Originally posted on the sidebar by "North Bus"...

Having just graduated with an electronics engineering Masters degree, I have been interviewing for jobs in my field from coast to coast. The most interesting interview so far, however, was actually from a major defense contractor...

I submitted my resume online for their review and, a short hour-and-a-half later, received a phone call from their recruiters: "Hey, we saw your resume this morning and want to know if you'd like to come out for an on-site interview and a tour of our facilities next week!" Though he never gave his name or even the position for which I was to be considered in the (brief) conversation, I couldn't pass up the chance for an on-site, and gave him my e-mail. By the time I returned home, there was an e-mail in my inbox already framing travel arrangements they were making for me.

By this point, I was quite impressed. I had never seen this kind of speed/efficiency in a company, and I was excited to work somewhere where big contracts didn't necessarily mean big corporate inertia. That, and the chance to tour top-secret manufacturing plants is worth a company-paid trip.

A week passed, and I arrived in the lobby of the defense contractor... along with over twenty other prospective employees. As we all started making somewhat confused conversation, I found that my fellow candidates and I did not even share fields of interest. It looked like some high school field trip -- with suits.

As the tour itself commenced (interviews were to be later in the day), the whole group of 25-or-so of us were led through vast, empty hallways where we were told by a guide in a timid voice what *could* be going on behind this closed door or that sealed lab.

After an hour or three of this, the guide announced that we would now be taken to their warehouse/testing grounds. "Finally," I thought, "the chance to actually *see* something."

Fat chance. Upon entering the factory, we were shown a truck, and told "This is the system upon which our new top-secret mobile Smart-SAM and cross-pulsed (etc. etc.) radar will be mounted!". But it wasn't yet mounted. It was a truck.

Just a pickup truck with a bike rack and some camouflage paint. Just a truck.

And that was it for the tour.

The interview itself was a totally unspectacular finale to an unspectacular day. The interview lasted all of thirty minutes, most of which was occupied by my interviewer telling me about the biggest power supplies he had ever built. The rest of the time was spent explaining how “I know this isn’t exactly the type of work you applied for, but I think you can get to like it, or at least get some experience so you can move on.” Not a single technical question was asked of me.

I made my way out of the building with little fanfare, and caught my flight home the next morning. I have to say I was relieved by the company's continued quick responses, as I received an email just two days later telling me that the position was not mine.

I'm okay with that.