Comment On Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

Hypothetical Question from Simon [expand full text]
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Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:10 • by ObiWayneKenobi
First interviewer was clearly one of those self-important idiots who thinks that they know everything about anything.

Second... well I think it speaks for itself. Presumably Mr. Kekalorcian or whatever the fuck his name was (I'm guessing that's a real name - nobody could make that shit up) was your typical cheapskate, holier-than-thou business owner who wanted things on the cheap. I mean, anyone who gleefully points out "strikes" against interviewees is a fucking moron.

Oh, and first!

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:11 • by Alan (unregistered)
Well at that point I would hack the starfleet mainframe and insert a scenario in which I could win.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:12 • by DangerMouse9
The best way to handle it is to either: A) keep going up the chain, or B) tell the customer he's being unreasonable and then tell him he'll be missed in the most sarcastic way possible and hang up on him.


Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:14 • by ObiWayneKenobi
203967 in reply to 203966
That's what I would have said. "Sir, you're clearly unreasonable and unwilling to compromise. I'm afraid we can no longer do business together. All the best of luck. *CLICK*"

Of course, the end result would probably be the same.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:15 • by snoofle
I've had to deal with those interviewers that keep asking you what to do when everything you try/suggest will fail. I usually take it 4 or 5 levels and then just reply: if this company/customer is that screwed up, then I'm/you're better off just drawing the line and saying "no". And before they have a chance to respond, I immediately follow up with something along the lines of: Are things really that screwed up here (are the customers really that obnoxious) - because things never work out anywhere near as bad as you just described...

They invariably respond that they were just trying to see how far I would go before I say I don't know. It usually diffuses the situation and the interview proceeds. If it doesn't, you're better off cutting it short and running for your life.

As for mispronouncing the interviewer's name, that's really a no-no (at least for major mispronounciations), although the interviewer's reaction was lame...

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:19 • by Jason (unregistered)
The same thing happened to me as in the first story :)

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:19 • by akatherder
I would assume the interviewer was simply trying to get the interviewee to admit that he didn't know what to do in a situation.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:20 • by ChiefCrazyTalk (unregistered)
That wasn't such a bad interview question. Worst I've heard is "What is a stringbuilders favorite food - pizza or spaghetti"?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:20 • by sakasune (unregistered)
I had an interview once at my university when I was a student that the interviewer asked me to troubleshoot a bad network connection on a lab PC. I went through various testing procedures (release/renew, ping, etc) and then he would keeping saying "okay, if that doesn't work, then what?" I remember my second to last response was "try connecting from another PC with a crossover cable" (I was running out of options), and then my final response was something along the lines of "well screw it, the problem lies somewhere else."

I did get the job, and the interviewer (who became my boss) told me he was convinced I was right for the job when I came up with the crossover cable. However, his boss who sat in on the interview wasn't very amused by my "screw it" comment.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:22 • by MooseBrains (unregistered)
203974 in reply to 203972
ChiefCrazyTalk:
That wasn't such a bad interview question. Worst I've heard is "What is a stringbuilders favorite food - pizza or spaghetti"?



That's a trick question... StringBuilders are oxygenarian.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:23 • by Lexarius
For the first interview: Maybe offer the customer some sort of compensation? Like X number of free service weeks? Possibly forward him to the company's customer service reps to work something of that nature out?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:24 • by sakasune (unregistered)
In that first interview I would have said "okay, if I'm stuck in traffic then I'll sprout wings and fly to the customer." Then the interviewer would probably reply, "what if you got sucked into a jet engine while flying to the customer?"

Re: Hypothetical Question

2008-07-02 10:26 • by spinn (unregistered)
The solution was to take the blue pill and exit the Matrix, I suppose.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:27 • by Alan (unregistered)
203978 in reply to 203975
Lexarius:
For the first interview: Maybe offer the customer some sort of compensation? Like X number of free service weeks? Possibly forward him to the company's customer service reps to work something of that nature out?


He acts really insulted and hangs up. Now what do you do?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:28 • by snoofle
203979 in reply to 203976
sakasune:
In that first interview I would have said "okay, if I'm stuck in traffic then I'll sprout wings and fly to the customer." Then the interviewer would probably reply, "what if you got sucked into a jet engine while flying to the customer?"

Reply: then my entrails will splat down upon you and your stupid interviewing technique, and walk out

or better yet: then I'll be in Heaven and you'll be stuck here in Hell with your WTF customers

Re: Hypothetical Question

2008-07-02 10:28 • by Tom_fan_63 (unregistered)
203980 in reply to 203977
spinn:
The solution was to take the blue pill and exit the Matrix, I suppose.

The blue pill is sold out, now what do you do?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:31 • by Guran (unregistered)
In case of real-life impossible to please customers, the first thing (or at least one of the first things) to do, is to figure out what your contract with them actually states.

If they expect you to turn up at 3AM sunday morning, they better be paying for 24/7 service. And if they expect you to have a helicopter standing by in case of city wide traffic jams... well it's just fine as long as they are actually paying for it.

Same thing goes for the "You must get here right now, but I cannot help you" scenarios. If the customer expects you to treat some matter as a top-priority emergency, well your contract should state that they must do the same.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:31 • by Hypo (unregistered)
I'd go to the store and eat a peach.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:37 • by snoofle
203986 in reply to 203983
Guran:
If the customer expects you to treat some matter as a top-priority emergency, well your contract should state that they must do the same.

Interesting. I've never seen that one in a support contract before. Usually, contracts specify what you (the entity providing the support) must do.

Have you had success putting that into support contracts before, and if so, did the customers object or try to haggle? Usually, they just want you to take care of everything for them and hold their hand.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:41 • by setsockopts() (unregistered)
Interviewer: You're stuck in traffic, no where to go.
bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.
bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:41 • by Spectre
203989 in reply to 203978
Alan:
Lexarius:
For the first interview: Maybe offer the customer some sort of compensation? Like X number of free service weeks? Possibly forward him to the company's customer service reps to work something of that nature out?


He acts really insulted and hangs up. Now what do you do?


I sigh with relief.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:42 • by Alan (unregistered)
203990 in reply to 203983
Guran:
And if they expect you to have a helicopter standing by in case of city wide traffic jams... well it's just fine as long as they are actually paying for it.


My old company actually had a similar arrangment with a client, If you think that is awesome, you have never seen the power of the word "helicopter" to turn a really urgent issue into a mere high priority one.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:43 • by snoofle
203991 in reply to 203989
Spectre:
Alan:
Lexarius:
For the first interview: Maybe offer the customer some sort of compensation? Like X number of free service weeks? Possibly forward him to the company's customer service reps to work something of that nature out?


He acts really insulted and hangs up. Now what do you do?


I sigh with relief.
and note in the log that the customer did not request additional assistance. Ticket closed.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:46 • by DoubleUFive (unregistered)
203992 in reply to 203963
@ObiWayneKenobi... Nice language. You kiss your mom with that pottymouth?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:48 • by Anon (unregistered)
I don't see anything wrong with the hypothetical question. The point is to see if you can come up with novel solutions if they regular solutions fail and to see if you'll get flustered when you keep hitting road blocks. The key for the interviewee is to exit this game gracefully without looking like a dick.
I had a similar experience interviewing with at my current job where the interviewer was asking what to do if a user doesn't like an application. We stopped after getting to the point where the user just doesn't want to use a computer at all.

For the second story, if you can't pronounce the interviewers name, then just don't even try. Let them introduce themselves first. I also had the same experience with the my current position, but my boss wasn't a dick about it. He knew most people couldn't pronounce his name at first.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:48 • by Yep (unregistered)
203994 in reply to 203984
Hypo:
I'd go to the store and eat a peach.

Peach famine has wiped peaches off the face of the planet!
Now what do you do?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:48 • by John (unregistered)
203995 in reply to 203989
Spectre:
Alan:

He acts really insulted and hangs up. Now what do you do?


I sigh with relief.


You suddenly find you cannot breathe, now what do you do?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:51 • by akatherder
203996 in reply to 203984
Hypo:
I'd go to the store and eat a peach.


What the hell good would a peach do? This situation can only be solved with Mentos (the freshmaker).

Re: Hypothetical Question

2008-07-02 10:51 • by blah (unregistered)
203997 in reply to 203980
Tom_fan_63:
spinn:
The solution was to take the blue pill and exit the Matrix, I suppose.
The blue pill is sold out, now what do you do?
Take the purple pill called Nexium!

Re: Hypothetical Question

2008-07-02 10:54 • by Mii (unregistered)
203998 in reply to 203997
Wrong, the color purple doesn't exist in this reality, what do you do?

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:55 • by AnonCoward23 (unregistered)
203999 in reply to 203992
DoubleUFive:
@ObiWayneKenobi... Nice language. You kiss your mom with that pottymouth?


Actually, he kisses your Momma with that pottymouth!

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:57 • by kingjoebob (unregistered)
204000 in reply to 203972
ChiefCrazyTalk:
That wasn't such a bad interview question. Worst I've heard is "What is a stringbuilders favorite food - pizza or spaghetti"?



The worst interview question i ever got was while interviewing for an all linux shop doing computational computing for scientific research. The panel or 8 interviewers the main guy asked "So Emacs or Vi?" ... Either way you are losing points...

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 10:59 • by Kuli (unregistered)
204001 in reply to 203968
snoofle:
As for mispronouncing the interviewer's name, that's really a no-no (at least for major mispronounciations), although the interviewer's reaction was lame...

Normally I'd assume that the interviewer should introduce himself first...

-Kuli

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:03 • by Ben Curthoys (unregistered)
I would reprogram the customer's AI to fear and respect me.

Or just destroy the Kobayashi Maru myself, on the grounds that it's obviously a trap.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:05 • by Rick
204004 in reply to 204000
kingjoebob:

The worst interview question i ever got was while interviewing for an all linux shop doing computational computing for scientific research. The panel or 8 interviewers the main guy asked "So Emacs or Vi?" ... Either way you are losing points...


I always ask this question. I don't care which one they answer. I just want to know that they are comfortable editing with one of them and don't want to waste time asking questions about the one that they don't use.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:07 • by BadReferenceGuy (unregistered)
Simon should be glad he didn't get the job, since clearly he was interviewing with Lyle.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:12 • by DOA
“Well then, I would just ring you, since you appear to have the correct solution.”
-10 for not playing the interviewer's game.
+100 for style.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:14 • by Guran (unregistered)
204009 in reply to 203986
snoofle:
Guran:
If the customer expects you to treat some matter as a top-priority emergency, well your contract should state that they must do the same.

Interesting. I've never seen that one in a support contract before. Usually, contracts specify what you (the entity providing the support) must do.

Have you had success putting that into support contracts before, and if so, did the customers object or try to haggle? Usually, they just want you to take care of everything for them and hold their hand.


Well, that´s pretty much the terms of Microsofts partner support.
You may freely register a case as highest priority, but if you are not available to assist them when they ask for log files, steps to reproduce the error, install fixes etc, they will lower the priority.

Only fair in my book. If you want me to show up in your server hall RIGHT NOW, but can't spare someone to let me in until tomorrow.... well, then you don't really need me there until tomorrow.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:15 • by java.lang.Chris;
204010 in reply to 204000
kingjoebob:
ChiefCrazyTalk:
That wasn't such a bad interview question. Worst I've heard is "What is a stringbuilders favorite food - pizza or spaghetti"?



The worst interview question i ever got was while interviewing for an all linux shop doing computational computing for scientific research. The panel or 8 interviewers the main guy asked "So Emacs or Vi?" ... Either way you are losing points...


That's easy, the interviewers are Emacs weenies. No self respecting user of the one true editor calls it "Vi" - it's "VI", and pronounced as two syllables.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:16 • by real_aardvark
204011 in reply to 204000
kingjoebob:
ChiefCrazyTalk:
That wasn't such a bad interview question. Worst I've heard is "What is a stringbuilders favorite food - pizza or spaghetti"?



The worst interview question i ever got was while interviewing for an all linux shop doing computational computing for scientific research. The panel or 8 interviewers the main guy asked "So Emacs or Vi?" ... Either way you are losing points...
The correct answer to this one is "yes."

Hope that helps for the next interview.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:17 • by skztr (unregistered)
204012 in reply to 204000
kingjoebob:
The worst interview question i ever got was while interviewing for an all linux shop doing computational computing for scientific research. The panel or 8 interviewers the main guy asked "So Emacs or Vi?" ... Either way you are losing points...


I ask that question during interviews because the response tells a lot:
"huh?" = Not very familiar with the environment
immediate 1-word response = familiar with the environment
"well I've used (vi or emacs) routinely for 27 years while working at..." = doesn't touch a computer outside of work.
the name of some derivative = familiar with the environment for reasons other than ancient history.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:17 • by morry (unregistered)
#1) ask for 3rd party arbitration. Choose the Grizellas

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:23 • by Steve (unregistered)
204014 in reply to 203965
Alan:
Well at that point I would hack the starfleet mainframe and insert a scenario in which I could win.
We are obviously channeling one another. My precise thought.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:23 • by Steve (unregistered)
204015 in reply to 203965
Alan:
Well at that point I would hack the starfleet mainframe and insert a scenario in which I could win.
We are obviously channeling one another. My precise thought.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:26 • by magi (unregistered)
204017 in reply to 204000
kingjoebob:

The worst interview question i ever got was while interviewing for an all linux shop doing computational computing for scientific research. The panel or 8 interviewers the main guy asked "So Emacs or Vi?" ... Either way you are losing points...


Not at all -- I always ask what their favourite editor is. Had a lad 9 months ago who said "vi", so I called him a pervert and recommended him for the job

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:26 • by mauhiz (unregistered)
Well I know people whose farts makes you wish you were in that dump-smelling office.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:28 • by operagost
Hypothetical scenarios have been outlawed. Now what do you do?

Re: Hypothetical Question

2008-07-02 11:30 • by Teh Irish Gril Riot (unregistered)
204021 in reply to 203977
spinn:
The solution was to take the blue pill and exit the Matrix, I suppose.



Whoa, dude, hang on there. I don't think that the blue pill will remove anyone from the Matrix once they've already taken the red pill.

Or maybe it does. That one guy did take a deal with Agent Smith to be re-inserted... then again I'm not sure if a blue pill was needed.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:33 • by Matt.C
Simon should be glad he didn't get the job, since clearly he was interviewing with Lyle.


Lyle would have told him what Lyle would have done better.

Behold, the Kekalorcian! Man that's a fun word to say.

Re: Hypothetical Question & Tales From The Dump

2008-07-02 11:35 • by jtl (unregistered)
The city is bring evacuated due to an impending nuclear strike! WHAT DO YOU DO!?!?!

'Flee?'

The customer is angry with you.
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