My Chainlink Interview Experience

Dec 15, 2022
4 min

I created a few error proposals for the Go language which warranted a job referral by an awesome person. In the future, I will be able to reward people like this. Unfortunately, I’m not in the position to do that right now. That’s why I am (was?) searching for a job. This referral led to an interview loop with Chainlink.

Here is how that went.

The Phone Interview

The Talent Acquisition Recruiter spoke to me about my experience in order to find a “fit”.

The Technical Interview

Hello Caleb,

Thank you for having expressed interest in Chainlink Labs and the Software Engineer — Blockchain Services position.

While we were impressed with your qualifications, we’ve decided to move forward with other applicants whose skills and experience better meet our needs at this time.

We can appreciate that this isn’t the news you were hoping for. However, we will be advertising more positions on our job site in the coming months and encourage you to apply again.

Recruiter

The Follow Up Exchange

I don’t typically follow up on these emails unless I believe that there is a chance I will be reconsidered. First, this was a referral. Second, I am almost 100% positive that he told me that he didn’t know what GitHub was when I asked about it during the phone interview (in order to explain the referral).

{Recruiter Name},

Can you submit my application to the Distributed Systems and DevOps team as well?

I understand your reservations about my experience or “fit”, however there is a reason that I was referred to the position for my Open Source work in Go. From my perspective, you have told me that you were not aware of the Github website; where your company (which works on the token) hosts over 211 repositories. Due to this, I don’t feel that the roles that you submitted me for were that accurate. I have extensive experience with APIs (Backend Application Development), but I also have delivered millions of requests due to experience with distributed systems.

Me

I also sent an email with a variation of my resume.

The Response

I sent these emails on September 3rd, 2022 (Saturday). Labor day occurred on September 5th (Monday). Based on Chainlink’s Github activity, no one was working that day. It is key to note that Chainlink’s operations start at 9:30 EST. Such that I became suspicious when I received this email on September 6th (Tuesday) at 9:29 EST.

Hi Caleb,

Thank you for your two follow-up emails. Due to the interest in the opportunities here at Chainlink Labs, our recruiting team engages with hundreds of candidates on a weekly basis. I shared your profile with several of the Engineering Managers and they decided to engage with other candidates whose experience is more closely aligned to the open roles. I know GitHub very well, we spoke about it, and that is where {name} found some of your open-source contributions.

We really appreciate your interest and I am open to connecting with you on future opportunities.

If you would like to chat with me, please schedule a time with me here: {scheduler}

Recruiter

Let’s connect the dots. I asked to be reconsidered for two positions on a Saturday; when no one is expected to work. There was no activity of people working on Labor Day. Yet the recruiter has — allegedly — been able to resubmit my profile one minute before the next work day — from my last email — has even started. Then, several of the Engineering Managers were able to review it in that timeframe. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible for non-programmatic work to occur over the holiday weekend, but…

I scheduled a follow up call.

The Follow Up Call

In the call, we discussed a number of topics in a civil manner within 15 minutes. The call centered around the difference between two views. From the recruiter’s end, he views “years of work experience” as the arbiter of a software developer’s level. Such that I was unable to perform the interview because of the following factors.

  1. I am a college student, which places me at the level of an Intern or Junior.
  2. I am experiencing — NOT his words — the Dunning-Kruger effect. This was implied by a proposed hypothetical: “Imagine how much better you will be in 5 years”.
  3. Others at a higher level were unable to pass the interview: Since “Senior Engineers” are unable to pass the interview loop, it’s a waste of time to provide the loop to lesser engineers.

Obviously, I didn’t agree.

  1. Years of experience doesn’t describe technical skill.
    • Some of my peers are rich kids who party all night. Some of my peers are antisocials who code all day. Then there is me, with more stars than all of them. Everyone knows that stars on GitHub is a key metric in deciding programming ability.
    • A person with “30 years of experience” “took inspiration” from my code on GitHub.
    • I am about to become a contributor to Google’s Go programming language.
    • I have created robots and worked with Google Engineers.
  2. I am either extremely stupid or extremely smart. I have nothing to add here.
  3. Lots of programmers in this industry are trash… and egotistical.

Of course, I said this in a diplomatic way. Regardless, the recruiter was unable to do anything about the current situation. “You know how this industry works”.

Notes

I cannot accurately assess whether I was gatekept from an interview by the Recruiter, by multiple Hiring Managers, or both. Therefore, I cannot provide a takeaway regarding this interview. Do I have personal opinions on the optics of recruiting? That’s another article. In the context of this one, I am intrigued that one can get a referral on merit* by another software developer, but still be denied the chance to interview.

*I don’t know the referrer at a personal level.

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