I'm looking for a job doing low-level work in mostly C and some assembly, the type that requires work with operating system internals and interaction with the underlying hardware architecture. For the most part I find this type of work in products currently called "embedded".
Recently I had an experience that left a bad taste in my mouth. I responded to an ad I saw on Dice for a position that wasn't embedded but was still a type of low-level kernel and device driver work. It was posted by someone from a real company (well-known and e-mail address matched the company's name), and I was surprised to get a response the same day. I filled out the questionnaire I was sent, then was asked to do a phone interview a few days later. That apparently went well, since I was asked the day after when would be a good time for an in-persion interview. While talking about that, things were good at first but then started going sour.
I was asked by the recruiter (the one to which I originally responded) if I was given an offer on such-and-such date how long it would take me to make a decision and told I shouldn't take longer than a week (is1 week from the time an offer is received normal?) That didn't seem too bad. I thought it was nice someone was eager to hire me. When I showed hesitation, I was asked which other companies I was considering. This sounded like the sort of irrelevant information an external headhunter would ask, but this was a recruiter from inside the company, so I didn't see a problem in telling him. When I did, he proceeded to critique my choices by saying good things about some of the companies and bad things about others. He even tried to make a general statement about how his company doesn't look highly on embedded work and doesn't usually hire many people from that background. I of course responded that I didn't understand why when low-level operating system and device driver work is basically what is involved in an embedded system (unless it's predominantly implemented in Java) and that it seemed like the same sort of work to me.
Is there no where I can go without encountering pushy salesmen who are more interested in me buying their product than in me making my own decisions?