Popups and Popovers are Physically Inexcusable Design Failures

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You know, when I’m driving around, I listen to WBBM News Radio 78 quite a bit if I’m close enough to pull it in, this is especially true if I’m helping on the family farm as you kind of live by the weather during times of fieldwork. This is in rather stark contrast to my NPR listening the rest of the time. Typically WILL out of Champaign (AM 580) because WBEZ (91.5fm, 90.7fm, 91.1fm) airs “The New Yorker Radio Hour” which has absolutely no reason to exist. Few shows on NPR stations are more un-American. That’s also why I now send all of my NPR contributions to WILL, having cut WBEZ off.

What I’m starting to figure out is that most, if not all, of the tech companies advertising on WBBM have to advertise because they suck. While I have had no experience with that Web site company, I first learned about ziprecruiter.com from a commercial on WBBM. I also first learned about the new indeed.com “screening questions” from a similar commercial. Some of these “screening questions” direct a person to take a prerecorded interview on their own time without ever having been shortlisted. Needless to say, if more than my years of experience in some specific tech gets asked, I just close the browser without finishing. So do most people I know.

Technical recruiters, by and large, suck.

What used to be a job performed by highly qualified individuals is not a task shuffled around the world to the lowest wage worker on the planet. Two which contacted me this past week are shining examples of how little companies care about their public reputations.

Recruiter #1 was using the worst VOIP service in the universe. I would have asked them the name so I could publicly shame the company here, but, didn’t think of it. I would have to ask in email. I finally demanded all communications via email. There was so much stutter on the phone I could only physically hear 1 out of 7 words. This was over multiple phone calls.

Recruiter #2 had a marginally better VOIP system. It also sounded like he was “working” out of a 1 room mud hut. Throughout the entire conversation there was a dog barking (close) and a baby wailing (sounded like 2 feet away.)

Seriously, if you want to ensure your company’s phone number ends up on a senior consultants blocked list, use labor like that. I’ve only had this SONIM Bolt phone for a few months, but, it already has 33 blocked phone numbers. Other consultants who’ve had their phones longer have longer lists I’m told.

Ziprecruiter.com appears to have started adding screening questions too and obviously they are asked by the lowest wage worker on the planet. A qualified technical recruiter would never ask:

How many years of Qt/C++/embedded linux/yocto do you have?

and then allow a single numeric response. One contract listed on ziprecruiter this past week (found by searching, not by using any of their suggestions) followed the response process with

1. Address

Two thirds of the screen was then consumed by a response box which allowed multiple lines to be entered before you got down to the “Continue” button. You will note that there was nothing about “street address” or “address line 1” or any of the other IT standard prompts indicating the address will be entered in multiple responses. You found that out by clicking “Continue” where you were prompted by

2. City

And there was no back button.

Now we come to ziprecruiter.com’s worst feature . . . it’s matching algorithm. A Fourth Grade student wouldn’t code whatever it is they have.

popups are inexcusable image

I’m going to include the featured image down here in the post as well in case you cannot see the featured image. Those of you who regularly read this blog know I do C/C++, OpenVMS, Qt, embedded Linux, touchscreen development and also code a few other languages on OpenVMS.

Just how the Hell does their matching algorithm come up with “Train Conductor,” “Material Handling Equipment Operator,” “Mechanical Project Manager” and “Transportation Planning?” That last one is the planning of roadways and mass transit.

This matching algorithm is soooo wretched I had to turn off all emails. (From what I hear most people go down this path.) That brings this totally inexcusable yellow popover at the bottom of your browser with every page navigation. Most people do one of two things:

  1. They ignore it for as long as they can, then stop using the site (most common from what I can tell.)
  2. They create a nobody@nowhere.com type email address
  3. Use mailnull or another such service.

That second approach only works if you periodically clean out the inbox. I tried creating a new email account and suspending receive:

null email setup

But that has all sent email being rejected back to sender. Ultimately I had to create a filter.

email filter

I’m rather amazed I could restrain myself in creating the account. I really thought about making the email address:


Such an email address only works for sites which either:

  • don’t send a confirm email before account goes live.
  • allow you to change your email address after confirm and don’t confirm the new address

The rest just hope the inbox of that unchecked account doesn’t overflow.