Job Hunting & the Wizard of Oz

If you didn’t read the murmuring from the CEO of Zenefits responding to a candidate’s post on Quora, it is worth a read (note: unfortunately he later edited out his original reply in which he stated the offer was rescinded). As a publicity stunt, it probably worked wonders for Zenefits. Yes, I know they are valued at over a billion dollars. But there is a good reason no one really knows about them: the mere mention of the words “benefits broker” and “automating benefits on-boarding” has a narcoleptic effect on most human beings.

The general feedback on social media was decidedly negative against the CEO and Zenefits. I saw everything from “harsh” to “immature” to “pompous ass”. While the public posting was not something I’d recommend, I do confess to sympathizing with the CEO. At its core, I see no issue with a candidate struggling to make up his mind between two good offers. I also admire the candidate’s analytics in trading off the relative pros and cons of each opportunity. In short I can’t fault him for anything but one comment: “Uber will really help me move to companies like Google and Apple.”


If you want to work at Apple and Google, WTF are you doing interviewing at Uber and Zenefits?!

There are a few engineers (usually young) for whom the allure of some tech brands (e.g. Google, Apple) is too much for them to resist. For these candidates, the companies have a magical quality, sort of like Oz to Dorothy. If you discover this in an interview, rather than publicly rescinding an offer on Quora, it's best to just gently steer the candidate away from your company. Let the candidate find out in their own time if their desired company is really magical, or if there is really just a man behind the curtain of their private Oz. As a hiring manager, you're better off working with engineers who have the intellect and talent to work at Google, but the judgment to work at your company.