, what merit did OP not have?

It sounded like OP had 2 decades of experience in his niche.

I really dont care if I hire men, women, or any race. I really dont. As long as you show up and get the job done, wonderful. Many people disappoint and my current contractor is a white male, and I dont care.

reply

[–] watwut link

1.) Meritocracy is much stronger claim then just lack of sexism or racism.

2.) I am saying that non-meritoratio properties gives an individual advantage over other individuals with the same merit. That does not mean that former is stupid or incapable. It just means that real world if more messy then we like to pretend.

reply

[–] mkirklions link

Why make this black and white?

A person in a niche has the requirements to get hired. They 'knew' someone from 20 years of working in this field.

At what point does it no longer become merit? They met the person at work, working on tech. Its not like they were born into it.

Also, I highly doubt 'same merit' is a thing in the tech world(especially among programmers). Programmers are rare and expensive, I doubt HR is choosy when it comes to these things. They have a difficult enough time filling positions.

reply

[–] aje403 link

Yeah but can we disregard common sense and still call it a good ol boys club for the sake of the pitchforks? I think if we turn it slightly differently we can definitely slap a white male oppression on it

reply

[–] chiefalchemist link

Yes, we know that happens.

However, to clarify, some of those were ppl he never met (but eventually did). Ultimately it's about trust. That is, can I trust this person can do the job __and__ work with the team.

People who are not will to "put themselves out there" are going to be at a disadvantage. Not all doors open easily. Too need to be knocked on again and again and again.

In a way, some of the examples actually provide hope.

reply

[–] hueving link

Giving enough of a shit to hang out on IRC is a merit. Most of the rest are anecdotes about having a long career. The only sketchy bit is the Mason thing.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] derefr link

Do women not attend social clubs? Because that’s what IRC channels and the Freemasons both are: social clubs.

Or, do women with hiring authority just not preferentially hire contacts from social clubs? (A good test case: are there as many “same sorority” coworkers as “same fraternity” coworkers, in proportion to the number of each gender with hiring authority in that company?)

Or, do women just end up in fewer positions with hiring authority?

reply

[–] bo1024 link

Even if all aspects of two groups were equal -- sociability and preference to hire from one's own social circles -- you can still have a rich-get-richer effect. Group A has many more people in hiring authority positions for historical reasons, so continues to preferentially hire from their social group, which is also mostly group A. Meanwhile Group B is doing the exact same thing, but has fewer people in power so things don't equalize out.

reply

[–] hkmurakami link

The last point is certainly a "yes" overall.

Junior Leagues are great example of women's social groups that are quite influential. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior_League

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] drewmol link

If they are not using this forum, and hold firm to ^ statement please don't point them here, but rather share the post's contents with them on efnet

reply

[–] jmvoodoo link

Hey mr_bill. Long time no talk.

-indy :)

reply

[–] alanpca link

uhh, hey guys. this is weird.

reply

[–] letsgetphysITal link

Freemasons.

reply

[–] Cthulhu_ link

is a sideways smiley face now some secret mason handshake?

reply

[–] alanpca link

No, just a 90s era #unix'er.

reply

[–] mrbill link

Hi there. It's been a while :D

reply

[–] jacquesm link

Only loosely related to your comment but the freemason bit reminded me of this Monty Python sketch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2PyeXRwhCE

reply

[–] mrbill link

I rather like this Hale and Pace bit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBnzp4OkDD4

reply

[–] jacquesm link

Hehe. Don't screw with the masons (or their daughters).

reply

[–] mrbill link

My last girlfriend's father had been a Mason, and she was heavily involved in the Order of the Eastern Star for a while. It was nice to not have to explain what I did when I went to Lodge, and so forth.. and when she attended our (public) installation of officers ceremony, she knew a bunch of the high-muckety-mucks that were attending :D

reply

[–] retr0h link

Wow, haven't been on efnet in forever. Ever know a guy named chris at unix.org, was in #unix.

reply

[–] michaelcampbell link

Another EFNet #unix veteran from the same time period. Ahoy!

reply

[–] mmaunder link

EFNet. Those were the days. I was pHaze on #phreak and #2600.

reply

[–] bunfunton link

Hey mr_bill it's me Andrew

reply

[–] Kenji link

Question: What is freemasonry about and why did you join it? I read up on them quite a bit but I just didn't find any good examples of actual goals and activities they are pursuing. Do Masons have a hacker mentality?

reply

[–] cookiecaper link

I'm not a Freemason, so I'm probably talking out of turn here, but I've always admired Freemasonry and the Masons I know are pretty cool, so I'll give this a shot. Corrections welcome.

Freemasonry is a collection of locally-run fraternities. There is no overarching masonic organization or top-down command structure, it's all done by the local lodge, which may or may not be affiliated with other lodges. They are all "Masonry" because they use the same rough template of traditions and rituals, passed down from earlier inductees (this is a simplification of course; there are different traditions within masonry called "rites", etc., etc.). Because their meetings are closed to the public, and because membership in such organizations is relatively rare these days, wild speculation occurs.

They don't have a mission other than to be good citizens, help their communities, and help each other. A few generations back, belonging to "the lodge" was an expectation for most permanent members of the community, and many community activities and services were effectively brokered by them. The rise of "lodge doctors" in the early 20th century is a good example.

reply

[–] mrbill link

I'm glad to answer any questions anybody might have, or honestly, pick up a copy of "Freemasonry for Dummies" from Amazon or a library. It's a very well written book, and I got to meet the author, Bro. Chris Hodapp, a few years ago when he spoke at one of our formal dinner meetings here in Houston. Great guy. It's one of the books I recommend to anybody who is interested in the organization and wants to learn more and possibly look into joining.

reply

[–] mrbill link

Actually, in the US it's run at the state level. Each state has a "Grand Lodge", that issues charters for the local Lodges (and in some cases, owns the buildings). Each state "recognizes" other state Grand Lodges (and their local Lodges) as "regular"; this lets me go visit other Lodges that my state GL has recognition with, and so forth.

You might see lodges designated "AF&AM" or "F&AM" - that dates back to a minor schism long ago where you had the "Antient Free & Accepted Masons" vs the "Free & Accepted Masons" - all that boils down to these days is minor differences in ritual and ceremonies. That's one of the nice things about visiting lodges in other states - to see how they do things differently!

You'll also see "Prince Hall" lodges - these are the Masonic equivalent of Historically Black Colleges & Universities. Nowdays, a white man can join an PH lodge, a Black man can join an AF&AM lodge, and so forth - and one thing I'm glad to see recently in Texas is that while we've had "recognition" between PH & the AF&AM lodges for over a decade now, we finally have "visitation" - where I can sit in an official meeting at a PH Lodge without having to officially request a visit through the Texas GL, and so on and so forth. This is the way it should have been for a long time, but honestly it took waiting for a lot of old racist guys to die off before we got to this point. Some states still don't have full recognition/visitation between the two and it's really upsetting (mostly in the Deep South).

We're basically a fraternal society with some secrets (all of which you can find out with the right Google searches) - we're not a "Secret Society". A lot of the secrets are just passwords, modes of recognition, and so forth. Stuff that boils down to (in my opinion) "If you can't trust your Brother to keep these simple secrets, can you trust him with anything else?"

Shortest simplest explanation: a bunch of guys who hang out once or twice a week and have a fancy dress meeting once a month, to get away from the wives, have dinner, BS and catch up with each other, and do some good for the community in whatever ways we can. We're there for each other, and anyone else that might need help that we can provide. There's really no "secret advantage" to being a Mason that's different than having friends who own businesses in "normal life" - at one time I joked that my Masonic tattoo might get me a discount on an oil change and I could get cupcakes at wholesale...

There's no "Illuminati" or world-running society. How can you expect us to run the world when sometimes we can't even decide what to serve for dinner?

It's really no different than belonging to any other social organization. My Brethren kept me sane and alive after my wife passed away in 2009 - I'd be sitting here at home alone, would get a phone call. "Hey we're here at Lodge cooking for the meeting on Wednesday, want to come hang?" "Nah, I'm okay, thanks." Five minutes later the phone would ring. "Bill, this is the Worshipful Master, if you're not here in 15 minutes I'm sending a truck full of guys to haul your ass up here.." They knew I needed to be around other people and to be distracted. (the WM is basically the elected president of the lodge for each year)

reply

[–] mrbill link

FYI - a Stated Meeting at a Masonic Lodge is basically Robert's Rules of Order, with a little more pomp and circumstance and fancy titles and "jeweled collars" (felt and chromed pot metal) for the officer positions. Being a Mason and speaking in front of an entire Lodge helped me get over my fear of public speaking - because everyone else in the room had been through the exact same scenario, and nobody was going to make fun of me.

The "Degrees" of Freemasonry: - you go through a ceremony - you memorize a series of questions and answers that explain the ceremony you went through - you present your "proficiency" in that degree - reciting the questions and answers - in front of an open lodge. The members of the Lodge then vote on your proficiency. - Once you prove proficiency, then you progress to the next degree ritual/ceremony.

There are three degrees: 1st Degree: Entered Apprentice 2nd Degree: Fellow Craft 3rd Degree: Master Mason The ceremonies and ritual are based around the allegory of the craftsmen that built King Solomon's Temple, although you don't have to be a Christian. All that's required is a belief in a higher power, and you swear your ritual oaths on the "Holy Book" of your choosing. I had friends joke that I should have used the Sun Field Engineer Handbook for mine :D

Once you're a Master Mason, you're a full member of your Lodge and entitled to vote on new member applicants, other people's proficiencies, hold office in the Lodge, and so forth.

If you hear someone referring to a "32nd Degree Mason", that means they joined the appendant body of Scottish Rite Masonry, which is just some "add on" degrees and ceremonies and another Lodge to attend meetings with! It doesn't mean that 32nd degree is "Better" than someone who is just a plain Master Mason.

If you hear of somone who is a 33rd Degree Mason - that means they have been awarded that 33rd Degree in the Scottish Rite due to great and long years of service to the Masonic community and their community at large; it's an honorary thing (think of it like an honorary college degree). There's also the York Rite degrees, but I'm not as informed in those. Those guys have big feathers on their hats and carry swords in their rituals.

reply

[–] pbhjpbhj link

>are based around the allegory of the craftsmen that built King Solomon's Temple, //

Interesting, so it's not an ancient society but a modern one fully cognisant of its fiction? I thought Masonry was founded on a real belief that it was a successor through time of a group of actual people building an actual temple.

Is it in the records of your society who created the fiction and why they based it on Jewish history?

It's funny, it's kinda the reverse of Welsh culture where the current form of Eisteddfod and druidic tradition is verifiably an invention of 20th C but everyone behaves as if it's pre-Roman Celtic history.

reply

[–] wl link

Freemasonry's self-awareness of its history has varied over time. Most educated Freemasons today don't believe the origin myths to be anything other than entertaining allegory.

A general overview of the topic: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Articles/History/origin_file...

reply

[–] mrbill link

Check out this bit on "Operative" vs "Speculative" Masonry, it addresses your question pretty well:

http://www.masonicdictionary.com/operativev.html

reply

[–] bovermyer link

So I have an odd situation for you.

I belonged to Blue Lodge #24 in South Dakota. I was elevated unusually rapidly to Master Mason to coincide with a visit from the Grand Master. I feel like it was way too fast; so much so that I didn't properly learn everything, in my opinion. I moved away from the area, lost touch with the lodge, and fell out of Freemasonry entirely.

That was about ten years ago.

Now I'm curious about connecting with a lodge locally here in Minneapolis, but I have no idea what my status would be. By tradition I'm still a Master Mason, but by learning I'm a novice. I don't even remember the proper greetings.

What should I do?

reply

[–] LloydPickering link

I'm a British Freemason, but in my jurisdiction so long as you resigned in good standing (without any money owed), then you just need to open a dialog with a local lodge (in amity/recognition with your mother lodge's jurisdiction) and explain the situation to them. In England the secretary of your new lodge would either contact the secretary of your mother lodge to check you are in good standing, or ask you to contact them for a certificate/letter stating you resigned in good standing. I think in the US you might do that with dues cards. Your new lodge can help you get back up to speed and should be very understanding.

I'd suggest contacting a few local lodges and get to know the members before you commit to one. You have to feel comfortable with the makeup and ambiance of the lodge just like any social group. You will almost certainly need to be proposed and seconded again as a joining member.

Finally recognise that while you have completed your three degree ceremonies it is expected that there is still a lot for you to learn in freemasonry. The ritual most commonly used in England suggests you to 'make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge' and you are taught the masonic ceremonies are 'veiled in allegory' meaning they are meant to be gradually understood over time as you see them repeated for new candidates, and by taking part yourself in the various officer roles in the Lodge. Don't feel bad that it was too fast - yes it's disappointing that you ended up in that situation, but even without it, masonry is not meant to be understood in one go. Don't be hard on yourself.

reply

[–] mrbill link

As one of my mentors said, "It's not about you knowing the proficiency 100% when you pass, it's about knowing it 100% when you're teaching it to others."

I wasn't 100% when I turned mine in, but they passed me anyway - after many hours of studying and working with others, they knew I KNEW it, but just froze up a bit during the official presentation.

I'd had some extenuating circumstances (wife passing away, etc) and was running up against the time limit to prove MM prof (otherwise we would have had to file papers with GL to ask for an extension, etc). I was told "We KNOW you know it, we're going to pass you, but promise me you'll get at least a C certificate when you can." The certifications are basically the Masonic equivalent of "teacher certifications" that prove you know the work 100% backwards and forwards.

In Texas, none of the work is ever written down (its all by word of mouth). At least in my Lodge, nobody ever gets to the "sit in Lodge to prove proficiency" stage without spending hours and hours working with others and the Deacons have already unofficially "passed" you - the sitting in Lodge for it is just a formality at that point.

reply

[–] LloydPickering link

That's fascinating! In England we are a lot more easy going over the proficiency required to progress. Normally your proposer or a lodge mentor will chat with you and go through your questions and responses, but there isn't any certificates etc. When the candidate is asked the questions to prove proficiency he is accompanied by the relevant Deacon who will prompt him, and in some cases actually prompt the whole thing. That doesn't look very good, but it does happen (particularly when there are extenuating circumstances). The candidate is still passed/raised. Once you have completed your raising you are issued with a certificate from grand lodge to prove your status as a mason, but it is not graded in any way. It simple states in flowery language when you were raised to the degree of a Master Mason.

In England there are multiple rituals in common practice and there isn't a move to formally standardise, mainly from the fact there were lodges operating before Grand Lodge was formed. The most common in use is Emulation Ritual which was designed to emulate the majority of the work done by lodges at the time the two English Grand Lodges merged. You can buy copies of the ritual freely, but various parts are obscured in shorthand so as not to divulge too much.

reply

[–] mrbill link

That's pretty much how it's done here - if you freeze up during the "official" presentation you'll get helped and prompted and so forth.

The Certificates I refer to are completely separate from proficiency - they're "add-on" exams / certifications from Grand Lodge that show you've learned the work 100% backwards and forwards. I think GLoTX now requires an A certificate for anyone moving up to WM.

I do have to say I love the formality of dress/uniform from the Scottish and English brethren that have visited my Lodge. Makes me feel way underdressed. :) One of the things I was told when first inquiring about joining was that "We care more about the man inside than their exterior, we're not going to reject or kick anyone out simply because they don't have a suit and tie or a tux. Wear the best clothes you've got, we'd rather you be here, period."

There's sometimes that I have to go straight to Lodge from work and I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt - I get the feeling that would be scandalous in an English lodge (I do wear slacks and a polo shirt when possible).

We do now require jacket and tie for anyone participating in a part in a degree ceremony, though.

I love being the Secretary in an EA - we have a certain bit that's specific to Texas and Louisiana that I started adding a little flourish to, that's become tradition at my Lodge :D

reply

[–] LloydPickering link

Shorts and a t-shirt would very much be scandalous! In fact there's a good chance the Tyler wouldn't let you in.

Normal lodge dress code is a dark suit and black tie (or the relevant masonic tie). Some lodges like mine are Dinner Jackets (Tuxedo). Provincial and Grand Officers wear a 3 piece morning suit (striped trousers with a black waistcoat and jacket).

My lodge is meeting tonight so I'm sat at work with my DJ trousers and a white shirt on and my DJ jacket in a suit carrier.

I agree that the man is more important than the exterior, but the way we view things over here is that it's not much to afford a black suit nowadays, and it means everyone looks more or less 'uniform' and therefore on the level. Culturally we tend be rather formal over here anyway.

We once held a meeting on the same night as a carol service in our local cathedral, so we were told that we were just going to open and close the lodge and open the festive board more like a ladies evening and DJ wasn't necessary due to the service, just wear a lounge suit. I wore a black suit as per normal, but with an orange tie and that caused quite a stir!

reply

[–] mrbill link

In Texas, of course our WM's head covering is a cowboy hat :D

reply

[–] mrbill link

Contact a local Lodge, explain the situation, and usually you can get a "letter in good standing" from your original Lodge (or Grand Lodge), "demit" (officially leave) your original Lodge, then apply for membership at your new local Lodge (and pay normal dues and so forth).

They will not make you go through the degrees again - but you can surely observe others if you like, and the new local Brethren can help you get caught up on all of the modes of recognition and so forth.

People "going away" from Masonry for decades, and then coming back, is not uncommon at all, and nobody will look badly at you for it. Especially if you say "I felt like my degrees were rushed, and I'd like to learn more".

reply

[–] hvidgaard link

> They don't have a mission other than to be good citizens, help their communities, and help each other.

At least in Denmark, they're founded in Christianity, so while I've known a fair few Masons, some family even. I've turned down all invitations to join. I'm not even fulfilling all requirements because I'm not a member of the church.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] sneak link

Note well that the masons are a sexist organization, denying access to women, and historically an entirely segregated organization as well (see also: Prince Hall Masons).

reply

[–] LloydPickering link

Really? See https://www.owf.org.uk/ In the UK Lady masons have their own lodges and we are very supportive of their efforts often sharing masonic halls and facilities.

As for Prince Hall Masonry yes there was racial segregation in America, but nowadays most State Grand Lodges recognise each other with a few hold outs in the deep south.

reply

[–] jmspring link

The path to becoming a mason is first by reaching out to your local lodge. The person who responds can help you with the process.

Beyond masons, there are the elks, the moose, and in parts of the West Clampers.

Each have their lodges, their rituals, and focus. I started the mason path, but life got busy. I’m a Moose member and a Clamper.

In all cases, the focus is community. In most cases, and this is what I appreciate, you are dealing with people across the spectrum of jobs/backgrounds/and economics.

reply

[–] BigChiefSmokem link

I wish there was a HN virtual lodge or something more intimate than this. Sometimes I feel like only you guys will understand the things im expressing and tbh I would love to illuminati some (adjective) and change/guide the world in more real ways than simply through corporation and finance.

And aren't modern day hackers the very descendants of the original Freemasons? You know, the ones that actually had to build (and rebuild) Rome.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

That sounds like a secular version of a church or something. Am I in the right ballpark?

reply

[–] cookiecaper link

Not a Mason, but yes, that's my take. Lodges provide the essential community functions and the recognition of a "universal brotherhood", without requiring any specific theological pronouncements (other than a basic acknowledgement that a "higher power" exists, which is vague enough to allow anyone). This allows virtually everyone in the community the ability to join and work together, more-or-less regardless of individual background or tradition.

Historically, secular fraternities like the Freemasons played a big role in keeping mixed-denomination communities communal, instead of fracturing off into hard, non-fluid segments. I would conjecture that we owe a lot of our cultural religious tolerance to the foundations of trust and community laid in the Masonic lodges of yore.

IMO it's a shame that these groups are not very widely established anymore (at least among "younger" people, who are now becoming "older" people). These fraternities do a great deal to help adults, families, and whole communities.

The only reason I haven't personally seriously inquired into joining such a group is that I'm already in a very active church community that covers most of the Masonic functions, and I have enough trouble just keeping up with that. I'd miss too many lodge meetings, etc.

For anyone who is floating or looking for a consistent community to anchor against, that will be there as an instant community even if you move around, Freemasonry or similar orgs are really worth investigating.

reply

[–] magduf link

As you said, these organizations aren't too friendly to atheists, and non-atheists are likely to be members of some church, so of course they're going to be busy with that, as you yourself experienced.

I guess people in the past had more free time to spend on non-work activities like this.

reply

[–] ControlledBurn link

Eh, kind of. There's a no atheists allowed rule last I checked (A belief in a supreme being and scripture is a condition of membership), but they're not picky about what god(s) you might worship.

reply

[–] M_Bakhtiari link

That's the root of the problem of freemasonry.

It means that a freemason have to hold contradictory positions as true. One might be an atheist by one cannot reject the so-called supreme being, one might belong to an Abrahamic religion but one cannot reject the Hindu pantheon. And within the Abrahamic religions it's more contentious than anything.

It's an expression of the Orwellian "2 + 2 = 5", and it's a very dangerous anti-realist totalitarian ideology, and it should be rejected whether you're a theist or an atheist.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

I don't think I follow. From what I've read here, the question is "do you believe in any higher power at all?" which everyone except a committed atheist could answer "yes" truthfully (and even then, an atheist could presumably accept some sort of "life-force" that isn't a god).

reply

[–] mrbill link

Correct. The question is "do you believe in a higher power y/n?" not "give us details on what you think of said higher power".

In ceremony/ritual we refer generally to "The Grand Architect of the Universe", instead of any specific diety.

BTW, Freemasonry is NOT intended to be a religion nor a replacement for one, and we don't want to be. We just use symbols and allegory that relate to the story of the building of King Solomon's Temple.

reply

[–] wl link

That's completely incorrect. Freemasonry expects religious tolerance. That is, Freemasonry generally believes people have the right to believe and practice religion as their conscience dictates. That also means that generally speaking, Freemasons should respect the religious beliefs of others. That doesn't mean Freemasons are required to adopt other people's religious beliefs or refrain from disagreeing with them.

reply

[–] ianhawes link

The proper term is "Third place" [0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place

reply

[–] emodendroket link

> In community building, the third place is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place"). Examples of third places would be environments such as churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks.

Seems too broad to really be helpful in this discussion. The park in Chinatown where people gather to play xiangqi is a "third place" but nothing like a church or Masonic lodge.

reply

[–] jwives link

Thanks for all of the plaques :)

reply

[–] csa link

|_o

reply

[–] megamindbrian2 link

Should freemasons do foundations for zero cost?

reply

[–] mrbill link

I've heard a story about an older lady who was confused and needed work done on her porch.. she contacted the local Masonic lodge for help.. and in a few days, a bunch of the guys showed up at her house and rebuilt her porch for her. Stuff like that is what we do. My Lodge takes donated bicycles from local stores (Wal-Mart, etc, where they were display models and can't be sold as new), fixes them up, and we donate them to various kid's organizations around town. We do a breakfast for teachers at a local school a couple times a year.. collect money for a couple of scholarships we award to local high school students.. and of course everyone has heard of the Shriners Hospitals for Children - every Shriner is a Mason, although not every Mason is a Shriner. It's what we call an "Appendant Body", an organization that you can join and participate in after you've gone through the three basic degrees of Freemasonry.

reply

[–] megamindbrian2 link

I know only a few. One installs floors when they need an extra hand. One drives a Maserati. I am thinking about applying. You have to write three letters, the first two are ignored.

reply

[–] mrbill link

I've never heard that! But then I've only experienced Texas Masonry. Here, we tell you to come on down and hang out on our unofficial "study nights", where we sit around, have pizza, and guys go off in small groups to study the ritual memorization work.

The "new guys" or people who are interested hang out in our cafeteria, get a tour of the building, etc, and just ask questions, get to know the guys, and so forth. We encourage guys to explore different Lodges and find the one they feel fits them best (each group of men has a different personality and so forth). After hanging out with us for a while, if we think they'll be a good fit, we'll send them home with a "petition" (application).

The petition is filled out sorta like a job application, and permission is given to run background checks (because they might end up as the lodge Secretary and in charge of money and such someday), etc. In addition, a petition must be signed by three Masons basically saying "I have faith in this applicant".

Once a petition is submitted, at the next Stated Meeting, the Worshipful Master (president of the lodge) assigns an "Investigative Committee" of three men to interview the candidate separately. Usually this happens at their home, so we can also talk to their spouse/significant other, see if being a member of the Lodge is going to cause any hardship at home, and so forth.

Once the Investigative Committe has made a decision, at the next stated meeting they present a "positive" or "negative". If negative, no further action is taken and the candidate can't re-apply for membership within a year (I think, I'd have to look it up). If positive, the members of the lodge vote on the candidate.

Voting is done via "secret ballot", basically a wooden box with two chambers. One is full of black and white balls, with a hole leading to the second chamber. Each person votes anonymously by going up to the box, taking a ball, and putting it in the chamber. White balls mean "yes", black balls mean "no" (this is where the term "blackballed" comes from). The voting box is then shown to the WM and the Deacons. If all white, "the result is favorable", the candidate has been Elected to Receive the Degrees of Masonry, and they're contacted with the good news. If there's a single black ball, or some sort of contention, there VERY OCCASSIONALLY might be a re-vote. Otherwise the candidate cannot repetition a Texas lodge for at least a year. If more than three black balls are present, then that candidate cannot ever reapply to become a Mason, because it means that at least three people thought badly enough of him to "blackball" him from the fraternity.

Once someone is notified that they've been elected to receive the degrees, the next step will be to schedule their initiation ceremony and collect their degree fees. (Lodges collect fees for each degree ceremony, to cover things like your formal apron, a Bible or other book presented when you become a Master Mason, etc, and just to keep the lights on). Once someone becomes a Master Mason, then it's just a yearly dues payment. I think ours is now $175, but I got in before a price hike a few years ago and bought an "endowed", or lifetime membership. I paid under $1K at the time and that basically covered my dues until I die or move to a different state - as mentioned before, Masonry in the US only goes up to the state level, and each state "recognizes" the others as official.

reply

[–] megamindbrian2 link

Thanks for the correction. The female version is called Order of the Eastern star in case anyone is wondering where to join. I just met one recently actually. Really sweet lady.

reply

[–] skate22 link

How are the membership numbers changing over time?

I only ask because of the religous aspect of the organization. I know a lot of the youth are not very religous (compared to previous generations).

I really like the community aspect, but the ties to christianity would definitely be a blocker for a lot of people i know age 20-30

reply

[–] mrbill link

Trending downwards, just like any social fraternity (OddFellows, etc). People are more interested in going online these days than having to attend actual meetings and so forth. The Masons' peak membership was in the 1950s.

reply

[–] viridian link

Do you know if there are any US branches that aren't pushing the religious angle anymore? My mentor tried to encourage me to join when I was younger (I was a carpenter's assistant), but I rejected it out of hand due to the religious angle. I don't particularly care about the ceremony of the thing (I was the president of a fraternity and had to recite a bit of prayer during weekly meetings), but AFAIK the only atheist accepting lodges are in France.

reply

[–] mrbill link

Not any that are going to be recognized as "regular" and adhere to the "Landmarks" of Freemasonry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonic_Landmarks

You'll find "clandestine" lodges (that just set up on their own, of their own authority) or claiming to be under the purview of a "Continental" Grand Lodge / "national" level GL that do stuff like allow women in, but if you join one of those Lodges, normal AF&AM/F&AM lodges will not recognize you as a fellow member or as a legitimate Mason.

"regular" Masonry has the Order of the Eastern Star, which is sort of the "Women's Auxiliary" of Masonry and has some similar rituals and ceremonies and so forth; it allows both women and men to be members.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

The voting method sounds inspired by ancient Greece.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] Kenji link

Thanks. These are exactly the kinds of examples I was looking for.

reply

[–] LloydPickering link

I'm a British Freemason. I joined because I was intrigued as to what it was about, and my old school had a lodge for past pupils. In England there are many lodges for different groups of people. In the city where my lodge meets there are other school lodges, lodges for musicians, farmers, university, rotarians, scouts and those who have been a Worshipful Master of a lodge along with lodges that have a more general makeup of members.

Masonry is founded on 3 principles; Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth which can be loosely thought of as Friendship, Charity and Self Actualisation via being a good citizen / considering your role in society. Through tradition it is a necessary requirement that you have a belief in a Supreme Being, but in most jurisdictions, that belief doesn't necessarily have to conform to any prescribed or organised religion and the Supreme Being is referred to non-specific ways such as The Great Architect of the Universe. Conversations around Religion and Politics are forbidden in English lodges as they are the two main topics which divide men.

All prospective members have to express an interest in joining, and in some jurisdictions that can mean anything from the extreme of having to ask 3 times before being acknowledged, to in my own jurisdiction, you can sign post you are a Freemason and what it's about, and wait to see if they express an interest in finding out more.

As the worlds oldest and largest fraternity we have a lot of tradition and there are 3 ceremonies that every new member goes through. These are allegorical and are a bit strange to understand at first, but certainly nothing to worry about. All the rumours of nefarious deeds and devil worshipping etc are a load of crap (and I say that as the current Worshipful Master of my lodge who is about to be appointed as a Provincial Officer).

If you are looking for friendship with people from all walks of life, enjoy tradition and ceremony and consider yourself a good man (or woman, as there are lady masons too in England under a ladies only Grand Lodge), then freemasonry might be for you. On the flip side, at least in my jurisdiction, freemasonry is dying off as the older members age and less younger people join. Freemasonry has just celebrated 300 years of the formation of the world's oldest Grand Lodge. Freemasonry will keep going for many years, but in the future it will consolidate.

reply

[–] mrbill link

One of the reasons I joined was that my grandfather (not by blood, but he married my grandmother after my real gramps passed) was a fine outstanding man, a 32nd degree Mason, and well regarded in his community. He provided for my college education, etc.

He had wanted me to get involved with Demolay (the "under-18" boys club that's sort of a Junior Masons) but I'd never had time - and I worked 36 hours a week after school during high school.

I finally started looking into Masonry in 2008, and had a few friends who were members. They helped me with pointers, I joined a lodge here in Houston, and on my birthday in 2009 was finally Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. It was a proud moment - and afterwards I was able to put on one of my grandfather's Masonic rings with a tear in my eye. I know he would have been proud.

I'm happy to have been able to be that "helpful friend" for a couple more people I know who have since joined the fraternity.

reply

[–] M_Bakhtiari link

It’s important to note that most responses here will come from Americans, who aren’t exactly known for their Masonic ideological purity.

I probably wouldn’t care about an American candidate, but I would never consider hiring someone who turns out to be a European Freemason any more than I would hire a neo-nazi.

reply

[–] inertiatic link

Could you elaborate?

reply

[–] wl link

It is ignorant and defamatory to imply European Freemasonry is in any way comparable to neo-Nazism. Indeed, the Nazis suppressed Freemasonry because it opposed Nazism. It is obvious that the majority of the parent commenter's supposed knowledge about Freemasonry ultimately comes from a long line of anti-Masons who lie about the fraternity because of ideological disagreement with the craft or because the craft makes a convenient scapegoat. The latter is especially prominent in Turkey, which may be relevant here given a post about Turkish orthography in the parent poster's history. If there were any specific allegations to rebut, I'd gladly do so. However, vague allegations are impossible to counter.

This does not belong on Hacker News. Flagged.

reply

[–] JohnCrane link

you're old as fuck bruh

reply

[–] mrbill link

You just never know who might turn up from your past...

1999: I was a sysadmin at an ISP in Austin. One day we had a tour come through, people looking to see if they wanted to colo in our datacenter. In walks in the former CEO and most of the technical staff from the Oklahoma City-based ISP I'd started my career at and left in '96. We laughed, shook hands.. and they headhunted me away a couple months later with a 200% salary increase for their new Austin-based startup.

2015: interviewing for a remote sysadmin position at a firm in California. They knew of me through some mailing lists I've run for a couple of decades. A couple of interviews in, I mention that I'd need to get off early on Thursdays to attend Lodge as I was a Freemason. Turns out two other execs interviewing me were also Masons. It certainly didn't hurt my job prospects.. And then after I started the CEO asked "Weren't you mr_bill on efnet #unix IRC in the 90s?" I gulped and said "Yeah..." and he said "Cool! I was on there too..."

And, at my current job, after I got hired, my team lead said "Yeah, (other coworker) said you were cool and said you'd fit in well here..." - turns out the other coworker was another EFNet IRC buddy that I'd never met in person..

So, never lie about a contact or reference and never burn bridges if you can avoid it - you never know when someone from your past may be in a position to influence your future.

reply

[–] mettamage link

I applaud that you give this comment. Your comment seems indeed controversial, but you gave it in a thoughtful manner and you dared to give it. This is what I like about HN: thoughtful comments that may be controversial but are relevant even at the risk of one's own reputation.

From my own limited interview experience: companies reject you for the silliest things, in my opinion and I have decided that I need to deceive in order for my value to be seen in the right manner. It might be the case I'm arrogant, but I also notice that people who had a computer science education at the same uni as I went to are the only ones to actually evaluate in the right way. Whenever I get interviewed by non CS people at startups they just evaluate it as I did some rote learning psychology-esque degree[1], which is next to useless according to them.

So yes, I should deceive those people in that I have more working experience than I do, because uni gave me part of that working experience but there is no chance in hell that they would believe that. I know this to be true because the jobs that I did get, I performed well at, according to the people who hired me.

And somehow people always seem to be a bit surprised. People always seem to be a bit surprised when a CS graduate in general works out. I just find it silly, CS in Amsterdam is not that math heavy and it is programming heavy, what do you expect?

[1] 50% of my psych. degree (2nd bachelor, I'm Dutch) required a lot of rote learning. One third of the degree was statistics / academic writing, the rest were electives.

reply

[–] aje403 link

What are you even talking about? His opinion is not remotely controversial. Every populist hivemind drone on this site contends some form of this argument. Not a single person is (at least, getting upvoted) DEFENDING high or reasonable hiring bars - that is a controversial opinion.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

That seems like a misreading of the question. The bar is high, and he cleared it, but was invited to try because of his fraudulent credential.

reply

[–] aje403 link

I'm not misreading it at all.

The two parent comments fall under the general umbrella of complaining about job listings requiring too much experience which is a standard point of contention against employers on HN. Leaving "20 years required low latency python experience with executive level leadership experience to manage our old undocumented report writing application" listings written by incompetent HR people out of the picture, there is plenty of valid monetary reasoning why a company would try to minimize its Type I error (that is hard to do, and nobody complaining seems to have any cogent solution). There are more than plenty of jobs an overconfident new grad who is good at interviewing and fibbing on his resume will fail at where a developer with several years of experience bringing projects into production is a much safer option. That is not disproved by singular anecdotal evidence of "I lied on my resume but I did do a good job so their hiring bar filtered out most of the good candidates and it isn't fair!".

However, most people reading this are employees, not employers, and have been burned by this in some way or another, so I'm going to get downvoted.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

And then we also hear entreaties from employers that there is a shortage of programmers and policy changes are needed, a position that looks less sympathetic in light of a tendency to only hire experienced candidates.

reply

[–] aje403 link

There are no doubt hypocrisies and fallacies on both sides, employers included. I am certainly not arguing against that. That's a different debate, though.

Employees want to get rich, employers want free work from overqualified candidates so they get rich. People usually try to pick what they think at the time is the best option available to them, job or candidate.

reply

[–] lvillani link

His knowledge is solid, sure, but would you really want to work with someone who has such a strong inclination to cheat and deceive? I certainly wouldn't.

reply

[–] ItsMe000001 link

I think OPs point is, or maybe that's just my point, that in general and broader terms there should not be such a pressure to begin with. OP gave an example that even the best felt/feel it.

So, on an individual basis, no, I would not want to hire that person out of an abundance of caution, but on a broader basis I would not like the pressure to do such a thing to exist to begin with. It's like crime: You want to punish each individual crimes, but you also want policies that lower crime rates, and that does not mean that you "reward crime" or that you "give in to criminals".

We all know the hiring process has some seriously broken elements, so a desperate candidate may feel pressured and justified to do so because the other side does not play nice or rational either - plus pressure from society "it's all your own fault" (if you don't succeed, and you won't get any help from anyone unless you happen to be lucky enough to have the right parents). Here in Germany we just had another (it's a regular thing) headline about "skilled labor shortage in IT" in all major German newspapers. Strange thing is, salaries for skilled workers (engineers, CS) have not risen significantly in a loooong time. Since salaries are not regulated by law that means the companies are lying. Of course, I still would prefer people who don't use a wider development as justification for lying themselves (mismatch of scale/perspective), but I can see and would expect a broader (downward) trend from there.

Or back to (and finishing) the crime example, if you create an environment of immense pressure, bad chances for improvement, etc. and then you compensate for the increase in crimes by punishing people harder (and harder)... sure, some might say it's all justified, why did they commit a crime? That is an interesting example why looking at each case individually may lead to a very different conclusion compared to looking at a broader picture.

Another example is cheating at universities. Individually every student who does it may deserve punishment, but it would be a good idea to look at the reasons for why it's so widespread. You create pressure, something is going to happen on the other end.

reply

[–] lostcolony link

So what's your solution? UBI? Because when a person's ability to make money and take care of themselves is on the line, in competing for a job against other candidates, there will ALWAYS be high levels of pressure.

The guy mentioned in the OP wasn't experiencing any additional pressure beyond "I need a job"; he wasn't in some high stress boiler style interview (the interview actually sounds like just casual conversation), it was just that his resume, that he sent everywhere prior to any interview, was filled with lies.

It's not the interview process that was messed up here, it's that in response to the basic competitive nature of "there is one job opening and multiple applicants, and, oh, yeah, we need someone who knows their stuff", he decided to lie about his experience. If that basic arrangement is somehow at fault, rather than this one guy who lied, then you're questioning not the nature of interviews, but the nature of jobs in a free market.

reply

[–] ItsMe000001 link

> there will ALWAYS be high levels of pressure.

The pressure exists because the opportunities to do anything are scarce. We force people into the hands of BAD practices and even psychopaths, and because this is so one-sided there won't be a turn for the better in practices and behavior. The mechanism that is supposed to lead to better outcomes overall is broken.

Strangely enough, we actually have plenty to do! From social work or just cleaning up, stuff that anyone can do, to "scientific stuff".

You may say that people don't want to do the low-level jobs because status, income etc. - but I think that this is an excuse:

In ALL discussions the TOOL - finance, money - is seen as the thing to optimize. The tool has taken over the workshop! In ANY discussion about anything wrong people immediately start talking about "money". Which is very strange, because

1) money is purely an idea, for the society as a whole just inventing new "money" if there really should be scarcity somewhere that prevents work from being done is as easy as snipping fingers (we have done that in the trillions not long ago). (Don't point to "inflation!", because a) that's again talking about the tool, and b) as I said, if shortage of money that prevents work from being done.)

2) we have completely forgotten the whole purpose! The the tool has to serve humanity, not the other way around! If we find places where there are issues that need to be solved, how can the tool be the limiting factor? If we find it to be we need to do use a different tool for THAT SPECIFIC thing (Note: I'm not black/white, "Oh I found A problem, let's throw everything out. Of course, keep the tool for the places where it does work well.)

For example: Copyright, patents. Those things don't serve humanity, they serve the TOOL! Humanity would be better off if you say "Oh my god we are sooo lucky - copying stuff is free" (as in "real costs", not money). So let everybody use any knowledge they want, read, watch, listen to anything they want. YES the tool "money" does not allow that, "How would creators get paid?!" If the tool does not do the job we need a different tool! It is obvious that apart from "money" considerations the world would indeed be better off with free stuff being free. We have a HUGE amount of effort to limit the distribution of stuff that's actually free, completely artificially. Because we take care of the tool, the "money", pretending that it is the end-all.

.

To add a very quick and therefore necessarily even more incomplete proposal than it really is in my head (which is incomplete enough):

First, I'm against a UBI. Doing nothing at all may work in a different context, with different culture, maybe we'll get there some day. If we did it right now it would not work.

On the other hand, when we use the tool "money" we ignore the HUGE cost of SPENDING: Maybe because of inequality (I don't know the reason), but people are very, very reluctant to spend. That means other people have a hard time making money. I think money circulation, the flow, is far less than it should be, maybe not globally (huge company problems are not my concern), but for the vast majority of the world population. If you are concerned that more spending is not possible because there is not enough money, well, a) see above, b) it's a circle! As I just wrote, when people have it easier to spend others will get more.

As one concrete example, imagine a lot of huge companies got together and instead of each building their own, they build ONE big subscription service, for everything available in "binary". Everybody can get a subscription - and gains access to everything. What is "everything": Every website, from news websites to blogs to Github(!!!) can sign up and offer access only to those who have a subscription. Github, for example, can offer all those maintainers of free packages (I was one of them, a PITA) money. Distribution of money is according to use. The more people read a blog, a new site, or download/use Github packages the more they get.

This solves the problem of the spending threshold: People already pay, now they don't need to think each and every time "Do I want to pay another dollar for this or that?" (in the case of Github packages and many others that's not even an option!). On the other hand, by bundling it all, they also don't need to be concerned if a certain payment is worth it.

Obviously there are LOTS of "details" such as how do you track usage and protect against people using download bots to increase there numbers. However, we already have all those problems, and more! All that anti-copyright, anti-ad-blocking, anti-this-or-that effort, from software, hardware (Blueray encryption as example), to legal efforts.

Just one suggestion. I do NOT think or propose THE ONE solution for everything. That is exactly the problem! Humans find something that works in some cases, now they start using it everywhere unthinkingly! "Money" for example. It works very well in some cases! But very badly in others. We need many solutions, tailored to the specific problem.

Forget "money", solve the actual problem instead! If "money" looks useful, then use it. Yes today it's used for everything. That's a huge part of the problem! At the very least, maybe we should have many "moneys" and not just one. Too many completely different and independent things are artificially coupled.

Also, the state should fulfill it's role as a "guardian of last resort". People should not be afraid all the time. I know I am, and I'm well educated and work in IT in a rich country that actually even still has a social network (Germany; I worked in the US for almost a decade though, Silicon Valley). Also, don't force people into "finance" (e.g. "you have to save for retirement, you need to invest"). This is completely against how humanity works: Specialization! This "investment" stuff is a smart idea of people making a living in the monetary sector itself, to have the government force people to send more income their way.

.

Something similar - a fund - for everybody else!

Anyone doing anything useful, like sweeping the street, gets money. But everybody is free to decide what it is. There must be a usefulness measure, "I cleaned my teeth" or "I walked through my garden"... hmmm. So let's add a provision that a number of people have to sign off on the activity as useful, then you get paid.

This lowers the threshold: Nobody needs to decide "I pay for this street to be swept clean" (which is very high!), and nobody needs to sign up to work for others who themselves sell your services for much more money and get rich ("entrepreneurs" employing cleaners, for example).

I think THIS would be a lot more "capitalistic" than what we have: People deciding for themselves not just what they want to offer, but also what they find useful, instead of letting a very small handful of "entrepreneurs" do it for everybody. Yes yes, "the market", but the market does not work! We have a bottleneck.

There could (should!) be a bonus when people self-organize and do something together instead of doing something on their own. Entire "virtual temporary companies" are possible! Give people the ability and necessity to make decisions, which for most people in what is called "market" is not the case at all. My proposal has more "market" in it than the current one, while lowering the transaction costs significantly, and taking out middle men.

reply

[–] tomcooks link

He adapted to an unfavourable situation, studied hard, did his research well and passed multiple tests - I'd gladly work with someone like that

reply

[–] nkrisc link

And when the solution to the next unfavorable situation he faces involves railroading you? Liars lie and cheaters cheat. You might be fine if you're never their target, but you never know when you will be.

reply

[–] root_axis link

Well said. These types of people are driven by an extreme arrogance that manifests itself as the justification for any bad behavior. Ultimately they believe they are always right, so if they have to lie in order to get you fired, that's fine, because clearly your crazy ideas are a threat to everyone's livelihood, and it would just be better for everyone if you were gone from the office, they just don't know it yet, but I have a knack for these things that others seem to lack, so I'll take it upon myself to engineer your firing.

reply

[–] magduf link

The companies they're applying to are engaged in behavior that is just as bad, so these "catfishers" are just creatively adapting to the unfavorable situation that employers have collectively created.

reply

[–] nkrisc link

You're right. Still wouldn't hire them.

reply

[–] aje403 link

Exactly this. You have to be very naive and sheltered to not recognize this as being the case.

reply

[–] watwut link

Such people make the homework, research well and then user result to blame you for their fault exactly when you cant defend yourself or claim your achievements for themselves.

That sort of behavior can be pretty poisonous for whole team.

reply

[–] e40 link

You are either trolling or incredibly naive. Nothing good will come of working with someone like this.

EDIT: someone that spends that much effort lying has a good chance of being a sociopath.

reply

[–] Spearchucker link

I don't know. And given his ability I'd like to know. So if it were up to me I'd call him back in, confront him, and ask why he did it. I'd make my decision after that.

reply

[–] VLM link

I thought for sure the story was going to be an Aesops Fable moral story along the lines of discrimination against trans people is illegal and wrong and the "rest of the story" is Susan's first name was Jack until six months ago, therefore no one has any idea who Susan is.

Also this is a sales position; not being overly detailed about the product's occasional quirk is not an on the job problem... if the applicant can talk a good talk and behave in a professional manner there doesn't seem to be an issue. Classic philosophical religious debate for centuries, is it more important to have right behavior or right thoughts?

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] ebbv link

Dude, no. Someone who would lie this much to get what he wants will lie when you're working with him.

If he makes a big mistake he will lie about it to avoid getting fired just as surely as he lied to get the job.

Citing Neil Gaiman -- or some other celebrity -- doesn't do anything to make this less true.

reply

[–] magduf link

He was applying to a sales position. Sales is fundamentally about lying to potential customers to sell them stuff.

reply

[–] ebbv link

It's very sad that you believe that. It doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be in my opinion. That's a tactic immoral people resort to and make excuses like "Everybody does it." for their behavior.

reply

[–] magduf link

You don't think it has to be? Honestly, I don't know; I'm not in sales at all so this is my off-the-cuff opinion from outside, but it sure seems to me that the entire profession of sales is all about dishonesty. Whether it has to be or not, I don't know: how successful would honest salespeople be really? If the dishonest ones are more successful long-term, then that means that companies that use dishonest salespeople will outcompete companies that don't. I don't know if it's really like this (a scientific study would be difficult, plus it could vary a lot by industry; what works for Best Buy or used car salespeople might not be the case for enterprise software or medical device sales), but I do suspect that, thanks to human nature and short-sightedness, dishonesty in sales probably does correlate with long-term success. Maybe the internet with all the online reviews will change this, as it gives people more information in evaluating merchants ("John at this store totally lied to me when he sold me Widget X!! Don't shop here!").

reply

[–] welly link

To get what he wants? Would that be a job?

So are you saying that in all your interviews you've had in the past you've been absolutely, positively 100% truthful about your experience and knowledge? That you've never inflated your abilities whatsoever?

reply

[–] ebbv link

Yes, absolutely. If anything I err on the side of playing things down. I never want to promise something I can't deliver or tell someone I'm more than I am.

Besides, that's not even the issue. This guy just flat out lied. Not exaggerated, he told lies and built upon them. There's no excuse for that.

reply

[–] cookiecaper link

Yes. Exaggeration and puffing yourself up, while tacky, is par for the course, and to be honest, it's likely to get good candidates closer to an accurate representation than not, since better people tend to underplay their abilities, often subconsciously (cf. Dunning-Kruger Effect). But falsifying references with fake phone numbers and email addresses, and then actually operating those numbers and emails and impersonating someone else, that's a whole 'nother ballpark and it likely crosses into fraud.

While one can sympathize if they choose to work from the presupposition that our candidate is in the unlikely-but-not-totally-unrealistic circumstance of being capable but "steal bread to eat" desperate, it's a pretty hard sell to expect someone without a pre-existing relationship to excuse that type of behavior when it gets caught out like this.

reply

[–] thyrsus link

I got the impression from the article that this was for a sales position - "AE role" - account executive. A good tech sales rep must have a solid understanding of the product and its place in the tech environment, but they also need to be trustworthy, to the benefit of both their employer and customer.

reply

[–] dx034 link

But if that's judged by the companies you've worked for, how do you get in if you didn't study at the right university or come from the right background?

reply

[–] dorkwood link

I thought it was an After Effects role.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] Beltiras link

You only get once chance at a first impression. This applicant took the chance that a lie was a good first impression. Lying on an application is just a non-starter.

reply

[–] csomar link

Indeed. But the guy did some fraud. Not stealing or something criminal (like poisoning a human). Then the guy should have been a good hire for the company? Well, it is complicated. Let's say you need an alpha male for a certain position. Do you pick someone with a sexual harassment history? I mean he might be alpha but then you are exposing your company to risks of this guy harassing other employees.

Same in this situation. He might lie, fabricate, and make facts to push his agenda. This might work depending on what your line of work is doing (ie: maybe you are shady call center anyway). But this might be dangerous if you require complete discipline and this might blow up later (see Uber).

But here is the issue: The guy was rejected based on an emotional response from the hiring guy. He just felt defeated by the skillfulness of the guy. We don't know where the OP operates, so that is that.

reply

[–] hodgesrm link

Are you saying it's good to hire people who lie to get through the interview? What would they lie about on the job?

This kind of thing can end badly. I worked with a guy who was kicked out of two companies (first for fiddling expenses and second for faking his CV on a grand scale) and ended up sentenced to 64 months in prison for fraud. [0] He fooled a lot of very smart people along the way. I still don't fully understand why he did it--he was a smart guy and didn't need to cut corners to be very successful.

[0] http://fraudtalk.blogspot.com/2009/11/former-california-soft...

reply

[–] adamzk link

Yeah but he did it to get the job not to defraud anyone. That's dedication not deceit. He wasn't pretending to be anybody else. He was probably rejected from a million jobs before this one despite presumably being extremely well prepared and qualified. So other options are there? Fudge the references, perform well and ask for forgiveness later. I say hire him. Not everybody has the luxury of a fancy education and the connections that come with it. Not everybody comes from an environment where they have the privilege of interaction with others in the field. Some of us come from nothing and educate ourselves independently. It's a shame that its nearly impossible to get one's foot in the door despite having ostensibly worked harder than many of those who were given a fair shot. Check your privilege.

reply

[–] hodgesrm link

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. For me honesty ranks way higher up the scale for hiring than technical credentials. You can teach people technical skills. Good character not so much.

p.s. I don't have a CS degree and finished my BA/History going to extension school part-time while serving in the US military.

p.p.s, If you have a less-than-honorable discharge you'll also have a tough time getting through the interview process with me.

reply

[–] ThrustVectoring link

Well, there's a big difference between a hiring manager and a company. A company wants to hire the best developer they can get; the hiring manager wants to get praised for making a "good hire" and avoid getting blamed for making a "bad hire".

The glowing references doesn't do anything that skill and personality screening doesn't in terms of assessing actual candidate skill. They do, however, provide a ton of ass-covering for the hiring manager.

reply

[–] Maken link

I guess it is because nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.

reply

[–] f4stjack link

The thing I don't get is, and probably I'll be downvoted to hell because of that, even though this guy lied about his past, his knowledge is solid. Nobody can guess what the interviewers will ask you and from what I've read from the text he aced those.

If this is the tech business rolls what I see that it wants developers with a history, with connections, with "clout" so to speak; doesn't matter if you can help their business immensely, or fit to the position they are listing for. And this attitude is really really paradoxical. Like you are not searching for a candidate with required skillset but an ideal candidate with required skillset with glowing references. Because why take the risk? Like having a glowing history prevents anything happening...

Anyway imho what you are trying to gauge from a job interview is how good that guy/gal is. And I'm sure if that guy did say "I am an newly trained man with no relevant job history" he wouldn't go into the interview stage even though he knows his stuff for his application. I mean if he failed that, I'd say "okay this guy is trying to scam this company" but no, he is able and informed about the position he is applying to. And that's totally irrelevant from the text I am reading. Which is bonkers if you pardon my french.

This text also reminded me of a quote from Neil Gaiman, he faked his references for his first job and then he worked to create those references(https://singjupost.com/full-transcript-neil-gaiman-commencem...). In his words he was "chronologically challenged". So if he was trying to be a writer in our modern times, we wouldn't have a Neil Gaiman.

reply

[–] mnm1 link

Them: "What level are you at with Javascript?" Me: "Intermediate to advanced." Reality: Hadn't written a single line of Javascript at the time Reality 1 week after hire: Best JS programmer there (to be fair, standards were intentionally very low and 2 weeks is plenty of time to pick up a new language) Reality After a Year: Employee of the year

reply

[–] rootlocus link

You forgot to cite the continuation:

> In that period of time, I read McMillan's "Options as a Strategic Investment"book. It's like the Bible of options trading."

Which is pretty laudable.

An even extraordinary example would be the current president of the united states, which still manages to lie, and people still support him.

reply

[–] will_brown link

>An even extraordinary example would be the current president of the united states

I am not a crook. - Nixon

Read my lips, I will not raise taxes it wouldn’t be prudent. - H.W. Bush

I did not have sexual relations with that woman. - Clinton

We found the weapons of mass destruction. - G.W. Bush

If you like your health plan, you can keep it. - Obama

reply

[–] rootlocus link

Does that make it any less extraordinary?

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] justherefortart link

Everyone lies, because the interviewing process itself is a fucking joke, ESPECIALLY in the Bay Area.

If the person can answer all my questions and they have a good attitude, I honestly don't give a shit what got them to that point.

If someone doesn't work out, you can fire them. Yes it's "exhausting", maybe if it's so difficult to manage or run a business you should find a different role for yourself.

I really enjoy hiring personally. I treat it like a two way street instead of "I'm the big boss man with all the power". I remember how I was recruited out of college, I show that same interest in the employee as I want them to show in their career (note, not my company, I'm 100% okay with someone just coming in and doing a good job, not being in fucking love with my product, industry or anything else all these bullshit companies seem to offer).

reply

[–] tokyodude link

this is not a brag but I have never lied in an interview so I have to assume plenty of others have never lied. I have not exaggerated either or told white lies during an interview. Not saying I never lie but never in an interview. If I don’t know sonething I say so. I might follow with “but I can probably figure it out” or “but I think it’s ...” or “I don’t know off the top of my head but it’s the type of thing I look up every few years, implement once, then use the implementation until the next job and promptly forget the details” etc...

reply

[–] mixmastamyk link

I don’t lie either, but rarely get job offers, so I should probably start.

reply

[–] tokyodude link

I get plenty but I'm willing to believe much of that was luck early in my career when I had no "job" experience. Met the right people. Was at the right place at the right time. Got lucky my parents supported my hobby. Etc.

On the other hand I made tons of personal projects in junior high and high school so I had plenty to show during my first interviews.

reply

[–] chickenfries link

Junior high? No wonder you didn't have problems getting a break, you'd been working towards it since childhood.

The fact that you get plenty of offers probably means you're not in the situation where someone would consider lying to get a job.

Edit: Not trying to criticize you, I'm just trying to point out why you might be an exceptional candidate. But I guess your original point was just that "not everyone" lies, so I suppose I'm just saying that I agree with what you're saying. It's true that not literally everyone lies, but many many people exaggerate, even if they don't tell outright lies.

reply

[–] drdeadringer link

> Everyone lies

I am clueless about certain things and perhaps this is one of them... but really? Outright lies of pure red-handed snake-oil fiction?

Surely there must be a line between the "HR speak" most must sing along to and reality that does not qualify as pure uncut straight-up lies.

Help me understand what you mean.

reply

[–] fenwick67 link

For literal people like myself the line between a lie such as "my biggest flaw is I work too hard" or "I have never used illegal drugs" and a lie like "I worked at Acme Corp" can seem thin.

reply

[–] drdeadringer link

Please explain to me how "this person worked here" compares to "I never inhaled". These two statements do not equalize for me.

reply

[–] Yizahi link

Totally similar things. Drugs are irrelevant for doing the job and same is work experience. What matters is skills but they can't be measured most of the time so proxy value "experience" has been invented. But everyone knows that it is only a proxy thing and that very likely you won't be hired if you can do the job but can't "prove" it. So social moral value of lying about work experience has fallen to insignificant levels, for majority of jobs. The only thing stopping people from lying about experience part is fear of getting caught or no need to do it in the first place.

reply

[–] magduf link

Exactly. I've been pretty lucky in that I've had a lot of good experience, so my lying is with other things, such as making people think I plan to stick around at their company for a really long time when that's very unlikely.

I have to agree with the other poster: I think nearly everyone lies, it's just a matter of what they lie about, and how much. Don't forget that "lies of omission" are still lies. You're not going to get far by being completely truthful about everything. I was lucky that my educational background and work experience have been good (and of course that I come from the right socioeconomic background for this kind of work), but there's other places where I've had to be less than honest (like "why did you leave this job?"). I'm sure just about everyone is the same way to some extent.

reply

[–] PurpleBoxDragon link

They are both lies, but they are different since they aren't equal violation of the social contract. When an interviewer wants to know my biggest weakness, they don't actually want to know my biggest weakness, they want to know how I handle answering a political question where too much honesty is a bad thing. They want me to lie, but only so much. Saying something like 'I work too hard' is too big a lie. Bringing up something that is a real but minor workplace weakness and what I do to avoid it is the lie they want, and bringing up a real weakness is being too truthful.

But when I say I worked at $place and did $thing with $technology, they want to me to mostly truthful. They understand there is some embellishing or generalizing, but an outright falsehood is a major violation of expectations.

HR speak is about giving the desired answer, regardless if it is true, mostly true, or a straight up lie. In some way it is seen as an justifiable reason to lie where as most other lying is not considered justifiable.

reply

[–] ozim link

Ok if you make up 10% or 15% but faking references is like all alarms going off. I know it is creative and he had to put in effort to pull it off. But it is not like I would give such person access to any company documents. Account Executive has to have access to invoicing and customer database. If guy makes such fake accounts and all that stuff I can imagine he is going to try to steal company data and run away with it or sell it to competition.

So if someone answers all your questions and have good attitude but then steals company data that can be end of your career in the company as well. Because maybe you were his friend in crime...

reply

[–] tigershark link

For sure someone that lies to me in the face has not the right attitude. I honestly cannot understand how you can trust someone that lies to get a job. And I can definitely say that you are completely wrong if you think that everyone lies. I never lied to an interview and frankly I can’t imagine why I should do it. It’s a really sad world if lying to get a job seems normal.

reply

[–] magduf link

It seems normal to me.

If someone asks you "why did you leave this job?" for a place where things didn't go very well (suppose you had a terrible manager there), are you going to be completely honest and slam your former employer, or are you going to just say something about how "I wasn't being challenged enough" or something like that and found something better? You do realize that candidates who trash former employers are much less likely to be hired, right?

reply

[–] tigershark link

You can let the new employer know that you didn’t feel comfortable with the previous manager. And if he asks for the reason you can explain why. It happened to me in the past.

reply

[–] Illniyar link

Fabricating emails and phone numbers, getting others to act like your boss and lie for you is quite far over the line of just "lying in an interview".

If he had passed all the interviews and when time came said he lied because he knew he can do it but without lying he wouldn't be able to get through the door, he would have probably gotten the job, at least on a probationary basis.

But doing what he did means he's completely untrustworthy. That's not something you'd want in an employee.

reply

[–] dvtv75 link

I worked in a film processing store (before the turn of the century), and one of my workmates there told me how he'd set up a friend to pretend to be a former boss for him. Said friend forgot, my workmate was called in to the business and they told him they would ring the police if they ever heard his name again. Apparently there was swearing.

Same guy found a mobile phone and rang some random number in Australia. Ran up a massive toll bill talking to strangers, and ditched the phone.

Last I heard, he'd got into med school. As you might observe, I'm not sure this is an appropriate field for someone of his ethical caliber.

reply

[–] seunosewa link

Will you report him to the school to save potential patients’ lives?

reply

[–] dvtv75 link

Well, it was almost 20 years ago and I only heard about it long after I'd forgotten his name. Without an actual conviction, I don't think my word would carry much weight and could just cause me a lot of trouble.

Hopefully he's grown up a lot since then, but if he hasn't I can't imagine that kind of stupidity could be hidden forever.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] incognitoz link

Care to tell us which company you hire for, so that we can avoid it?

reply

[–] lovich link

Why you want to avoid it? His response seems reasonable to me. When you have companies posting obvious lies like requiring 5 years in a 1 year old techonology, the whole process just becomes a lot of surreptitious winking as both sides knowingly lie to each other

reply

[–] lovich link

as an aside to the conversation. I am continuing to get up an down votes on this comment, long after the comment I replied to was flagged. 'dang, are votes queued up in the hacker news system or is there another reason for this behavior?

reply

[–] Stratoscope link

People who have "showdead" enabled in their profile can see flagged or dead comments and their replies, and can vote on those replies.

As an example, I just upvoted your comment that I'm replying to. Turn on "showdead" in your profile and you will see what I'm referring to.

reply

[–] rootlocus link

I have "showdead" enabled, I see the comment, but I can't vote.

reply

[–] chickenfries link

> However, I am glad that I caught it early before we hired him. If we had hired him, tough to say what could have happened. Maybe he would have been great and our best performing AE. Maybe he wouldn’t have even known how to log into Salesforce.

When you make it to the top by lying, you're considered a winner:

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-goldman-gary-cohn-got-to-...

> "I lied to him all the way to the airport," Cohn told Gladwell. "When he said, 'Do you know what an option is?' I said, 'Of course I do, I know everything, I can do anything for you.' Basically by the time we got out of the taxi, I had his number. He said, 'Call me Monday.' I called him Monday, flew back to New York Tuesday or Wednesday, had an interview, and started working the next Monday.

I know there are dozens of other examples, because I hear people talk about how they had to lie to get their first break all the damn time, from people who are now very successful.

reply

[–] jasonkester link

Indeed. My LinkedIn account has a few contacts, but they're each a combination of two rare events:

- somebody from an old company added me as a contact, and

- I happen to have checked LinkedIn that year

That adds up to maybe six random people over 15 year.

My GitHub account is similar looking. A few public client libraries for my sass businesses, some private repos from old consulting gigs, and a handy way to log in to a few other awkward developer services.

You wouldn't hire me after looking at either.

reply

[–] raesene9 link

I'm not really surprised at how heavily linkedin is used. It's an easy check for companies to carry out, so they'll make use of it.

As a candidate spending a bit of time connecting to people on Linkedin can help your chances of finding a role, so why not do it? Obviously, some people will have other better avenues of getting roles, but it's one avenue that can be used.

Personally I've never used Linkedin to find a role however I do find it handy just to get an idea of who works where in the industry and where pepople I've known in previous roles work now.

reply

[–] Steeeve link

I suppose I phrased things a bit harshly. I see value in LinkedIn from a candidate/networking perspective. From a validation/reference perspective is where I see the issue.

This isn't the first I've heard of using it for back-channel references. I think that is pretty common in the bay area.

reply

[–] frenchie14 link

One thing to keep in mind for this article is that it's for a sales position where contacts are a very valued resource

reply

[–] robin_reala link

For what it’s worth I have never had a LinkedIn account and it’s never come up in interviews or been any sort of problem. Maybe things are different in SV though.

reply

[–] Steeeve link

It's strange to me how much linkedin is valued in silicon valley because to me it's like the ugly stepsister of social networking. Expecting someone to have a fully built out profile and expecting that person to actively seek out contacts in their own company is strange. I typically seek out contacts either when I first meet them or not at all. The only rhyme or reason to when I do it is when I happen to have a reason to be on linkedin. People are very haphazard about what their contacts look like. Some people have 50% recruiters, some people it's all friends, some people it's work colleagues, some people it's potential clients. Just because you know somebody doesn't mean that you are linkedin friends, and just because you aren't linkedin friends, doesn't mean that that person knows much about you at all.

I wouldn't trust social profile hunting as a real gauge for anyone's abilities. I know plenty of good coders that don't have github accounts because they aren't involved in open source at all. There are plenty of recruiters that don't know linkedin because they have other sources that fill their pipelines. There are people that build out their profiles specifically for job searches. There are others that won't build out a profile at all.

As far as back-channel references go, I'm not a fan. I expect references to be minimal because giving a reference is odd territory. A bad reference can result in a lawsuit, so why would anyone ever give a bad one? A TMI good reference can result in a lawsuit. People should stick to the basics.

The danger territory as far as I'm concerned is hiring someone at the tail end of a long group of rejects. You peel back your instincts in order to get to the finish line.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

>someone who apparently otherwise would have been a great candidate

Dishonesty is an intolerable trait. This person clearly wasn't a great candidate. Lying at work is just about the only thing I'll always fire somebody for.

reply

[–] ironjunkie link

Everyone is lying at work to some degree. That's what office politics is all about, even though it is not straight lying.

How many times did my managers not "lie" to me by telling me that it is impossible for the company to give a raise or anything as a policy right now, while my colleague gets one one week later (sharing salary information is beautiful!)

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

This is really a reductio ad absurdum. But if you think your boss is dishonest with you, then go find a new boss. Dishonesty instantly destroys trust, and unless it’s about something entirely trivial, it’s almost impossible to restore it.

A trustless workplace cannot be functional. You can point to examples of workplaces that are dysfunctional if you like, but it’s something I refuse to contribute to, or even tolerate. I don’t feel an ounce of remorse for any person I’ve fired for dishonesty, and it’s a practice I’ll continue with.

Perhaps other employers are more tolerant of it than I am, but all people hate being lied to. Some people do use lies to get ahead, but it comes at the expense of integrity, and youre equally capable of getting ahead with honesty and integrity (qualities that most people like, unsurprisingly).

reply

[–] ironjunkie link

I think what you are really saying is that you will fire people for lies bigger than a specific "threshold", which I understand and agree with.

What I'm saying is that in the social work environment everyone lies to some level and it is actually widely accepted so. I googled exactly for 5 seconds and found this article to give you a couple examples:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11652018/10-que...

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

That’s not really what I’m saying at all. Every lie you tell jeopardises the trust you have amongst others. You might not get caught, and if you do, you may not damage the trust irreparably depending on the magnitude of the lie.

I’m also saying that a workplace cannot be functional without trust, and that a workplace that tolerates dishonesty will invariably erode it. So unless you want to exist in such a workplace, you should not tolerate dishonesty either.

Finally I’m saying that dishonesty is not a prerequisite for success, and that you can be successful with integrity and honesty, and that people value those traits.

I’m not saying there’s some magical threshold, which below, lies become justified. Dishonesty is not a justifiable personality trait, and trying to defend it demonstrates a lack of integrity.

You’re also confusing dishonesty with a lack of 100% openness. If somebody asks your for personal information, or information they’re not entitled to, there is no moral requirement to disclose it to them. This is the reductio ad absurdum I was talking about.

reply

[–] learc83 link

You ever politely laugh at something you really didn't find all that funny?

Human social interactions are built on small deceptions. Some amount of dishonesty is required if you want to avoid being an awkward social pariah. If you are incapable of any social dishonesty whatsoever, you will quickly be labeled an inappropriate, self righteous asshole.

Of course there is a limit to those social norms. Dishonesty that exceeds those limits moves from being polite to what most of us consider lying.

reply

[–] nocman link

"Some amount of dishonesty is required if you want to avoid being an awkward social pariah."

Actually that's not true. It is possible to be completely sincere, yet tactful. And you can do it in a way that doesn't come off as self-righteous. I will grant you that it is definitely more rare than it should be, but that doesn't make the opposite a requirement.

reply

[–] learc83 link

>Actually that's not true. It is possible to be completely sincere, yet tactful

I completely and utterly disagree with this. There are too many social interactions centered around a shared expectation of dishonesty.

If your partner's grandmother asks you how the food was, if you answer with anything less than "great", regardless of how tactfully you do so, there will be negative social consequences.

Even in the rare case that the grandmother wants your honest opinion, the rest of the family have expectations about how you are supposed to respond.

reply

[–] nocman link

Avoiding answering a question directly does not make you dishonest.

If my wife's grandmother had asked me how the food was (assuming the food was awful), I might say "it was very much appreciated" -- and I could say that with 100% honesty, because she would have put a lot of effort into it, and even if she failed, I appreciate that she tried.

Or let's say she didn't try very hard (which would have been unlikely for either of my wife's grandmothers), I could answer with "thank you for making it", or something else like that, and my response could be 100% sincere.

I think the fundamental argument being had in this portion of this thread is that if you don't say everything you think about something then you are being dishonest. I and many others in the thread totally disagree with that assesment.

Your statements can be 100% truthful, and yet not reveal all of your thoughts about a subject or situation. Having a filter doesn't make you dishonest. Some of your thoughts are unkind, some can be even downright evil at times. The fact that you don't reveal these things is often a sign of self control. Words have power, and they affect others around you. There's a reason everyone can't hear every thought you have.

Again, the fact that I don't reveal everything I think does not make me dishonest. If that's your definition of "honesty", then I'm glad I don't live in a world where everyone is "honest" -- it would be a miserable experience.

reply

[–] learc83 link

>Your statements can be 100% truthful, and yet not reveal all of your thoughts about a subject or situation. Having a filter doesn't make you dishonest. Some of your thoughts are unkind, some can be even downright evil at times. The fact that you don't reveal these things is often a sign of self control. Words have power, and they affect others around you. There's a reason everyone can't hear every thought you have.

Absolutely 100% true.

>I could answer with "thank you for making it"

You are carefully crafting a response to the question to make everyone believe that you liked the food without directly stating that. I believe this is completely morally equivalent to leading everyone to believe you liked the food by directly stating it.

I believe that neither one of these things is immoral in any way in the particular case.

Let's say she doesn't accept your dancing around the question? Are you going to keep crafting answers that are technically correct in attempt to make everyone think you liked the food?

I don't think it's wrong if you do so, but I do think that the effect is completely the same as if you'd just said it was great.

reply

[–] nocman link

> >I could answer with "thank you for making it"

> You are carefully crafting a response to the question to make everyone believe that you liked the food without directly stating that.

NO -- see that's the problem. You're making a huge assumption that is incorrect.

"thank you for making it" does not mean "I liked it". And no, it won't make everyone believe that I liked the food (especially since that would not have been my intention in the first place). People aren't stupid. Most folks I know would realize in that situation that I wasn't directly answering the question. "thank you for making it" would not have been dishonest, and it would not mean "I liked the food".

> "Let's say she doesn't accept your dancing around the question? Are you going to keep crafting answers that are technically correct in attempt to make everyone think you liked the food?"

Firstly, you are wrong in your assessment that I would be attempting to make everyone think I liked the food -- in that situation that would not be my intention at all.

Secondly, if I was pressed I might try to move on with the conversation in a different way (without answering) -- which, again would not be dishonest. Not wanting to answer a question is not the same thing as dishonesty. I am not required to tell everyone what I think about everything in order to be honest.

If she kept pressing the question, I might try to answer the question nicely, like "It wasn't my favorite", or "I didn't care for it". Both of those answers would be honest. Being kind is not dishonesty, either. Even if it was one of the worst meals I'd ever eaten, both of those statements would be truthful.

"the effect is completely the same as if you'd just said it was great." -- No, I totally disagree with that. "It was great" would be a lie, "thank you for making it" expresses genuine gratitide for the effort made toward the meal.

You make it sound as though it is impossible to be tactful and truthful/honest at the same time. I disagree.

[ edited to remove a typo ]

reply

[–] cookiecaper link

Is it more of a lie to make a statement that is literally true but the meaning is incorrectly interpreted, or more of a lie to make a statement that is literally untrue but the meaning is correctly interpreted?

Phrased another way, in software, does one insist on clinging to a protocol's specification if 90% of the implementations misinterpret it, or does one violate the specification in order to ensure that 90% of the implementations interpret it the correct way?

While this debate is occasionally relevant, we know that adapting software to the implementation is the only way to be effective. This is true with people too.

There is a lot of emphasis on tone, but that itself is one of these "social lies" we're discussing. The reality is that people don't care so much about tone as they care about hearing what they want to hear. An overwhelmingly positive tone to deliver a negative message will merely make someone hate you more.

The only way to "tactfully" deliver bad news is to deliver it so ambiguously that it isn't really clear what's happening (and maybe this isn't bad, as it gives the recipient time to mull over the possibilities and gradually adapt to the negative information, rather than getting hit like a ton of bricks).

Anything else will give a negative reaction, and your careful literalist wording that is technically "not a lie" will be interpreted as pomposity, arrogance, and additional deception, despite the extra intellectual effort you dumped into crafting a literally sanitary response.

This is hard to deal with, because it's the exact opposite of the intention for people who are naturally linguistic thinkers, like you and me. We put in the mental effort to be legally and technically correct and it just gets misinterpreted, often silently because "normal" people don't want to or necessarily know how to rebut the statement verbally -- they're content that your "hostility" was conveyed by making any statement that wasn't overwhelmingly positive.

This dichotomy is why lawyers are traditionally reviled. Their profession is linguistic trickery, minutia, and pedantry.

You can approach communication at the surface level of the verbatim information exchange, or you can approach it at the emotional level of ensuring that it conveys the intended, actual sentiment to the people receiving the information. Much of the time, unfortunately, we can't have both.

reply

[–] glastra link

In my opinion, answering with "thank you for making it" should be equivalent in everyone else's brains to "well, that wasn't very good".

Social consequences will ensue regardless of you stating it or not. In this situation, as in many others, a lack of positive reaction is considered a negative reaction.

It all boils down to ego and believing others don't have a reason to look down at you just because you didn't directly state that the food was bad, while in reality you actually maneuvered your way out of the question to willingly avoid this, which is even more selfish.

reply

[–] nocman link

Maybe something is being lost in the lack of tone, but I don't in any way believe that anwsering "thank you for making it" could be construed as being selfish.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with ego, it's about being kind to others.

reply

[–] glastra link

Tone has nothing to do with the fact that you were asked a question and you responded with a non-answer. And anyone can notice that, and the intention there-in.

There is simply no way anyone could perceive this as not dodging the question in order to not state what you truly think. This is why I consider it a worse behavior (and with a certainly worse outcome) than just simply lying and saying something along the lines of "it was good, thanks".

In the end, you could either

a) Lie directly ("it was great")

b) Lie by omission ("thank you for making it")

c) Be ruthlessly truthful ("it was pretty bad")

d) Be truthful, but tactful ("it was alright / I've had better, but it's very much appreciated")

In my opinion, b is definitely a worse social behavior than a. Yes, you blatantly lie in case a, but that is a lie with a justifiable goal: making someone else feel better.

Case b is still lying to some degree, and here you are half-lying in your own selfish interest: you want to think high of yourself because you didn't say an outright lie, while still trying not to hurt someone else's feelings. In other words, it's the response someone with needs for self-justification would choose. The worst/best thing is that this behavior is easily perceived, and its motives inferred: worst for the respondent; best for others, who can see her/him for what she/he is.

reply

[–] magduf link

It's not selfish at all, however anyone who isn't a complete idiot will realize that it's a dodge to answering the question of whether you liked the food. You risk an uncomfortable exchange and negative social consequences with a move like this. It's much easier to just lie and tell granny that her crappy food was good and move on to another topic. And really, saying "it was good" isn't a complete lie: it could have been worse, much worse (assuming the food didn't give you food poisoning or kill you outright), and "good" is a relative term.

reply

[–] dkersten link

Some might see it as question dodging, which often implies the negative.

reply

[–] nocman link

There's a difference between avoiding answering a question to prevent hurting someone's feelings, and doing so just to put yourself in a positive light (for selfish reasons). The scenario I was envisioning was the former.

Yeah I understand that some people try to spin everything their way, and I know it's annoying. My point was that just because someone doesn't answer a question or doesn't tell you everything they think in a situation, that doesn't mean that they are being dishonest.

reply

[–] dkersten link

My point is that some people will always see avoiding answering questions negatively, no matter what way you feel it should be seen. You can’t control how other people interpret your acitons or intentions, they may not match up with what you want, and in my personal experience, people tend to see avoiding answering a question (either by sidestepping it or by counter-questioning) negatively, if they notice it.

reply

[–] lovich link

In this scenario you were asked one question, but answered another when saying "thank you for making it", because you didn't want to deal with the social fallout of actually telling the truth to the original question.

I don't see how that's not mental gymnastics to say it's not lieing, which seems like a big divide in this thread

reply

[–] nocman link

It's actually very simple, and not at all mental gymnastics.

It's not a lie because I didn't say something that was not true.

Again you are saying that me not answering a question is equivalent to me lying, and you are simply wrong about that. They are not the same thing.

reply

[–] lovich link

Talking to people is not computer code. In this admittedly contrived situation, they are looking for you to say it's good. You give an answer _to a different question_. Either people realize and you've violated the social expectation or they don't realize and you've misdirected them. Avoiding the question in a way that's misleading people has the same result as a lie even if not technically the same thing

If you refused to answer the question in this statement that's not lieing. If you said "no, it wasn't good" that wouldn't be lieing.

The entire camp of people in this thread with your viewpoint are acting like a stereotypical genie where as long as everything you say is technically accurate you have done nothing wrong even when you are will full disregarding the extra layers of meaning that are part of human to human conversation

reply

[–] nocman link

"Talking to people is not computer code."

irrelevant. I never said it was.

Also, saying "thank you for making it" isn't answering a question at all, so it isn't "answering a different question".

"The entire camp of people in this thread" with my viewpoint simply disagree with you. You attribute dishonesty to things we would say, when we know that saying those things would be honest.

So you can keep reiterating the same viewpoint over and over again, and I'll keep disagreeing with it every time (regardless of whether I spend the time to reply again).

reply

[–] lovich link

You didn't say that talking to people was like computer code, you are describing talking to people like it's computer code so it is relevant.

>Also, saying "thank you for making it" isn't answering a question at all, so it isn't "answering a different question".

Saying that you're not lieing because you are haven't said something that is false out of context, but is still misleading _on purpose_ is the most pedantic thing I have heard all year.

And just don't reply if you are going to be done with a discussion, telling people you might not bother replying to them is condescending and uncivil for this board

reply

[–] nocman link

> You didn't say that talking to people was like computer code, you are describing talking to people like it's computer code so it is relevant.

That's your opinion, which I disagree with. So from my view it is still irrelevant. I'm willing to agree to disagree on that point.

> And just don't reply if you are going to be done with a discussion, telling people you might not bother replying to them is condescending and uncivil for this board

There was nothing uncivil, nor condescending about what I said. I just said I would continue to disagree even if I didn't continue the conversation.

I think we've pretty much beaten this disagreement to death, and it's time for me to move on.

reply

[–] learc83 link

>That's your opinion, which I disagree with. So from my view it is still irrelevant.

It's not irrelevant just because you disagree with it. That's not what irrelevant means. It would be irrelevant if the truth or falsehood of the statement had no impact on the rest of the argument.

>I think we've pretty much beaten this disagreement to death, and it's time for me to move on.

Then just move on...stop trying to get the last word in. (I'm not the person you were replying).

reply

[–] dkersten link

Dishonesty is about misleading somebody, regardless of what you say. You can say 100% truthful things and still mislead people, which is still dishonest. A common method of dishonesty is by omitting important things. We are saying that we feel that your response is sidestepping the question asked of you, which is dishonest by omission, because this omission misleads. Communication is about more than the words you say.

reply

[–] nocman link

While it is true that you can mislead by omission, every ommission of information is not an attempt to be dishonest.

Sometimes you just don't want people to know one way or the other. That is the scenario I described.

Many in this thread say that not answering is dishonesty, and ascribe my not answering the question to intending to lead my wife's grandmother to believe that I liked her food.

As I believe I pointed out earlier, my intention would not be to lead her to believe that I thought it was either good or bad -- I was not going to reveal the answer at all.

Leaving someone in the dark with no intention of pushing them to incorrect assumptions is not dishonesty.

Also, people can make incorrect assumptions about what is meant by what is said, even when the speaker has no intention of them making those assumptions.

It is the intention of the speaker that makes omission of information honest or dishonest.

reply

[–] bookofjoe link

>Actually that's not true. It is possible to be completely sincere, yet tactful

Concur. I was asked for a reference on a graduating anesthesiology resident who was terrible in terms of his attitude, yet competent enough to practice safely; my reference letter, in its entirety:

"He worked here."

reply

[–] learc83 link

Is this satire? This isn't tactful at all. It comes across as a completely passive aggressive.

Communication is more than just the literal meaning of the words you write. Most people reading this are going to interpret is a "Do not hire this guy under any circumstances, he is terrible"

I think complete honesty--"Terrible attitude, but competent"--would have actually been more tactful than what you wrote.

reply

[–] salvar link

This seems like pedantic wordplay to me. Laughing at something I didn't really find funny is not even in the same league as lying about having worked somewhere where you didn't, and providing a false recommendation in order to get a job.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

I’m very worried that so many people here seem to think it’s impossible to be empathetic with people without being dishonest.

reply

[–] learc83 link

Surely you've had this conversation numerous times throughout your life with people who hold this opinion. You clearly disagree with it, but it's common enough that you shouldn't be surprised by it.

Philosophers have debated this question for millennia--it's nothing new.

>empathetic with people without being dishonest

Empathy and honesty are orthogonal.

reply

[–] alchemism link

“Speak the truth, but ride a fast horse.”

A proverb on the subject.

reply

[–] eeZah7Ux link

> Some amount of dishonesty is required if you want to avoid being an awkward social pariah.

Not at all. When people ask "did you like the food?" they want to receive honest feedback, including a perfectly acceptable "actually not that much", at least where I live.

You can teach people that you will refuse to manipulate them and lie to them - and that this is a way to respect their dignity.

It's also unpolite to ask direct, potentially embarrassing questions that put people on the spot. There is nothing wrong in asking people not to do that.

People can find your (polite) honesty refreshing and warm.

reply

[–] learc83 link

> at least where I live

That is completely cultural. Many culture have different expectations.

>People can find your (polite) honesty refreshing and warm.

In many cultures, including large parts of the US, politeness is often valued more than honesty--polite lies in such cases are a required a social convention. In any culture there will be consequences to ignoring social convention. Perhaps you are willing to accept those consequences. Some people have the social capital to flaunt convention, and some people choose to live with the stigma, but there is a stigma.

For example, if you were to answer "actually not that much" at my grandmother's house, you'd at a very minimum get a sideways glance from most people at the table.

reply

[–] phyller link

Some people seem to think that people will lie about small things, but not big things. I kind of think that if you are willing to compromise your integrity for something small, you are definitely going to lie on the big things when the stakes are higher.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

I'm generally inclined to agree with that sentiment. But I do have a much stronger reaction to a lie when it directly undermines trust I have placed in somebody. If a colleague or employee tells me a lie about their personal life, I'm not going to feel as strongly about it as if they were to lie to me about something related to work. I don't trust my colleagues to tell me detailed and accurate information about their personal life, but I do trust them to do their work with honesty and integrity. Although any lie is still going to undermine trust in general to some extent.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] eeZah7Ux link

[citation needed]

Usually that's not the case.

Plenty of people lie, often unnecessarily, about tiny things like making excuses for being late but would not lie to cover up anything that has serious ethical implications.

reply

[–] phyller link

The first person people lie to is themselves. For a person that doesn't have a personal commitment to integrity, when they are placed in a position where they are incentivized to lie, they will first convince themselves that this lie is either harmless (we are going to lose the account anyway, what is the point of getting everyone mad at me) or the lie is for a good cause. Once that is done, usually unconsciously, then they can tell the lie.

I used to own a business, and I hired people that I knew, nice people. I learned that I should never hire anyone who was not trustworthy, to myself or others, it's just not worth it. One of my friends attended part of the hiring process by telling his current employer that he was sick. This raised red flags in my mind, but I thought, surely he wouldn't do that to me, his friend? Later he did sloppy work and hid it from me with lies, the company almost fell apart. One of many similar stories.

If you have a habit of convenient lies, when the pressure is on and the fear is in your gut, you're going to lie. Don't lie to yourself about it :)

reply

[–] magduf link

So exactly how do you think your friend should have handled it? Tell his employer he was checking out a potential new job? How do you think that would have gone? You think someone of "integrity" needs to ruin their current employment every time they even think about finding a new job?

reply

[–] phyller link

This is another problem with people who lie, it actually takes practice to be both truthful and tactful, and they don't even know how to do it. It's crazy to me that I have to say this, but as has already been stated in this thread, being truthful doesn't mean you have to constantly spew everything you are thinking, stream of consciousness style. You just don't mislead people.

What he should have done was a) coordinate a time with me when he was off work anyway or b) ask for a day off. He doesn't need to explain why, he could have said it was a personal day, it's not his bosses business. I don't expect someone to work two jobs simultaneously, we'd have easily worked it out.

I no longer run my own business. When I am looking for new employment, I do my current job, and do my job search when I can fit it in. If I need to take time off I take it. That didn't even occur to you?

reply

[–] magduf link

>being truthful doesn't mean you have to constantly spew everything you are thinking, stream of consciousness style. You just don't mislead people.

We're not talking about spewing all your private thoughts to people, we're talking about responding to questions. You take a day off from work to go on an interview, and your boss asks you if you're interviewing. What's your response? People like you apparently spill the truth, and get fired. People like me find some way of lying about it ("I wasn't feeling well", "my kid was sick", etc.) so we don't get terminated before we're actually ready to make a move.

>What he should have done was a) coordinate a time with me when he was off work anyway or b) ask for a day off. He doesn't need to explain why

Wrong. Maybe you wouldn't ask why, but another manager might. You cannot guarantee that all managers are like you. Unless you can guarantee that no boss anywhere on the planet will ask invasive questions in this scenario (following your own advice about asking for a day off, which is exactly what I've done when I went on interviews), then you have no right to expect anyone to be honest. People lie because other people have bad behavior, and those people have greater power. Lying is the proper response to protect yourself.

>If I need to take time off I take it. That didn't even occur to you?

That's exactly what I do too. What makes you think I don't? The problem is if your boss pries, and asks why. I'm not going to tell the truth here, and not I'm sorry if that offends your morality. Luckily, I've had good bosses in recent years who didn't ask, so I didn't have to resort to this, but I can certainly see how someone might have a crappy boss who is nosy and asks improper and invasive questions like this. For those people, lying is the proper response. The boss is obviously bad, which means they obviously need to find a better job, but they're also working on that, and it's unreasonable to demand that they quit their job (or risk being fired) while doing a job search. My most recent job search took about 3 months (though I didn't get really serious until the last ~1.5); it can take some time to find just the right opportunity that you want to jump ship for.

reply

[–] eeZah7Ux link

> personal commitment to integrity

Psychology seems to be way more complex than "once a liar always a liar". Some citation of psychological research would help.

reply

[–] phyller link

I didn't make that claim. What I am implying though, is that in order to be a person of integrity I do believe it takes some forethought. In the heat of the moment, when you are very incentivized to lie, everything is going to be pushing you to take the easy way out and you will. If, however, you have thought about it, and made a decision before these moments even occur, you have a chance. Even then I don't think you will always be successful.

Certainly people can change and improve themselves. I don't believe "once an x always an x" for anything I can think of.

Turns out, what I am saying is all backed up by a study which took about a minute of Googling to find: https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.4426#affil-auth

"Here we provide empirical evidence for a gradual escalation of self-serving dishonesty and reveal a neural mechanism supporting it. Behaviorally, we show that the extent to which participants engage in self-serving dishonesty increases with repetition. Using functional MRI, we show that signal reduction in the amygdala is sensitive to the history of dishonest behavior, consistent with adaptation. Critically, the extent of reduced amygdala sensitivity to dishonesty on a present decision relative to the previous one predicts the magnitude of escalation of self-serving dishonesty on the next decision. The findings uncover a biological mechanism that supports a 'slippery slope': what begins as small acts of dishonesty can escalate into larger transgressions."

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] philwelch link

I find that people who work really hard to convince people that "everyone lies" are usually the biggest liars. So my advice: Stop lying, and stop trying to normalize lying.

To address the examples in the link given:

1. "Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?". There are honest ways of answering this question, or at least not-dishonest answers, that don't entail volunteering information that won't help you.

2. "Are you hungover?". Don't get shitfaced on a work night. If they're even asking you the question, you've already lost. Jesus Christ.

3. "What do you think of Bob?". Constructive criticism is how people improve, and many companies have formal peer review processes. If you can't answer that question without coming across as an asshole, it's not because you're being honest, it's because you don't know how to be honest without being an asshole.

4. "How are you?". This is just a synonym for "hello", except instead of saying "hello" back, you say "fine". That's not lying; that's just normal social etiquette. If you really want to be literal about it, you can still be tactful about it.

5. "Why are you leaving your current job?". Usually there are lots of very good reasons to leave your current job that 95% of employers will have no problem with. The fact that there are also other reasons that you choose not to volunteer isn't lying.

6. "Was this a bad idea?". Mind point #3: providing constructive criticism without being an asshole is an important skill. If they're not even willing to accept constructive criticism, then just don't offer your opinion (and find a new place to work). I can almost guarantee you, however, that most of the time, the people who run into this problem aren't the ones who are actually being asked their opinion--they're the ones volunteering it when it's unsolicited and unwanted.

7. "What do you think of me as a boss?". That's just "constructive criticism without being an asshole" again, with an extra dose of, "I suspect no one actually asked you that, and you just volunteered that information and got in trouble for being a tactless buffoon".

8. "What is your greatest weakness?". This is a shitty interview question, and you should respond with a joke about your favorite flavor of ice cream, and if they don't laugh, you shouldn't work there. I think this (and if you actually work places that ask you trap questions that you're not allowed to answer honestly, even if you're not an asshole) is a red flag of a toxic work environment. And yeah, if you're in a work environment where you have to tell lies to get by, then you should leave because that work environment is turning you into a cynical liar who writes cynical listicles trying to drag everyone else into the mud.

9. "Were you at a job interview earlier today?". I don't really have concrete advice for this, because I'm a software engineer and I would have to take a full day off for a job interview. But try changing your clothes or something.

10. "Is Bob cheating on his expenses?". If the truth is that you don't know, then saying "I don't know" isn't lying. If you do know, or at least if you know something, then share what you know. If your office politics have reached the "snitches get stitches" stage where genuine misconduct happens all the time and people can't even report it without it damage their careers--well, then you should find a new job, and you'll have a really good answer for why you're leaving your current job. Figuring out a tactful way of phrasing that is left as an exercise to the reader.

The listicle as a whole tells a very sad story: a story of someone who is trapped in a toxic and politicized work environment where outright misconduct goes on completely unchecked, a work environment that has driven them to drink and left them cynical, burned out, and assuming that every job they interview for will be more of the same. You can play "why don't you/yes but" all day and try to convince me your work environment is exactly that toxic, but there are two possibilities: either it's not actually that toxic and you're just being cynical and paranoid, or else you actually have a really bad job and need to leave before you turn into a paranoid cynic.

reply

[–] learc83 link

>That's not lying; that's just normal social etiquette.

That's the argument. Some amount of dishonesty is required to follow normal social etiquette. Saying I'm fine is expected even if you're not actually fine. We have cultural norms for what kind of dishonesty is acceptable. When you exceed those norms, you're lying.

Politely laughing at an unfunny joke, and telling someone that their food is "interesting", fall well within the realm of socially acceptable polite dishonesty. But skipping work to see a ballgame by inventing a fake funeral is considered lying by many (most?) people.

Like most things in life there is a gray area along that spectrum.

I also second what my sibling comment says about lying by omission. I think morally, both are equal.

reply

[–] philwelch link

If you read the listicle I was responding to, the "how are you?" "fine" interaction is the only clear-cut example of that. Even then, there's a distinction between non-literal communication and dishonesty.

Even then, if a casual acquaintance asks me how I'm doing and I'm not in the middle of some sort of crisis that I would reasonably expect them to care about, the honest answer is to say that I am fine because my casual mood swings are not what they are asking me about. If it's a close friend or a counselor or someone like that, I should expand more. That's just normal context.

There's a weird fundamentalist notion of "honesty" that implies that anything short of continuously broadcasting all of your thoughts to everyone around you is "dishonest". Perhaps that's just innocent literalism, but I think a lot of that is, itself, a dishonest attempt to establish false equivalencies between submitting a completely fictitious resume on the one hand, and restraining yourself from barging into your boss's office to tell him he's a complete idiot every time you feel cheesed off (cf. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17079014).

reply

[–] learc83 link

It sounds like you are arguing with a concept you believe I'm representing rather than what I actually wrote.

reply

[–] philwelch link

You're responding to me. And no, I don't think you've established that normal social etiquette is "dishonest" in any meaningful sense.

reply

[–] learc83 link

Here is what you wrote.

>There's a weird fundamentalist notion of "honesty" that implies that anything short of continuously broadcasting all of your thoughts to everyone around you is "dishonest". Perhaps that's just innocent literalism, but I think a lot of that is, itself, a dishonest attempt to establish false equivalencies between submitting a completely fictitious resume on the one hand, and restraining yourself from barging into your boss's office to tell him he's a complete idiot every time you feel cheesed off"

Here is what I wrote that you were responding to.

>Politely laughing at an unfunny joke, and telling someone that their food is "interesting", fall well within the realm of socially acceptable polite dishonesty. But skipping work to see a ballgame by inventing a fake funeral is considered lying by many (most?) people.

>Like most things in life there is a gray area along that spectrum.

How does your response follow from my comment? There is no false equivalence on my part--there's no attempt at equivalence at all. I would place a completely fictitious resume clearly on the opposite the spectrum from polite social lie.

Again this your response was to a comment where I agreed with this previous comment of yours.

>That's not lying; that's just normal social etiquette

I even stated that this is the argument I'm making. Normal social etiquette isn't lying.

Where we seem to disagree is on what is normal social etiquette.

I think that politely laughing at an unfunny joke falls well within normal social etiquette. I think that telling your partner's grandmother that you like her food is well within normal social etiquette. I also think that telling a polite lie about your opinion of someone is within normal social etiquette.

reply

[–] philwelch link

I apologize if I misunderstood; I think the context of threaded conversations sometimes implies a disagreement when one may not necessarily exist.

I contend that there is zero overlap between what I would characterize as dishonesty and what I would characterize as acceptable behavior in a healthy professional environment.

What we seem to be focusing on at the moment is the relative honesty or dishonesty of polite social interactions, e.g. laughing at bad jokes or claiming to enjoy grandma’s cooking when you don’t. I think there’s likely an overlap between politeness and mild dishonesty in those situations, but by the same token, I don’t personally engage in many of these dishonesties—the polite “fake laugh” is more than I can pull off without coming across as sarcastic—but if you’re better at subtlety than I am, and you fake-laugh in a way that doesn’t come across as either sarcastic or genuine, and you reasonably expect the other person to be fluent and subtle enough to pick up on that, well, that’s not even dishonesty anymore, it’s just non-literal signaling, and after all, etiquette is largely a signaling dance where you show off and feel out how good each other is at subtle interpersonal signaling.

On the other hand, I also advise not dating people who unironically ask “does this dress make me look fat?”, and consider playing along with those games to be dishonest in a soul-eroding way. Although maybe that’s just because that’s a level of non-literal signaling that I just don’t have the patience for....

reply

[–] sls link

Expressions like the American greeting "How are you?" are examples of phatic expressions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phatic_expression), meaning that they are functional as opposed to communicative. Although they take the form of communicative statements, in this case an interrogative, they are really not. Understanding this distinction was very helpful for me, letting me answer "fine" with no ethical concern when asked this sort of question in quotidian encounters such as checking out of a grocery store. I don't think there is any dishonesty in that. Again, the speaker is not really asking the question, but performing a social ritual, and they neither expect nor wish a reply to its literal form.

It's quite different if someone asks a real question such as the example you give about the quality of their food. If I don't want to be honest with whatever level of tact, I may avoid directly answering. I won't choose to lie to them. I don't agree with you if your view is that my unwillingness to declare my feelings about their food (omission) is equivalent to telling a lie about my feelings about their food.

reply

[–] learc83 link

Polite dishonesty is no less a social ritual than polite laughter or mild praise for food you didn't really like. Most people don't expect you to be honest. To be considered polite, you must occasionally be dishonest because that is what is socially acceptable.

You can chose not to be polite, but you will acquire a reputation. Refusing to play the expected social game will have negative consequences.

You clearly have no problem playing the "I'm fine" game. I'm not sure why you have a problem with the "answer the inconsequential question the way people expect it to be answered" game.

> If I don't want to be honest with whatever level of tact, I may avoid directly answering. I won't choose to lie to them.

If you avoid answering, the person asking will assume you hated it. You might as well just say so.

>I don't agree with you if your view is that my unwillingness to declare my feelings about their food (omission) is equivalent to telling a lie about my feelings about their food.

A moral code that makes harmful omissions perfectly fine, but benign untruths immoral is, to me at least, very bizarre.

reply

[–] projektfu link

If it really bothers you to "lie" and say, "fine", just reflect the question back. "Hi, how are you?". You'll see how it wasn't intended as a real question.

The Sopranos version is, Q: "How you doin'?" ... A: "How YOU doin'?"

reply

[–] Symmetry link

There is such a thing as pragmatics[1] where the same words might mean different things in different situations. For any normal human being trying to communicate honestly their speech will be full of things that are wrong or don't strictly make sense but both partners in a conversation have to interpret each other generously for a conversation to proceed. "I spent the entire day doing paperwork!" has to be interpreted as the person spending the bulk of their productive day on paperwork, it doesn't mean that they never slept or ate to any reasonable person. If an answer promotes accurate beliefs then that's a good honest answer. If someone refuses to impart information in their answer then that's their right. If they promote inaccurate beliefs in their answer that's dishonesty.

[1]https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatics/

reply

[–] ThrustVectoring link

You're completely ignoring misleading people through telling factually correct statements. If you ignore the intent of what you want people to believe, you're going to wind up being less honest than people who focus on that but don't need to have every tiny detail be exactly true.

reply

[–] philwelch link

I don't think I'm ignoring it. Most of the scenarios in the listicle where "misleading people through telling factually correct statements" is a tempting options (e.g. reporting misconduct or providing constructive criticism) are the ones where I recommend not doing that.

reply

[–] lovich link

Have you ever been part of lay offs on the employer side? Any single company whose done that action has lied as they led their employees to believe that they would be working on some project for a while, while simultaneously planning to let them go. That's just a single example of a common lie in companies, and there are more like "we follow best practices", until those practices start costing money.

Every single company that more than 2 people is full of constant lies, it's just that most of them are below our collective threshold of being an egregious lie.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

I actually have been. I informed people as soon as I could, and sent them home immediately without telling a single lie. To some extent this comment also tries to paint withholding information that people aren’t entitled to as lying. Which are absolutely not the same thing.

Also, do you know what happens to companies that have mass layoffs cloaked in dishonesty? They destroy their own reputations. An outcome that entirely proves my point.

reply

[–] lovich link

"as soon as I could". That's not "as soon as I knew".

My point is that lieing isn't a binary option. If people told literally no lies our society would fall apart. White lies are social lubricant to get through the day.

This matters in the discussion because employers have made their job positings be full of lies 99% of time. When everyone can expect that a random interaction is going to be mostly lieing then it's moved into white lie category, the same way that if you ask an American "How are you doing" the social expectation is for them to say good or great, regardless of the actual reality

Edit: I think the person talked about in the article has moved way past white lie and into unhireable status, but I feel like the idea that 100% honesty is the only policy is ignoring all of reality

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

Lying is NOT withholding information that people aren’t entitled to. You’re trying to win an argument by changing what the words mean. If somebody confides in me with a secret, am I a liar if I don’t immediately rush off and tell it to all concerned parties? No, I’m not. You’re trying to confuse honesty with openness, and specifically in this case, as an obligation to disclose privileged information.

reply

[–] lovich link

I think your definition of lieing allows for an unlimited amount of misdirection based on a literal interpretation of lieing.

If you are a manager, you heard the CEO say they are going to lay off the bottom 20% of the engineers next month, you know you rated employee A as your worst employee during evaluations, and you then assign Employee A to a new project that's estimated to be 8 months of work, you have not lied by your definition because your CEO didn't say explicitly that they were firing employee A.

If you were a manager and a bank called to confirm an employee worked there so that they could be approved for a home loan, which you know they check to make sure that the employee has a salary that will pay the loan for the near future, you are going to fire the employee next week, and you just tell the bank, "yes he is employeed here" you have not lied by your definition because they didn't explicitly ask if the employee was going to be employed for the duration of that loan.

If you put out a job posting for a set of skills + salary that you know no one will ever take, and then apply for an h1b slot because you couldn't get any candidates, you haven't lied by your definition.

You've made the point that I am trying to win an argument by changing the definition of what words mean, but from my view point that is what you are doing. Human communication is not run through a compiler. There are explicit definitions, implicit definitions, connotations, and even social expectations that all add meaning to our communications, and by saying that you never lied because you are following the exact definition of the words you are being disingenuous

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

You're constructing a fantasy reality for yourself where words mean whatever you want them to, and where I personally did a series of things that you literally just made up.

The real process for how something like happened is that the management spend some time assessing the viability of a project > decide it's not worth continuing > make a plan for how to shut it down > inform staff and help them find new roles inside or outside the company. Now, until the plan had been finalised and approved, there is no news to tell anybody, we (intentionally) didn't have any new major pieces of work kicking off during the review period. At no time in this process did anybody lie to anybody else, by omission or otherwise. If my superiors had asked me to help them do this in a way that was morally questionable or dishonest, I would have refused.

Your argument that everybody must lie by omission simply because there are always things that you can't tell certain people is complete nonsense. A lie by omission is to construct the information you present to somebody intentionally in such as way as to misrepresent the facts and mislead them. By itself, not revealing confidential or private information to somebody is not lying by omission.

I'm not going to reply to any more of your comments, because your entire argument is predicated on reinventing the meaning of words, and creating fantasy straw-man scenarios to apply them to.

reply

[–] lovich link

None of my arguments were strawmen. The three examples I gave were things I personally saw go down at companies I worked at by people with your same viewpoint. I have not worked with anyone who stated that they never lied who did not act like they were a genie from a fairy tale and anything but a lawyer drafted contract to them was means to manipulate someone as far as possible.

I apologize if it came off as me saying that you had done these things. I am on the east coast and not in a tech hub for most of my career, and many of the stories coming from the west coast tech hubs sound like utopian fantasies compared to the way I have seen employers treat employees here.

At this point we are looking at the same painting but you see blue and I see red, so perhaps it is best to end the discussion

reply

[–] MertsA link

The line does get blurry at times. In the past I've been told to remove someone's account right away because they are being terminated and then afterwards been told "nevermind, we're firing them next week. Undo everything and make sure that you convince them it was just some computer issue". To add to it they didn't tell me about it until the user had already noticed they couldn't log into their account.

I agree with what you're saying about withholding information being different than lying but there are circumstances where you will need to flat out lie and fabricate a story to effectively withhold that information. In my case I had to pretend that it must have been a stuck key or something while I quickly reverted the changes and walked them through turning off the computer and pressing all of the keys a lot to "fix" it.

It's one thing to not tell anyone what a meeting between management is about but if you're telling people that you're in a meeting about "Regulatory compliance auditing" while planning a layoff that's not just withholding information. I'm not saying it isn't justified but a lie is still a lie.

reply

[–] bookofjoe link

>If people told literally no lies our society would fall apart.

Concur. Imagine if we could all read each other's minds: things would go downhill in a New York zeptosecond.

reply

[–] anonnel link

> If you think your boss is lying to you, go find a new boss.

That statement seems completely disconnected from reality. Not the part about going to find something better, because that is (usually) possible. But managers regularly and transparently lie.

It sounds like you’re a boss, so I think you haven’t had to experience this for too long and have probably forgotten it.

Also, try not to be so gung ho on declaring who you fire and how little remorse you have / whatever the situation. It does not come off well.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

>managers regularly and transparently lie

There are those that do, and they have to handle the consequences of that.

>It sounds like you’re a boss, so I think you haven’t had to experience this for too long and have probably forgotten it.

I am, but I also have one myself. I am also fully aware of how dysfunctional organisations can become when they don't value honesty and integrity.

>Also, try not to be so gung ho on declaring who you fire and how little remorse you have

I don't have any issues with discussing my values with others. Especially in an anonymous online forum. Reading some of the responses I've gotten in this thread, it seems honesty and integrity are perhaps not widely valued here. Maybe I've changed somebody's perspective on that, maybe that's a good thing.

reply

[–] anonnel link

There are many, the majority I would say. But I’m not defending dishonesty in the least.

It does seem supercilious though, declaring yourself to be so honorable while basically bragging (it seems to me) about firing people.

reply

[–] AlexCoventry link

Everybody tells Harry his new gold watch looks great, or whatever, but legally actionable fraud is pretty rare, and a huge red flag.

reply

[–] imron link

> Everyone is lying at work to some degree.

Maybe, but rarely to the degree that this guy did.

reply

[–] dx034 link

Maybe he had the choice between the truth which would've never gotten him even to a phone interview, or lying where he apparently aced all interviews. Sounds like someone who is great but doesn't have the CV people are looking for. For those it's really hard to get in but companies can be glad when they hire them (since they're cheaper for that reason).

reply

[–] logfromblammo link

That door swings both ways. I'm mostly honest as a personal principle, but I don't believe my employers are all that worthy of receiving the benefit from that. They have lied to me in one way or another far more often, and with far greater magnitude, than I have ever lied to them.

Yeah, I wasn't all that sick when I took that sick day that one time, suspiciously close to a AAA video game release, but then the company told us that it was doing great, and a month later we all got laid off, and our satellite office got shuttered. Yeah, I said my subcontracted position wasn't renewed at my last job, when I was actually pushed out by office politics, but then the company told us it just had a great year, and nobody got more than a 2.5% raise, and no bonuses anywhere.

As such, I'll lie to my company whenever the benefit to me would outweigh the amount I'd feel bad about the lying, and if there were a negligible chance of getting caught, because I trust management about as far as I could kick it. I have to do a motive analysis on every official statement, and if the reasonable alternatives might result in damage to the company, such as by loss of critical employees or short selling of the stock, I can't rely on the statement in any way.

I don't have the luxury of "firing my employer" for lying to me, because all of them have done it. If I kept that policy, I couldn't work for anybody [who is likely to be hiring].

So I certainly hope you have been scrupulously honest to all those folks that you fired for lying to you, and that you never passed along the obvious bullshit from your boss to your underlings. You have to give honesty and respect it, in order to expect honesty and receive it.

reply

[–] rndgermandude link

>Dishonesty is an intolerable trait.

He applied for a sales job... Some (NOT ME!!!!1!) would argue that dishonesty is a mandatory trait in that occupation

ducks

reply

[–] jancsika link

> Dishonesty is an intolerable trait.

Dishonesty which you can detect is apparently intolerable. But dishonesty which you never catch may not be.

That's one of the points of the article, the other being that the candidate apparently showed a solid set of skills in the interviews. Dishonest people are dishonest, but they also might be lazy and thus willing to apply a skillset rather than deal with the complexity of additional, ongoing layers deceit.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

That's a bit of a tautology. You first have to be aware of the existence of something in order to then tolerate it.

The thing about dishonesty (aside from the fact that a person willing to be dishonest about one thing, is more than likely willing to be dishonest about other things too), is that it tends to beget more dishonesty. You tend to have to tell more lies in the future to maintain ones you told in the past. As I've said elsewhere in this thread, you can get ahead on the basis of dishonesty, but only if you lack integrity. Keeping a lie concealed for ever seems to me like it would require luck or tremendous effort, otherwise it's probably not a very interesting lie.

reply

[–] jancsika link

> You first have to be aware of the existence of something in order to then tolerate it.

Sure, but that's irrelevant to my point. We typically have $known_small_quantity of cases where we have detected people being dishonest. But we also have $unknown_quantity of people who were dishonest to us without us realizing it-- maybe because we were naive, or because the deceit was so sophisticated, or it was so carefully contained, etc.

> The thing about dishonesty (aside from the fact that a person willing to be dishonest about one thing, is more than likely willing to be dishonest about other things too), is that it tends to beget more dishonesty.

You necessarily based that opinion on the cases of $known_small_quantity dishonesty. Which, unless you are a professional PI, is almost guaranteed to be crude and fairly easily detectable.

Again, the point of the article is that this cheat left little to no traces of dishonesty aside from choosing the same reference. Yes, the author describes the candidate as "too good to be true." But that's after the fact, and after the author admitted that they would have hired the person without the coincidence of knowing the reference chosen.

If you assume from the beginning that "dishonesty begets dishonesty," it leads you astray. For example, how many of the author's current employees are just luckier cheats than this candidate? That's a question you don't ask if you assume dishonesty is necessarily self-destructive.

reply

[–] cabaalis link

> Lying at work is just about the only thing I'll always fire somebody for.

I'd like to say I second this, but I have to weigh the value of the employee and the size of the lie. For instance, calling in "sick" the Monday after the super bowl. Is 8 hours of PTO so this person can recover from an obviously self-inflicted hangover and not a random "sickness" worth losing a team lead on a project? (Yes, I consider calling a hangover a "sickness" as dishonest.)

reply

[–] FLUX-YOU link

It's getting caught that's the intolerable trait, let's be honest. Depends on the financial gain tied to the lie.

reply

[–] wolco link

The cia would not welcome you.

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

You’re ignoring that fact that honesty is expected in some contexts and not in others. In business it’s not dishonest to withhold information from you’re competitors, or to even make a bluff in front of them. In the CIA it’s not dishonest to withhold information from your adversaries, or even manipulate them to your advantage depending on the context. Although I’m sure many CIA employees practice moral relativism to some extent.

In any case, the CIA and a normal working environment have a lot of differences, so you can’t really take ordinary workplace expectations and dismiss them because they’re not compatible with the CIA environment.

reply

[–] gkya link

No those are completely dishonest, especially when it becomes active bluffing/manipulation. It's nit less dishonest when a lie is useful to you. You might maybe morally justify it, but it's deliberately saying things that conflict with the facts, and that is the very definition of lying.

The general issue of this thread, which you lot have forgotten completely as you went nitpicking what is dishonesty and what is hiding sone facts etc, is that, the whole concept of "references" is a fucked up way to cover incompetence and discrimination at hiring, and forces people to spend time in jobs they would rather not in order to build resumes, and tollerate assholes in order to avoid bias when hirers are scuba-diving into your personal history. That seems to me to be a huge breach of privacy too.

Furthermore, those few of you who can have pleasant jobs seem to just plain ignore the fact that most businesses lie to their employees constantly. My only IT job for example, which I started out as a Python backend developer, but then was forced to, before I wrote five-six lines of python, to work on frontend instead, using JS and jQuery, both of which I did not really know? That was sth. I could have avoided if the employer did not fool me into thinking that I would do Django stuff instead. And, I havent done a survey, but generally the amount of stories employers fucking up employees far outweigh the case vice versa. The morale being, most people have shitty jobs, and you lot are being hypocritical judging them while you dont have to endure such things. Lucky for you, but have some empathy.

As for the initial point of this thread, well, while the Catfish is guilty of lying and better avoided, the circumstances that pushed him to do so are just as equally if not more messy. And also, consciously or subconsciously, we seem to condemn lies and manipulative behavoiur when we are on the benefitting side.

reply

[–] justherefortart link

So you've never lied at work?

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

No, I haven’t. Is dishonesty something you’d like to defend?

reply

[–] justherefortart link

Sure, you get what you give.

I'm honest out of the gate. But once they've lied to me, all bets are off.

I'm sure you've never lied as well, except to yourself which is abundantly clear.

reply

[–] lovich link

You've walked into work and told your boss that he was a fucking moron when you saw something that angered you immediately? Lieing about feelings is a basic human skill. If you never lied you would be a constant stream of unsociable behaviour that would get you shunned

Minor lies are such a part of human society that it's a sign of some disorder if a child is actually incapable of lieing

reply

[–] AmericanChopper link

A lie is saying something that's not true. It's not suppressing the a compulsion to act like a total jackass, no matter how much you really want to. If my boss asked me for an opinion on something I thought was a bad idea, I'd express my thoughts (with empathy). Honesty is not immediately blurting out every thought that passes through your mind, and it's not dishonest to withhold information that people aren't entitled to. You're (perhaps intentionally) confusing honesty with openness. Sometimes it takes courage to be honest, but in my opinion, there's more dangers in dishonesty.

reply

[–] RoyTyrell link

I've never thought my boss was a "fucking moron". While there have been things that have made me frustrated or irritated, I believe I have enough maturity, and so does he, that we can talk like adults and either come to a compromise or better understand their actions/decisions and them understand mine.

I don't know what kind of world you live in where not blurting out the first insulting comment is considering lying...

reply

[–] nocman link

Holding your tongue does not make you a liar.

Not sharing every thought you have does not make you a liar.

Everyone is not required (Thank God!) to reveal everything that crosses their mind in order to be truthful and honest.

You have a very warped definition of "dishonesty".

reply

[–] evrydayhustling link

This doesn't hold up. Unless a candidate is single-mindedly targeting the author's company -- like, they get rejected and come back with a fake resume -- then they decided to fake a resume before talking to the author. The author can't fix the societal experience the candidate has been having, and you have no sign that they filtered unfairly.

I am sympathetic to candidates who feel they have skills but lack credentials, but it is no excuse for falsifying info. Make the strongest case you can about your true history, and you'll eventually connect with a company that values the actual you instead of a fake that will eventually break down.

reply

[–] noobermin link

I don't know about you, but I couldn't finish the article. From the beginning, something irked me and it didn't feel like the author is completely innocent here. One thing that irked me a little is seeing the candidate worked at her previous company made her instantly like him. Once I got to the unnecessary admission the manager uses what even they consider as "unkosher" tactics to learn about the background of potential hires, I immediately closed the tab. I finished it later, but this is the same attitude we see from many managers: they set up poor systems, and get upset when those systems fail, like in this article, and there is no introspection on their part.

reply

[–] extra88 link

There is nothing wrong with considering a shared previous employer a "plus"; the hiring manager knows the employer so if a candidate was good enough for them, there's some reason to think they're good enough for you. If the work environments are similar it could also mean getting them up to speed more quickly.

There's nothing wrong with asking the opinions of people other than those a candidate directs you to. With both the references and the others, you need to understand what experience they're speaking from and what their motivations might be for telling you what they do. Anything that seems like gossip (not the speaker's direct experience) should be treated with suspicion, either ignored or backed up by corroboration from others who can speak independently; discussing it with the candidate themselves may be important. I'm more concerned about hearing only good things from official references or not.

reply

[–] learc83 link

Asking people who weren't listed as references can cause all kinds of trouble.

In this case the candidate said they left on good terms, but given the author's willingness to go beyond what is "considered kosher" says to me that they likely do this all the time.

Even if you're not asking people at a candidate's current employer, if you start poking around asking all of your contacts about someone and it gets back to their current boss, there can be serious consequences for that candidate.

The author even said that one of their contacts said he would discretely ask around about the candidate. Are all of the people the contact talked to going to keep discretely asking their coworkers as well?

In America it is incredibly easy to fire someone--stop being so paranoid.

reply

[–] nocman link

"In America it is incredibly easy to fire someone--stop being so paranoid."

^ uh, that is very often not the case. Well I guess it is if you are willing to live with any legal consequences that are the fallout of firing someone.

I have a close relative that did a lot of hiring and a decent amount of firing (for legitimate reasons -- they were the type to give people a lot of chances, and genuinely wanted to help people better their situation). Their caution in the firing process was driven by years of experience (both theirs and other manager's experience) where some fired employees that were clearly in the wrong would try to pursue legal action against the employer (even though they had no case whatsoever). Attorney's fees aren't cheap, even if you are in the right.

So it often is not true that "In America it is incredibly easy to fire someone".

reply

[–] learc83 link

>would try to pursue legal action against the employer (even though they had no case whatsoever)

People can pursue legal action for anything they want. They can pursue legal action for not hiring them in the first place.

This isn't something unique to firing someone, it is a normal cost of business.

reply

[–] nocman link

Neither of those things is relevant to the point I was making. The legal costs often incurred by firing someone (and they are very real) makes it more difficult to fire them. Also, the time spent by employers dealing with legal issues is very expensive also.

The fact that it isn't unique to the firing process doesn't change the fact that it often makes it more difficult to fire someone (again, even if the case goes nowhere the employer often has to deal with it anyway - costing both time and money).

reply

[–] learc83 link

>Neither of those things is relevant to the point I was making. The legal costs often incurred by firing someone (and they are very real) makes it more difficult to fire them.

Here's why that's relevant. Because you're trying to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits from firing employees, you decide to be more hiring averse. You interview more people and turn many people down than you otherwise would have.

Each additional person you interview but turn down, exposes you to the possibility of a frivolous lawsuit. If you turn down 50 extra people, you've now opened yourself up to 50 extra frivolous lawsuits.

Hell each additional person who you accept a resume from could result in a frivolous lawsuit.

>The fact that it isn't unique to the firing process doesn't change the fact that it often makes it more difficult to fire someone (again, even if the case goes nowhere the employer often has to deal with it anyway - costing both time and money).

You keep using the term often. Wrongful termination lawsuits aren't common. Lawyers know they are very hard to win without a clear evidence of wrongdoing by the employer, and lawyers generally don't want to file frivolous lawsuits that they know will be almost immediately dismissed.

Lawyers who are willing to file lawsuits that they know they can't win definitely don't do so on contingency, and most people who've just been fired don't have thousands of dollars lying around to pay a lawyer to file a frivolous lawsuit.

Don't fire someone on FMLA, don't fire someone in retaliation for whistleblowing, don't fire someone because they're in a protected class etc... and the chances of being sued are very small.

Firing someone in the US is incredibly easy compared to most of the rest of the developed world. Stop being so risk averse. If you don't do anything stupid, The chance of a lawsuit is very small, the chance of a lawsuit that makes it past an initial hearing is smaller, and the chance of losing is smaller still. The amount of extra time you spend on interviews, the additional risk exposure from interviewing additional candidates, and the lost opportunity from additional false negatives is going to far outweigh any potential risk.

reply

[–] nocman link

If you are speaking on experience, yours is much different than the person I was speaking of.

I've heard of plenty of cases of legal action taken because someone was fired. I've never heard of a single case of someone taking legal action because they were not hired. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I just have never heard of a single case.

And personally (and I'm sure the same is true for the relative I was speaking of), I would be never be afraid of frivolous lawsuits from someone who did not get hired (again, because I've never heard of anyone ever filing one). So in my view the point is still irrelevant. However knowing about multiple cases of people bringing legal action due to being fired, I'd still argue that it isn't as easy as people think it is.

And no, I'm not referring to the employer doing any of those stupid things you listed, though some of them were cases where the employer was accused of doing something illegal in firing, but it was unfounded.

I'm talking about relatively small companies for which the hassle of having to deal with these things is expensive - in time lost and hassle dealing with it, if nothing else.

reply

[–] extra88 link

> asking all of your contacts about someone

That escalated quickly.

Checking references is one of the last things we do and insist that one be their a current manager so being "outed" by someone else isn't an issue. If I talk to a non-reference who I think is in a position to know about a candidate's performance, I would make it clear that discretion is called for; that's no guarantee but again, reference checks are the end game, they're either "the one" or maybe one of two if it's a really hard choice.

reply

[–] learc83 link

>That escalated quickly.

Clearly that was hyperbole.

>Checking references is one of the last things we do and insist that one be their a current manager so being "outed" by someone else isn't an issue.

What kind of positions are you hiring for where people are OK with this? The vast majority of managers aren't OK with employees who are actively looking for other work, despite what they may say.

reply

[–] extra88 link

Managers don't have to be OK with it, they just can't retaliate. I'm a manager and I'm totally okay with it, they're employees, not slaves. I've seen no indication from my fellow managers that anyone had a big problem with people looking.

I work in higher ed. There are plenty of people with other workplace problems, mental health problems, but maybe university staff are generally more humane (our benefits are compared to the American average).

reply

[–] learc83 link

>but maybe university staff are generally more humane

Yeah I would say that's probably true.

In private industry this wouldn't work at all. Because most managers will retaliate. Mostly they'll just do things like giving you short term grunt work because they don't want you on anything long term. The worst managers will just flat out fire you.

reply

[–] inertiatic link

>insist that one be their a current manager

That's inviting imposters. Most regular people applying for a job wouldn't provide their current boss as a reference, but the people who would provide fake references? No problem! You can talk to my current boss, or even my boss in 5 years time, whatever you want!

reply

[–] extra88 link

Having a friend pretend to be your boss for a reference would be risky. I could look up the contact information you provide to see if it matches the manager's name, I could call a general number at the business to be connected to them. Is the friend supposed to answer the phone pretending to be someone else for an unknown period of time? There are many ways in which they could screw up their performance. This is real life, not TV.

If a candidate attempted that, I would definitely look into what options there are for consequences beyond not getting the job.

reply

[–] learc83 link

> I could look up the contact information you provide to see if it matches the manager's name, I could call a general number at the business to be connected to them.

I've never done this when checking references, and I've never known anyone who does it regularly. It seems that there is a disconnect here between your sector and private industry. Your hiring practices seem a bit off to people coming from private industry, so you're seeing people here trying to come up with ways around it.

>If a candidate attempted that, I would definitely look into what options there are for consequences beyond not getting the job.

If you mean legally, no one is going to prosecute this even if their technically could be criminal penalties.

You could sue the person to recover damages, but you don't really have any damages beyond a bit of wasted time. The person they are impersonating could sue the person for defamation, but they'd have a hard time proving damage as well.

You could also try calling up their current employer, but then you're opening yourself up to defamation claims that would have a very clear damage component. Truth is a defense in defamation cases, but you're going to need to prove it and it's not going to be pleasant.

reply

[–] extra88 link

I don't automatically mistrust reference contact information provided, I'm just explaining some of the risks. The risk wouldn't end after the reference checks, the truth could come out at any time and could result in dismissal.

> Your hiring practices seem a bit off to people coming from private industry

I don't care what handful of people think, especially when they seem to be just thinking adversarially and not speaking from experience. None of us are in a position to speak about what practices are prevalent in any sector. But you can now say you've encountered someone who claims to have been a hiring manager that, on at least one occasion, didn't just go by the contact information provided for a reference check.

> If you mean legally

I don't mean anything beyond that I'd have a strong emotional reaction to such a large deception and would wish for there to be consequences so they would regret it and never do it again. Courts didn't cross my mind but in then little that I have thought about it, my guess has been that there wouldn't be anything to do.

reply

[–] learc83 link

>None of us are in a position to speak about what practices are prevalent in any sector.

I don't think that's true. I've been around long enough to know that insisting on getting a reference from someone's current manager is not a common practice for developer jobs in private industry.

Like I said, it may be common in your sector, but it most definitely is not in mine.

reply

[–] magduf link

Just because you've gotten the the point of checking references doesn't mean the candidate is definitely going to accept your offer.

If you called my manager and got me fired from my job in an interview process, I'd most likely hire a lawyer and sue you.

reply

[–] extra88 link

> I'd most likely hire a lawyer and sue you.

This is America so anyone can sue for anyone for anything but what exactly do you think the grounds would be for a suit? I won't call without your consent, I have no intent to cause you harm, if the reference calls go well you'll even likely get a job offer.

reply

[–] magduf link

>I won't call without your consent

The way you wrote it, it seemed you were going to just call the employee's current manager.

I would NEVER give you consent for that. I don't know what kind of screwed-up industry that would ever be the norm in. Doing this is grounds for a lawsuit because it will most likely result in termination of the employee from his current job.

>if the reference calls go well you'll even likely get a job offer.

That's a big "if". The reference call almost guarantees the person will lose his current job.

As for the grounds for the suit, getting someone fired from their job is pretty good grounds for a lawsuit. There's expectations of privacy that go with job-hunting, and willfully getting someone fired from their job will not sit well with a jury.

reply

[–] extra88 link

> The way you wrote it, it seemed you were going to just call the employee's current manager.

I wrote, "Checking references is one of the last things we do and insist that one be their a [sic] current manager". I thought that made it clear we ask the candidate for references and that one be their current manager.

> The reference call almost guarantees the person will lose his current job.

Not everyone is like you, I wouldn't fire someone for applying for a job. If you wouldn't fire someone for it either, why do you assume almost every manager is not like you or me and would fire them?

> There's expectations of privacy that go with job-hunting

But by giving me consent to call your manager, that expectation is gone.

Take it with a grain of salt but this post [0] addresses "outing" a candidate.

Q: can a prospective employer tip off my boss that I’m job-searching? A: It’s legal, but it’s really, really crappy.

[0] http://www.askamanager.org/2013/01/can-a-prospective-employe...

reply

[–] learc83 link

I don't think it's illegal, but it still going to increase the chances that someone sues--still unlikely.

However, "It’s legal, but it’s really, really crappy."

Notice the common theme that most people think that outing an employee is crappy, and forcing them to tell their perspective employer is also crappy.

Again, your sector may be different, but that's were everyone here is coming from--it's considered downright awful in our industry.

reply

[–] doktrin link

> If I talk to a non-reference who I think is in a position to know about a candidate's performance, I would make it clear that discretion is called for

how benevolent of you

reply

[–] wgerard link

> One thing that irked me a little is seeing the candidate worked at her previous company made her instantly like him.

I think that's a really hard bias to get over, even if people don't readily admit it like the author did. Presumably you have feelings about previous places you worked at, and thoughts about the general culture at them ("everyone was great!" or "that place was a dump!").

If you have strong feelings about a place, it's pretty hard not to let those feelings influence decisions like this. It's a bit like trying to be unbiased about hiring a friend: Even if you never admit it, how could you possibly be totally unbiased?

Of course, in an ideal world the ethical thing to do is to remove yourself from the hiring process because of a conflict of interest. That, also of course, can be impossible in some places (no one to take your place, rigid processes that insist you interview or decline the candidate, etc.).

reply

[–] lovich link

I don't know that I've ever worked at a place that would bias Mr towards a candidate one way or another unless I worked with them. Either it was a small enough place that I knew everybody and could rate them based off of personal experience, or it was a big place and I don't know if this guy was on the team that wrote Project A which held the whole team back, or the guy on project B which had us getting new clients every week because it was made so well.

Just going, "oh he wored at the same company as me so I should like him" seems like a frat/sorority mentality

reply

[–] deedubaya link

> Unless a candidate is single-mindedly targeting the author's company -- like, they get rejected and come back with a fake resume -- then they decided to fake a resume before talking to the author

You think it was just a coincidence that the fake job/reference the catfish had listed was one of the hiring manager's past employers?

> Make the strongest case you can about your true history, and you'll eventually connect with a company that values the actual you instead of a fake that will eventually break down.

This is definitely true and the right advice for candidates who are considering lying to get through the recruiter filter.

reply

[–] sheepmullet link

> who feel they have skills but lack credentials, but it is no excuse for falsifying info.

Why is it no excuse? Because we work in a system where the majority of employees and employers are trying to do the right thing.

But that's becoming less and less true - I've interviewed with plenty of companies who have no problem with wasting days of a potential employees time with large take home tests and I've got no qualms about outsourcing those tests.

reply

[–] evrydayhustling link

It's not just unethical, it's impractical, and the same reason applies to your take-home tests: if the first thing your employer asks you to do is something you want to outsource, what makes you think the tenth thing they ask you to do will be better?

It's fair to be annoyed when hiring managers shift costs of filtering over to candidates. If it really bothers you, might be a sign to avoid that company culture entirely.

reply

[–] FLUX-YOU link

If they don't realize that they could just outsource the ten things, he's adding value, managing the overhead, and should get paid for doing that. Believe me, people do get paid to do that and it's considered a good career. People even get paid to sit on reddit for 6 hours of a day for $100k+.

Let's not pretend candidates have equal recourse if a company lies to them about the culture or the job.

reply

[–] sheepmullet link

> what makes you think the tenth thing they ask you to do will be better?

What makes you think the interview process is indicative of the work environment?

Most of the time it isn't.

I've worked at quite a few great places that had ridiculous interview processes.

reply

[–] evrydayhustling link

Ok so there is a work environment you respect and want to be part of, but there is an interview process in the way that you feel has nothing to do with the work environment and wastes your time, so deceiving them is self defense. Is outsourcing the take home test the only version of that which is ok, or is resume pumping etc ok too?

(This is meant to be pointed, because I disagree, but not rhetorical - I'm genuinely interested in understanding the happy path end to end for this strategy.)

reply

[–] gkya link

A very small amount of people have such an abundance of opportunities.

reply

[–] kbar13 link

this sounds very similar to a lot of dating advice i've received

reply

[–] CobrastanJorji link

Yes. This particular candidate should definitely not be hired, but there are probably some other great candidates who can "discuss the pros and cons of MEDDIC" or whatever but aren't getting an interview.

reply

[–] ryandrake link

I wholeheartedly agree. The behavior itself should NOT be condoned but it is arguably understandable. Given the increasing pickiness of employers, candidate screening based on keyword and credential filtering, focus on who you know over what you know, and opaque/arbitrary hiring processes, I’m surprised we don’t see more of this. It’s no longer enough to be a good candidate. One needs to check every checkbox, AND be a star showman/orator under pressure in order to get past the multitude of gates blocking one from gainful employment.

reply

[–] ironjunkie link

In any other profession I would agree with the complete nonsense going on with hiring, but at least in IT (and at least in the bay area), there is such a demand for engineers that I don't see this going on too much except at some of the big shops (Google, Facebook etc) which are frontended with incompetent recruiters that only look at keywords.

reply

[–] lovich link

Outside of Silicon Valley, there are many ridiculous hiring practices. On the east coast I have applied to multiple companies where I knew enough of the employees to get dinner with the team after. When we talked about hiring policies and practices all but one of those dinners ended up with a fight between the coworkers that fell into two teams of whether they should fail candidates over not wearing a suit because it showed they weren't professional or whether they should fail a candidate for wearing a suit because they valued looks over ability.

Hell every single job I've worked at had multiple people whose requirements to hire someone were so difficult that they, themselves wouldn't have been hired

A lot of the software worlds application process out of a few tech hubs is just shotgunning applications so that you get your resume in front of enough hiring managers who are having a good day that you get an interview.

reply

[–] learc83 link

I think this is a product of the relative immaturity of our industry, and the problems exist inside SV companies as well as outside.

We tend to cargo cult interview practices from whomever the big player of the week is (IBM, then MS, now Google).

Then we justify these awful hiring practices by convincing ourselves that programming is so hard that of course we need to put candidates through 6 rounds of interviews and treat people with 20 years of experience like new grads.

reply

[–] lovich link

Agreed on the immaturity of our industry being a cause for problems. The industrial revolution took nearly 100 years to permeate through society and create standard practices for many industries. Computer technology and science has only been around for a little over half of that, and the fact that the majority of it is abstractions that our brains didnt evolve for as opposed to plain physics which we do have instincts for, appears to be making it harder for us to come to a consensus as to the right way to solve these problems

reply

[–] huebnerob link

His work history is materially important to his evaluation as a candidate. He wasn't great in spite of his lies, he was great because of them.

Answering a few questions in an interview is just a gut check. The real yardstick is how well a candidate worked for other companies in the past.

Anyone who's tried to get their foot in the door of an industry with an entry level position can attest to this. Even the smartest, most charismatic candidates give employers pause when they're untested.

reply

[–] deedubaya link

Yes, work history is almost always materially important, however, if you're using it as a gatekeeper, you're going to have a hard time hiring; especially if it's work history at a specific company.

I would have a hard time believing this candidate was the only one who wasn't entry level. The fact that the catfish progressed so far with that specific fake reference had to be materially important, especially when complaining about difficulty hiring prior to this candidate.

reply

[–] sanderjd link

> How many great candidates are companies missing out on because of arbitrary filters?

A hell of a lot. And then they proclaim that there is a major shortage of workers.

reply

[–] deedubaya link

Maybe the author should evaluate _why_ they got catfished.

Recruiting processes are so convoluted and hard to break through, that someone who apparently otherwise would have been a great candidate, had to lie to get an interview. Was a good candidate really only one that had worked at the managers previous employer?

How many great candidates are companies missing out on because of arbitrary filters?

reply

[–] Johnny555 link

Backdoor references are very unethical in my opinion. Beyond the fact that you are telling a third party about someone’s job search without the searcher’s consent, you can also get a very biased opinion.

But frontdoor references are guaranteed to be biased no one (well, almost no one) is going to use someone that didn't like them as a reference, they are going to dig up someone that will say something good about them.

We had one DBA hire that was not very good, she lasted 3 months before we had to let her go because she just couldn't do her job. One of her references didn't have much good or bad to say, but her most recent manager (where she worked for 5 years), gave a very glowing reference, outlining all of the projects that she had helped with.

It wasn't until we had let her go that we found that that while the person that gave her a glowing reference actually was her manager, she was also her roomate... and her girlfriend.

reply

[–] johnwh link

However isn’t the point that references are people who have worked with you and (hopefully) managed you. By calling a backdoor reference, you may not be calling a strong relationship and getting hearsay. For all the recruiter knows, they could be calling a coworker that asked the candidate out on a date and was rejected.

The whole point of references is that given the opportunity to put your best foot forward, can you find people to vouch for you. It may fall short, but so will calling a tenuous relationship.

I did quite well at my previous job (my boss has been a reference twice, in addition to my employee who took over my position when I left), but had a another specific manager been asked, I would have received an awful review, unrelated to my job, but because he hated my boss and therefore hated me and my team. We rarely worked together, and he has little idea of my accomplishments, but it wouldn’t be crazy to ask a director at my previous company for that backdoor reference.

Basically my issue is that I don’t believe that backdoor references are in any way more effective than regular references, but are tremendously unethical, and could lead to false negatives.

reply

[–] drdeadringer link

> no one (well, almost no one) is going to use someone that didn't like them as a reference, they are going to dig up someone that will say something good about them.

If this is not the point of references, what is?

Also: for some levels of US Government Clearances the agents ask you "Who else do you recommend we talk to about This Person?". It might be interesting to see if it's commercially cost saving for some level of businesses to do this as well.

reply

[–] hndl link

How does this work in the case when you're still employed at a current place and a looking to make a change?

Edit - I think you mean doing a verification after an offer is put out.

reply

[–] Retric link

Employment verification is common for things like loans, so in most organizations it does not stand out. It's also common for this to be farmed out to 3rd party companies at large companies to avoid the risk of lawsuits.

reply

[–] tytytytytytytyt link

You mean like verify past employment dates and only verify the last employment date after they are hired and no longer work at their last employer?

reply

[–] hndl link

right

reply

[–] johnwh link

Backdoor references are very unethical in my opinion. Beyond the fact that you are telling a third party about someone’s job search without the searcher’s consent, you can also get a very biased opinion.

My wife was fired from a job at a well known University in the area. She had 2 bosses in a year, one of them twice after coming back from prolonged mental health leave. Within a month of coming back my wife’s boss had a long term relationship end which lead to my wife being blamed for everything and anything, and was then subsequently fired.

On the other hand, my wife has excelled at her current job. She has been promoted 4 times at this point to a director level position and is extremely well respected. If they were to call her previous boss (who has had multiple people promoted over her in the past 2.5 years), the review would be awful and not reflective of my wife’s work.

You know what would have caught this without any effort what-so-ever? Calling the company and verifying dates of employment. It is part of every job application, and is expected.

reply

[–] rqs link

> Obviously mistakenly forwarded it back to me instead of to his bro who he wanted to do his coding test.

Long time ago a guy I knew send me a quiz that apparently from a job interview, I pretend I've never received it ("Oh sorry, it must be filtered as spam").

My opinion, you shouldn't hire someone who can fail on a task that as simple as forwarding an email to someone else on such situation.

LOL

reply

[–] RandallBrown link

Oh come on, people make silly email mistakes all the time. You don't want to hire someone that's going to lie about finishing their coding quiz, but if they screw up an email in an innocent way, it shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

Reminds me of the joke about throwing half of your job applications in the trash because you don't want to hire unlucky people.

reply

[–] lovich link

Maybe hire one of the devs you interact with to search for duplicates? Searching for duplicates substrings isn't necessarily something that could be done off the shelf but it shouldn't be too hard for a competent dev to get you a working process

reply

[–] andrewstuart link

I'm a developer - I could do it but I can't be bothered - not important, merely interesting.

reply

[–] lovich link

Ah well if you ever get the itch and do it, please post the results. I would be interested in seeing the data

reply

[–] shepardrtc link

> One thing I'd be interested to do is run some sort of duplicate text detecter over my candidate database.

You'll probably get a double-digit percentage of hits. I google parts from every resume I receive when I'm hiring for a position. About half have bits and pieces copied from somewhere else.

reply

[–] robbintt link

Don't forget that you're supposed to paste phrases from the job description language into the resume, so every resume should have a very high baseline similarity.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

You're not supposed to do that.

reply

[–] ng12 link

I've been wondering how often #1 happens. Our coding test isn't particularly difficult but it is timeboxed, and somehow candidates pass it who take 15+ minutes to string together a for-loop when they come on-site.

reply

[–] andrewstuart link

Home based unsupervised coding tests are fine I think, as long as you ask the candidate to talk through their solution when they come in to meet in person.

reply

[–] drdeadringer link

I've received a mistaken "please come in for an interview" email intended for someone else. The recruiter was embarrassed when I illuminated the error. I enjoyed knowing I was "not selected to proceed", even if it was by mistake vs the usual silence.

reply

[–] andrewstuart link

I'm a recruiter.

Three anecdotes come to mind for this topic:

#1

I once sent out a coding test email to a candidate.

Not long after I got an email back from this candidate saying "Hey bro could you do this test for me please." or words to that effect.

Obviously mistakenly forwarded it back to me instead of to his bro who he wanted to do his coding test.

#2

I definitely got catfished but it was by another recruiter who was fishing to try to find out who my client/employer was - he was hoping I'd call the number so he could pretend to be a valid candidate and I would reveal the name of the employer. I took the issue to the job board that the resume came from, and they threatened to ban his company from advertising on their board. Never happened again as far as I know.

#3

I've got about 150,000 resumes in my candidate database. One thing I'd be interested to do is run some sort of duplicate text detecter over my candidate database.

I've definitely received resumes that duplicate text from other resumes.

reply

[–] gamblor956 link

In California at least, looking at an applicant's social profile can reveal information the company is not allowed to ask for or use in the hiring decision.

LinkedIn wouldn't qualify since it's a public resume, but checking out an applicant's Facebook page or Instragram would likely give rise to actionable legal claims if the applicant is rejected. This doesn't mean you'd lose, but you'd pay out a chunk of money to defend the lawsuit and other candidates would avoid your company.

reply

[–] jkaplowitz link

LinkedIn isn't public. It is inaccessible to people like me who haven't accepted the LinkedIn Terms of Service. The formerly porous auth wall has recently been made tighter.

I wonder how this affects whatever California law you were referencing? (Honest question. I have no idea as to the answer.)

reply

[–] dx034 link

Also, what should Facebook tell you? Worst case you don't hire someone because you don't agree with their political views or hobbies even if they'd never brought that up during employment. A public web search can make sense in cases where clients would also potentially google your employees (e.g. sales reps or managers). But for a developer that shouldn't play a role.

reply

[–] deoxxa link

Australian here, but I've worked for NZ companies before.

Especially down in our corner of the world, it's all about who you know. If you've got a few people you've worked with where you can go "hey I'm looking for a new job soon, heard of any openings?", that'll get you wayyyyy better jobs on average than what ends up hitting the public job advertisements.

Speaking from experience, advertising a job publicly is what you do after you've asked everyone you know if they know anyone personally who would work well.

reply

[–] keithnz link

I'm in NZ too, I vaugely put some stuff on my linkedin, but I don't use it and don't keep it up to date. When I recruit people, I wouldn't use linkedin at all. If I look at the people I'm linked to, who I know pretty well, the profiles almost have an inverse weighting. The averagish people I know seem to have extensive profiles with many connections, and with many bold claims of capability. The people who I think are seriously good often have seriously poor profiles ( of those that do have them ) and often only linked with whoever sent them requests. Maybe that's unique to software devs, or maybe it's unique to people I know, or maybe it's unique to my subjective opinion of other peoples capability. Either way, I really don't think too much of linkedin.

reply

[–] deviationblue link

Similarly, rule #4: Google candidate. What happens if candidate doesn't have Google presence? Or if there are other people with the same name as the candidate who have weird websites or videos posted somewhere. Give me a break, let's not get paranoid about hiring. You can always let someone go.

reply

[–] eigenvector link

There's a guy with my name, roughly the same age as me, from the same hometown who's a recently paroled pedophile. All the top results when you search my name are about him.

So yeah, I'm not enthusiastic about Googling every candidate.

reply

[–] stordoff link

I recently found out there's not only with the same name as me (it's a fairly unusual name--I haven't previously heard it outside of my family), but also went to my university. It would be very easy to get us confused.

reply

[–] drdeadringer link

Alternatively, my "Google Twin" is literally a rock star. Obviously we are quite different people by look and by crook, but this is a coin with at least two sides.

reply

[–] jpindar link

That's all the more reason why you should have a web presence!

reply

[–] FLUX-YOU link

Not everyone can have that, esp. people with a history of stalkers or abusive friends/family.

reply

[–] erichurkman link

I took my partner's last name when we got married so I no longer shared a name with murderers, drug dealers, a corrupt politician. Now I share a name with a farmer, two people in the Netherlands, and a hobbyist jeweler. Much better.

reply

[–] toomanybeersies link

Maybe it was because I was a junior developer at the time, on my first real job, but I found LinkedIn to be practically useless in New Zealand, specifically Wellington.

The Wellington tech scene is small enough and tight knit enough that I had no need for LinkedIn, things tended to get around by word of mouth as much as anything.

Since moving to Australia, I've actually started using LinkedIn and it was very useful for finding leads for work, and I still get recruiters periodically contacting me for positions.

I still see no utility in LinkedIn beyond using it as a job hunting tool though. I've never posted anything to LinkedIn, and never read anything on there either.

reply

[–] jamiepenney link

I find it handy because most of the time I know some shared connections and I can chat to them about the person (like you said, New Zealand is a small place). I know what you mean, I avoided creating a profile for the longest time, especially because they were doing a lot of shady stuff around sending emails to all your contacts. However I find it to be a genuinely useful tool now.

In saying all of that, I'm not going to write you off for not having one and if your CV can give me the same info then that's fine. I just think it's best to use what's available to you - if you're in Wellington like I was, you're pretty much 2 degrees of separation from anyone else so finding someone to vouch for you that's trusted by the person hiring you is easy using LinkedIn.

reply

[–] peterburkimsher link

How long should a CV be for New Zealand companies?

A friend in Wellington (Andrew Amesbury) recommended that I rewrite mine with more details, even though it's now 7 pages instead of 2.

I worked at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in Auckland while on a Working Holiday visa in 2011-2012. I still have some friends there, but they now outsourced their recruiting so internal references don't help as much. My previous boss (Mark Titchener) is retiring.

I'm looking to move to NZ later this year. The Skilled Migrant Category visa is the fastest route to PR anywhere in the world. I've been in Taiwan to get the required 3 years of continuous relevant work experience.

If LinkedIn is important, then please tell me what to change:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-burkimsher-b855bb8/

What are some popular web forums in NZ? I've found a couple of jobs through online communities, and was invited to visit Google in Taipei based on a post here on Hacker News. But staying in Taiwan won't solve my nationality issues, whereas moving to New Zealand would provide a safe, stable place to call home.

reply

[–] JaggedNZ link

3 or 4 pages should be about right IMHO, most tech hiring managers don't want to read your complete life story, just figure out if you look like you have the right skill sets and experience.

At a quick glance your current CV is light on specific technologies and languages. i.e. are you an embedded C programmer? Ruby? PHP? Net? Can you use Github, docker, whatever. most of this is just to get past the "HR filter".

reply

[–] daemin link

I know New Zealand is not Australia, but a resume of 3 or more pages is too long for anyone but the most seasoned of professionals (I'm talking 40+ or 50+ years of constant projects and achievements). I'd keep it short and sweet at 2 pages, 3 at an absolute maximum.

reply

[–] jamiepenney link

2 pages is what I go for. I've started leaving out older jobs in favour of pointing them at my LinkedIn profile for more in depth info for older positions.

reply

[–] salvar link

I religiously stick to the one page max rule.

reply

[–] razzimatazz link

I'm never going to rule out the candidate without online profiles, but it would have been a nice way to get some confirmation or another perspective on what I see in the CV. Without access to your profiles I'll just have to work a bit harder to get references or evaluate how truthful your backstory is.

In NZ my own linkedin is perhaps enough to help with that. Perhaps if you aren't using linkedin yourself, you don't understand how it can be used against you, or how it is helping other candidates? (just thinking..)

reply

[–] itronitron link

I don't think it will hurt for dev roles. I wouldn't be surprised if over half of the people on LinkedIn are recruiters, so it must be critical for their own careers.

reply

[–] fusiongyro link

I think these social networks are really important for candidates like this catfish, but for those of us who know WTF we're doing, I kind of doubt it. It's certainly a trope that developers are antisocial. If you know what you're doing, it won't be hard to manifest people with credentials who will talk about it.

reply

[–] gowld link

If you're antisocial, how will references know or remember you, and how will you remember who to cite as references?

reply

[–] fusiongyro link

Using my brain, like humans did before LinkedIn. It's quite easy for me to remember who my bosses were and which of my junior devs can actually produce code and which cannot. There's no need to be fatuous. If you can't recall who you worked for most recently, you have a much bigger problem than mere introversion.

reply

[–] jiveturkey link

> Is not having a LinkedIn account going to come back to bite me,

In SF bay area, no. Of course hiring is local so YMMV.

reply

[–] benburleson link

"Necessary evil" is the exact phrase I've used to describe LinkedIn for many years now; it's really sad.

reply

[–] jpindar link

If I hire you, what other commonly used tools are you going to refuse to use?

reply

[–] jiveturkey link

facebook?

reply

[–] downer54 link

You know what? I’d rather die broke on the streets than work for dipshits who care about social media profiles.

Oh! I didn’t blog enough for you? My Facebook vacation pictures aren’t sunny enough? My user profile photo doesn’t smile quite so bright, so as to satisfy your insipid whims?

How about pay me the money I’ll need for the next 18 months, so I can save up enough money, in order to pad all this bullshit fluff walled garden nonsense, to make hiring managers feel warm and fuzzy inside.

reply

[–] navs link

sigh

> Rule #2: Take a long hard look at a candidate’s social profiles.

Is not having a LinkedIn account going to come back to bite me, even when applying for dev roles? I've had even senior devs at popular local dev shops say LinkedIn is a "necessary evil" because it:

1. is easy to grep

2. you can find whether a candidate has similar connections to you

3. recommendations

I get New Zealand is small and the social graph for LinkedIn can be well utilised because of this but I just don't want a LinkedIn account. Is a traditional CV so bad?

reply

[–] gowld link

"Trust your gut" slides into "culture fit" slides into "I'm not sure someone who looks/talks like that could really do what they say they do" and "This person looks like someone who I'd expect could do the job".

reply

[–] keithnz link

problem is there's two things going on here with "trusting your gut"

his gut was actually mainly telling him the person was great...

but there was something fishy about their work history. Which caused a niggle.

My experience is, and I'd guess for most people who have recruited a lot, when you find someone who is good, it's obvious. So, in this case he probablly had found someone good for the job. ( depending on how they validated the persons skills )

I'd want to give the guy an opportunity to explain... The deception of having worked for a company that he never did is a pretty serious deception, not quite a minor altering of the facts, but I'd still want to know a bit more about the reason for the deception.

did it mean the candidate did it to get the opportunity to interview? and if he didn't do it he may not of got the opportunity to interview? In which cased I may be sympathetic.

Or, perhaps there was bad blood from previous employment? or, is there something more neferous going on, fraud, sexual misconduct, etc. This would be an instant no go for me.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Yes, this and reference checks. Plus, if a guy isn't working out, fire him. Not a huge deal. The current tech hiring process, at least what I read on here, is absurd.

reply

[–] organsnyder link

Depends on what "isn't working out" means. If the employee is just bad at their job in mundane ways like low performance, poor quality, etc. then that's probably not too harmful (or it shouldn't be, if your company is more than a dozen people or so).

However, if "isn't working out" means that the employee has behavioral issues that harm colleagues, is inappropriate with clients, steals intellectual property, or something like that, the damage could be much worse—even catastrophic. Of course, companies should be built to be resilient to these situations, but it's rarely "not a huge deal".

All that being said, I agree with your premise that much of tech hiring is "absurd". Too many companies (especially consultancies) are built with a very low tolerance for underperformance, to the point that they don't contribute to the development of the overall workforce.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Sure, deciding why to let someone go is up to the company or manager. Firing someone isn't the huge deal, the reasons for firing them certainly can be. With development, you can actually have negative productivity. An example would be spending money to un-hose what the developer did years after they've left. If enough stuff was built on top of a mistake, it's unfeasible to fix. Bad design decisions tend to lead to other bad design decisions. I'm dealing with a lot of that where I am now.

I think part of the reason these tech interviews are so absurd is people are emotionally terrified of firing people, so they take great pains to ensure they won't have to. I'm just speculating though.

reply

[–] tigershark link

I also thought that people were pretty honest, but after reading this discussion with people asserting that “everyone lies” at work and other people defending the liars, I’m not so sure anymore. Much better to err on the side of the caution then and add more checks.

reply

[–] BadThink6655321 link

Depends on the culture of the people. I have experienced numerous instances where an Indian candidate is not who they claim to be. Person X is hired, person Y shows up. Person X conducts the phone interview for person Y. And so on. And this has happened for not just me.

reply

[–] maxxxxx link

I just experienced this with a contractor. I have never seen him do anything himself. I strongly suspect he is sending his work somewhere else.

reply

[–] freeone3000 link

He's a contractor. That's the difference between him and an employee: He chooses the time, place, and manner of his work, including subcontracting it. If he's not allowed to do this, chances are you have an employee.

reply

[–] abiox link

> He chooses the time, place, and manner of his work, including subcontracting it.

all of this is entirely within the scope of the contract.

"subcontracting" is unlikely to be permissible in a variety of scenarios, especially if the material being worked on is even vaguely sensitive.

when it does happen, it's typically in a larger organizational context and then there will usually be some vetting or approval process.

reply

[–] matte_black link

You can put whatever you want in your contract. Good luck holding it up in court.

Personally, I wouldn’t talk too loudly about how I want contractors to behave like employees.

reply

[–] abiox link

i'm not sure what you mean. do you have some reference to point to that says a "contractor" can't be expected to not sub-contract or work in a particular place and time? i'm honestly curious.

reply

[–] matte_black link

Yes, the law.

You don’t get to enforce when and where a contractor works. They can perhaps agree to it to keep a good relationship, but they are not obligated, and if they change their mind the only thing you can do is fire them.

You also don’t get to choose how they do their job. If they agreed to do something for a given price, they can do it how they see fit, even hiring a subcontractor. Don’t like it? Don’t hire them.

If you want control of both of those things, you want an employee. Now, there’s plenty of contractors that will behave like employees for you, if it gets their foot in the door, but if the IRS finds out you could be in trouble.

Where do you work?

reply

[–] badpun link

> You also don’t get to choose how they do their job. If they agreed to do something for a given price, they can do it how they see fit, even hiring a subcontractor. Don’t like it? Don’t hire them.

So, if I want to contract Beyonce to sing at my wedding, I need to make her my employee or she can legally send someone else to do it?

reply

[–] dx034 link

No that's the same as requiring software to be written in Java. That's allowed as you have a business interest. But banning a contractor to use additional employees/subcontractors for their work is not your business, unless it's an employee. Sensitive information can restrict this but you wouldn't send those to a contractor anyway, in this case they'd likely work in-house.

reply

[–] joncrocks link

If it's indistinguishable work, then maybe? :-D

reply

[–] abiox link

> Yes, the law

thanks, but i'm hoping for something more specific. like a us code or something. i'm skeptical that you're speaking to something that actually exists, but i'm happy to see evidence of what you're talking about.

> You don’t get to enforce when and where a contractor works.

i'm not sure what you mean by "enforce" exactly, other than perhaps you mean to say a contract is not allowed to stipulate that, for example, a contractor work during the day to coordinate with others, or work on-site to handle materials in a secure location, or not hand privileged or sensitive data over to unknown random people.

> Where do you work?

at a large company that has both employees and contractors.

reply

[–] Kluny link

He's talking about the actual definition of contractor according to US law. If a person does not have the right to choose how, where, when, and by what means the work is done, they're not a contractor.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employe...

reply

[–] abiox link

this is interesting heuristic guidance on taxes, but this doesn't describe labor or contract law, as far as i can tell.

your link even notes:

> There is no “magic” or set number of factors that “makes” the worker an employee or an independent contractor, and no one factor stands alone in making this determination. Also, factors which are relevant in one situation may not be relevant in another.

reply

[–] matte_black link

> “You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer -- what will be done and how it will be done, the IRS rule says. “This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.”

reply

[–] lovich link

If you are controlling how work is done then you have an employee. If subcontracting is unacceptable and you are still hiring contractors then you are just trying to run around employment law, at least in the US

reply

[–] abiox link

do you have specific citations or is this some ideological stance?

to me it makes zero sense to hire a vetted contractor who can then just toss say, classified data, over to some unknown random. it's a completely untenable proposition.

reply

[–] lovich link

If you are requireing who can do the work and how it's done you've constrained the person into an employee-employer relationship regardless of what you decide to call. Contracts are like an interface, you are setting up an agreement on what is being provided and don't care about the implementation. When you constrain the contract so much that only a single person can fulfill the contract you are just abusing the concept of contracting.

In the example above with NDAs and security clearance that can be a perfectly valid requirement, but you can't reasonably be upset if the contractor subcontracts out to someone else with clearance who has signed the same NDA

reply

[–] tigershark link

Absolutely no. The client needs to agree on the other person that is doing the work instead of you. They will need to check that they have the qualifications and they will need to know who is handling sensitive data. It’s even valid for the IR35 rule. The important thing is that someone else can do the job upon agreement, but you will never find in any contract for a serious company/institution that you can pass on your job covertly.

reply

[–] abiox link

i don't agree with your definition of contracting, but either way i'm particularly interested if you can point to some legal code that forbids a contract from containing a "no subcontracting" clause. that would be quite interesting.

reply

[–] lovich link

I looked and couldn't find any limitations on subcontracting that werent specific to federal contracts so it likely that my personal view doesn't match up to the law

reply

[–] T2_t2 link

In Australia, that is the law. You pay employees and contractors differently, and they have different benefits.

reply

[–] zephyrfalcon link

Just my $0.02... I have worked some jobs as an employee, some as a contractor, and in my experience there is really no difference between the two, other than how taxes (and social security, etc) are handled. My contracting jobs did not give me any more flexibility (and probably all had this "don't use a subcontractor" clause). How much leeway I had in choosing "the time, place, and manner of my work" depended entirely on the company, not on my status as an employee vs a contractor.

reply

[–] lovich link

That is reality of how contracting jobs are in the current environment, but it is circumventing the law. I also have worked contracting jobs where I had to be there 9-5 and implement the exact architecture outlines by one employee of the client, while the boss I answered to on a daily basis was another employee of the client and not my nominal boss at the consultancy.

All of that is solely to get around to requirements with hiring employees like providing benefits, or needing to pay for increased payroll taxes when the company decides to lay a bunch of people off.

It's not right just because the rule of law has degraded so much that the government no longer enforces their own rules

reply

[–] Clubber link

I'm sure if you report tax evasion to the IRS, they will investigate.

reply

[–] dx034 link

The IRS is severely understaffed. They'd be able to recover a lot of taxes in that area but don't have the personnel to investigate.

reply

[–] wool_gather link

I appreciate and largely agree with what you've said, but I think you're neglecting a context where there's an NDA or similar involved, which is what I assumed was meant by "even vaguely sensitive". As far as I know, there's no legitimacy to someone who's signed an NDA somehow sublicensing that NDA without the explicit approval of the issuer of the original agreement.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] lovich link

That's entirely true about NDAs, but then are you really hiring a contractor or just misclassifying full time employees so you're off the hook with employment law?

reply

[–] frisco link

Not true, limitations on subcontracting (or at least limiting it to approved subcontractors) are allowed and common. Just because he’s a contractor doesn’t mean NDAs are meaningless.

reply

[–] lovich link

Limiting work to people with security clearances is an example of ok limitations. Adding so many limits that the acceptable people to do work are the single contractor means youve jaut made a constructive way to get around hiring a person as an employee

reply

[–] zero_intp link

your statements are unsupported. It is my observation that you are stating spirit of law to your understanding, but not what occurs in law or practice.

reply

[–] maxxxxx link

This contractor is working onsite during normal working hours. I am not even judging the situation but from what I can see he is not doing anything himself. He also got hired with the assumption that he would do the work.

reply

[–] thaumasiotes link

Would something be wrong with that? Isn't that basically the concept of contracting?

reply

[–] darpa_escapee link

Does person X show up to person Y's on-site interviews?

reply

[–] BadThink6655321 link

Not in my experience. But doing an on-site interview in India is the exception, not the rule. (Note: I’ve done both). And when an “on-site” interview is done, make sure you’re the one who is on-site, and not an Indian agent. Their caste system makes it hard for “others” to be people, and we all know what happens when you dehumanize others.

reply

[–] whatshisface link

>Their caste system makes it hard for “others” to be people, and we all know what happens when you dehumanize others.

Since I have little experience with outsourcing to India, the implication here is mysterious to me. What are you getting at?

reply

[–] BadThink6655321 link

Let me relate a true story, and then discuss some implications. After dinner one night, many years ago, an Indian co-worker and I started discussing politics. The Indian wanted to know why we didn’t nuke Pakistan in our hunt for bin Laden. I said that the fallout would kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of his countrymen. His response? “They’re excess people.”

If you don’t care about others, then you will use the “other” for your benefit - not mutual benefit. You will be used, you will be lied to, and the political maneuvering will be slanted against you.

Note that this isn’t limited to Indians. It’s, unfortunately, becoming more prevelant in American society, too. In a shrinking world, tribalism (aka identity politics) will be an increasing problem. But Indians have been practicing it for 6K years, so they’re especially good at it.

reply

[–] Clubber link

India and Pakistan have a pretty violent history.

reply

[–] joelcornett link

Sweeping generalizations and thinly veiled racism is ok on HN?

reply

[–] krageon link

How is it racism to say India has a caste system and they've had a lot of practice? It has nothing to do with the colour of their skin (or whatever else you usually base "race" on - I'm not from a culture that uses it like that so I don't understand fully), rather it's a given of the country.

reply

[–] maxxxxx link

I don't think we should use such stories as a reason to make the hiring process even more paranoid. In general people are pretty honest so I wouldn't like to see them having to jump through even more hoops because of a few fraudsters.

Advice number 1 is probably best : "Trust your gut". If something doesn't make sense it's worth clearing that up.

reply

[–] danpalmer link

Are you “interviewing” the company well enough when you are looking for a job?

They shouldn’t be lying, but you can often pick up on these things through red flags in answers they give to your questions.

reply

[–] hinkley link

Maybe it’s a local thing, but I find I rarely have time to interview the company anymore. For the most part they’ve a set agenda that takes up all the time. I miss the days when nobody knew how to interview. I had plenty of time to ask questions.

reply

[–] organsnyder link

Any good interview process will allow—even encourage—candidates to ask questions. I've found that most interviewers are very open to me turning things around and asking them something; and judging by the way interviewers tend to love talking about their companies, I think it's been to my advantage to do so.

Yes, good interviewers often have a script; but a good script will provide time for questions and other free dialogue.

reply

[–] donretag link

I get catfished often.

Company X offers me a role where I have responsibilities Y and benefits Z. Promotions after a set number of time.

Times go by, still not doing Y, but intern level work. Benefits Z never appear. And that promotion? Sorry, someone needs to die or leave first, and then maybe we will hire a direct replacement.

Companies lie all the time in order to get a candidate to join.

reply

[–] bduerst link

Why? They'd eventually deceive the new customers just to make the sale, even going so far to fabricate facts and people just to do it. That's not the type of person you want bringing on new accounts at your company.

reply

[–] lkrubner link

If they engage in outright fraud, then they are criminals, and they've probably been criminals in the past. That's why I emphasized the one thing to really check for is whether they are hiding a criminal past.

At one point, when I was running my own business, I worked with an alcoholic who was a good salesman. I knew that he could be toxic, so I structured an agreement such that I kept some distance between him and my company. I basically just offered him a generous finders fee. I told him if he could bring in business, I would give him a percentage. We got at least one big contract because of him.

I'm not saying that every company can or should work with such people. Every company is different. But if you know the circumstances of your company, and you think you can get useful work out of someone who has some known problems, then it is possible to structure a deal such that your company wins.

reply

[–] bduerst link

>If they engage in outright fraud, then they are criminals, and they've probably been criminals in the past.

You're assuming that they were caught and convicted.

Displaying this pattern of behavior w/o a criminal history doesn't mean they won't continue said behavior in the job. It's a terrible idea to have hired this candidate and I'm not entirely certain what your motivation is for arguing otherwise.

reply

[–] salvar link

> If they engage in outright fraud, then they are criminals, and they've probably been criminals in the past.

That's an enormous assumption.

reply

[–] organsnyder link

I'd hate to work as an engineer (or other delivery role) on a contract sold by this guy.

reply

[–] lkrubner link

On the upside, the person who was trying to get a job seems very good at selling. Certainly, they seem good at selling themselves. If this is for a sales job, then the energy they showed should count in their favor, and the work they put in, as well as the easy social graces that charmed everyone.

I've known honest salespeople, but generally sales, as a profession, does not reward complete honesty.

The important thing would be to find out if this guy was lying to hide previous criminal behavior. That would be important to protect the current company from. But if there was no criminal behavior in this guy's past, I'd be interested in seeing if they could hook new customers as well as they hooked the hiring company.

reply

[–] InclinedPlane link

Yup, if the company is big, call or email the "front desk" or 411 number of whatever and ask to talk to that specific person. There are about a zillion ways to do this properly and the poster did none of them, sheer amateur hour.

reply

[–] lozaning link

For what it's worth I have worked at places where its a fireable offense to talk to anyone about past employees. You'll be referred to our co-employer (insperity) who will only give you mm/yy of beginning and end of employment and not a word more.

reply

[–] tgb link

The author is missing the most obvious rule that they should have taken away from their experience: don't use the number and email provided by the candidate. Jim's email or number is probably readily available on the company website or by calling up the front desk at the company.

reply

[–] trhway link

>and now he is super successful C level exec in Fortune 50 company

Sleaziness and moral flexibility in general seems to be a very useful soft skill for reaching high management levels.

reply

[–] maxxxxx link

There is a very thin line between "hustling" and outright fraud. The same behavior can result in a good career or jail time depending on luck and ability.

reply

[–] amatecha link

it all depends whether you roll a 1 or a 20, am I right? ;)

reply

[–] lovich link

I don't know ow why you were downvoted. It was told on a joking manner but is effectively true. There were many people on here crowing about the greatness of Elizabeth Holmes even though she was a giant fraud. If people are going to ask for ridiculous requirements for well paid jobs then they should expect either A:that people will say what you want to get the position since, as this article implied, reality and what is useful to a company don't seem tied together or B:never complain about a shortage of candidates and the associated highb salaries if you are going to cultivate a list of requirements that exclude 99.99% of humanity

reply

[–] qaq link

I know a person who has faked a position on resume to get around the whole you need experience to get hired and to get experience you need to get hired thing in marketing field and now he is super successful C level exec in Fortune 50 company so go figure.

reply

[–] chatmasta link

I take the opposite approach. I accept that everything I post online is public, and a chance to control my own narrative.

I would much rather fill the Internet with my own content about myself, than leave it empty for someone else to impersonate or disparage me. Additionally, I am proud of what I post publicly — otherwise I wouldn’t post it.

Public personas are a professional necessity, especially in our industry. For example, what if you want to show your contributions to open source? Or your stackoverflow answers?

If you do everything online under a separate identity, then all your positive contributions are unlinkable to yourself. Yes, you can hide any “bad things” you may post from your employers. But are you really posting anything bad? Is it worth sacrificing credit for your positive contributions?

Granted there is always the “nothing to hide” counterargument. That is, it’s not up for me to decide what’s “bad.” A potential employer could misinterpret my words, or otherwise negatively judge me based on my online profiles. But in that case it’s probably better to avoid the relationship anyway.

reply

[–] jkFeiwi link

Not a developer, but laughing at this statement:

> Public personas are a professional necessity, especially in our industry

If I wasn't on hacker news, I would assume you were an actor or a radio talk show host. Maybe you're right, and developers need to have a public persona today. But why does it need to be that way? You aren't performers. You aren't politicians.

reply

[–] chatmasta link

> You aren't performers.

Aren’t we though? How is a developer on a software project different than an actor on a set? How is a product requirements doc different than a movie script?

An actor can make or break a film just as a developer can make or break a software project.

I actually think there are far more parallels than differences.

reply

[–] TheCoelacanth link

Which performers are in a movie is a major factor in who chooses to view the movie. Which developers created the software is not a major factor in who uses the software for most software. The only exceptions I can think of are software that is used mainly by other software developers.

reply

[–] aje403 link

Personas and reputations are beneficial in any human pursuit. People who are respected and acknowledged more by others have an advantage. We now have the internet and social media and other ways to market one's self. With less networked electric metal things involved, it has been that way since groups of primates started gathering together, and probably well before that with other species. Welcome to being a living being on Earth.

reply

[–] oldandtired link

Then why use "chatmasta" as your handle instead of your real name, which you have provided in your profile?

The problem with you view is that there are times when your message gets caught up with your identity. Especially, when your message may be against the consensus flow and stills needs to be made, without affecting you in any material way.

Too often today, the messenger is "killed" because of the unpleasantness of the message being delivered.

[Edit: to to too]

reply

[–] chatmasta link

Because it’s way cooler, duh.

If you actually want to know, it’s because when I registered on my first forum in 2004 (runevillage anybody?), I signed up with my AIM username but mistyped the password. So I had to come up with a new name, and 12 year old me thought “chatmasta” sounded pretty damn cool.

I use my real name (milesrichardson) on services where my name is featured prominently and/or I would like people to find when googling me, eg GitHub LinkedIn etc

reply

[–] John_KZ link

Exactly, this person is clearly terrible at their job. Here's my own anecdote: There's a person living in my country that has exactly the same name and surname as me, and the same degree. I don't know how this happened, as my name/surname combo is fairly unusual. When further details are not present (ie family names, tax identification etc), which is the usual case for google, you can't tell if a document talks about me or him.

I dread the day that something negative pops up about him in the first pages of Google.

Then all the self-righteous and arrogant interviewers, distant family and potential friends or lovers, they'll all think that "they got me" by searching my name on Google. They all think they're right with little proof for it. And the worst part is, that just like the guy in the article, they won't tell you. They're silently wrong, thinking they're right. That kind of attitude really pisses me off.

reply

[–] jrs235 link

Do you want to work for people that believe and actually review social profiles and google search you? So perhaps publicly posting that you disagree with such behaviors might actually be doing you a favor. No?

I think I understand not desiring to post your name with any other opinions though.

reply

[–] jeena link

The problem is that they will need to get to page 47 on a google search to find this. The odds of this doing me a favor are just to astronomic in my opinion.

reply

[–] jpindar link

Those are the main reasons I do post with my real name everywhere I can on the Internet.

reply

[–] icebraining link

Not having a LI profile will also be interpreted in their own way when it comes to the decision if they should hire you or not.

reply

[–] jeena link

In my opinion the only way to not lose the game is not to play it. As soon as private data is collected somewhere it will be misused. And I guess I'm prvilledged enough to use this as a natural filter.

reply

[–] jeena link

> Rule #2: Take a long hard look at a candidate’s social profiles.

> Rule #4: Google is your friend.

That are one of the main reasons I don't post with my real name on the Internet, and I don't have an LinkedIn account. I don't want people to interpret what I put on the Internet in their own way when it comes to the decision if they should hire me or not.

reply

[–] paulgb link

I deleted my LinkedIn over a year ago and haven't looked back. It might be handy for sales folks but as a developer it's a cesspool of spammy content and dark patterns.

reply

[–] pyrophane link

I’ve been thinking of doing this as well. While I do occasionally get hit up by internal recruiters, which I don’t mind, that happens infrequently. For the most part it is just 3rd party recruiters seizing on a keyword hit pertaining to something I did 10 years ago (“I have a great .Net role I think you’d be perfect for”).

reply

[–] amatecha link

Yeah, I get the "opportunity of a lifetime" about once a week, maybe once every two weeks.

reply

[–] tytytytytytytyt link

From a recruiter in NJ about an opportunity in CA?

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] djhworld link

The thing about checking social profiles for number of connections etc is strange to me, although maybe it makes sense in the sales world.

I have a LinkedIn but rarely log into it, most LinkedIn emails get filed into spam.

Missing good opportunities? Maybe. I dunno, it's just never been my thing.

I hope recruiters, at least for developer roles don't use LinkedIn profiles and connection count as some sort of metric in a hiring decision

reply

[–] rconti link

Well I mean, friend or no, you wouldn't have exactly been able to provide a glowing review. Of course, you can be slightly more candid with a friend.

Or did the candidate provide fake contact info for 'you' ?

reply

[–] HeyLaughingBoy link

This is how I answered when my friend called and asked what I thought of the guy, "Do you want my actual opinion or the Corporate Response?"

He immediately knew what I meant and said "OK, that's all I needed."

For those who don't get it, the Corporate Response (that any other person checking up would receive) would be "the employee worked in Software Development from MM/DD/YY to mm/dd/yy and was assigned xxx tasks" with no further comment.

reply

[–] HeyLaughingBoy link

Out of all of the possible people to choose as your fake manager, this person chose one out of the two people that I knew from Acme Corp

Someone who I had interviewed and who turned out to be a terrible employee (we fired him after 9 months of trying to find something he could do right) listed me as a reference on his resume.

Problem for him was that the hiring manager at the next place where he applied turned out to be a friend of mine.

The world's smaller than you think it is!

reply

[–] maxxxxx link

"You'll never be able to trust a candidate who lies."

This also goes the other way. I have had companies lie to me about salary structure or working conditions and it definitely hurt my loyalty when I found out that I had been lied to.

reply

[–] jackconnor link

As soon as an employer starts lying or doing anything remotely wacky with a paycheck, you gotta bounce asap. Happened to me several times, and I find lying companies always keep lying, and honest companies rarely start. That only gets worse, never better, so either learn to live with it or get the hell out of Dodge.

reply

[–] vkou link

You're supposed to lie in socially acceptable ways. Preferably ones where both parties know the other is lying.

Your boss lies to you that he can't give you a raise, you lie to the hiring manager that you won't take the job without a 10% bump in pay, your VP lies that the merger won't affect headcount, etc.

reply

[–] Retra link

None of those are socially acceptable. But I dunno, maybe you live in a shit place.

reply

[–] itronitron link

>> companies lie to me about salary structure or working conditions

That is the rule rather than the exception unfortunately.

What recruiters need to watch out for is the candidate (like the one described) that can't control their lies as they can do lasting long-term damage. Everyone else is just tuning their risk-reward calculation.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] lsaferite link

> Programmers are lucky in that they can take code they've written, and say "see, here's my proof that I can do the job"

Most of the code I write ss closed source and owned by my employer. I never get to show off the cool things I've done. As for doing side projects to show potential employers, I have very little 'personal' time on any given day between work and family life. I no longer code for fun. Now I do chores, read, and maybe sleep a little.

reply

[–] deedubaya link

You'll never be able to trust a candidate who lies.

Blatantly lying to a potential employer will never work out well in the long run. Just don't do it.

Programmers are lucky in that they can take code they've written, and say "see, here's my proof that I can do the job".Other types of jobs (like sales), however, are reputation based, and you damn well better make sure the opinion of the person who is vouching for your candidate is legitimate.

reply

[–] mfringel link

If they're discreetly seeking other employment, you have now blown their cover. A couple of things about that:

1. "If they're looking for another job, they can have no guarantee of secrecy." -- Sure, but is it your job to out someone?

2. "I need a second opinion on their references, just in case they're giving me bad ones." -- So.... what exactly is your threat model, here? "Catfished by a candidate" stories are interesting because they're rare.

3. "If I tell other people they're looking, I can reduce their leverage by making things awkward for them at their current job." -- Hey look! I found the sociopath!

Bonus Thing: It's a small industry, and people don't go away. You've now marked yourself as someone who can't be trusted with knowledge about someone's else career choices.

reply

[–] gumby link

> If they're discreetly seeking other employment, you have now blown their cover.

That's a good point, and I took these as a given: the people you call should be people you know very well, and, typically, don't do this until the candidate has advanced to the reference checking phase anyway (why would you waste your friend's time either?)

reply

[–] stordoff link

The fact that they are interviewing with a particular company is private information; you have no right to make that public.

Also of note is that the article claims that "if I didn’t do my backdoor checks I would have never uncovered the Catfish", but then later states the "fake manager [was] one out of the two people that I knew from Acme Corp". Had she waited 'til that point, she would have discovered the lie without sharing the information with people who don't (ostensibly--as they are listed on the reference) already know it and without relying on woolly information ("no one has heard of him" does not sound like solid proof that he never worked there, particularly if it's a large company).

reply

[–] desdiv link

It's easy to spot this Catfish even without any personal connections at Acme Corp.

When Catfish provides Jim @ Acme Corp as a reference, but with a non-Acme Corp address for Jim, then that's a huge red flag. You either:

1. Reply with "Please provide Jim's Acme Corp work email address." Catfish won't be able to. The end.

2. Call Acme Corp front desk and get Jim's real phone number. Call Jim.

3. Find Jim's real email on Acme Corp's website. Email Jim.

reply

[–] dvtrn link

Is it still a huge red flag if Jim left the company when you did because you were both hit by layoffs?

reply

[–] dx034 link

There's a high chance that he's on LinkedIn with his current company. And if he got laid off, using the header of the old company is definitely not ok.

reply

[–] hinkley link

> The recruiter was still having trouble getting the Acme Corp reference—which at this point was causing me some minor heart palpitations.

Sounds like the author is a piece of work himself. I wonder if he knows how this post paints the work culture at his company.

reply

[–] cascom link

It is generally understood that candidates must consent to have their references checked.

In what part of the application process did the candidate consent to you letting anyone you choose know they are looking for a job?

reply

[–] RightMillennial link

Pardon me if this is a naïve question. Isn't the point of references that they can be checked and verified? Why would you need to obtain explicit consent to contact the contacts when they've been provided? Isn't the consent implicit by virtue of them being supplied?

reply

[–] abiox link

> by virtue of them being supplied

afaik, a backdoor reference is specifically _not_ a reference that was (intentionally) supplied.

reply

[–] cascom link

Yes - and most times candidates will sign some form of blanket consent allowing companies to go beyond the the supplied references, and potentially run a background credit check/investigation. Which I’m by no means saying not to do. But key is getting the candidate’s consent and doing those checks at the appropriate time in the process, so you don’t potentially damage the candidate through your actions

reply

[–] stickfigure link

It is generally understood that candidates must consent to have their references checked.

That's rubbish. It's generally understood that all parties are expected to perform due diligence. What do you think people do with the connection graph linkedin displays?

I've interviewed people who were clear that they didn't want their current employer to know that they were looking - that's fine, and easy to respect. But the article describes a former job on a resume; there's no risk you're going to interfere with their current employment by reaching out to mutual contacts.

Personally, I hope people look me up through the social network... hell, that's how I find all of my employment.

reply

[–] cascom link

1. If you work in th US I’d suggest a conversation with HR about your current practices - this issue is frought with legal issues and liability (as the reference giver as well).

2. Passive diligence (looking someone up online) is very different than active diligence where you disclose to another party the candidate’s status and potentially receive defamatory information.

3. You say you’d “respect” a candidates desire for you to not contact a current employer, but it also doesn’t sound as if you think that is explicitly out of bounds.

4. Just out of curiousity were a candidate to lose their current job (for example), due to word getting back to their current employer due to your Backdoor Checks - what level of responsibility are you prepared to personally undertake? Seems to me that people should be exceedingly cautious that their actions don’t result in someone losing their livelihood due to a gossipy former colleague....

reply

[–] dx034 link

I'd expect any company to get my consent before requesting references from current or past employers. First of all because I can direct them to relevant people but most importantly because it's not public information. I had cases in the past where I asked them to hold off with checks until I have signed a contract and quit the other job (under the condition that the contract would be void if the check fails). That way they could confirm that my story was correct without telling my employer that I plan to quit.

reply

[–] cwkoss link

> It is generally understood that candidates must consent to have their references checked.

Seeing as how there is some debate in this thread, I'd argue that that is not generally understood very well.

reply

[–] anothergoogler link

How do you know that your backdoor reference doesn't personally dislike the candidate for something unrelated to their mutual work experience? Maybe hiring by hearsay works for some people, but I don't trust references, good or bad.

reply

[–] seunosewa link

That’s actually an argument for checking more than one reference from each organization.

reply

[–] dx034 link

Or asking the candidate? You can still check if the position of the other person is relevant but it makes sense to not randomly ask people at former employers if there are only 1-2 who can really describe the work they did.

reply

[–] aje403 link

Can you post where you work so that people reading this know not to apply to your company? Thanks

reply

[–] gumby link

> backdoor reference checks aren’t always considered kosher by everyone

?? These are the most important references. Many excellent candidates won't have a back connection but when they are possible they can make an important difference two ways: One is the way described here (or, "this person was OK but doesn't sound like they would work out for the kind of thing you want -- that was where they failed with us too."). The other is the opposite, which has happened to me twice: "Oh that person? Look, if you don't take them let them know we'd really like them back" (on a candidate who barely made it through the interview but there was enough something there that we decided to do some background checking. Turned out he was simply nervous in front of people he didn't know and gave a terrible interview.). Without the background check we might have missed an excellent candidate with poor job-seeking skills.

Whenever I get a resume with a school on it that I or one of my colleagues attended I always check. I also once had an amazing candidate with 20 years experience in the lab doing just what we wanted. Their resume said that they had a degree from my schoo in X. I of course looked them up on the alum site and saw they had a degree in Y. Now both X and Y were in the set {Chemistry, Physics, Material Science, Chemical Engineering} so clearly had they simply told the truth it wouldn't have mattered -- the 20 years of experience would have said enough for anyone who actually cared about degrees after all that time. But since they lied...the resume went into the trash and the candidate was never brought in for an interview.

reply

[–] krona link

I think this is standard procedure for many US companies; the employee (e.g. your manager) can't give professional references on behalf of the company, mostly because there is nothing for the company to gain. In fact it's loose-loose: You get the job, they loose an employee; you don't get the job, the company could become liable for all kinds of things (libel, lost earnings etc.)

However there is nothing stopping a private individual giving a personal reference even if that person happened to be your manager.

This has been my experience working for large US corporations in the UK.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Yes, it's mainly a legal/libel issue. The code is if they just verify someone worked there, it's usually bad (without saying they were bad). If they say they were great, they were great.

reply

[–] Glyptodon link

One of my former bosses said he always told people calling about references that bad employees were great because he wanted them at his competitors.

reply

[–] anothergoogler link

There's no code. If they say they were great, they were possibly great. There are so many reasons for a terse confirmation of employment. Foremost would be that you're talking to HR and they're following a fixed process. A process that exists for a reason: Even a positive review with good intentions could be framed as injurious to the candidate's prospects.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Who gives HR as a reference?

reply

[–] anothergoogler link

Who gives somebody who would only state their dates of employment as a reference? We must be talking about different things here.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Yes, all my references are colleagues. I have their cell / home numbers and emails and all that. The point of references (at least back when I would send resumes to people) is, "did so and so work with you at place and place?" "What kind of work did so and so do?" "How did you like working with so and so?" "What languages did so and so work with?" That sort of thing. I think you are talking employment verification.

reply

[–] johnbatch link

Most of the large Fortune 500 companies use https://www.theworknumber.com for this. It’s owned by Equifax and they do Income and Employment verifications. And salary history was compromised because of this. [0]

[0] https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/10/equifax-breach-fallout-y...

reply

[–] notyourday link

It is fairly standard. Most of the companies would only verify if someone worked between the two dates and what was the position to avoid lawsuits.

reply

[–] salvar link

Standard in the US maybe, but I've never even heard of anything like this in the UK. I'm sure it happens, but I will eat my hat if it's fairly standard.

reply

[–] jdietrich link

Most larger companies require references to at least be checked by HR. Employers have a duty of care to provide accurate references for their former employees. There's a non-trivial risk that a manager could provide a bad or indifferent reference simply because of a personal grudge, which the company could be held liable for.

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1994/7.html

reply

[–] justherefortart link

I've only had one company and 2 government jobs check my references in 25 years in the field (feds were checking for clearance, so required).

I call my references to see if they were contacted after I've been offered positions in the past it's amazing how little it happens.

I don't check references because I don't give a shit. You're either giving people that like you, or why would you be giving them at all. If you're still employed, calling that person's current job is a huge no-no (could cost them their employment).

What the fuck is so hard about just figuring out if you like someone and hiring them. Telling them fully what goals you expect them to achieve and giving them the tools to do the job. Then if they're not successful, letting them go.

Oh yeah, you'd have to be a good employee yourself and work for a good company to do that.

reply

[–] jimnotgym link

It is my policy in the UK, and is the one recommended by HR experts for liability reasons. HR bods describe it as a factual reference. It is most definitely a recent US import, and I am not sure about it's penetration.

John Smith worked here between x and x as a tea-boy.

Personally I would much rather someone gave me a factual reference in good time, than an in depth reference eventually. Normally it is also OK for a manager to give a personal reference, ie not on behalf of the company.

reply

[–] s73v3r_ link

But this sounds like if Sue comes up to me and asks me to be a reference, I would have to turn her down.

reply

[–] AndrewGaspar link

I've never heard of anybody doing this. Sounds pretty messed up to me.

reply

[–] justizin link

This was the policy when I worked at Rackspace circa 2001-2004, they would only confirm employment.

In the bay area, I often can't even confirm employment because the company has gone out of business, my manager was fired after I voluntarily left, etc...

Literally everything about this story raises the hairs on the back of my neck except for giving false contact info for a manager the recruiter knew by name - esp the, "trust your gut", stuff, which is basically saying:

  Embrace your implicit bias.
I have managers who I can't get in touch with, one of whom I've had to tell several recruiters, "This dude wouldn't take my calls when I worked for him, he pretty much just ignores everyone." In those cases, however, I do my best to do a LinkedIn connect and provide a company email.

  "Feel free to contact jackass@shittycompany.com and see if you have better luck than I do."
Just because you are (MAYBE) a manager who cares enough to give references, don't assume anyone else is. Many of my past managers are pissed that I bailed on them, because they were shitty managers, but I have 20y in the industry and in many cases that meant more than them.

It's a tough game to play when you don't want to be a manager, yourself.

reply

[–] gamblor956 link

There are companies that exist solely to verify employment history, i.e., if you leave Company X, Company Y will confirm your time of employment, titles, etc. to new employer Company Z.

reply

[–] lovich link

Most companies like that seem like they are just there to provide a plausible cover for legal liability. I've had multiple jobs that had background checks where I gave them my [1...n] addresses over the past 5-10 years and the background check comes back with me only have lived at [n-1] address with no indication that the data I supplied didn't match up with what they verified. If those companies we're doing their job they would at least tell my prospectvie employer, their client, that what they could prove didn't match up with what I said

reply

[–] astura link

"Doing their job" - they are data aggregators and brokers, if the data doesn't exist because it was never reported to a third party, there's nothing they can do.

reply

[–] lovich link

If the whole point is to find discrepancies between what the prospective employee tells you and what is reality, not highlighting differences between those two sets of data is an issue, even if because the people doing the background check just lack access.

The real reason most background checks happen are so that companies have someone to point the finger at when one of their employees breaks the law. If that wasn't the case then you wouldn't get into situations like background check companies reporting completely clear records when the government has a simple process to show you every sentence given to someone. They stick to third party companies because they are cheaper and don't trigger compliance regulations required by law.

They would go for the better, if slightly more expensive, data source in a heart beat if finding about criminal history was the actual goal

reply

[–] lph link

The (large) company I work for also has this policy. If a potential employer contacts the company, they will confirm dates of employment, but that's all. It's a liability thing.

reply

[–] jiveturkey link

For professional references, it's not unusual. The company needs to protect itself against what an employee might say when representing the company.

They cannot forbid a personal reference.

reply

[–] crescentfresh link

The place I'm at now forbids employees from being references for past employees (or current employees discreetly seeking other employment). Is this normal?

It would have prevented "Jim" or anyone else at ACME Corp from being a reference to catfish-er, so requests for a reference from the company would have been denied right off the bat. That would have made it harder to spot the fake.

reply

[–] mr_toad link

I doubt employers who search out candidates on social media are looking for good things. They’re probably looking for red flags, and potentially anything could be a red flag to some people.

reply

[–] donttrack link

Me neither. Never was a problem for me.

reply

[–] toomuchgov link

It eliminates alot of places you would not be happy working at.

reply

[–] thieving_magpie link

>Rule #2: Take a long hard look at a candidate’s social profiles.

That worries me if I need to enter the job market. I have no social media profile with my name attached to it. I don't enjoy the facebook/twitter/instagram style sites.

reply

[–] hudibras link

Oh wait, I thought you were talking about this guy:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2017/11/07/the-cas...

reply

[–] alex_young link

I know a guy who catfished Forbes for years about his net worth and parlayed that into a sweet job in federal government with lifetime benefits! [1]

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/trump-lied-to-me-abou...

reply

[–] austenallred link

They were a great candidate right up until the "lied on their resume and in job interviews, also created a fake email address and phone number to pretend to be someone else" part.

reply

[–] Spearchucker link

You don't know that. The only way you're going to know that is to ask why. Call him back in, tell him is skillz are the bomb, but why lie? Who knows, there might be an acceptable answer.

reply

[–] dx034 link

Maybe the recruiter did that after the candidate told them that he can't provide one? Recruiters usually get paid after the contract is signed.. I would've definitely called the candidate.

reply

[–] yborg link

A great candidate that would place a large knife into you and your company's back at the first opportunity.

This guy's name should have been in the article to save the rest of the industry a little bit of time ... and the guy would probably get some job offers from the people who read this and thought "excellent candidate!". The hiring company should also then publicize this excellent hire so the industry can see what firms out there believe "Lying = Sales".

reply

[–] gkya link

"This guy's name should have been in the article to save the rest of the industry a little bit of time ..."

Gotta love lynching when it is not physical... One mistake and he should be metaphorically crucified, or marked on the forehead. That is all that is wrong withbthe society there. How can it be possible at all that he learn from this experience anyways!!?

reply

[–] meowface link

A good employee who goes to great lengths to deceive others will eventually create more trouble than they're worth.

reply

[–] njharman link

> He impressed each interviewer with his knowledge and passion for the brand, his sales acumen, outbound hunter mentality, and overall presence.

> Our Catfish never faltered, kept a smile on his face the entire time, and did his homework. We even talked about sales operations, discussed the pros and cons of MEDDIC, and talked about Salesforce workflows. I mean, this guy was pretty good.

Sounds like they were an excellent candidate. That you let go.

reply

[–] vidoc link

> This is not a catfish. This is a person lying on their resume

I agree, the author uses "Catfish" because it's cool to use a word that you know your reader will have to google, a bit like using a TLA.

Anyhow, "Catfish" is a cool word nevertheless, and I am proposing we reserve it to people who climb the professional ladder exclusively thanks to their online identity. Typically, an engineer who does a lot of public speaking, who uses github to host repos of files that actually contain not a single line of code. A mini celebrity of engineering that end up going from companies to companies, generally hired without being whiteboarded, who at the end of the day is just a dud.

reply

[–] tzakrajs link

They also gave a fake reference number implying they were prepared to pose as someone else to social engineer. That is beyond lying on a resume.

reply

[–] dx034 link

I think he never called it? Maybe it was just an invalid number.

reply

[–] kelukelugames link

This is not a catfish. This is a person lying on their resume

reply

[–] mihaifm link

In the tech world I would imagine a scenario where you don't have any professional experience in language X, you've been working only in language Y, but you've done some personal projects in language X and would like a career shift. It's hard to get a senior position without any experience.

reply

[–] merinowool link

Just do a project in language X on a professional, senior level and if you incorporate, you can write you worked for that company on that project.

reply

[–] crispyporkbites link

Probably because they couldn’t get an interview any other way, the reason this person got so far in the process was not because they were qualified for the job, but because the hiring manager liked the fact that they used to work at the same place together. Which is a crappy reason to hire someone.

reply

[–] mathattack link

Sounds like it was for a Sales position. Those types of interviews are easier to BS.

reply

[–] coupdejarnac link

I would guess he lied because he needed a job, and he figured it would have no bearing on his performance on the job.

reply

[–] SystemOut link

Industrial espionage or other type of work to gain access to confidential information is one that hasn't been brought up.

reply

[–] dewiz link

I was hoping to find out from the story why this catfish lied in the first place. If they passed the interview so well they must be someway good.

reply

[–] darrenkopp link

Yes, but they might have naively used the given number rather than the number they personally had, out of convenience, which would have caused the catfish to succeed.

reply

[–] netsharc link

But no, the author knew Jim, if he had dialed that number and did a bit of small talk he would've known that's not Jim on the phone (unless the fake Jim is quick on his feet about pretending to be someone else).

The catfisher is stupid, he should've looked through the author's LinkedIn profile and saw that the author is connected with Jim, he would have not used Jim as a reference if he had done that.

reply

[–] darrenkopp link

Oh, I see what you are saying. Yeah, that is a good point.

reply

[–] dx034 link

You can't just fake a corporate email address. And even phone numbers for offices are usually all in one block, you can verify if that belongs to the company.

reply

[–] piptastic link

That's odd. The author defends his "backdoor reference checks" by saying he would have never caught the catfish otherwise. Then later on the same person he contacted for his "backdoor reference check" was given to him as a reference, which would have happened regardless.

reply

[–] amorphid link

If you're going to outright lie to my face & get caught, you'd better have a proof that you had discovered a brain tumor after having told the lie, pictures of the tumor being removed, and a doctor's note explaining "healthy now - no more liar liar pants on fire".

reply

[–] hfdgiutdryg link

Why? Management lies to employees constantly. Sales lies to customers constantly. Why the sudden insistence on honesty?

reply

[–] asveikau link

With comments like this, can you believe it that people say Big Tech has an ethics problem?

reply

[–] hfdgiutdryg link

I'm not much of a liar. But I certainly note that employers insist on honesty while regularly being entirely dishonest themselves.

It's a two-way street.

reply

[–] badpun link

It's good (profitable) for the company for management to lie to their employees. It's not good (profitable) for the company for employees to lie to managers.

reply

[–] bduerst link

So it's okay to lose an arm if you've already lost a leg?

Because honesty is better than dishonesty?

reply

[–] ironjunkie link

Ahah, that's what management tells you. While telling you at the same time that you shouldn't ask for a raise as they don't give those out this year.

reply

[–] bduerst link

So you lie to your coworkers and customers, because someone else lied to you at some point? I'm not sure I quite follow...

reply

[–] ironjunkie link

It is all a game in which everyone pretends to be honest, but walks a fine line of acceptable lies. I'm only reacting to the "feel good" line that everyone is honest. This is not the way it works and we should not be duped to believe that.

reply

[–] bduerst link

Believing that honest > dishonesty is not the same as being duped into believing that there are no dishonest people... This article is proof enough of that, and nobody is making that claim.

reply

[–] hfdgiutdryg link

I have no idea what you're trying to say.

reply

[–] salvar link

Do you feel disrespected when management lies to you?

reply

[–] jessaustin link

Do you feel disrespected when you get wet while walking in the rain?

reply

[–] salvar link

Nevermind.

reply

[–] hfdgiutdryg link

I've been told that management is serving the best interests of the company, and therefore anything they do is justified. However, as a mere employee, it is wrong to apply the same logic to my own best interests.

reply

[–] amorphid link

> I've been told that management is serving the best interests of the company, and therefore anything they do is justified

Maybe. I can say I want to work for a company where management feels acting in the workers' best interests is in line with the company's bests interests.

reply

[–] sigstoat link

it sounds like they were trying to get a sales job. maybe the doctor's note should read "healthy now - much better at lying, won't be caught next time"?

reply

[–] mfoy_ link

Well, blatantly lying in the very first meeting / discussions is a huge red flag... If they were so knowledgeable / likable, why the ruse? Why all the extra effort to create a fake past?

reply

[–] deadmetheny link

I partially agree, but at the same time there is a certain level of cargo culting going on in tech hiring, and if you didn't work at the right places or get the right degree from the right school, the deck is stacked against you even if you are fully capable of doing the job.

reply

[–] throwawycatfish link

I imagine these actions are the logical conclusion of someone who can pass an interview but doesn't have the credentials to get their foot in the door interview.

The tech industry has a similar problem in over relying on the school you've graduated from to filter out candidates.

reply

[–] AlexCoventry link

It's a sign of massive disrespect. Do you want a close relationship with someone who doesn't respect you?

reply

[–] mindcrime link

Do you think management at this company respects their employees? Or maybe they refer to them as "resources", treat them as disposable, fungible, commodities, and deserve no more respect in turn?

Not saying that is the case, but the question deserves asking. Respect is a two way street.

reply

[–] AlexCoventry link

Yeah, I am fortunate that I don't need to work for that kind of place, I guess.

reply

[–] astura link

I mean, I never worked anywhere where I felt management didn't respect me.

reply

[–] mindcrime link

Interesting. In my experience the vast majority of companies consider their employees disposable commodities.

See: micromanagement, use of the term "resource" to refer to people, layoffs as soon as there is a bad quarter and the stock price takes a little dip, shoddy "open plan" working conditions, and all the other things companies tend to do. If you have found a better situation, hang onto it with both hands and don't let go!

reply

[–] CoolAndComposed link

I don't know a potential employer. Why would I respect them to start? I have expectations, they have expectations and we try to meet in the middle. That's society.

reply

[–] AlexCoventry link

If you think that honesty isn't a fundamental expectation for someone who's hoping to work closely with you, that's a massive sign of disrespect.

reply

[–] hinkley link

Impersonating people has crossed the line into fraud. The odds that this is the first and last time a person commits fraud for the job are fairly bad. You don't want that kind of drama.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] tytytytytytytyt link

Yes, but I still wish they mentioned how well the candidate did technically. Wtf.

reply

[–] Willson50 link

Does being a catfish really matter if they passed the rest of the interview process?

reply

[–] jkFeiwi link

More like: validate that they are good at lying

reply

[–] southphillyman link

I know this candidate lied but them navigating the interview process so impressively appears to validate that they are good at selling......

reply

[–] catfish123 link

Disclaimer: I not condoning any lying and misdirection.

It's interesting how we seem to tolerate plenty of lying and manipulation from managers, even more CEOs and the ads industry (ads are communication from companies) and even more from politicians.

For an unemployed person, lying might be seen as necessary not to end up homeless.

For a CEO or a politician perhaps it can be about getting marginally more support or power or money.

Again, I'm not condoning it. Yet it seems society is less forgiving with the less fortunate.

reply

[–] venuur link

This seems to be more of a story of a flawed interview process. The author claims all the interviews when very well. This suggests their questions are not substantive enough to actually distinguish an experienced candidate from others. Alternatively, the “catfish” was amply qualified and faked references for reasons not discussed in the article.

reply

[–] rdtsc link

I was recruiting developers for 5 years or so. We've had a few ones who managed to almost slip by like this. Almost...

The most obvious was when I started doing it, there was the one who copied a project from Github and presented as his own work. "Hey look what I built!" kind of a thing.

The problem is I like work samples (more than whiteboard algorithm puzzles), they perhaps didn't plan on that, so I got excited and start asking questions. Usually that leads to a great time and I learn a lot about their work, attitude, how well they can explain a problem etc.

Well it turns out he couldn't explain how it works. I was baffled. Here is this awesome candidate -- personable, friendly and built this great application but was having difficulty explaining the basics. So I asked my coworker during lunch. He went did some research and found the original project on GH. I felt like an idiot after that. But better me feeling like an idiot that spending months on salary and admin work only to find we got a dud.

reply

[–] cascom link

There is a big difference between embellished and fake. I always assume there is some title/responsibility inflation on resumes i read, but i generally assume that those people did in fact work at those companies in those groups, etc.

reply

[–] rb808 link

The real question is how many people normally get the job with embellished resume's, fake recommendations and friends as references. I think its quite a high percentage. I'm always honest but I think I've missed out on a lot of jobs I could easily do because I don't meet the "requirements".

reply

[–] eeZah7Ux link

Social networks are making witness protection very risky.

For a witness the old "we know where you live" is now 100 times more plausible and threatening.

reply

[–] CoolAndComposed link

The double standard judgements here are disappointing =/

reply

[–] Const-me link

> a catfish is someone who creates a false identity

By this definition, U.S. Marshals Service is a bunch of catfishes: https://people.howstuffworks.com/witness-protection.htm/prin...

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] anothergoogler link

I hope the author knows that you don't need a backdoor reference check to confirm past employment.

reply

[–] pc86 link

> But, in the end, something would have slipped and the situation would have caused repercussions six months down the line.

Sorry but I just don't believe this part. People have faked their way into high paying, high powered jobs like this before. Sometimes they're caught, but I just can't bring myself to believe that every single person gets caught every single time.

I've often thought about creating an entirely fake, nearly perfect resume for a VP or SVP job just to see if I could even get an interview, but I don't want to waste anyone's time with that and I'd be more than a little worried about the professional implications.

reply

[–] pfortuny link

quote: “if I didn’t do my backdoor checks I would have never uncovered the Catfish.”

So: the end justifies the means...

This is the way of tyranny. Unbelievable and unacceptable.

reply

[–] xtrapolate link

(1) I don't want to hire dishonest/unreliable/disingenuous people. I wouldn't want to work alongside them, and I prefer to distance myself from such personalities at all cost.

(2) From a job seeker's perspective, I don't want to be secretly spied on by a potential employer. I can (and often will) volunteer any information necessary, through a mutually agreed upon channel. I wouldn't want someone prying through my personal social network accounts, secretly contacting random people that may or may not know me from past workplaces. I wouldn't want a potential employer making baseless assumptions based on my social media accounts (or lack thereof).

reply

[–] organicmultiloc link

You can call it "catfishing" like you just captured a criminal mastermind, but people of color generally don't have the reference game down and are forced into doing stuff like this in order to avoid having their application thrown in the garbage.

References are more of a "how many connected white people do you know" check than anything else. If you always had references to call on before you even finished school than you probably won't even understand the world of people who did not, and the people who didn't get that first internship and have no way to break in short of fraud.

reply

[–] paul7986 link

I’m so happy that I’m older and do not work in a place filled with young or insecure people all worried about making themselves look best vs. working together/pulling in each other’s strengths and getting the job done awesomely. I could never work at Google or places where you exhaust yourself physically and emotionally to shine brighter then the next. Barf!!!

This manager’s hiring post reads to me like a company filled with brogrammers.

reply

[–] jiveturkey link

apparently the contact came from an outside recruiter. not from the candidate himself. when dealing with an agency like this, the agency normally has refs in hand, in advance.

reply

[–] megy link

> The next day I received two references from the recruiter—but neither was a manager and neither was from Acme Corp. Apparently she was still waiting for that particular reference. Odd…but OK. Why wouldn’t he have that info readily available?

Getting ref's takes time, it is silly to think it doesn't. You need to contact the people and ask them first, and lots of people are very busy with work. You are not there priority.

reply

[–] dx034 link

I would be very surprised if that flags up anywhere, unless you apply for a government position.

reply

[–] xor1 link

>backdoor reference check

Anyone know a good place to do one of these on myself? I have an infraction on record (traffic ticket) that apparently shows up as a misdemeanor in at least one database. I found this out during my Global Entry interview. I'd like to begin the long and painful process of unraveling this, but I don't really know where to start. It could be a problem in just one database, or in dozens.

reply

[–] mercer link

I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Based on the story itself, I have no reason to believe that they'd have dismissed him if he had been honest and competent.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

The story seems to suggest he was "comfortable" with him after he saw his work history, which suggested to me that an honest resume may have ended up in the trash can without any interview.

reply

[–] mercer link

Ah, right. I can see that.

reply

[–] emodendroket link

I'm not going to defend lying on your resume, but the contours of this story are interesting -- they talked to this guy because of the fraudulent history, and then were champing at the bit to hire him, which suggests that in every other way he was a good candidate. Perhaps we're putting an excessive emphasis on the previous companies someone's worked at.

reply

[–] phyzome link

In the case of this word, it's in "the real dictionary" now, by which I am assuming you mean "people's actual lexicon". Yes, it's a relatively new word, but this is how language works.

How about you comment on HN in only Old English from now on, so you can avoid these newfangled spellings people made up?

reply

[–] chrisbennet link

The dictionary is not the definition of the language. It's a somewhat out of date "map" of the language that is missing the newest roads. (I just learned this last year.)

"Anne, who appeared on Adam Ruins What We Learned in School, explains how grammar rules are not fixed in the English language. Language is constantly evolving and we’re the ones who get to shape it -- not dictionaries! So we can all stop correcting each other and just appreciate our different ways of speaking. On the podcast, Anne and Adam discuss how we should think of the dictionary as a field guide rather than the authority on language, how young people think about language and texting, and how Anne helped choose 2000's word of the millennium! Anne is an English Professor at the University of Michigan where she researches the history of English and lexicography. She is also a member of both the American Heritage Dictionary’s Usage Panel and the American Dialectical Society." http://www.maximumfun.org/adam-ruins-everything/adam-ruins-e...

reply

[–] jiveturkey link

That's how language works ... enough people agree on the definition (and spelling and pronunciation) of a word, and then it's a word.

It's so fetch, your own adulteration of language! Don't speak to me about being cool, who started that? Such a silly thing, cool means one thing and one thing only: the other side of lukewarm. Please don't adulterate the language.

reply

[–] pavlov link

MTV's "Catfish" series has had seven seasons so far and is shown around the world. It's not obscure at all.

reply

[–] phyzome link

I never even knew this show existed, and was still aware of the word and its meaning. (I mean, not at first. There was a moment when someone had to explain it to me.)

But all of this is irrelevant to the main point: Language is dynamic.

reply

[–] netsharc link

But how did they get the name? From the movie.

I saw the documentary on a flight. I guess I'm part of the 6.57x10^-7 percent!

reply

[–] pavlov link

It doesn't matter where the name came from. The MTV show could be called "Sea Urchin" and it would still define the phenomenon.

reply

[–] Arcsech link

It's literally in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catfish

> "2 : a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes"

Hard to get more "real dictionary" than that.

Edit: For that matter, "ghost" is also in the M-W dictionary in the sense of "suddenly cut off all contact with", you just have to scroll down a bit.

reply

[–] misja111 link

The term catfishing is much older than that 2010 movie: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/01/18/catfish_meani...

By the way the Dutch word is similar: 'katvanger' and is quite old as well.

reply

[–] Clubber link

I thought cat fishing was when you asked someone ugly out as a cruel joke.

reply

[–] briandear link

I really hate the so-called term “catfished” it’s a completely contrived word that came from a 2010 movie that probably 50 people actually saw. “Ghosting” is another one, but at least you can use context to sort of figure out what people are actually talking about.

A bit off topic, but this adulteration of language — from an obscure pop-culture reference, is a bit silly.

Obviously the author agrees that most people don’t know what the term means or he wouldn’t feel compelled to explain what the heck catfishing actually means in the second paragraph.

Urban dictionary != real dictionary. I guess in another life I must have been a member of the Academie Française. Or maybe just too old to be cool.

It’s so fetch apparently that I and a large number of non-Buzzfeed aficionados just don’t get it.

reply

[–] fwdpropaganda link

> We even talked about sales operations, discussed the pros and cons of MEDDIC, and talked about Salesforce workflows. I mean, this guy was pretty good.

> Maybe he wouldn’t have even known how to log into Salesforce.

I think the author is just a pretty bad interviewer.

reply

[–] Clubber link

>The one test that we gave that most people copied was converting decimal to roman number.

I've read some really stupid programming questions, but that has got to be one of the top 5 stupidest.

Also, I think you mean to say "integer," as Romans didn't have the concept of "decimal."

http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/52552.html

reply

[–] dx034 link

Why stupid? As a take-home exercise it doesn't sound too bad. Won't take forever to solve but still requires some understanding of algorithms. Not as easy as FizzBuzz but also nothing you can't solve after work.

reply

[–] Clubber link

1. The candidate must know how roman numerals work to pass. (This was before OP said it was a take home test which makes it a little better, but ...)

2. The question uses the term "decimal," rather than "integer." Roman numerals don't account for decimal numbers, so it's not even an accurately answerable question as posed.

3. When you google Roman Numerals and decimal, the first link tells you this. I assume the writer didn't event attempt to google.

4. The question will filter out candidates who don't know how roman numerals work and / or googled it to research how roman numerals work. Not only are these good candidates filtered out, but now they are telling all their other good candidate friends about that company and their stupid questions.

5. The pool of good candidates that will respond to your opening just temporarily diminished by a few people (depending on friends in #4)

6. For all this, the business didn't even test something that is in any way relevant to what that business does, unless that business is a digital clock face maker for smart watches or something.

If any one of these happened, that's bad. Way more thought and consideration should have gone into this question.

reply

[–] segmondy link

It was a typo. Not decimal. But whatever.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Ya, whatever. I guess you failed that test, huh? You must be a bad programmer based on that. Better luck at your next interview.

See how silly the premise is?

reply

[–] dx034 link

Isn't a quality of a software engineer to produce good code even when the specification isn't 100% correct? A lot of bad software exists because it was designed to only do what was written in the spec with no room for flexibility. Good engineers will have a dialogue with other stakeholders and clarify any issues and potential future uses.

That means, if you read decimals for roman numerals you'd ask them to clarify as there are no decimals, just integers. They'll admit the mistake and already know that you read the task properly.

reply

[–] Clubber link

Sure, a great software developer can built a solution with a simple problem definition, "We spend a lot of money communicating with stakeholders."

You have to understand though, as a good developer, if someone asks me a question like that, it strongly implies that they don't know what the hell they are even doing. Hiring managers have to be keenly aware of what their questions are implying about their companies. I don't think many give it much though other than googling, "tough interview questions."

FWIW, I've sat on both sides of that table.

reply

[–] segmondy link

Lot's of candidates lie. The one test that we gave that most people copied was converting decimal to roman number. They copied the first solution that they found, variable names, etc. the few times they changed the variable names, they kept the same number of spacing, braces in same position.

So one line might have "if (...){ " where another has "if(...){"

How demanding can this be? Once money is involved, folks will do almost anything. I had to fire a recruiter once for asking me to lie. Updated my resume, sent me the updated copy with tools I don't know and have no intention of learning and said he was going to use that.

reply

[–] jpz link

I presume an "AE role" is an account executive role - which must be a sales and relationship role?

It would seem to me that he aced his interview - he certainly sold the story!

I don't mean to imply sales is unethical btw, I know ethical sales people - but the fact they couldn't filter the prospective candidate on actual skills or knowledge, and only filtered the candidate for fabrication, seems to indicate they are hiring for people of a certain background.

The fact he gamed that is quite impressive, but it also speaks a lot about whatever the hiring criteria is.

reply

[–] gaius link

For everyone that fakes their way through an interview, there’s a job ad that was a bait-and-switch anyway. That is just how the game is played now. I don’t like it either, but don’t hate the player.

reply

[–] the_watcher link

Isn't employment verification a standard part of background checks? Whenever I've gone through them, I've had to provide contact info to verify my employment at least 5 years back.

reply

[–] phendrenad2 link

Isn't a "backdoor reference check" a great way to tip off the candidate's current employer that they're looking around, and make the candidate your enemy for life?

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] ihsw2 link

Catfishing can be the only way to get a job. The article author clearly reinforces this by explicitly stating that he was attracted to this candidate on the basis of their pedigree.

Here is a person that would've otherwise been fine but their only qualification missing was something outside of their control -- repeat, someone that would've otherwise been a qualified candidate. Is the tech industry driven by merit or is it driven by nepotism? You decide.

reply

[–] itronitron link

well, the story could be completely made up...

reply

[–] jiveturkey link

> My team and I are a pretty savvy group.

Except for the repeated evidence of an overinflated sense of self, pretty fun reading. I'm left thinking, wow, this really happens?!?

reply

[–] ebbv link

Tip #3 is pretty silly. Lots of people don't use LinkedIn, it's a horrible site, and a LinkedIn profile isn't proof of anything.

Spend more time talking to your candidates and ask for real references. Don't trust phone numbers and emails given by the candidate, if someone references someone who works at a company then contact the company through their public contact methods.

reply

[–] ww520 link

This read like a soft marketing material for Linkedin.

reply

[–] dx034 link

Is getting a reference from your current manager considered standard? How do you get that without tipping your manager off?

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] blauditore link

Wouldn't the fake reference part be easy to debunk? If applicable, call the company's generic (front desk) phone number and ask to be forwarded to XY. If the company is too large for that, use email and make sure the domain of the address you got matches the official company website.

reply

[–] mediocrejoker link

Am I the only one who was really distracted by the use of the term Catfish in every other sentence?

I've heard the term and I know there was a film called Catfish a few years about someone who created a fake identity online but I didn't realize it was such a common term.

How is a catfish different from a fraud?

reply

[–] Iv link

I am not sure why she feels it shows such a glaring hole in their recruitment process? Interviews and CVs are extremely vulnerable to lying. The only step in the process to catch liars is exactly what she did: be a bit paranoid about references.

reply

[–] viach link

I can't imagine someone passed a software developer interview and got rejected over the bad references, or better, even having checked his references at all. Something to consider before moving to Bay Area.

reply

[–] tomcooks link

I'd have sat down with him and told him I know he's lying, but hire him anyway because he managed to adapt to the situation and excel (which is exactly what I want from a manager).

reply

[–] bausshf link

Good article, but please fix the site.

The stars for certain text will cover text in the article making some things "hard" to read.

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] quickthrower2 link

Can do the job != Can convince company to hire you

reply

[–] brundolf link

Right but if it turns out you're a fraud it'll become apparent almost immediately and they'll just... fire you. What would you gain from that?

reply

[–] quickthrower2 link

Not much, probably it's a personality type thing.

reply

[–] brundolf link

Why would you do this? Either you can do the job or you can't... I guess if the entire job is remote you could outsource the work to someone else?

reply

[–] dx034 link

That makes sense. Once you signed, it's easy to get a reference from your employer (at least factual). Before that it's unnecessary. Especially if there are more tests to come, I don't want 10 companies requesting references when I look for a new job.

reply

[–] cascom link

Almost every job I ever had had an intermediate step with background/biographical reference checks after I accepted the offer, but before I started.

reply

[–] woolvalley link

Why are backdoor reference checks "necessary—especially in the Bay Area"?

reply

[–] linkmotif link

How is this catfishing? Isn't this just attempting to lie to get a job?

reply

[–] undefined link
[deleted]

reply

[–] jyew link

interesting, lots of people are condemning this lying act but have no problem with the "fake it till you make it" culture

reply

[–] GBond link

Isn't this the plot of Mad Men?

reply

[–] chunger link

Cold calling, usually.

It means that they're not only working leads that come in from marketing campaigns, website, & emails (these are inbound, initiated by a potential customer). Typically means picking up the phone and calling strangers to try and sell them things (initiated by you - outbound).

reply

[–] AlexCoventry link

What is an "outbound hunter mentality"?

reply

[–] calcifer link

Account Executive, I think.

reply

[–] laser link

Account executive?

reply

[–] lentil_soup link

Off topic, but what's an "AE"?

reply

[–] matz1 link

It's all depends, for sales person, I don't care if you lies, as long as you can sell and the client happy.

reply

[–] ianamartin link

Coming soon to a blog near you: "I was the perfect candidate and didn't get the offer because companies hire based on who you know and where you worked, not how good you are."

Assuming that all of this is completely accurate and not at all written by someone who's a little wonky (Honestly, heart palpitations over a fucking candidate? Dude, cool your jets, man. You are waaaaaaaaay too stressed about this.) it's still an extremely unusual situation.

Anyone who uses this one--in my opinion at least partially false and possibly entirely fabricated--instance to go around giving advice about hiring has a screw loose.

The takeaways are incredibly suspect.

1. Trust your gut.

You know what? Fuck your gut. I don't care about your gut. Or mine. Gut instincts are more often than not a thinly veiled excuse for allowing racism, sexism, and insecurity into the hiring decision. Instead of something murky and nebulous like a gut instinct, try having a process instead. And follow it, even if it disagrees with your gut.

2. Social profile

Fuck that too. Social profiles are bullshit. LinkedIn is a bullshit predictor of anything and a bullshit indicator of past performance. So is GitHub.

3. References--given or backdoor

Fuck this too. References are meaningless. Don't bother. The references a candidate gives you are going to be at least neutral if not glowing. Extremely few people are dumb enough to give bad references. Backdoor references are extremely unethical. References are noise, not signal.

4. Stalk your candidates online looking for anything suspicious.

Wait for it . . . .

Fuck this too. If you dig deep enough, you'll find something wrong with everyone.

The author says he doesn't know what would've happened if he'd gone ahead with the hire. I do. The author would've continued the neurotic and unhealthy behavior displayed in the article. He would've continued to be the kind of boss who makes decisions based on his gut regardless of anything else a situation might be calling for. He would've brought the candidate into a toxic work environment run by a person who is entirely too emotionally involved with his job. The author would probably have ended up firing the candidate and then later refused to acknowledge that he ever worked there when future companies called for references.

In my opinion, every element of this article is extremely suspect. From the veracity of the facts therein to the takeaways based on them, it all smells a little . . . fishy. My main takeaway is that I should remember to never apply to work at this company. But then again, that's just my gut talking.

reply

[–] partycoder link

tl;dr: A guy tried to social engineer a recruiter by providing fake references and creating fake profiles. The recruiter verified the references through contacts in the mentioned companies.

A better conclusion for this unnecessarily long article: pay for a background check including employment verification once the candidate passes all interview rounds.

reply

[–] hexo link

never give your (new) employer your social profile!

reply

[–] kapauldo link

Seems like he was an excellent hire for sales.

reply

[–] aaron695 link

I'm surprised people think back-channel/backdoor references are legal.

Maybe they are in OP's location but they certainly are not ethical.

You have no right to ever complain about facebook etc privacy again if you think you have the right to possibly get someone fired by betraying their trust like that.

And any company that allows employees to back-channel reference is also incredibly unethical.

What annoys me the most is that fact the OP seems proud of the fact.

reply

[–] eecc link

Very upbeat narrative, guy sounds so proud of himself. Also very short sentences, is it usual to write so naively, perhaps a kind of mannerism meaning to be true?

reply

[–] huebnerob link

Your stance is that they should have hired the guy who blatantly misrepresented himself to them?

Hard disagree, even if this guy is the best that ever was, he's shown his true colors. The second it's beneficial to him, he'll lie again.

reply

[–] hfdgiutdryg link

My position is that, in his own words, the applicant "may have been our best performing AE", but the solution was to reject him.

As for misrepresenting oneself, what's the actual problem? If he's got the ability to do the job, who cares if he lied to get through the Byzantine interview process? And, as I already said, employers (management) lie all the time.

reply

[–] volkk link

egos set aside, once you know the person youre looking to hire has been lying about most of his past to the point of making up email addresses and getting his buddy to speak on the phone for him as a reference, i dont see how you can look past that and actually still hire them.

reply

[–] dmitrygr link

  > has been lying
I believe in sales it is called "selling"

reply

[–] hfdgiutdryg link

Maybe he would have been great and our best performing AE. Maybe he wouldn’t have even known how to log into Salesforce. Or, even worse, maybe he would have been dishonest about something down the line. Whatever the outcome, better to suss it out early.

So, the person appeared competent and capable, and "may have been our best performing AE" but it's "better to suss it out early" by immediately rejecting him?

Sounds like they should have considered some sort of short-term contact to evaluate the guy. Instead, their ego was bruised, so they rejected him and patted themselves on the back.

reply