Are You Cool, Man? (from Scott)
The interview I was conducting was going great — the candidate answered technical questions well and was honest when he didn't know the answer. I'd decided that he would make the short list for an offer and began wrapping up the interview.
"So, do you have any questions about the company, or about the job as a Senior Linux Sysadmin?" I asked.
I can only assume that since I have tattoo sleeves and happened to be wearing a short-sleeved shirt that day that he felt comfortable asking me a very pertinent question:
"Hey, you seem cool, man. I'm a DJ and that's my first love, and my question is, do they drug test here?"
I just left the room and had him escorted out.
We Thought You Had Already Graduated (from Nate T.)
During the last three months of my college career, I had a three week period where I barely attended classes. It was a bad time to be missing classes, too, since the second round of tests were going on with finals just on the horizon.
Instead of going to class, I was busy interviewing. First, I had a flight down to Alabama for an interview, then a flight to Iowa for an interview, then a 4 hour drive to Illinois for an interview. A week or two later I had a flight to Texas for a cousin's wedding.
I wasn't really thrilled with the situation because 1) I just wanted the job search to be over and 2) I didn't want the extra stress of trying to make up work and get prepped for my last round of finals while in three different states. With that in mind, I only took interviews where if they offered me a job I'd definitely accept.
A head hunter had set me up with an interview in Iowa. It was a small town (though, come to think of it, aren't all Iowa towns small?) so I flew in to Des Moines and drove an hour to the town. Stayed the night and had my interview the following morning. I drove out to the plant, met with HR for a few minutes, and she handed me off to a team of three engineers who would be doing the bulk of the interview.
They started with some basic questions about my experience with transistors. "I don't have a lot," I replied, "I've just taken one electronics course." They asked a few more questions and I relayed a bit more about my coursework.
Then it dawned on them — I was still in school. They'd looked at my resume and where it had said "University of Missouri — Rolla 1996-2000," they only saw that I had graduated in 1996. They couldn't understand how someone with 4 years of experience couldn't answer the question.
The interview was over almost immediately, and it was only 9:30 in the morning. My flight back didn't leave till something like 4pm. So they gave me an hour-long tour of the factory that I'd never work at, a 20 minute tour of the town I'd never work in, and then treated me to lunch for the next two hours.
On the drive back to Des Moines and the flight back to Missouri, I meditated on what a waste of time and money the interview had been.
Not to be Confused with the Abstract F*cktory Pattern (from S. L.)
Recently I (a Java architect) and one of our IT managers were interviewing a guy for a Java developer position. He was pretty bright, but unfortunately English was his second (or perhaps even third) language.
It was the usual interview story, asking the guy to tell us about the system that he's currently working on. He went on to describe in some detail their Hibernate persistence layer, how they used Spring, and how their business layer worked. I was very impressed with his knowledge.
Then he said "and this is where we used the f*ckhead pattern."
Regaining my composure, I asked what was on everyone's mind. "The what?"
"The f*ckhead pattern" was the response, enunciated perfectly.
After taking a few moments to think of how to phrase the question, I finally asked "...would you mind spelling that for us?"
"F-A-C-A-D-E. F*ckhead." he replied.
I had to bite my tongue not to laugh. You couldn't make up stuff like this. Despite the hillarity of the situation, he was actually very sharp technically, so we ended up offering him the job.