If you asked Betabeat about our idea of a good time, applying for jobs would be nowhere near it. In fact, we’d rank the act of writing cover letters, selling yourself to prospective employers and getting scrutinized across the interview table somewhere closer to “The Worst.”
Not so Austrian developer Nikolaus Gebhardt. Although happily self-employed running a game-related software development start-up, Mr. Gebhardt revealed an oddball habit on his blog Irrlicht3d.org (named after the open source 3D graphics engine.) His dirty little secret? He applies for programming jobs without any intention of taking them. And he likes it!:
“It ‘s not that I don’t have a job, or that I don’t like what I do, but since I am self employed and running my own company I have the feeling that I am coming out of touch of what the current job market is like, and so I started to apply for jobs at different companies once in a while. Just to keep in mind how this is like and for the fun of it.”
Other things that Mr. Gebhardt enjoys apparently include being taking down a notch by strangers:
“I think this is also a good training should I need to be employed again in the near future: As ‘CEO’ of your own company, you tend to become a bit arrogant and tend to get an exaggerated opinion of yourself. Doing job interviews helps you to keep down to reality a bit.”
Thanks to Mr. Gebhardt’s masochistic tendencies, however, he has a good vantage point from which to assess changes in the recruiting climate for developers. Though years of applying for jobs (he doesn’t need or necessarily want), Mr. Gebhardt started to see a pattern:
“I noticed that all this has changed a bit: Human resources divisions of companies tend to treat applicants like meat and recruiting agencies don’t even know what kind of people they are looking for . . . If a recruiter seriously asks me for a clearance certificate by the police for a job as website back-end programmer, then I won’t apply for the job. If you want me to program a puzzle test for several hours just to apply for your company’s crappy underpaid job, then no, sorry. If you want me to fill out your custom online application web form with about 50 fields where half of the comboBoxes don’t contain the values which would be correct for me, then I simply apply for a job at a different company.”
Recruiters, let’s try to show Mr. Gebhardt a better time, shall we? After all, this is what he does for shits and giggles.