Friday, November 18, 2011
Loud, enthusiastic applause! Welcome! We love you! You're our greatest asset!
Be not fooled! As you walk into the room, minions of the Great Pomme clap, long and loud. Yet in their hearts, how could the very people who greet you so enthusiastically not know that in a mere two days a message like this will be sent to many of the people they so enthusiastically applauded:
Thank you for your interest in opportunities with Apple. As you can imagine we received a large number of qualified applicants for this role. At this time we have chosen to move forward with other candidates. I want to personally thank you for your interest and for investing the time to speak with us about this opportunity.
Thank you again for your time and interest in Apple. We wish you the best in your future endeavors."
It started with people being herded to tables in the cheap hotel's breakfast lounge. We seated ourselves at cheap looking round tables clad in cheap synthetic wood, on cheap looking metal chairs with cheap looking red vinyl cushions. There was nothing to read. Bare. Cheap. Eventually, our handlers infiltrated the space, handing out papers to fill out, duplicating information that we'd already been sent electronically. They chatted with some, ignored others.
Once the chatting was over and the forms filled out, we were ushered into another nondescript room filled with ranks of the same cheap steel and vinyl chairs, greeted by a wildly clapping line of interviewers standing in front of a large screen.
We had to watch videos about how great Apple is. How successful they are. How it would be such an honor to work for them. While all the while they were hatching their strategies to eliminate an unknown number of people in the room. Yes, unknown, for when the question of how many hires they were contemplating, they said they didn't know. Disingenuous for geniuses, masters of dataflow, analysis and computation. Don't know? I suspect they knew to sixteen decimal places, but were too sneaky to blurt out the truth!
Like Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, the adversary, father of all lies, prince of darkness, the devourer, Mammon, enemy of righteousness, Abbadon, angel of the bottomless pit, their apparent sincerity was but a deception. Their "handpicked" candidates were not so appreciated as they would have you believe. We were like sand to be sifted for pearls, discarded after false show of sincerity and enthusiasm. It was, alas, nothing but smoke and mirrors. Hype. Hollywood. False feel-good.
The event was presented as something different, somehow better than other companies. Yet, in the end it wasn't. It was just Apple's way of spinning a cheap way to screen people into some kind of "festival". Five employees interviewing probably 300 people. Cheap. Nobody had a personalized interview. Some might say they cost-reduced the initial rejection interview screening phase by conducting group interviews. Even the pens they gave out were from the hotel, not Apple. If Truth were to walk naked through the corridors to proclaim a fit title, it might be the Screening And Rejection Event. Who would come for that?
Hotel logo pens? They were too cheap to even part with a souvenir branded with the Apple logo? The pens weren't even retractable. It's not like anyone was expecting an iPad, but still... doesn't Apple believe in swag to add physical hype to their cheerleading? No? No. Did they bring signs directing people to the event room inside the hotel? No! Unnecessary cost! Not too user-friendly, when it comes to recruiting. Clapping and video is cheaper than creating a look with actual objects, it seems.
They even spin the job benefits. Full time employees get some; part-timers get scraps, but only after three months' employment. Let's see the likely outcome… work November, December… (let's just imagine that the work is seasonal) FIRED. Not even two months. No bennies! iFail!
The applause was in the end more a brutal slap in the face than if it had never happened, a mockery of everyone they rejected, like a hot kiss followed by a kick in the groin. Better that they had saved their applause for the anointed few who passed through the fruity gates into Apple Nirvana. Why waste applause on people you plan to reject a mere 48 hours after you so "enthusiastically" greeted them?
I remember noting that none of the people doing the interviewing had been at Apple for more than five years. Some had been there less than a year. I then thought: if this company is so wonderful, how come none of these people has been there longer than a few years? If Apple is Nerd Asgard, why the relatively short employment spans? I'll never know. The applause wasn't for me; it was only for the people they wanted. I was but a spectator.