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It's Like a Double Yellow Line:
Near the end of a technical interview, Paco H. was asked a rather blunt question from the candidate he was interviewing: "Hey, be straight with me. How am I doing?" Paco replied with the truth: not too well. The candidate was a bit disappointed, so Paco gave him a chance of redemption.
Paco: So, tell me, what are you great at?
Candidate: What am I good at?
Paco: No, no. What are you *GREAT* at?
Candidate: Hmmm. (a few seconds pass) Cryptography!
Fortunately, Paco knew a thing or two about cryptography, and knew where to begin a line of questions.
Paco: Ok. Well let's just start with the basics. Tell me the difference between asymmetric and symmetric cryptography.
Candidate: Well, the way I see it is like this. The symmetric cryptography is like when you're driving down the road and there's a dotted line down the middle and cars are going both ways. Asymmetric cryptography is like when there's a double yellow line.
Paco opted to pass, after all.
Very Customer Friendly
As a developer lead, Kyle sees all sorts of résumés come through. As a developer lead for Microsoft in China, the résumés can get pretty interesting. Especially considering that they must be submitted in both English and Chinese.
One candidate in particular had a rather unique bullet listed under her accomplishments:
- I had intercourse with all of my customers
As it turned out, however, the candidate was not that eager to retain customers. Just a poor translator: the Chinese résumé said guanxi, which is a term used to describe a close, personal relationship. Not a physical one.
A little while back, Joshua worked for a Certain Medical Imaging company that could have had the tagline "the more bosses, the more betterer." As Joshua put it, "the hardware wasn't redundant, but the executives sure were. Not that any of them were considered replaceable, but it's good to know there's always someone else to not make a decision." Not too long after being laid off in the "staff reduction" initiative, Joshua received a call from a recruiter:
Recruiter: "There's a small company -- actually, a startup -- and they're in your area. They're paying top dollar for folks with a background in high availability UNIX and medical imaging..."
Recruiter: "...and it looks like you would be a good fit. How is the drive to the Riverstone Office Complex?"
Joshua: "Exactly 35 minutes. Actually, I had a job in the same office complex... in HA UNIX... and medical imaging."
Recruiter: "Oh really? That's -- wait, did you work for Intitech?"
Joshua: "Umm, yes. They just dropped about ten people out of a staff of thirty. Including me. The company is a disaster."
Recruiter: "Oh, I'm very sorry, I don't think this is going to work..."
Joshua: "Right, I wouldn't go back. But hey, tell me what the rate is?"
Recruiter: "$35,000 a year"
Joshua: "Good luck with that. Thanks for your call."
It was a relief to know that Joshua's old job was waiting out there for him at half the rate...
"Neat," John opened up the interview, "your résumé says you went to ------ University? I graduated in '97 myself!"
"Well," the candidate replied, "actually, I was thinking about going to school there. But then I heard from this guy I was working with about a learn-from-home university. Basically, they give you all sorts of college credit for life experience. So, I'm actually going to go there, instead."
Normally, John would have just ended the interview right then and there, but he was only responsible for administering the technical coding test. So he handed the candidate a reference manual, a pencil, and the test.
Thirty minutes later, when John came back, the candidate was just sitting there with his eyes closed. Not a single thing was filled in on the paper. Apparently, the font-size was too small, so John offered to reprint it. "Well, no," he replied, "now I have a headache from squinting."
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