The Missing Interview (from Charles Ross)
I went for an interview to work as a junior IT support Engineer at a certain Royal bank here in Scotland. It was a late interview, around 4:45 in the afternoon, and I turned up at 4:30, sharply dressed, and with all the documents I'd been requested to bring. Since this was a bank and security was a must, I had a full five year history sitting in front of me.
I sat down and was quickly ushered into an interview room. I sat there for 20 minutes waiting, occasionally sticking my nose out the room to see if anyone was coming. After another five or so minutes, it was about 4:55 and I decided to go hunting for someone.
Eventually, I found a receptionist getting ready to leave, and asked her where my interviewer was.
"Oh dear," she responded, "she forgot you. Right, go back to the room and fill these in."
She handed me a pile of papers and ushered me back to the room. Here, I got my first look at the papers...it was the forms the interviewer fills her opinions in.
At this point, I filled the form in saying how brilliant I was (literally saying "Candidate is brilliant! Hire Him!" for every field), gave it to the receptionist and walked out.
Sufficed to say, I didn't hear back.
Infantile Expectancies(from Roger Garrett)
I'm currently retired, but am always on the lookout for interesting ventures. I recently came across a job posting for a start-up company offering equity in exchange for work. It looked intriguing so I wrote to them.
John, the apparent CEO, responded.
Thanx for your reply. The aim is to produce a software vehicle that provides automated, simultaneous text translation for the major languages of the world. For example, a business with an existing website signing up for this service would have their entire website translated into the texts of the major world languages, thereby increasing their accessibility multifold. The service would be a monthly fee-based service.
I was a little confused about the model. In addition to the enormous technical challenges, automated translation is medicore at best and is already free with Google Translate and browser plug-ins. I wrote back to John asking for some clarification. He seemed a bit irked that I didn't sign on right away.
The fact is, from a programming standpoint, we really need a supergenius ability level of programmer for this project. From a marketing perspective, we are not inviting input or commentary from any potential programmers. In fact, for any potential programmer to harbor qualms, doubts, and/or opinions regarding the marketing aspect of this project would unneccesarily belabor and cloud an already daunting task. If we wanted marketing advice or personnel we would advertise for such.
Wait... what? I suppose I could have just let it go, but I couldn't help myself replying with "If you are so insistent on not addressing questions raised by a potential partner, and that's what you're asking for, a partner, then you're not going to find anyone who would abide by such absurdities." He responded shortly thereafter.
Opinions are like assholes, Roger, everyone has one. Yours is now unwelcome. So cease and fucking desist. Contrary to your "opinion", the only absurdity I've encountered so far is your assumptive, ignorant and irritative attitude. I do agree to a partial extent to one thing you said, we can be assured that we won't find "you" as a programmer. In fact, I doubt you will find many companies willing to tolerate your infantile expectancies. Good luck with that Roger, you will surely need it.
Not surprisingly, I have yet to see the "company" produce a product. Though, I do see an ad on craigslist for a start-up company offering equity in exchange for work...
Someone Like Kevin (from Jeanne)
A recruiter emailed this job description the other day:
NEEDS: - a quick learner (ramp up on simulation software, GUI, API interfaces, distributed applications) - a clear communicator, expresses self well at all levels, especially in writing (writing up bugs), writing test cases, collaborating w/ development engineers - well versed on s/w QA practices, QA methodology, QA process - Scripting, shell, automation tools, test tools - someone like Kevin - 3-5 years experience - prior software development experience - Bachelors' in Comp. Sci or Math minimum, with the computer programming or QA work experience.
I quickly decided it wasn't for me. I'm nothing like Kevin!
What do you mean?(from Casey)
Part of the interview process at my company involves writing a sample application in Java and sending it into the team for review. People who do well on the assignment are brought in for the face-to-face interviews, and each member of the development team will sit down with them one-on-one. One of the guys we brought in bore a striking resemblence, both in appearance and mannerism, to Chris Farley's "motivational speaker" character on Saturday Night Live.
The first red flag came up when he spent the first half hour of the interview bad-mouthing his current employer.
Then the second red flag came up: he'd spent over 20 hours on he assignment. His UI alone took 12 hours, and the bulk of that time was spent on a tabbed panel (which should have been trivial). And then I asked him why the print option wasn't implemented.
"Well, that was on the second page of the assignment," he said.
I wasn't quite sure of the revelvance of that, so I asked him how he would implement a print option.
He got a confused look, "What do you mean?"
I tried to get more specific and said, "Using Java, if you wanted to send data to a printer, how would you do that?"
"I just don't get what you're saying," he said, growing more irritated and confused by the moment.
I was running out of ways to phrase it. "It's not a trick question. Java. Printing. Anything come to mind?"
He looked at me blankly.
Finally, I had lost patience. "Ok, you have text on your screen. You want to get that text from your screen onto a piece of paper. You're writing a program in Java. How do you get the text from your screen onto a piece of paper?"
His brow furrowed and his gaze grew distant. I was beginning to think that I smelled something burning, when he weakly supplied "...the printing API?"
My relief was palpable. "Good! Yes, the printing API! That is how you print in Java."
The interview ended shortly after that. When I compared notes with the other interviewers, it was pretty unanimous: he's a talker that goes for volume of information rather than accuracy. Plus, on his way out, he complained that the interview had taken too long.