Design me a House (by David J)

Like most sane people, I absolutely despise the whole Job Interview 2.0 thing. Now, I'm usually good at sniffing these types of companies out before wasting their time and mine with an interview, but recently I got caught up in one when looking for a Java position at a mid-sized consulting company.

After twenty minutes or so, I tried to gracefully exit with a "thank you for your time," but the manager didn't seem to get it. Ten minutes later, I tried again, but he was just too caught up in his brilliant questions to hear what I was saying. As the hour mark approached, I started to get more and more frustrated.

"Design me a house," the interviewer cheerfully demanded.

"Ugh," I groaned, "what do you want your house to look like?"

"But aren't you going to ask how many floors it should have," he glibly responded.

"Fine. How many floors do you want?"

"Two!," he shouted, "no, three! I mean, one! Err... no, I want six, maybe sev--"

"You get one floor," I interrupted. "That's how David Constructions work. One floor, that's it."

"Ahh," he smirked, "but that's not a very flexible design now, is it?"

"There's always Ryan Homes. They actually have, you know, building architects and what not. I'm, well, just a Java programmer."

After a confused silence, the interviewer responded, "soooo, on my house, I'd like some rooms - can you sketch those on the whiteboard?"

I grudgingly got up and walked to the whiteboard. It was the sixth time that day.

"I like rooms," he perked up, "lots and lots of rooms."

"What," I grumbled, "like, six or something?"

"Maybe," he nodded, "but what if I want to add more later? Or combine them."

"I don't know," I sighed, "hire a dry wall guy?"

"Ewww," he flinched, "that sounds expensive! I'd like to do it on my own. Can you design a--"

"Look," I interrupted, "I don't mean to be rude, but you haven't asked a single question about programming."

The interviewer scoffed, "you've got a lot to learn about developing good software if you don't see the relavence here."

Thankfully, the interview ended shortly thereafter. And while they never did extend me an offer, they did end up going out of business later that year. Aparently, they had issues delivering software to their clients.

References Not Available Upon Request (from Ted Neustaedter)

After receiving a promising resume for a job request, I scheduled an interview with the candidate. The interview itself was fairly straightforward, having all the standard questions about .NET, C# and SQL Server. The candidate seemed fairly knowledgeable and I thought there was a good chance of him being the one.

I thanked him for coming in, and asked him to forward me 2 or 3 references. I probably wasn't going to call them, but it's always good to have them, just in case.

However, I was taken aback by his response. "I prefer to get my jobs on my own. I don't like to bother my former employers with those details."

I explained to him that we require references to verify his employment, skills and experience. Again, he responded with "I prefer to get my jobs on my own."

I wasn't exactly sure what to say, so I told him that it's a pretty standard practice and that would not be able to consider him for a position without references.

Grudgingly, he told me that he'd be sending an email with some references.

Needless to say, I never received a follow-up email from him.

Just Play Along (from James Ingram)

After acing two interviews in London, the consulting job was pretty much mine. All that remained was a flight to Germany to meet the banking client who I'd be working on-site for. If they liked me, well, "gutten tag", and all that!

I arrived in Frankfurt and got a nice tour of the city, the consulting company's office, and the apartment flat they'd be providing for me (oh yes, perks!). Afterwards, it was off to visit the client's office.

On the drive to the bank, my soon-to-be-boss mentioned that he had "taken the liberty of adding Linux" to my resume. Before I could even explain that my Linux experience consisted entirely of a one-time installation of Caldera following a step-by-step instruction guide, he added, "and if they ask, just play along." I started to get a bit nervous.

At the customer's site, I met with the development manager. She was absolutely thrilled to meet me, and even more excited that I'd be coming on board. You see, their developers were having an incredibly difficult time getting their "mission critical" C++ application to compile on a certain distribution, and my Linux and C++ expertise were exactly what they all needed to save the day.

Needless to say, I couldn't get back to the airport quick enough. As soon as I got back to London, called the agent and told him that there was no way I was going to take the job. Not that it mattered. I doubt they'll have any trouble adding "Linux expert" to some other applicant's resume.