CommQuack hires like crazy. They hire in good times, they hire in bad times. They hire before, during, and after periods of massive layouts. Only one department was sheltered from the endless churn of hirings and layoffs — HR. For a company of ten thousand people, the fact that one thousand of them worked in HR should tell you something.

And the HR staff was busy. Résumés came in by the hundreds, and those that weren't referrals from existing employees were fiercely fought over so that the first person to grab it could claim the bounty. The HR staff were paid near-minimum wage rates, and like time-share salesmen, they were paid primarily on commission. Each referred employee that turned into a hire netted the referrer a cool $5,000.00. The upshot of this is that this meant that if you were qualified but not referred by someone in HR, you didn't get hired. The upshot of this is that a lot of unqualified boobs got hired. After interviews from HR, the candidates would be sent to the departments they hoped to work for, which meant that Grig L. had to conduct many of the interviews.

The Applicants

The hiring process worked out great for the candidates that were in good with HR. Take Mr. Buttle, for example — his résumé boasted that he was an MCSE with years of experience. In his many travels, however, one particular object was foreign to him: the mouse. He fumbled with it a bit and started getting the hang of it, but was angered when his interviewer, Grig asked where he'd trained for his MCSE. "It was an Indian college," he replied defensively, "and they trained us entirely from the command line."

Another candidate was doing well during his interview, and as a CCNA, he was a strong candidate. That is, until it became clear that he wasn't sure what a router was. When asked, he confidently explained, "why, routers are all around us! Whether we're talking plumbing, electricity..." Grig stopped him right there and asked him to point to a router in the room. Silently, the candidate walked to the wall and pointed at the room's thermostat.

In another interview, the candidate wasn't particularly strong with the technologies used by CommQuack, but hopefully some of his Mac skills would translate. And they might have too, if he hadn't blown the interview by not answering questions, instead smugly whining about how much better everything he'd seen would be better on a Mac.

Another gentleman's résumé was two pages long. Not that this was particularly uncommon — it's just that usually the first page isn't entirely devoted to one's mastery of the "man" command. This might have been excusable in and of itself, but when asked the appropriate gimme question – "how would one find out what switches and options a UNIX command has?" – he huffed and puffed, and then finally admitted that he used a résumé writing service.

And then there was the "Dr. Applicant" who proudly touted his PhD in philosophy. On a hunch, one of the interviewers who happened to have an undergraduate in philosophy asked, "so tell me, what is Kant's Categorical Imperative, and how would you live your life by it?" The question was met with a blank stare. The fact that he couldn't remember what his dissertation was about seemed a bit fishy, too.

Finally, a lady with "extensive Apache administration experience" arrived for an interview, and when lobbed a softball question — what would she do if a server didn't launch Apache after a reboot? — answered confidently, "I'd reboot it again!" And if that didn't fix it? "I'd reboot again!" Grig repeated the question again, she repeated her answer again. He had a feeling he could keep this going all day, until finally she gave a different answer — "well that must mean there's a bigger problem." Grig leaned in intently to hear her answer. "So I guess I'd return it to Dell."

The Hire

In a sea of mediocrity incompetents, one of the above applicants seemed to have what it takes — Mr. Buttle was offered a job by another department, and he happily accepted. So what if he didn't know how to use a mouse? He actually was pretty quick with the command line.

Still, that didn't stop him from warming to the new interface. After a week he was a mousing pro! Clicking, dragging, double-clicking, even right clicking (take that, Mac applicant)! His newfound mouse mastery was a mixed blessing, however. He learned how to close and manipulate windows with blinding speed, and found an outlet for his skills: Closing popup windows. On porn sites. That he'd spend all day browsing.

So the team lost one tech. But I've got a hunch that the next batch of applicants is right around the corner!