No return offer b/c of "bad culture fit"

Internet Brands DxIF77
Sep 16 54 Comments

Although I worked hard / pulled all nighters/ collaborated well/ skipped intern events (not mandatory) to get my project done (and exceeded expectations), HR told me that they won't be extending me a return offer b/c they felt that I wasn't a "good culture fit" for their company. This company wasn't a FANG, but very well known in the tech industry. Is this a legit excuse for not extending an offer or is there something else going on? (budgeting tight, etc) I'm a rising senior in college and concerned that openings will now be more competitive b/c most interns probaby accepted their offers - does it help having a well known company on your resume? (in terms of getting an interview)

Thanks!

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TOP 54 Comments
  • Amazon / Eng
    popozao

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    BIO
    I’m from Fresno
    popozaomore
    All-nighters as an intern would be a red flag in my team. It’s not a sign of gumption, it’s a sign of inefficiency. It’s not a sustainable work pace, and given the scope of an intern project, it’s totally unnecessary.

    Would you have been better off identifying when you’re blocked and asking for some pointers on where to work towards? Managers don’t care if you figure everything out by yourself, they care you get things done on time (or even earlier). Sometimes that means leveraging your resources (seniors on your team) well.

    It’s a common frustration for 1st year employees too: “What I think is important isn’t what my manager thought was important.” Aka “I bust my ass and I didn’t get rated well at review time”. You need to open yourself for feedback loops.
    Sep 16 15
    • Amazon / Eng AMZNBucks
      Yeah they come in with the mindset "I want to prove I'm smarter than everyone else" rather than "I want to prove I'm a good fit for the team and great to work with" and then complain and blame everyone else for hurting their ego
      Sep 16
    • How were you stepping on each other’s toes?

      Were the areas of responsibility not clearly defined?
      Were you 2 not pulling bugs from a backlog and indicating that you’d started working on it?
      Were you 2 not in agreement on what the architecture of your solution would be prior to starting coding?
      Sep 16
    • Internet Brands snRp74
      Our responsibilities were initially not defined at all. It was like "hey you 2 - go work on this" when I called this out to my manager, he began separating our tasks. I was just following my jira que and working on the intern project on the side. We had disagreements, Yes. But this was resolved once we had our separation of duties. @AMZNBucks - If there was one thing I wish I could have done differently, it's known when to just shut up and not provide feedback. I was also told to be more diplomatic by my boss, something I should have adhered to earlier.
      Sep 16
    • PayPal smithereen
      It sounds like they gave you feedback during your internship and you ignored it all, just occasionally conceding your points to views you didn't believe in. That alone shows that you're inflexible and would be hard to work with
      Sep 16
    • Smithers, yea, the more of OPs replies you read the more you’ll believe the company made the correct choice.
      Sep 17
  • Roku cruella
    "skipped intern events"
    That might offend them?

    I hate it. Some people expect u to socialize at the barrel of a gun!
    Sep 16 3
    • Internet Brands DxIF77
      OP
      To be fair, they weren't mandatory and took up too much time IMO.
      Sep 16
    • Roku cruella
      I agree. It shouldnt be necessary. But they could have deemed it to be an issue if they are big on team building and office culture etc.
      Sep 16
    • Salesforce wackaplant
      “Took up too much time”? This is starting to make sense
      Sep 16
  • Symantec / Eng eYcG72
    Without naming the company hard to give specifics. If I had an intern doing this I would talk to them tell them to stop and enjoy the intern experience. I don't think anyone expects or wants interns doing this and wouldn't be surprised that was part of it. But you omitting lots of details and how you interacted with others during your internship so take this with a grain of salt. I could be wrong.
    Sep 16 7
    • Symantec / Eng eYcG72
      Where you the only one pulling the all nighters? Did you get encouraged to go to the intern events but declined? Did you have a mentor or other senior engineer helping you? How did you treat them? Often the manager not going to care, and they will just have the person they paired with you to give them the details.
      Sep 16
    • Internet Brands DxIF77
      OP
      Yes, I was the only one staying up late. I also got encouraged to attend events by HR, but declined. I had another analyst on the team help out - I treated them well( although I felt that I knew more than them..)
      Sep 16
    • Akamai Technologies hFvi07
      If HR felt you where not participating in event, then it looks like that was the red flag for them. Seems to me the company is super big on team and events then performance. Sucks, but there are 100s of companies out there with equal or better culture and pay, so just keep applying.
      Sep 16
    • Amazon lsFI70
      Instead of pulling all nighters, why didn’t you communicate with your manager to let him/her know the scope of your project was too large? It sounds like you were so singularly focused on delivering, that you didn’t think to manage expectations.

      Being able to write software honestly isn’t all that special. What mane companies are looking for are people who can drive their culture in a particular direction. It sounds like this company does NOT want folks like you resetting their bar and potentially ruining their culture.

      That said, have you considered Amazon? 🙂. I work with a guy just like you.
      Sep 16
    • Symantec / Eng eYcG72
      That analyst was going back to the manager and telling him all this. If you feel like you know more and have nothing to learn its going to come out how you treat them. You need to read the room and if your the only person pulling all nighters then there is a miss match. Someone should have told you instead thinking you would figure it out on your own at the time.
      Sep 16
  • GoDaddy nvUF55
    The kiss of death for interns imo is arrogance and not knowing what they don’t know. Otherwise most stuff is trainable
    Sep 16 1
    • Being “encouraged” to do something by someone much more senior and then ignoring that advice definitely falls in to that category.
      Sep 16
  • Apple
    TWB-gold

    Apple

    BIO
    Software engineer
    TWB-goldmore
    Whatever the issue(s) were, they were probably being honest when they said it falls under culture fit.

    Is there anything about your personality that might make you unpleasant to work with?

    There’s a huge list of reasons why someone might not like working with you even if you’re “good” at your job: how you treat others and communicate with others, being late or always last minute, being too loud or whiney or negative, bad sense of humor, etc, etc, etc
    Sep 16 4
    • Internet Brands DxIF77
      OP
      The company was located in Austin, TX - I'm from NYC, so we had large differences in personality, however, I felt that this should be an issue b/c it's corporate environment and people should be focused. I treated everyone well (IMO), but again, we had differences in attitudes and approaches to getting work done.
      Sep 16
    • Apple
      TWB-gold

      Apple

      BIO
      Software engineer
      TWB-goldmore
      Well, maybe your manager doesn’t want to hire you because you two disagree on attitude and/or approach to getting work done. What was your approach to getting work done?
      Sep 16
    • Internet Brands DxIF77
      OP
      I was very focused on all my tasks and asked for help when necessary. We didn't disagree on everything and I took his side when we had different points of view.
      Sep 16
    • Apple
      TWB-gold

      Apple

      BIO
      Software engineer
      TWB-goldmore
      Well there must have been something he (your manager) didn’t like about you if it was a culture fit reason for not hiring you. You should talk to him about it.
      Sep 16
  • Microsoft unfanged
    It’s clear you were optimizing for the wrong things. Interns should be participating in team events and not need to pull all nighters. Software development is a team sport and managing expectations is very important to your managers. If HR had to tell you to go to these events, they had already flagged you hard. By you not taking their advice your yellow flag went full on red. You sound like a 10x coder stereotype.
    Sep 16 0
  • Amazon / Eng AMZNBucks
    Pulling all nighters just for an intern project that will eventually be scrapped or hardly touched?

    Maybe you're all work and no play and the team thought that was off-putting. They wanted someone who they'd like working with too
    Sep 16 0
  • Reading through he thread, I agree with them.

    Not all people are matches with all companies. And when HR gives advice to an intern in the middle of their internship? That’s a pretty big yellow flag being waved in the interns face.

    I was an intern, and now whenever I have interns on my team I make sure to tell them that the events (whether social or training) are very valuable.
    Sep 16 0
  • Airbnb kYFK02
    All projects are group projects in a workplace. 99% of intern code is garbage and should be deleted

    Internships are an extended job interview where you get to see clearly how someone will work on the team. Group productivity is more important than individual, and the “smart” asshole can destroy group productivity
    Sep 16 0
  • Goldman Sachs / Eng
    TimCook🍆💦😩

    Goldman Sachs Eng

    PRE
    eBay
    TimCook🍆💦😩more
    More than likely them saying “not a culture fit” just means your team didn’t like working with you. Sure you did your work, and it may have been done well... but no one actually liked working with you... 🤷🏼‍♂️
    Sep 16 0
  • WeWork RPvk36
    Hi op, sounds like you should find a place that values hard work and focus over blowing hot air up people’s asses.
    Sep 16 1
  • Roblox wmQH76
    How do you take feedback/criticism? Did you often debate / disagree with code review feedback?
    Sep 16 1
    • Internet Brands DxIF77
      OP
      I felt that I communicated feedback well. Yes, I engaged in some debate, but knew when to backdown. I was never an asshole about it
      Sep 16
  • NVIDIA / Product coolpm
    Were you not assigned a mentor or something? that should have helped you. But don’t worry now, plenty of other opportunities, good luck.
    Sep 16 0
  • LinkedIn
    tendies

    LinkedIn

    BIO
    sex work, quantum computing, and crypto HFT
    tendiesmore
    Maybe you weren't diverse enough
    Sep 16 1
  • Facebook WDWO10
    In all seriousness, I think now it is all about what you will do with the situation. It is hurting right now, but if you can take lessons from this incident and do better next time, you will soon be ahead of your peers. The feeling of being misunderstood is real, but don't go into the dark place where trauma overrides your potential. Learn from the mistakes and focus on what's ahead. Good luck!
    Sep 16 0
  • LinkedIn yFSV61
    The fact that you were pulling all nighters may have been a cause of concern for the engineers in your team. Because now they would feel that if you were to join full time, you would continue doing so and now there would be a sort of peer pressure for them to slog this hard. This affects the team culture in long run. Being in the industry for a while, I can totally see why this may have been one of the reasons why you were not extended an offer.
    Sep 16 0
  • New / Eng
    PewPew!!

    New Eng

    PRE
    Symantec, Microsoft
    PewPew!!more
    Could be worse.

    Be thankful that at least you’re not that jerk kid who asked Satya in the company wide broadcast all hands ‘do you call if GIF or JIF? Coz ya’know, some people just like to watch the world burn...’
    Sep 16 0
  • Microsoft UMbR31
    I was exactly like you and I did not get a return offer at a major company, non FANG. It's hard to know this at age 19/20. If your company is not filled will maniacs, there's a lot more returns in "blending in and be liked" as an intern than in outperforming on your project and be seen as an outstanding engineer.
    Sep 16 0
  • Panasonic Avionics / Sales
    District 4

    Panasonic Avionics Sales

    BIO
    I do sales. I sell stuff. It’s what I do.
    District 4more
    Sorry you had to go through this OP. Internships should be about fun, meeting new friends and discovering the amazing things you can accomplish by working together.

    Everyone here giving you advice isn’t in your shoes so take it all with a grain of salt.

    You could’ve done everything right and still, somebody in power with a bigger problem decides he just doesn’t like you. There’s nothing to rationalize.

    You’ve got many more years ahead and it’s marathon. Don’t let this get you down. Good luck on your future successes!
    Sep 16 1
    • Symantec / Eng eYcG72
      Yes take with a grain of salt but the OP wasn't having fun. It sounds like he was trying to over achieve instead of enjoying the experience and learning from it. I think coming from school where your rewarded for individual performance then getting this shock in the working world where team work is more important is hard for many smart kids.
      Sep 16
  • Roku duck duck
    Congrats now you can sue them.
    Sep 16 0