The perpetual interview

I had a weird dream last night.

I dreamt I met someone socially who worked for a big tech company. Working in software myself, I casually asked the person what he did. He mentioned his department was responsible for the lemon flavor in their product (hey, it was a dream). He then asked if I wanted to try some different lemon flavored sorbets.

I agreed. He questioned which flavor I thought scored better in A/B tests when the tester knew they were being tested. I answered the one with a more subtle lemon flavor. Then he asked which one I thought tested better when the user didn't realize they were being tested. I said the sweeter one.

He said while testers claimed to prefer the subtle lemon flavor, the sweeter lemon flavor performed much better. He typed something into his phone.

He then started describing how they came up with the flavors they would test. At this point some other people had joined the conversation. He asked, "how many different lemon flavors did we develop?" I was being drawn into some sort of combinatorial Fermi estimation problem.

"Hey is this an interview?" He said his company was, indeed, hiring. I called him out and walked away.

Granted this was all a dream -- probably the result of some sort of interview PTSD -- but I couldn't help but think that anything I do online is part of a perpetual interview. I'm sure someone reading this is judging me right now. Maybe I will be in a position to work with that person in the future. Maybe we work together now.

Career development has always had this aspect (we simply called it reputation), but resumes are no longer something you work on when you are preparing for a job. They are now constantly available and groomed on Linkedin.

Companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have a significant amount of personal information. As they continue to grow in power as employers, do we know how that profile data will be used during interviews?

I suspect in the future employment will become more algorithmically based. Companies will suck in your personal data in an advanced background check, and spit out a number ranking your potential as an employee. Algorithmic scoring systems are already used to judge the effectiveness of employees, so why not candidates?

Of course, none of this is new, but the thought of being interviewed socially, changed my perspective on the issue. I realized the perpetual interview is already here.

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