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How To Get a Job At a Mega-Corp 373

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the name-rank-and-serial-number dept.
Barence writes "'With the economic hangover starting to wear off, the technology giants are once again recruiting in earnest. Apple, Google, and Microsoft all have vacancies on their websites, and now could be the perfect time to land a job at one of computing's biggest hitters.' PC Pro talked to people inside Microsoft, Apple, and Google to discover how to track down the best jobs, and what it takes to get through the arduous selection and interview processes." With lots of experience both within and without, what other words of wisdom can be offered to those wishing to break into a mega-corp?
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How To Get a Job At a Mega-Corp

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  • Freelance decker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:48PM (#30784492)

    I'd much rather be a freelance decker than work for a megacorps...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      To the unaware: That was a joke about Shadowrun [wikipedia.org], a cyberpunk/fantasy roleplaying game.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:14PM (#30784784)

        I thought it was a reference to Achilles' speech in the eleventh book of the Odyssey, in which he says that he'd rather be a hired worker for a poor man than king of all the dead.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:35PM (#30785700)

      I worked at a pretty big corporation. And I’ll never do it again.

      The simple reason it, that humans are not made for such big social/power structures (yes, that counts for countries too). And the reason for that is, that above a certain number, most of the other people in the group become faceless entities. Which means certain social feedback mechanisms are missing.

      Think about what a person in a 30 people tribe (or your group of friends and family) can do and not do, versus what someone in a 300,000 people corporation can do and not do, and you know what I mean.

      This mechanisms get replaced by endless meetings over meetings about meetings, micromanaged policies, and people who are banned from having any personal interest in the company as a whole, because they can’t control its direction at all. (Or at least never see an effect.) So they mostly end up doing it for the money. Passively.

      While the bosses, having to become experts in management, and lacking proper feedback from their employees (including what’s a bad idea), then make bad decisions.

      Now I’m of course not saying that this is always and without exception the case. (Only stupid people are talking in absolutes, or think by default that others do.) But that is the only result that fits with all experience I got, be it first, second or third hand.

      In my eyes, those companies are always already dead. The only reason they still are still moving, is their giant inertia. Like a supertanker needs 10 nautical miles at full speed backwards, to get to a halt. Like a giant dinosaur, that takes half a year to completely cool down to ambient temperature.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gorobei (127755)

        I'm currently having a pretty good experience at a big (100k+ worker) corporation.

        I am lucky to have a good relationship with my boss: he tells me what problems he wants solved, and I solve them or explain why I can't; I listen to his proposed technical solutions, implement if feasible, else do it some other way and then explain why the alternate plan was implemented.

        Meetings: I just ignore these. Maybe did one big face-to-face meeting and four phone-confs in the past year.
        Policies: I mostly ignore the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:48PM (#30784498)

    in the last year, when interviewing...has anyone else noticed the interviewers air of superiority? like they hold the keys and you had better get to ass-kissing. i can't be the only one to have noticed this.

    and this article...like the mega-corp is gods blessing to YOU. like you aren't just trading time for dollars and they aren't the ones making the profit? oh, please sir, may i have some more?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:55PM (#30784604)

      It often works the other way, too. I can't remember how many interviews I've given for programming jobs where the interviewee comes in all cocksure and arrogant. Not to single them out, but I've found those trained in India to be the worst.

      They tell me about their training at some foreign university or college I've never heard of, about all of the certification they've received from Sun and Oracle and Microsoft, and all of these programming contests that they've participated in. Then I ask them to describe how a linked list works, and they tell me some shit like, "Java doesn't support linked lists, only arrays."

      Then I thank them for their time, and tell them to leave.

      • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:21PM (#30784882) Journal

        It's totally like a list... Thats linked!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bangthegong (1190059)
        Similar experience in a non-tech role, I interviewed a guy with an MBA but no experience, I explained that he was welcome to apply but would find it challenging to get the role when experience was absolutely necessary for this position. We didn't have the time to hand hold someone along. Anyway he immediately turned on me, started whining and getting angry "well how am I supposed to get into your field if everyone needs experience" etc.

        Very different from the young man without the MBA who came to me and
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A linked list consists of a set of structs, objects, or data structures of some sort, each containing, in addition to its own data, a reference to the next in sequence (and to the prior in sequence as well, if it's a doubly-linked list). These references let one iterate over the set of data structures in order to perform operations on each set of data in sequence.

        Am I close? I'm only a classics major, not an engineer, but that's what I was able to remember off the top of my head.

      • by CodeBuster (516420) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @12:39AM (#30788094)

        Not to single them out, but I've found those trained in India to be the worst.

        I too have experienced the same. The IIT graduates are by far the worst in this regard. Their heads are so inflated by their "elite" education that it requires only the slightest pinprick of reality to burst their bubble. Personally, I think that this is due to the style and structure of the Indian education system. The IIT graduate will, by the time they have completed their degree, beaten out thousands or even tens of thousands of others (not all qualified mind you) seeking a job in IT (i.e. the proverbial "golden ticket" to the middle and upper classes). The tests required to get into IIT feature massive amounts of rote memorization and obscure problem solving techniques which may have little or no use in real world IT work; serving mostly to eliminate large numbers of applicants. In this way the Indian education system is great at emphasizing rote memorization, but terrible when it comes to teaching critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. Indeed, when these "IITians", as they like to call themselves, are thrown a curve ball; they strike out 9 times out of 10.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      As opposed to the typical geek snide arrogance of thinking they hold the keys and you had better get to ass-kissing if you want your network to work?

    • Well, this can actually be a tactic on the interviewer's side to make the megacorp look like it's highly desirable. :)

      Of course... not many people can actually execute it right.
    • You starve and die on the streets without it, and they have it.

      "Laborers and holders of goods and services must sell today for labor and its products parish, decay, rot, get lost, take up space for storage, and invite destruction from a thousand different causes. But not gold silver, and paper money; they can be held virtually without cost. It is this privileged position of the moneyholder over everyone else (except landholders) in the marketplace that gives rise to interest (monetary). "

      http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/newland-terry_on-silvio-gesell.html [cooperativ...ualism.org]

    • by Bob-o-Matic! (620698) <robert...peters@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:02PM (#30785324) Homepage

      No.

      In late Nov. last year I was called by LockMart for an interview for an entry level hardware engineer position. I had been looking elsewhere since May after graduating with a BSEE and with 3.39 GPA. Early in the morning of the interview we received the first major snow of the winter. I ended up stuck on the highway, 18 miles from the interview, for nearly 4 hours. I called to let my contact know I was going to get there when I could get there.

      That day I interviewed with several people from about 11:30 until 4:00. Lunch was provided. All the interviewers were understanding of the delay and were professionally courteous. No one had any overt smug attitude, and now that I have been working with them for over a year, I can say that they did not at all act out of character for the interview.

      That evening I received a phone call from one of the managers that the interview was well received and that if I wanted the position that HR would be notified that I was the candidate of their choice.

      Is there anything special about me that allowed me to land a nice job with little trouble with a MegaCorp at the height of the recession? Attention to detail, self confidence, and a can-do attitude which indicated that although I had a successful 11 years of service in the Air Force in an unrelated career field (linguist), I understood that I have no relevant experience in engineering and was willing to do a lot of [desk-bound] grunt work and learn how they conduct business.

      Contrast this with another lead I had been pursuing at the time: a small NASA contractor interviewed me for a test engineer position. This was/is my dream job, setting up tests for the NASA scientists. I toured the facilities and was all but shaking with desire to work there. The managers were friendly if not a bit short about asking questions. The young (well, younger than me, anyways) engineer they sent to show me the facilities and interview me seemed unenthusiastic about interviewing me. After about an hour or so of walking & talking (more looking around than conversing, unfortunately), we prepared to return to the manager's office. At that time he basically let me know that he thought I was playing the field for interviews (I had been unemployed since graduating several months earlier), ostensibly to grab the highest salary offered. I told him I was not bullshitting (at that point I knew he was going to torpedo my candidacy) that I really wanted the job.

      The hiring manager let me know that they were going to weigh their options and get back to me within 3 weeks. I sent a good thank-you letter, reiterating my strong desire to work there. He failed to call within a month, so I sent email reminding him that I was still interested. He claimed that with Obama's election that their capacity to take on new workers was unknown (NASA being a political / budgetary football, I guess) and that he'd get back to me when he knew what was going to happen. About a week or so later I noticed that the position disappeared from their website; I called to ascertain the status of the position and the guy basically blew up at me over the phone.

      A week later I was called to see if I wanted to interview with LockMart, and the rest is [recent] history.

      So there, AC, if you think that mega-corp interviewers are arrogant, then you may be meeting with jerks or you may have some sensitivity / self-confidence issues.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:48PM (#30784506)

    That way, you can toil for years as you watch them destroy what you've worked on. Highly recommended.....

  • Orly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by infinite9 (319274) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:48PM (#30784508)

    With the economic hangover starting to wear off...

    Says who?

  • Drift around in a small ship until you get assimilated.

    • Drift around in a small ship until you get assimilated.

      That only works at Target or if you've managed to build a ship capable of interstellar travel.

  • by toppavak (943659) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:49PM (#30784518)

    With lots of experience both within and without, what other words of wisdom can be offered to those wishing to break into a mega-corp?

    Black clothes, a ski mask and quiet footwear would probably help.

    • by Maniacal (12626)

      Oh, and one of those suction cup, glass cutting thing-a-ma-bobbers. Those are sweet. And a long rope with a 3 pronged hook on the end. Can't go wrong with that.

    • by Jeng (926980) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:35PM (#30785034)

      Always have a clear objective and stick to the objective.

      If you go in to steal the credit card information from the mainframe do not get distracted by the laptop just left in someones cube. Just leave the laptop alone, its probably loaded with software capable of tracing back to you. Targets of opportunity are just opportunities for you to get busted.

  • Slashvertisement? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:50PM (#30784526)

    I only skimmed the first and second pages, I didn't want to wait for all five pages to load.

    What I gleaned from those two pages though is that large companies have job postings on their web sites. What a breakthrough! Who would have guessed this?

    • by Panaflex (13191)

      Holy fishguts, Batman... you're right!

    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      I expect in the remaining three pages there were some interview tips as per the summary..

      In other news I just read the first page of Moby Dick, turns out there's some guy called Ishmael, what a shitty book..
    • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:22PM (#30785562)

      I'd say the flaw in the article is lack of comprehension or explanation of the hardest part of megacorps. There are many ways to find job postings, and no shortage of advice on interviews. The hardest part of getting employment at ANY of these companies is getting the screening phone call. Before that, maybe there's some magic in a good resume, or magically selecting exactly the right words for the resume, or I dunno what I never figured it out. In my experience: knowing a guy on the inside is really the #1 best way of getting in, that job postings are fulfilling legal requirements but not entirely the right way in the door.

      Speaking for myself, I am offered 100% of the jobs that I even get a phone screen for. I am given a phone screen for perhaps less than 5% of the jobs I submit a resume to. So the real trick is figuring out how to bypass that big brick wall of HR resume screening.

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by COMON$ (806135) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:54PM (#30784580) Journal
    SMB all the way. Unless you enjoy either having your spine ripped out, or relentlessly climbing the corporate ladder. I guess they supposedly have great salaries, but what is your soul worth? I have yet to find a corp that can beat the perks of working for a successful SMB. We need another article called how to break free of the giants.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:59PM (#30784634) Journal

      Sure that will work for Nintendo. But what about other corporations?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:21PM (#30784876)

      I spent 6 months on a "move existing code to different environment" project. Maybe 3 days of it was code changing, the rest was meetings and "engaging" other teams and getting misinformation and basically having to figure out everything myself, or interested parties like the integration people who have to deliver to clients helping figure it out.

      At some point, every company moves to short-term cost reductions instead of focusing on maintaining infrastructure for when things pick up again. The first clue you're in trouble is when they fire smart people because they are too expensive. Then the remainder of the smart people see what's happening and jump ship. The few who remain struggle to keep everything afloat, only to get laid off when the company gets bought/merged.

      If your potential employer already had its IPO, you're in danger. If it has ever bought another company, you're closer to danger. Short-term planning is responsible for some of the most soul-draining policies and requirements ever to offend humanity by their very existence.

      • by COMON$ (806135)
        Eg, why I like for-profit SMB, efficiency is the model because the bottom line is small. When a Company takes home less than 50 mil a year you have to be careful with assets. It is produce or leave. Whereas in bigger corps fat and bureaucracy are everywhere.
      • At some point, every company moves to short-term cost reductions instead of focusing on maintaining infrastructure for when things pick up again. The first clue you're in trouble is when they fire smart people because they are too expensive. Then the remainder of the smart people see what's happening and jump ship. The few who remain struggle to keep everything afloat, only to get laid off when the company gets bought/merged.

        I am seeing a similar syndrome with the exception that certain people are putting in mechanisms for extracting money from the sinking ship. Kind of a Die Hard situation with money laundering through service providers. Makes for a short hard snap at the end with less annoying lingering I suppose.

        Off to work on my resume now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DigiShaman (671371)

        All true. However, lets not discount the valuable lessons (both socially and professionally) learned when working for an SMB. If all you do is work for a large mega-corp, you will more often than not be just another cog in the machine. While your role may be important, it's also very limited and compartmentalized.

        I highly recommend working for an SMB when your younger to obtain those skills early on, then go after a mega-corp for smooth sailing. Should you be out on the street without a job later in life, y

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clampolo (1159617)

      SMB all the way.

      AMEN to this. I worked at a big semiconductor company. I worked my nuts off and was constantly getting good reviews. Then with some new management, I was forced to train a gang of people overseas and some H1-B's (aka slaves) and then that was all she wrote for my job.

      Besides not having h1-b's at the new place, there is another advantage. Since there aren't as many people I don't get pigeon-holed. I constantly get to learn new skills. Hell, I started out as a hardware guy and am now getting to do some

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, many of the "published positions" are reserved for H1-B and other candidates who will not need pensions, who will cost less in salary, and who will be less likely to question management. It was laid out very well in this famous old video: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU)

    Others are simply fraudulent: I used to work at a 500 person company which listed positions in my department and others where the "listings" were used to bump up head count for stock pumping and advertising reasons, wh

    • by Maniacal (12626)

      This many be off topic but you mentioned it. Does anyone ever get pensions anymore. I've worked for 10 companies or so and never 1 mention of pensions. I saw it mentioned in an article this morning as well. I thought pensions went out with my Grandpa's generation. Do people still work at companies that provide them?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mdf356 (774923)

        I had one at IBM when I started in 2001, but by the time I left in 2008 they had phased them out for new employees in favor of an improved 401K plan. (Employees kept the pension plan that was in effect when they started... except for the change to a "cash balance" plan in the late 90s that they got sued over by employees a little too young to stay on the really old pension plan).

        I suspect NASA still has a pension plan, but there you're working for the government.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Depends... Are you a member of a union where the union controls the labor market for your skillset? If the answer is yes, then there is the possibility of getting a pension if the company doesn't go bankrupt and you end up with a fist full of worthless shares of stock as compensation instead.

      • With the current demographics (rise in longevity, rise in medical expenses to achieve said longevity, and drop in family size), retirement is no longer economically viable. Companies don't want to be responsible for something that will be really difficult to impossible to provide.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Union jobs generally still have pensions. In this day and age and economic climate, I wouldn't bet your life on them paying off...

        Other jobs usually just do 401k matching instead. Personally, I much prefer this.

  • by francium de neobie (590783) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:55PM (#30784598)
    The first page says... to get a job, you need to find a vacancy.wow!

    The second page says... to get a job, you need to pay attention to the job description.damn! this is awesome!

    The third page says... to get a job, you need to submit your CV and wait.holy shit! it never occurred to me that I need to submit a CV!

    The fourth page says... to get a job, you need to talk relevant things during the interview.oh noes! I always talk about movies during interviews!

    The fifth page says... to get a job, smart casual is a safe choice.This tip is godlike! Most other applicants dress in bikini and that's why they didn't get a job!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)
    • The first page says... to get a job, you need to find a vacancy.wow!

      The second page says... to get a job, you need to pay attention to the job description.damn! this is awesome!

      To be fair, this isn't the only option. You can also be good enough to get noticed. And while many people assume that you must be a super-star in another mega-corp for that (which certainly helps, yes), it's not the only option by far. So long as you do something well, and - this is important - your work is somehow highlighted, so that recruiters can find it online - they will find it.

      Speaking from personal experience, an invitation from the employer to send your resume for a vacancy they have (which you di

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:16PM (#30784806) Journal

      I guess what they are trying to imply that getting a job at a Mega-corp is most like getting a job at anywhere else in the real world.

      I suppose most computer nerds might have been confusing it with the tactics they've learned from video games. To work at Microsoft I simply cannot show up that the local bar, find the executives in the far room, and pass THE THREE TRIALS in order to work for them.

    • Some friendly advice to my competition. You need to stay current with acceptable business attire and trends regarding how to set yourself apart from the throngs of job interviewees.

      This insider information is my gift to you. Use it with care.

      http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/ [peopleofwalmart.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      I only hire applicants that wear a bikini,
      I only talk about movies during the interview,
      I do not require any CV,
      I don’t care what they think the job includes,
      and I always have a spot for one more,
      you insensitive clod!

      Yours,
      Ron Jeremy

  • by rwwyatt (963545) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:55PM (#30784602)
    • knee pads
    • Bring Your own lube
    • ???
    • YOU ARE HIRED!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      I don't want to know what ??? is, I don't want to know what ??? is, I don't want to know what ??? is, I don't want to know what ??? is, ...

      Lalalalala, I'm in my happy place.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Yeah, I thought the article was wrong on this point:

      But what does it take to beat off hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow applicants and land a job at one of the tech elite?

      You're supposed to do that to your potential bosses, not your fellow applicants.

  • I've been at "megacorps" twice. Both times by acquisition.

    With so few megas, and so many minis, why bother? Just look for a good job. Sooner or later the megacorps will acquire your employer. Then you can decide if you actually like the megacorp.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bigdavex (155746)

      For all intensive purposes, "whom" is no longer a word. That begs the question, "who cares?"

      I literally laughed my butt off.

  • by infinite9 (319274) on Friday January 15, 2010 @04:58PM (#30784618)

    With lots of experience both within and without, what other words of wisdom can be offered to those wishing to break into a mega-corp?

    You'd better be young, idealistic, without a family, and willing to trade your life for your job. Some large trendy corporations might not be like that (yet) but the vast majority of corporate america is a slave labor camp. My advice is to stick up for yourself and don't let anyone take advantage of you, because they will if you allow it. Overtime is for emergencies, not business as usual. And emergencies had better not be business as usual. If you think working 50 or 60 hours a week and foregoing vacation is normal or "necessary in today's world" stop it. Just stop it. Life is not all about working.

    • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:32PM (#30785662) Homepage Journal

      I've worked for Microsoft for almost 10 years, both in Redmond and in Fargo, ND.

      I've probably worked fewer than 10 50 hour weeks in my entire career here. I can think of one big disaster where I was at work 40 hours straight, and I slept on my office floor for a few hours here and there as RAIDs were rebuilding. But that sticks in my mind as a singular event, not a way of life.

      I've told my last few bosses exactly where I stand: I plan on having more employers than wives, and I prioritize my time appropriately.

      I got an eyeful, when, as a fresh-out-of-college hire at Microsoft, I watched my skip-level manager with a zillion dollars after a 15 year Microsoft career lose way more than some of his money going through a messy divorce because his wife was, basically, lonely.

      Microsoft does not require consistent 50 hour weeks. If you are someone who can do top-quality productive work 60 hours a week, you'll certainly be rewarded for it, and I think that's a good thing.

      I'm not saying that there aren't people who feel they have to work too many hours, and I'm not saying there are no groups or managers that lean on people for more work and are abusive about work/life balance. But it certainly isn't pervasive across the company, and employees can get out of those arrangements if they really need to.

      It's really an employee-driven thing. If you feel like you need to work too much, that expectation may be coming from nobody other than you. Talk it over with your manager and move to a different group if there is an expectation mis-match. Every year employees take an anonymous survey where they rate all kinds of 1 through 5 questions about their boss, bosses boss, work life balance, and people do actally look at that stuff and try to act on it.

      On the MS Fargo campus, the parking lot is pretty empty by 6pm. Earlier on Fridays in the summer. Most of us have families.

      The vacation and maternity/paternity policies are also fine. I have trouble using all my vacation in a year so I roll foward anything that isn't going to be lost.

  • Find a Recruiter (Score:5, Informative)

    by cowtamer (311087) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:01PM (#30784660) Journal

    Provided you have the requisite skills, find a recruiter (aka Head Hunter) to get you a contract position at Microsoft (Volt, Comsys, et al.), Verizon, etc. You'll make more money, get a peek at the corporate culture (to see if you like it), and might have a better "inside track" at applying. You might even get paid for all the hours you work! (depending on the ethics of the corporation and your contract agency).

    The down-side is that you will have to pay for your own benefits (generally) and may resent the fact that someone is taking home part of what the company pays without doing any work for it, and will have less job security.

    How do you contact such a person, yo ask? Post your resume on Monster with the right keywords (provided, of course, that you have the skills!).

    YMMV

    • by bruns (75399)

      And when your contract is over at Microsoft, be prepared to be without a job for at least 3 months before they will consider rehiring you. Within those 3 months, you are not allowed to work in the computer field. I've had more then one friend who worked for MS on a contract basis and they were royally fucked over - alot of broken promises for full time non-contract work and being forced into a position they weren't hired for.

    • by dave562 (969951)

      How do you contact such a person, yo ask? Post your resume on Monster with the right keywords (provided, of course, that you have the skills!).

      I've had better luck with Dice. I get at least a call or two per month from recruiters.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      You'll never get hired full-time at Microsoft from Volt. Possibly another contract agency, but as long as you're with Volt you might as well learn to love that orange badge.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:02PM (#30784664)

    Uhm, the three companies you mentioned have had job offers up the entire time of this 'economic hangover' has existed.

    You get in the same way people have ALWAYS got in. A friend on the inside or dumb luck.

    The friend on the inside helps you bypass retarded HR people, otherwise you have to rely on dumb luck to get past that particular part of the process. After that, you just need to actually have a clue and fill their needs for them.

    I've never had to deal with retarded HR in my career, luckily. Every job I can think of having, I got because I knew someone that worked there. In fact, thinking of all the people I know closely, I don't know of anyone right now (with the exception of a google employee friend, which I don't think knew anyone before hand) who got their job without knowing anyone at the place.

  • In my own personal experience, I've found that the smaller the company, the more enjoyable it is to work for. Every time a friend starts complaining about their large company employer, images from Office Space start to pop into my head. The most frequent occurrence is the "Do you know I have five different bosses?" thing. For real. And all I can do is snicker.

    As with every rule, there are of course exceptions. Some people thrive in a very rigid, stratified environment, and can handily deal with th

  • MegaCorps suck the souls out of employees, as they wither away doing the same thing day after day while being accosted constantly by wasteful internal politics. The best of the MegaCorps, like Google, will even give you "20% time" so that they can own the rights to your own best ideas.

  • Another thing to point out, as many people here have pointed out, David almost always eventually becomes Goliath, or David eventually goes out of business. Just compare the US federal government today to the Empire it was trying to get away from during the American Revolution. Fortunately, it is easier to step away from a company that has been acquired should you so choose. And quite likely with a fist of stock payout in your pocket.

    The other nice thing about working for small companies, is if you see

  • Why would anyone WANT a job at a megacorp? Ok, job security might be a perk, but hey, have you ever had a hard time getting a job if you're good?

    I had my share at huge international corps and every single time it was a gig that I could not stomach for more than half a year. It beats being "between jobs", but that's about it. Are you a geek? If so, then why the heck would you want to deal with bureaucracy getting in the way of everything? How could you stomach following "procedures" that are deemed correct n

    • by cashman73 (855518)
      Peter? I've been trying to find you all week! Did you get that memo we sent out about the TPS reports? I just wanted to let you know that we're now putting the new cover sheets on all the TPS Reports before they go out, so if you could just try to remember, that would be great! Thanks, Peter!

      Oh, oh, and I almost forgot! I'm going to need you to come in tomorrow, alright? Yeah, we, uh, lost a few people this week so we need to play a little bit of "catch up". So, if you could come in at about 9 am, that wo

    • by Kevin Stevens (227724) <kevstevNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:50PM (#30785830)

      I agree completely. I have run the gamut, working at a 300k+ megacorp, 2 ~30k megacorps, a 1000 person firm, a 30 person firm, and an 8 man startup. Smaller is better in almost every way on a day to day basis. The bigger firms tend to have better benefits when it comes to things like 401k matching and vacation time, but thats pretty much where the benefits end.

      Every small firm I have worked at, I have felt that I was more challenged, and did more meaningful work, and contributed to the bottom line in a direct, easily measurable way. The atmosphere is much more family-like, where you all depend on each other, and can bring your friends/family and often even your dog into the office without a problem (security polices at megacorp generally don't allow this, and if they do, you have to go through the hassle of signing them in, getting them visitors passes that they have to get photographed for, etc). My gf is in sales and would always stop in and say hello when she was in the area, and I knew my coworkers families, etc. Megacorp only has shitty free coffee for its employees and vending machines, every small firm I have worked at has had a well stocked kitchen with healthy and no so healthy snacks, drinks, and you could ask the office manager to buy anything within reason and she would, Ditto that on office supplies- want a whiteboard for your cube and have a hang up about only using uniball pens- not a problem, but at Megacorp, you will get whatever is standard issue in the supply closet, where they may actually lock it up and monitor you while get supplies.

      Did you just read a blog post at Megacorp about google's sparse_hash hash map library and want to download it and try it out to see if it really delivers on its increased performance over your compiler's stl implementation? Well hold on there will rodger, if you are even allowed to get past websense and get to the download site, there will undoubtedly be restrictions on your ability to get the code into your local dev environment, and even it offers a 5x speed up in your app's most critical area, you are going to have a weeks long battle to get the library's use approved, and a large part of that will be convincing the "architect" whose nose has been up in the air so long he hasn't been able to read a technical book in the last 5 years, that it was his idea. Innovation doesn't come from the unanointed, didn't you get that memo? Meanwhile, over at the startup, I had the code integrated as soon as I verified it passed our unit tests.

      Meanwhile, over in megacorp land, you just got an email about a ticket being opened speaking something about how some operations person in singapore can't get his pipes to work properly even though he bashes them properly and the script shell greps just fine and CUSTOMER IMPACT. The ticket has been opened for a week, and you can see xioahu ping was getting pissy and reassigned it to you because it was ignored by your coworker. Singapore is almost exactly 12 hours out of whack with your schedule, meaning your work hours don't overlap at all- looks like there is going to be some OT to get this worked out. Meanwhile, at the startup, the ops guy who makes sure the system hums just yells out to the sys admin to grant his process privileges to /var/log and the problem is resolved in under 3 minutes.

      You are given a project at megacorp, and you think the db backend should be postgresql because you like its grown up transaction features and don't need all the crap from Oracle. However, policies at megacorp demand that you use one of their approved vendors that they already have a license for, and you have to talk to the DBA team to provision your database and push the paperwork for the appropriate chargebacks to be put in, and there is a 3 week lead time to get all the work done. Meanwhile, at the startup, you take a box with spare capacity, throw postgresql on it, and in a few hours you have a development server up and running and tell the admin to put in a purchase order for some DB servers.

      You

  • Megacorps aside, the interview process has changed significantly in the past few years. We're a small nonprofit [plml.org] devoted to building complex educational designs. While we're keen on building a lithe workforce during out startup stage, and while we're compensating only at the stipend level, our interviews are meant to bring in the best individuals we can find.

    What does that means? It means that in addition to the interview itself, we discuss cases and, in many cases, ask for a code sample and/or add a progra

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tjp($)pjT (266360)

      most visionary young people we can find

      And why not just the most visionary people you can find?

      Age discrimination. Its not just for breakfast or early bird specials anymore.

  • Megacorps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rycross (836649) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:40PM (#30785104)

    I'm actually a bit surprised at the almost-uniformly negative response to "mega corps." I've worked at two companies that could be described as "mega corps." The first, while not exactly soul-crushing, bore such a striking resemblance to Office Space that I was happy to leave. The other one has been an almost-uniformly pleasant experience, with a solid focus on tech and very little bureaucracy. What I've taken away from this is that you can't judge the quality of a job by the size of the company.

    As far as the 60-hours-per-week thing goes, both jobs had me firmly in the 40-45 hours range. The lone, very rare exceptions (50-55 hour weeks) were solely due to my own fuckups, and my desire to not have my fuckups impact the rest of my team (as in, they're actual people who didn't deserve to look bad because of something I did). I've never been forced to work long hours.

    On the topic of overtime, I've found that mentioning "quality of life" and "no mandatory overtime" in interviews will get you dropped like a hot-potato if the company in question actually does expect 60 hour weeks. I've made it a habit to ignore people telling me not to ask these things, and make sure to ask it in every interview. Tends to weed out the places I don't want to work.

    I realize that my experiences may not be the norm, though.

  • Surefire formula (Score:5, Interesting)

    by viking80 (697716) on Friday January 15, 2010 @07:21PM (#30786092) Journal

    I wanted a leading role at on of the top companies, and I got it after about a year of effort. I later had to hire people to my new team. Here is my $.05.
    1. Know exactly what you want, and do your research. Who would your managers and colleges be? Become familiar with them.
    2. A hiring manager usually have specific short term tasks to be solved. Know what they are, and make sure you are the solution to at least one of them. If you are not, it is probably not a good job to focus on anyway.
    2. Get in multiple applications. One to HR, other people on the team you want to get into. Also find a friend already in the company, and have them forward a resume.
    3. Go to conferences etc. Your future boss and colleagues might be keynote speakers etc. Listen to what is important to them, and talk to them.
    4. Hone your skills, and become the right fit.
    5. A team just wants to be successful in the organization, with little risk.
    During interviews, make sure the team knows that you will contribute to the short term challenge at hand. Also document that it is little risk to hire you. By low risk I means mostly that you can and will deliver as expected with no incompetence, attitude, and personality problems. If you can't, it it probably not the right job to focus on anyway.
    6. Know what you are worth to them, and ask for it, not more. That may include moving expenses etc.

    Bottom line: Know what you want, and go for it, and be prepared and be honest to yourself and your future team. Honesty makes it easy for you to convince people that you are the right person.

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