I applied to MIRI software engineer position last year on 26 February 2020. The first stage of the interview was a Triplebyte quiz. Triplebyte said I passed it "particularly well" and qualify for Fast Track program. However, Buck Shlegeris said he's not interested in proceding with an interview, with no explanation. Well, maybe my test score wasn't good enough. Anyway, he provided me with a list of ways to impress him and get back on track, and I did one of them (solve 8 chapters of Lean exercises). Buck said that I've managed to impress him and he'll get back to me about next steps. Two months later he said that MIRI is not hiring because of the pandemic. Buck promised to contact me when the hiring starts again.

I have recently learned from a friend that Buck doesn't work for MIRI anymore, and his Linkedin page also says that he left in 2020. So I decided to reapply for the job, but I got back an automated reply from Buck Shlegeris with a link to the same Triplebyte quiz. 

I am confused. Does Buck still work for MIRI? If you aren't hiring, why are there job ads on your website?

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I'm not an official MIRI spokesperson here or something, but I'm a MIRI board member and I do a lot of work with MIRI (without being on payroll). My take, which someone else may turn out to correctly disagree:

  1. We are not hiring as much since the pandemic. We are however still hiring for some niche positions, especially ones that can easily be remote and/or that do not require the in-person internships for getting started that we often used.

  2. Separately, some but not all of our research programs are additionally not hiring as much lately for non-pandemic reasons, due to being in more of a "regroup and see what makes sense in terms of research directions, before possibly making hires and expanding again" place than they were last year. We should probably update our job ads but haven't been quite sure how and have been procrastinating therefore.

  3. Buck is mostly no longer working at MIRI but is doing some contracting, including about processing job applicants I think.

  4. Despite #1 and 2, I am aware of three hires made over the last few months, though all for niche positions assisting distinct people with distinct things. Also, various other bits of MIRI may turn out to be hiring at different times in ways that are hard for me and perhaps also them to predict. I do not have an official role in any of this, but if you'd like to talk 1-on-1 I'd be happy to, and it'd let me be aware of you if job openings later come up in parts of MIRI I'm connected to.

+1 to Anna's reply. I've poked Buck to make sure he gets in touch with you and confirmed he's still point person on getting in touch post-pandemic, and I've updated our Careers and Get Involved pages to note that we're hiring more slowly as a result of (1) COVID-19 and (2) the fact that we're re-evaluating some of our strategy.

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I think Anna and Rob answered the main questions here, but for the record I am still in the business of talking to people who want to work on alignment stuff. (And as Anna speculated, I am indeed still the person who processes MIRI job applications.)

he provided me with a list of ways to impress him and get back on track, and I did one of them (solve 8 chapters of Lean exercises).

Just curious: would completing this game qualify as being able to get a position at MIRI?

I am not actually trying to get a job at MIRI, I just played that game recently, so I am curious if that implies anything.