I Guess So, Computer Skills, and The Temporary Offices

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  • amischiefr 2010-01-07 09:17
    Think about the environment people: please reuse comments.
  • Cog 2010-01-07 09:21
    Think about the environment people: please reuse comments.
  • frits 2010-01-07 09:23
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.
  • Drew 2010-01-07 09:24
    Think about the environment people: please reuse comments.
  • Forumtroll 2010-01-07 09:24
    During one of my interviews, I was asked if I had brought my resumé with me. After replying to the interviewer that he had it right in front of him, he just said "Uh, how silly of me!" and just said that they had all they needed.

    Needless to say, my instructions per email announcing the interview stated I needed not to bring any documents since they had all to begin with. It was written by the very same interviewer.

    Said company went tits up two years later.
  • toth 2010-01-07 09:28
    You know, environmental consciousness is all well and good, but sometimes I think this "Green movement" has gone too far...
  • EVO 2010-01-07 09:30
    Think about the environment people: please reuse c

    [some characters let out for environment's sake]
  • Cog 2010-01-07 09:32
    Um... *sigh*... I guess I should post First or something like that now...
    I have difficulty bringing myself to post this comment since it isn't being recycled and it might be bad for the environment.
  • ochrist 2010-01-07 09:34
    Takes from the Interview is my favourite category. More of this, please!

    I'm just waiting to see two entries covering the same interview from the two sides (the first and third story could in fact be just that).

    By the way, I think this comment is stylish.
  • cyclops 2010-01-07 09:34
    Think about the environment people: please reuse comments.
    Comment in white to minimise power usage.
  • frits 2010-01-07 09:36
    Think about the environment people: please reuse comments:

    TRWTF is Frist! or Fist! which proves that geeks have zero social skills. This, of course is not a WTF at all.
  • Ben 2010-01-07 09:38
    What's with using phrases instead of words? It wasn't that he "copied" from the web, but "copy-and-pasted," which reminded me of how it's not "waste," but "fraud, waste and abuse." And instead of a "meeting" it's a "meet and greet."

    And this isn't from those darn kids, but the corporate and government types. Maybe they think tacking on more words will make something sound more impressive?
  • lolwtf 2010-01-07 09:38
    "C++ appeals to me because you can recycle other peoples code."

    Translation: "I don't know jack about C++, but I know how to copy and paste."
    Being 20 minutes late just re-enforces this image.
  • SR 2010-01-07 09:42
    frits:
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.


    If their offices are a complete toilet you may not want to get hired.
  • Angry Dog 2010-01-07 09:42
    Some interviewers use the "extra resumé" as another yardstick to judge your preparedness. Even though every company has your resumé and a copier, were you ready to go outside the box? Were you ready to meet a more senior interviewer who has seen enough photocopied resumés during their career, possibly to discuss a more senior job position than the advertised position you were applying for.
  • frits 2010-01-07 09:44
    SR:
    frits:
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.


    If their offices are a complete toilet you may not want to get hired.


    I agree.
  • Ben 2010-01-07 09:45
    toth:
    You know, environmental consciousness is all well and good, but sometimes I think this "Green movement" has gone too far...


    I was watching Monk, in particular the episode where they have to find something he threw away and I finally figured out the whole recycling thing.

    It's insane: millions of people mindlessly falling in line with the neuroses of a bunch of severely OCD people, and doing crazy stuff like carefully sorting and organizing *garbage*. It's just mass insanity.
  • Buddy 2010-01-07 09:49
    Office environment is important.

    I was at a place once where there was a significant correlation between hierarchy position and cubical size - major cubical envy. I remember one guy at the bottom of the rung, when he was positioned at his desk, he could lean back slightly and touch his head on the wall.

    Rented space with a serious lack of good furniture and as a result the ergonomics were awful. People with migraines from bending their heads in funny positions, or back and circulation problems from sitting in bad chairs. A few people (yours truly included) took it upon themselves to fix the ergonomics.

    The same guy with the pint-sized cubicle, we helped his migraines by stacking a bunch of documents so that his monitor was at eye level. This was a time when large monitors were really heavy beasts, so to have it perched on top like that was probably really dangerous. He said it made a world of difference, no more headaches. Others saw his tower and soon developed tower wars, with tower envy. One guy made a tower of documents away from his the desk, from the floor up, to support his monitor. He was a tall guy so his tower was the highest. While I was there, there were no reports of falling towers, although I would have liked to see one of those big-ass monitors crashing to the floor.

    I shared a cubicle with my supervisor. She had a really shitty chair with no back support such that she was supporting herself by using her legs on the chair seat. As a result she was developing varicose veins due to lack of circulation. We helped her by using a low flat box as a foot rest to raise her legs and a cushion for back support. She said it helped and her legs didn't hurt any more. Others saw the box and cushion, and so began box and cushion wars with people searching abandoned rooms for loose cushions and whatever. That was a less interesting contest.

    Unless you're just leaving school and/or are broke, it's a good idea to skip any place that doesn't have proper office furniture.
  • Jens Fiederer 2010-01-07 09:59
    > Office environment is important.

    True - I believe it was Parkinson (of "Parkinson's Law") who noted that any organization that had adequate offices had become irrelevant.

    When the king of England still had power, his palace was crap - by the time Buckingham Palace was splendid, the power was in the parliament. Now the country is run from a little hovel on Downing street.

    Once a company starts concentrating on lovely facilities, it is on the way down.
  • operagost 2010-01-07 10:04
    I've purchased carbon credits, so I can post as much as I want, unlike the great unwashed masses of the middle class. I will take the opportunity to post the entire text of the Constitution, because I don't think Congress has ever read it before.


    From Mark: Carbon Credits != Code Offset credits. Buy a fistful of Code Offsets and then you can 'bring it on' with those copy-n-pastin' antics of yours.
  • Mike 2010-01-07 10:12
    One of my first interviews out of college was at a programming company started by a member of my roommate's fraternity who had graduated 2 years before us. Should that have been a warning sign? Yes. I could say I was mostly going for interview experience, but I was young and desperate for work, so the honest answer is that I was hopeful and naive. My roommate and I were both being interviewed that day, so we drove over together.

    We got to this rented out room in an office complex, and the place was a total dump. I remember that there were a couple desks when we first walked in, and a coffee pot sitting on the floor (not on a small table or anything, I guess that was asking too much?). I didn't like the look of the place from the moment I walked in.

    So the 'owner' of the company who was the recently graduated Frat guy greeted us both. Expecting some kind of normal interview, I asked which of us he'd like to see first, and was told, "Why don't you both come in?". We were brought into a conference room of sorts, and by conference room I mean a big dumpy looking Table with about 8 chairs around it.

    The guy starts asking random questions. I'm the type that likes to think about the question for a moment, while my roommate is more an impulsive answerer. The basic format of the interview would be that 'Frat Guy owner' asks question to us both, and my roommate would answer right away. Not wanting to be rude and cut him off, I let him finish, but then Frat Guy owner moves onto the next question, without giving me a chance to answer.

    I got a few words in, but the obvious 'victor' of the interview was my roommate. I honestly made up my mind after walking in the door.

    The next day, my roommate tells me that they made him an offer and that he took it. I admitted that I had a bad feeling about the place.

    After a bit of time there, he realized that this was an example of being able to judge a book from its cover. Aside from crappy development environments and not really ever producing anything, his first pay check was late getting to him, and the paycheck issues didn't end there. Things went a bit down hill, and he kept having problems getting paid the right amount and on time. He quit the place within about 6 months.
  • Chris 2010-01-07 10:16
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?
  • SR 2010-01-07 10:19
    Jens Fiederer:
    > Office environment is important.

    True - I believe it was Parkinson (of "Parkinson's Law") who noted that any organization that had adequate offices had become irrelevant.

    When the king of England still had power, his palace was crap - by the time Buckingham Palace was splendid, the power was in the parliament. Now the country is run from a little hovel on Downing street.

    Once a company starts concentrating on lovely facilities, it is on the way down.


    There's a balance to be struck. After saying I'd not work in a toilet I too would be wary of joining a company that's too plush (especially an Internet company).

    And 10 Downing Street is pretty huge, despite its unimpressive exterior.
  • Andy 2010-01-07 10:20
    I copy-pasted my answers to your stupid test when I found out you had copy-pasted the test. If you can't be bothered, why should I?
  • Procedural 2010-01-07 10:20
    toth:
    You know, environmental consciousness is all well and good, but sometimes I think this "Green movement" has gone too far...


    Many government agencies are at the forefront of the environmental movement. They use green screens for almost everything, and greenbar paper for all their printouts. Most even decide to wash their coffee pots only once a year. Not *that's* stewardship.
  • Chris Hayes 2010-01-07 10:30
    The office environment was definitely unacceptable. I certainly wouldn't work in an environment like that. But then, I'm a contractor, and I work 100% from coffee shops.

    BUT. Perhaps the interview ended because of how he broached the topic. "Are these offices temporary?" is a much more diplomatic way to broach a topic like this than "When are you moving?"
  • shadowman 2010-01-07 10:55
    I wonder if the applicant in the second story was from India, by any chance?
  • dkf 2010-01-07 10:55
    I can believe the Computer Skills one. I've had a student try the same on me with his assignment. The bits that were good were pasted from websites (including my own!) and the bits that weren't, well, they would have been suitable for here but I don't believe in posting student code.

    He failed, and I took pleasure in failing him.
  • Anon 2010-01-07 10:59
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?
  • Herohtar 2010-01-07 11:09
    TRWTF is "A quick google, however, search...".
  • Raj 2010-01-07 11:18
    Copy pasting google results got me through school and my first 3 years as a junior developer. Why would you expect me to stop now?
  • Old fart 2010-01-07 11:22
    I like the guy's approach in the second story where he copied and pasted his test question answers. It shows that he's eco-friendly by reusing code, just like the C++ programmer. That should help the environment.
  • mvi 2010-01-07 11:24
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?
  • Chris 2010-01-07 11:29
    Anon:

    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    Yes, I am and I do. I hate stupid questions with canonical answers that you are expected to give just because they expect to hear them.
    No, I do not plan to have an interview in the US, ever.
    FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?
    Then you should ask the question differently.
  • Ramses So let it be written so let it be done 2010-01-07 11:33
    dkf:
    I can believe the Computer Skills one. I've had a student try the same on me with his assignment. The bits that were good were pasted from websites (including my own!) and the bits that weren't, well, they would have been suitable for here but I don't believe in posting student code.

    He failed, and I took pleasure in failing him.


    You took pleasure in failing the student? Aren't you supposed to be teaching the student? By the student failing doesn't that mean you failed as a teacher? Just being sarcast here. Just amazing how lazy kids today can be as they want to take every shortcut possible instead of using their own minds to come up with the answers.

    My interviewing experiences have taught me to run when the place/people are unorganized and a dump.
  • SCB 2010-01-07 11:39
    mvi:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?

    Depending on where you live, there are often questions that it is illegal to ask in an interview, because of discrimination laws. But I don't think that it's illegal to discriminate against assholes (at least not yet).

  • J.V. 2010-01-07 11:39
    Think re env: plz reuse cmnts.

    the 1st guy was (prob) getting ylled at in the car by his mom or sigother: "go in thre and get a job, i dont care if you dont know how to program, just get the job and i'm sure you'll figure it out."
  • frits 2010-01-07 11:40
    mvi:

    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?


    Oh yeah. For instance:

    Do you mind if I pass gas, or should I excuse myself?

    Does the drug test have a curve?

    Have you ever seen the brain? Would you like to?
  • Migala 2010-01-07 11:48
    Ramses So let it be written so let it be done:
    dkf:
    I can believe the Computer Skills one. I've had a student try the same on me with his assignment.
    [...]
    He failed, and I took pleasure in failing him.

    Just amazing how lazy kids today can be as they want to take every shortcut possible instead of using their own minds to come up with the answers.

    The problem is not that they are lazy and want to take shortcuts; the problem is that they believe (possibly for good reason) they might get away with it.
  • F 2010-01-07 11:48
    mvi:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?


    That's quite a good one, actually ...
  • indigodarkwolf 2010-01-07 11:51
    dkf:
    I can believe the Computer Skills one. I've had a student try the same on me with his assignment. The bits that were good were pasted from websites (including my own!) and the bits that weren't, well, they would have been suitable for here but I don't believe in posting student code.

    At least you had the decency to investigate. I still chuckle (and cringe) at the Tales of the Interview with the guy who was rejected for giving answers that were too good - thus must have been copy-pasted - even though he had, in fact, answered them himself.
  • MadJo@Work 2010-01-07 11:54
    SR:
    frits:
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.


    If their offices are a complete toilet you may not want to get hired.
    Unless, of course, your line of work is in cleaning toilets.
  • me 2010-01-07 12:14
    Because I'm not the one being tested, you are. Oh, and you failed.
  • Schmalls 2010-01-07 12:18
    frits:
    mvi:

    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?


    Oh yeah. For instance:

    Do you mind if I pass gas, or should I excuse myself?

    Does the drug test have a curve?

    Have you ever seen the brain? Would you like to?


    I swear that during an interview with a candidate at my current employer, he told us how at a previous job someone had done "the brain". He then went on to tell us not to worry, and that he wouldn't be showing "the brain" at our company.

    We have a very immature group here so we found it entertaining, but apparently he went a little to far for some during the enterview phase since he was not hired.
  • Anon 2010-01-07 12:42
    Chris:
    Anon:

    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    Yes, I am and I do. I hate stupid questions with canonical answers that you are expected to give just because they expect to hear them.
    No, I do not plan to have an interview in the US, ever.
    FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?
    Then you should ask the question differently.


    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.
  • Fred 2010-01-07 12:49
    mvi:
    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?

    That must be a troll, but, inspired, I answer anyway:

    Are you married?

    Do you plan to get pregnant?

    Can I see your ____? *

    Would you sign this paper promising never to sue your employer?

    * However, this question is required if you are interviewing a stripper.
  • Edward Royce 2010-01-07 12:52









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  • fred 2010-01-07 12:56
    WTF! Once you have made up your mind, be courteous enough not to waste the candidate’s time.
    I would have hired the second guy right on the spot. Why recreate the wheel. It is all about reuse. Object oriented principles of rues, Patterns, SOA, BPM. Obviously this guy will not waste my time or money. There is a story, true or not, we could learn from. Thomas Edison was interviewing people for an electrical engineering positions. The candidates where given a light bulb and asked to calculated the volume inside the bulb. One candidate walked onto the shop floor, asked around, got the answer and then got hired on the spot.
  • Edward Royce 2010-01-07 13:04
    Hmmmmm.

    "I would have hired the second guy right on the spot. Why recreate the wheel. It is all about reuse. "

    Right. Let us all know how well that second guy did.
  • Gary 2010-01-07 13:23
    I was fresh out of college, taking my degree in environmental engineering. First thing I did, was contact a headhunter. That was my big mistake.

    He sets me up for an interview with "Green-tech", and even drives me there! We were a bit late, because he had a flat tire, and he says he didn't know how to change it, so I did it for him. We show up late to the parking lot, all hot and bothered too.
    I see the name of the company: "Omni-tech", which is clearly not what the HH told me. Trying to cover, he starts going on with, "I hope this is the right place! Go inside and check, would you?"

    So I go in the door, and confirm that it is indeed Omni-tech, and not Green-tech. After getting the yes, I go back out quickly to the headhunter, and tell him, making sure he's going to wait for me. He tells me "get in for a sec", and briefs me a bit on the company, and 'programming'." He finishes off with "They might ask you some questions about 'B plus', or something. Make something up! Good luck!"
    We sit down in the conference room, and as I was so steamed at the headhunter, I totally missed what the interviewer said, but he was sitting there with an expectant look on his face, so I just mumble "yeah I guess so".

    Not my finest moment, that's for sure.

    Sure enough, the questions about "C plus plus" came, and I had to bluff my way through with some crap about recycling.

    Not surprisingly, I did not get a call back.
    On the plus side, I ditched the headhunter!

  • SomeCoder 2010-01-07 13:27
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).
  • @Deprecated 2010-01-07 13:28
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    I find it helps to weed out the morons...
  • shadowman 2010-01-07 13:31
    fred:
    WTF! Once you have made up your mind, be courteous enough not to waste the candidate’s time.
    I would have hired the second guy right on the spot. Why recreate the wheel. It is all about reuse. Object oriented principles of rues, Patterns, SOA, BPM. Obviously this guy will not waste my time or money. There is a story, true or not, we could learn from. Thomas Edison was interviewing people for an electrical engineering positions. The candidates where given a light bulb and asked to calculated the volume inside the bulb. One candidate walked onto the shop floor, asked around, got the answer and then got hired on the spot.


    OK, except that's obviously a bullshit story. The "salted food test" interview story also often gets attributed to Edison. Smart people make informed decisions about job candidates; they don't hire people based on their reactions to some crazy hidden test.

    http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/salted.asp
  • halcyon1234 2010-01-07 13:40
    I always bring extra copies of my resume, just in case the interviewer lost it, or there's extra interviewers. Or, as others posters mentioned, as a sign of preparedness.

    It's always appreciated, except for one interview. The interviewer's first question was about my resume. I brought out my folder so I could refer to the resume. I noticed the interviewer didn't have a copy, so I offered a copy to him.

    I got a nasty look, and was told in quite the tone that "/we're/ a Green company". Yes, you could hear the capital G.

    I never heard back from them. Good thing, because if they'd checked the parking lot and seen my 1989 Buick student-mobile parked out there... =)
  • cconroy 2010-01-07 13:41
    Chris Hayes:
    Perhaps the interview ended because of how he broached the topic. "Are these offices temporary?" is a much more diplomatic way to broach a topic like this than "When are you moving?"


    Isn't that a bit like asking a woman with a large stomach "Are you pregnant?" instead of "When are you due?"
  • SomeCoder 2010-01-07 13:41
    @Deprecated:
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    I find it helps to weed out the morons...


    If by "morons" you meant "brain damaged people who shouldn't have gotten past the phone screening in the first place" then yes, I would agree with you :)
  • halcyon1234 2010-01-07 13:46
    shadowman:

    OK, except that's obviously a bullshit story. The "salted food test" interview story also often gets attributed to Edison. Smart people make informed decisions about job candidates; they don't hire people based on their reactions to some crazy hidden test.

    http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/salted.asp


    Not to mention that employing bizarre hiring practices can doom you!

    http://cowbirdsinlove.com/205

  • rfsmit 2010-01-07 13:46
    Forumtroll:
    During one of my interviews, I was asked if I had brought my resumé with me. After replying to the interviewer that he had it right in front of him, he just said "Uh, how silly of me!" and just said that they had all they needed.

    Needless to say, my instructions per email announcing the interview stated I needed not to bring any documents since they had all to begin with. It was written by the very same interviewer.

    Said company went tits up two years later.

    My goodness. With an attitude like that, it'd be a wonder that you've ever worked.

    Of course you bring your ray-soo-may with you. You bring a list of questions and requirements. You bring a list of references. You do everything possible to make it easier to hire you.

    And that said, you do not bring a different version of your resume from the one you provided: be consistent. You also don't embarrass your interviewer in front of others in a formal situation.

    Never forget that an interview is a two-way appraisal of whether it would be mutually beneficial for you to be employed at a company.

    So from the other side: don't pretend you don't have the candidate's resume. Don't expect them to know site-specific things or company culture. When following the maxim "first impressions count", don't forget that the whole interview counts for the "first impressions".
  • @Deprecated 2010-01-07 13:52
    SomeCoder:
    @Deprecated:
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    I find it helps to weed out the morons...


    If by "morons" you meant "brain damaged people who shouldn't have gotten past the phone screening in the first place" then yes, I would agree with you :)


    I have interviewed a number of people, for various things... but it's always, "There's a guy coming in 30 minutes from now. Here's his resume". I don't even know if any of them were phone screened!

    Seriously though, that question "Are you motivated" is just fluff. It's really saying, "Tell me something about yourself. Whatever you like!"
    Successful politicians answer this stuff very well: "I know you asked about that, but I am going to tell you about this other thing instead, which has nothing to do with your question."

  • Marvin the Martian 2010-01-07 13:54
    Anon:
    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.

    So you end up with a staff of salesmen? How is that going to help the company?
  • Anon 2010-01-07 13:59
    Marvin the Martian:
    Anon:
    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.

    So you end up with a staff of salesmen? How is that going to help the company?


    Show me a successful company without salesmen.
  • Anon 2010-01-07 14:01
    @Deprecated:

    Seriously though, that question "Are you motivated" is just fluff. It's really saying, "Tell me something about yourself. Whatever you like!"


    Exactly! It's about getting to know somebody who you might end up spending 8 hours/day 5 days/week locked in a room with. Which going back to my first comment, if you demonstrate that you're an asshole in answering that question, then I don't want to be locked in a room with you for any length of time.
  • Anon 2010-01-07 14:05
    SomeCoder:

    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    Not just morons, also assholes. Nobody is claiming this is the single most important question of the whole interview and nobody will be hired purely on the strength of how they handle this questions, but every question might be a reason for not hiring somebody.
    Rolling your eyes and acting like any question is beneath you is a sure-fire way not to get called back.
  • BCS 2010-01-07 14:23
    #1, I'd almost bet that the last answer was quoted verbatim in that discussion in the car...

    #2, I wouldn't try it, but if the guy had cited sources (and done better on the quoted answer), I wonder how he would have feared. Consider that the ability to find and recognize good answers is almost as (or even more) valuable than just knowing them off hand.
  • Scott 2010-01-07 14:30
    "Would you describe yourself as a motivated person?"

    Oh, yes sir. Absolutely. I mean I learned my lesson. No longer a danger to productivity here. 100% motivated.

    "How would you create a social networking site?"

    Easy--gosh I just did that last weekend for fun, when I decided to duplicate Facebook and MySpace with their ARMY of software developers, managers, marketing department, accountants, HR, IT, etc.

    What do you mean I didn't get the job?
  • chadsexington 2010-01-07 14:51
    After they ask you to clarify why you said no, tell them :

    "Well, often during interviews I have to be prompted, even asked questions before I volunteer an answer. I'm trying to work on that"

    And then interrupt the next thing they say

    "The Battle of Hastings!"

    "Was that what you wanted? Yeah, I'm trying to work on that"
  • Ramses So let it be written so let it be done 2010-01-07 15:14
    chadsexington:
    After they ask you to clarify why you said no, tell them :

    "Well, often during interviews I have to be prompted, even asked questions before I volunteer an answer. I'm trying to work on that"

    And then interrupt the next thing they say

    "The Battle of Hastings!"

    "Was that what you wanted? Yeah, I'm trying to work on that"


    I don't know why but I laughed my arse off at this one. I had visions of Graham Chapman sitting at the conference table during the interview.
  • Unless... 2010-01-07 15:18
    Unless the office are actually nice but you really don't understand design.
  • gil 2010-01-07 15:29
    SomeCoder:
    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).

    If you assume that people will just make up stories during the interview, then, yes, you don't gain anything from this question (and a lot of other questions too, such as "what projects did you work on at your last company"). Fortunately, many people will avoid blatantly lying, and if someone does lie, in many cases it's easy to see they are lying.

    I find a version of this question ("what motivates you most") useful to understand the applicant's goals and seeing whether he'd be a good fit here or would he instead leave after a few months because he doesn't really care about what the company does.
  • Quirkafleeg 2010-01-07 15:43
    Ben:
    […] And instead of a "meeting" it's a "meet and greet."

    And this isn't from those darn kids, but the corporate and government types. Maybe they think tacking on more words will make something sound more impressive?
    “Meet and greet” – clearly not a Scottish thing. At least, not in the same context…
  • rfsmit 2010-01-07 15:54
    shadowman:
    fred:
    WTF! Once you have made up your mind, be courteous enough not to waste the candidate’s time.
    I would have hired the second guy right on the spot. Why recreate the wheel. It is all about reuse. Object oriented principles of rues, Patterns, SOA, BPM. Obviously this guy will not waste my time or money. There is a story, true or not, we could learn from. Thomas Edison was interviewing people for an electrical engineering positions. The candidates where given a light bulb and asked to calculated the volume inside the bulb. One candidate walked onto the shop floor, asked around, got the answer and then got hired on the spot.


    OK, except that's obviously a bullshit story. The "salted food test" interview story also often gets attributed to Edison. Smart people make informed decisions about job candidates; they don't hire people based on their reactions to some crazy hidden test.

    http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/salted.asp

    Claim: Snopes is a reliable source of data.
    Status: False
    It's amazing how Snopes fails -- and it's spectacular because it's so well known -- to mention the fact of autocondimenting (google it) or any other reasonable scenarios where someone might season food before tasting it. To get you started: the seasoner might have been a regular at the restaurant in question.

    I can't think of a single person back in England who would buy fish and chips and taste them before adding salt and vinegar, and often ketchup as well. I've also not met a white person who doesn't drown their sushi in soy sauce and wasabi.

    The story is just a wind-up based on the fact that people often don't think about how they season their food.

    Why Snopes is so wrong on this? Because the writer details a host of fanciful attributions, and then denies the credibility of the story without sufficiently exploring the history of it. Just because something is falsely attributed to lots of notable people doesn't mean another notable person didn't say it once over in earnest. They haven't done their homework here.
  • J. Random PMP 2010-01-07 15:55
    I am also environmentally conscious. I use only 100% recycled electrons to write my posts!
  • rfsmit 2010-01-07 15:57
    Quirkafleeg:
    Ben:
    […] And instead of a "meeting" it's a "meet and greet."

    And this isn't from those darn kids, but the corporate and government types. Maybe they think tacking on more words will make something sound more impressive?
    “Meet and greet” – clearly not a Scottish thing. At least, not in the same context…

    Oy. We have words of Norse origin in Yorkshire dialect too. (Can I call it "The Yorkshire Language"? No, for the same reason "Scots" isn't a distinct language.)
  • Peter C 2010-01-07 15:57
    Most even decide to wash their coffee pots only once a year.


    Well, duh, that's to be expected. Washing them ruins the patina, and the coffee just doesn't taste right from a clean pot.
  • Peter C 2010-01-07 15:57
    Most even decide to wash their coffee pots only once a year.


    Well, duh, that's to be expected. Washing them ruins the patina, and the coffee just doesn't taste right from a clean pot.
  • rfsmit 2010-01-07 16:02
    Ramses So let it be written so let it be done:
    chadsexington:
    After they ask you to clarify why you said no, tell them :

    "Well, often during interviews I have to be prompted, even asked questions before I volunteer an answer. I'm trying to work on that"

    And then interrupt the next thing they say

    "The Battle of Hastings!"

    "Was that what you wanted? Yeah, I'm trying to work on that"


    I don't know why but I laughed my arse off at this one. I had visions of Graham Chapman sitting at the conference table during the interview.

    I've just been reading about a Lotus patent, so I thought you were talking about Colin Chapman, and wondered why.

    Hm. Did you have a point, or were you just dredging up "British humor" from almost half a century ago? I'm all for recycling, but ... well, hey, this is just like that episode of Steptoe and Son. Y'know? Where they had the argument and all that?
  • Quirkafleeg 2010-01-07 16:02
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?
    […] I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. […] seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?
    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Or that it's been understood (and quite reasonably so) as a yes/no(/maybe) question and, as such, is responded to accordingly.
    […] In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done.
    Then the question's wrong: it's asking whether you would do something, rather than whether you would (or not) and why.
  • rfsmit 2010-01-07 16:07
    Quirkafleeg:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?
    […] I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. […] seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?
    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Or that it's been understood (and quite reasonably so) as a yes/no(/maybe) question and, as such, is responded to accordingly.
    […] In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done.
    Then the question's wrong: it's asking whether you would do something, rather than whether you would (or not) and why.


    Q: Would you describe yourself as a curmudgeon and why?

    A: That's not fair! I wanted to say "no"!

    Q: Ah! So you were lying!

    A: No!

    Q: There you go again!

    (for the fans of forty-year-old British houmour.)
  • gil 2010-01-07 16:32
    Quirkafleeg:
    Then the question's wrong: it's asking whether you would do something, rather than whether you would (or not) and why.

    It might be just a first question in a series, e.g. "are you motivated" -- "yes" -- "could you please elaborate"/"could you please give an example".
  • Zylon 2010-01-07 16:33
    rfsmit:
    Hm. Did you have a point, or were you just dredging up "British humor" from almost half a century ago?

    For any REAL geek, Monty Python is and shall always be timeless.

    So... y'know... get out, poseur.
  • Chris 2010-01-07 16:41
    Anon:
    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.

    Yeah, maybe. That said, I like the other suggestion "what motivates you most?" much better.
  • Atlantys 2010-01-07 16:44
    rfsmit:
    I've also not met a white person who doesn't drown their sushi in soy sauce and wasabi.


    Pleased to meet you. Wasabi is disgusting, and soy sauce isn't much better.
  • Chris 2010-01-07 16:44
    SomeCoder:
    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).

    Exactly. And it annoys me having to make up some bullshit answer to a question like that simply because if I don't, I look like a moron that's too stupid to make up a bullshit answer.
  • stuff 2010-01-07 16:48
    Chris:
    SomeCoder:
    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).

    Exactly. And it annoys me having to make up some bullshit answer to a question like that simply because if I don't, I look like a moron that's too stupid to make up a bullshit answer.


    A lot of interview questions are just about making sure that the candidate has communication skills. Pretty much every job requires the ability to communicate effective, and sadly, a lot of people can't do that. If you can't talk about yourself for 3 min in an interview, you're probably hopeless on a team or in front of a client/customer.
  • SomeCoder 2010-01-07 16:55
    gil:
    SomeCoder:
    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).

    If you assume that people will just make up stories during the interview, then, yes, you don't gain anything from this question (and a lot of other questions too, such as "what projects did you work on at your last company"). Fortunately, many people will avoid blatantly lying, and if someone does lie, in many cases it's easy to see they are lying.

    I find a version of this question ("what motivates you most") useful to understand the applicant's goals and seeing whether he'd be a good fit here or would he instead leave after a few months because he doesn't really care about what the company does.


    I assume that because it's generally a valid assumption to make.

    I can't tell you the number of times I've had someone come in with a resume that says that they know Perl/C#/C++/Language X and when I ask them a simple question about said technology, they can't answer it and usually it comes out that they really don't know anything about it but since they've heard of it, they put it on their resume.

    In these cases, because they are so blatantly lying about knowing some technology, I have no reason to believe they wouldn't lie about any other question I put to them as well.
  • dkf 2010-01-07 16:58
    Ramses So let it be written so let it be done:
    You took pleasure in failing the student? Aren't you supposed to be teaching the student?
    We'd tried that for the length of the course. This guy somehow managed to be impervious to actual learning. Wasn't too good a bullshitting his way through either.
    Ramses So let it be written so let it be done:
    By the student failing doesn't that mean you failed as a teacher?
    A valid criticism, except the other students on the course all passed. There was even a normal distribution of scores. This guy was just a low outlier. And a cheating idiot who wasted his money.
    Ramses So let it be written so let it be done:
    Just being sarcast here. Just amazing how lazy kids today can be as they want to take every shortcut possible instead of using their own minds to come up with the answers.

    My interviewing experiences have taught me to run when the place/people are unorganized and a dump.
    True, but this particular individual was the limit. He plagiarized my own work. He plagiarized the key papers in the field. He didn't credit any of them. He didn't understand any of them. He didn't even change the formatting to be consistent from paragraph to paragraph. That would be a big fat fail in itself, but he also included his own code in the paper, which confirmed that he didn't know what he was writing about in the slightest and couldn't even write pseudocode without syntax errors! (Or maybe it was C++. Who knows? It was clearly not coherent enough to be compiled by any computer ever. It was also not a solution to any question asked by me.)

    For some people, the only thing to do is fail them and recommend that they do not get the opportunity to resit. (Usually our university administration is better at filtering out the wholly unqualified before letting them anywhere near lecturers. This one slipped through.) With a clearly stupid cheat, well, it's both duty and pleasure to boot them out; anything else is unfair to the other students who are both honest and hard-working. It's a postgraduate course and university rules let us kick out cheats with no refunds.

    As an aside, it's a fun course to teach is that one. We do pair programming to develop advanced network applications (multiple coupled servers) very quickly, and getting your hands dirty is the only way to really appreciate why things are done they way they are. It has a reputation as the toughest course in that whole syllabus... I believe in giving people a nice tough challenge and seeing what they can really do. Bright students love it, and we skim the top of the practical class as interns. It's a good way to find people who are able (and psychologically inclined) to cope with our real work. (And the crap student's pair partner managed to produce good work on their own, and gained a good grade.)
  • gil 2010-01-07 17:08
    SomeCoder:
    I can't tell you the number of times I've had someone come in with a resume that says that they know Perl/C#/C++/Language X and when I ask them a simple question about said technology, they can't answer it and usually it comes out that they really don't know anything about it but since they've heard of it, they put it on their resume.

    In these cases, because they are so blatantly lying about knowing some technology, I have no reason to believe they wouldn't lie about any other question I put to them as well.

    In this case, sure. I guess I had in mind a candidate who is generally OK in other areas (answered technical questions, had good references) and now we are just trying to decide whether it's mutually beneficial to work together. So, I guess not the situation in the OP.
  • ADINSX 2010-01-07 17:10
    [quote user="Fred"][quote user="mvi"]Are there any wrong questions
    Would you sign this paper promising never to sue your employer?
    [/quote]

    Unless you're a federal government contractor, but I guess they don't really ask you to sign, you just sign it.
  • Rachel 2010-01-07 17:41
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    Actually, there are plenty of people who are incapable of making up a decent lie (especially among techies). And there are interviewers who are good at spotting BS artists.
  • Rachel 2010-01-07 17:45
    However, it really doesn't makes sense to ask a closed-ended question to a technical person, when you want the candidate to answer as if it were an open-ended question. Many good technical people would be thrown off by that. We could see that you didn't really just want us to say "yes", and it wouldn't be a good idea to say "no", but it's not obvious what question that wasn't asked you actually want us to answer, so we stumble around and feel stupid and inadequate, which throws off the rest of the interview for us. And the whole trouble is that we need precision in communication, which has a lot to do with why we're so good at programming or other technical stuff.
  • bob171123 2010-01-07 18:06
    I have to agree with the interviewee on C++. As you know, WTF's are a non-renewable resource and while today it looks like they will never run out, we will come to a future where there will be no more WTF's for our enjoyment. If a programming language allows us to recycle other WTF's instead of wasting new ones, I'd promote that as a feature.
  • takatori 2010-01-07 22:35
    SR:
    frits:
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.


    If their offices are a complete toilet you may not want to get hired.


    Several years ago I joined a company after several meetings in their nice, new, clean gorgeous conference rooms in Roppongi Hills. No office tour for "security reasons". But, the work was interesting, in line with interests and experience, and pay was great.

    For the first day I was to show up at the "development center" nearby. I went by on a weekend to verify the address , and it was an apartment building. No sign, but the "suite number" I was given matched up with the name of the company president.

    Show up for work on Monday, and after getting buzzed in found that it was a hole. 25 people crammed into shared desks in the president's former apartment (he still had a room in back, rumour was, maybe still slept there), AC cables running across the floor held down by duct tape, carpet that was worn through to the padding in some places, dust everywhere, paltry ventilation, a refrigerator full of 20-year old bottles of liquor (not "the good stuff", just old) and mold-filled containers. Workstations were all about 5 years old (mixed Win95/98/XP/Mac), servers were repurposed workstations (mixed NT/XP/2000/BSD/Fedora/Yellowdog/Debian) stacked up haphazardly in a closet (fortunately with an A/C unit crammed in on top!). Two of the servers were laptops--one with a broken keyboard and another with a broken screen so RDP was the only way in.

    The systems were just as crufty: shared Excel spreadsheets for data entry (read: always locked incorrectly), VB macros to write the data in a CSV format, Bash script to break that up and write to a MySQL table, Perl to read that table and copy it, normalized, into a Postgres database, PHP to render the website, all nested tables and font tags, no css, titles and heading text as images created by hand by a graphic artist who had no other responsibilities, ALL links used javascript onclick events instead of href, and the home page took about 15 seconds to completely render.

    Any guesses how long I lasted?
  • tgape 2010-01-07 23:03
    The last interview reminded me of the first IT job I had.

    When I had my on-site interview, their office consisted of a small reception area, which also had a desk - the office of their HR person. The interview itself took place in the managers' office. This was a small conference room, with a power strip and an 8 port hub. There was also a desk in the corner, with a PC, and three drawers, each with a name plate on it.

    A week later, I showed up for the 0th day of work (they wanted us to appear briefly the night before our official first day on the job, so that they could give us our pagers and a welcome briefing), and the reception area had a hallway out the back, where the HR lady's desk had been. There was a short twisty passageway, which had five doors with (paper) nameplates - the HR rep, and four managers. It also had the "computer room", which was more of a nook, as it didn't have a door, or even a door frame. The old managers' office apparently had the back wall knocked out as well, it was now twice the size it had been.

    As this was a consulting gig, I didn't show up to the company office very often. The next time was a month later. All the paper nameplates were replaced with metal frame and plastic nameplates, and the office space across the hall was the company's new space - a large, unfinished space where we had our regional all-hands monthly meeting.

    The next month, that unfinished area was half cubicles, half offices. There were three HR people, 10-15 managers, and the monthly meeting was downstairs, in an unfinished space about twice the size of upstairs.

    For the first year and a half or so, it seemed that every time I stopped by the company office, they had either had some major renovations or they had changed offices. Then they got bought out, and things calmed down a bit.

    The company had originally started out five years before I signed on, and, according to the old timers, it had been growing like that the whole time. (The office that I worked out of was a satellite office, not the HQ.) Quite a few people apparently had the experience of interviewing in an unfinished room; in some cases, an unfinished room with cloth curtains providing a feeble illusion of privacy.

    Regarding someone's comment about salesmen: they figured that all of their employees should be salesmen, but they realized that most technical people sell best by doing a technically superior job, rather than by using words or presentations. Some of them recognized that it was more valuable to sell the continuation of an existing engagement than to sell a new one - especially if you can arrange for an expansion.
  • DaveK 2010-01-07 23:40
    Rachel:
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    Actually, there are plenty of people who are incapable of making up a decent lie (especially among techies). And there are interviewers who are good at spotting BS artists.
    Also, if you're not autistic, you learn a lot about someone just by spending time talking to and observing them. It barely matters what you're actually talking /about/, just that you're physically close to them and engaging in all that subconscious interaction and body language that goes on when you meet someone for the first time; and you can't necessarily put what you've learned into words afterwards, but it can certainly play a role in your decision-making.
  • wtf 2010-01-08 00:07
    >Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!

    Nossir! I don't mind at all the bullshit! This slime maggot can't wait being yelled at, sir!

    >Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done.

    Of course, see I had this bridge I sold to some dork...


  • SuperSuper 2010-01-08 00:53
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. Sometime during the second or third year I decided to work as a math tutor for some on-campus school-sponsored tutoring service. Since I had some experience tutoring math I thought it would be an easy job to get. So I submit my resume, wait a few weeks, and finally receive an invite to the "job interview". I show up and there's at least a dozen people all waiting outside a relatively small conference room. We wait and wait and finally a woman shows up to interview us. I'm thinking "this is going to take forever... I've been here for 30 min already... there's at least 12 other candidates... so at least an hour longer if the interviews are super short." This woman herds us into this conference room, sits us down around this table (by now more people have come in and are either standing or squeezing more chairs into the room), and says "ok you guys are going to have a group discussion about what makes someone an effective math tutor... I'll be observing... ready? go!" The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.
  • Procedural 2010-01-08 01:09
    Gary:
    I was fresh out of college, taking my degree in environmental engineering. First thing I did, was contact a headhunter. That was my big mistake.

    He sets me up for an interview with "Green-tech", and even drives me there! We were a bit late, because he had a flat tire, and he says he didn't know how to change it, so I did it for him. We show up late to the parking lot, all hot and bothered too.
    I see the name of the company: "Omni-tech", which is clearly not what the HH told me. Trying to cover, he starts going on with, "I hope this is the right place! Go inside and check, would you?"

    So I go in the door, and confirm that it is indeed Omni-tech, and not Green-tech. After getting the yes, I go back out quickly to the headhunter, and tell him, making sure he's going to wait for me. He tells me "get in for a sec", and briefs me a bit on the company, and 'programming'." He finishes off with "They might ask you some questions about 'B plus', or something. Make something up! Good luck!"
    We sit down in the conference room, and as I was so steamed at the headhunter, I totally missed what the interviewer said, but he was sitting there with an expectant look on his face, so I just mumble "yeah I guess so".

    Not my finest moment, that's for sure.

    Sure enough, the questions about "C plus plus" came, and I had to bluff my way through with some crap about recycling.

    Not surprisingly, I did not get a call back.
    On the plus side, I ditched the headhunter!



    Awesome.
  • Zemm 2010-01-08 02:12
    rfsmit:
    shadowman:
    http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/salted.asp

    Claim: Snopes is a reliable source of data.
    Status: False

    Why Snopes is so wrong on this? Because the writer details a host of fanciful attributions, and then denies the credibility of the story without sufficiently exploring the history of it. Just because something is falsely attributed to lots of notable people doesn't mean another notable person didn't say it once over in earnest. They haven't done their homework here.


    As far as I can tell, Snopes draws no conclusions on this topic. On the listing it has a grey bullet which is "unclassifiable veracity". They are just presenting the legend and obviously haven't "done their homework".
  • Watson 2010-01-08 04:29
    dkf:
    It's a postgraduate course and university rules let us kick out cheats with no refunds.
    He'd already graduated?! What in?

    But yeah, universities have better things to spend student fees on than prop characters like that up.
  • dkf 2010-01-08 05:55
    Watson:
    dkf:
    It's a postgraduate course and university rules let us kick out cheats with no refunds.
    He'd already graduated?! What in?

    But yeah, universities have better things to spend student fees on than prop characters like that up.
    No idea who he managed to fool as I've got nothing to do with student admissions. Maybe one of those places that focuses on rote learning and regurgitation. It's a few years ago now so I don't remember if he was on an Advanced-CS course or a CS-and-Business mix (the entry requirements are different).
  • Mike 2010-01-08 07:36
    Concerning "Computer Skills": Millions of users = Open Source? WTF?
  • Mike 2010-01-08 07:38
    lolwtf:
    "C++ appeals to me because you can recycle other peoples code."

    Translation: "I don't know jack about C++, but I know how to copy and paste."
    Being 20 minutes late just re-enforces this image.


    In other words, I'm 30 years old, still live at home, mother does my laundry, never had a job, and I play with Playstation and programming.
  • SR 2010-01-08 08:53
    Mike:
    lolwtf:
    "C++ appeals to me because you can recycle other peoples code."

    Translation: "I don't know jack about C++, but I know how to copy and paste."
    Being 20 minutes late just re-enforces this image.


    In other words, I'm 30 years old, still live at home, mother does my laundry, never had a job, and I play with Playstation and programming.


    Jeez that's harsh. Well done!
  • Anonymous 2010-01-08 09:10
    Back in 2002, I worked in a place with a sizable cube farm made of hexagonal cubes with 8-foot walls. Some cubes even had doors! As it turned out, I was a "lucky" one to have a door without having any managerial responsibilities. Well, my luck ran out one day when someone from office management came by with this question: "Does anybody report to you?" Naively, I answered: "no." A short time later, he came back with a cordless drill and removed my door.

    My next action was to drive to a local home furnishings store, and I returned with a shower curtain and rod. After showing these to my boss, my door was back in place the next morning.
  • hinek 2010-01-08 09:27
    I would have invited the "Computer Skills"-guy, just to hand him a print out from a job-ads website ... :-P
  • Max 2010-01-08 10:10
    We've had people google interview answers on phone interviews as well.
    One guy even said, "Hang on a minute... my screen is refreshing."

  • I don't really have to go, but... 2010-01-08 12:26
    When checking out a company, at some point, use the restroom. If it's not cared for, employees won't be either. This also applies in deciding to do short term consulting work for a company.

    It's also a good time for that final appearance check in the mirror.
  • Quirkafleeg 2010-01-08 14:20
    SomeCoder:
    I can't tell you the number of times I've had someone come in with a resume that says that they know Perl/C#/C++/Language X and when I ask them a simple question about said technology, they can't answer it and usually it comes out that they really don't know anything about it but since they've heard of it, they put it on their resume.
    It's often been suggested to me that I should put $subject on my CV but exaggerate how much or not say how much (or little) I know about said $subject. And I've told the people offering this, shall we say, advice that what they're asking me to do is to misrepresent myself and, well, to lie.

    I've also had a few people take my CV and, er, adjust it a little; the results were always misrepresentation, and sometimes badly-presented misrepresentation. Suffice it to say that I've invariably discarded much of what they've done…
  • quisling 2010-01-08 14:22
    Anon:
    Marvin the Martian:
    Anon:
    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.

    So you end up with a staff of salesmen? How is that going to help the company?


    Show me a successful company without salesmen.
    Show me a successful company with *nothing but* salesmen.
  • quisling 2010-01-08 14:28
    rfsmit:
    Quirkafleeg:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?
    […] I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. […] seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?
    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Or that it's been understood (and quite reasonably so) as a yes/no(/maybe) question and, as such, is responded to accordingly.
    […] In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done.
    Then the question's wrong: it's asking whether you would do something, rather than whether you would (or not) and why.


    Q: Would you describe yourself as a curmudgeon and why?

    A: That's not fair! I wanted to say "no"!

    Q: Ah! So you were lying!

    A: No!

    Q: There you go again!

    (for the fans of forty-year-old British houmour.)
    *golf clap*... I see what you did there...
  • Stanley H. Tweedle 2010-01-08 14:36
    Two applicants send me identical resumes, differing only with their names and contant info. Same schools, hobbies, awards, project experience.

    I guess they would have been great candiates if I were running a piracy operation instead programming.
  • gil 2010-01-08 15:15
    Stanley H. Tweedle:
    Two applicants send me identical resumes, differing only with their names and contant info. Same schools, hobbies, awards, project experience.

    By any chance, was one of them named Jacques and another Mohammed?
  • PSWorx 2010-01-08 15:51
    SuperSuper:
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. [...] "ok you guys are going to have a group discussion about what makes someone an effective math tutor... I'll be observing... ready? go!" The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.


    As a student who had some the best workgroups lead by extroverts and some of the worst lead by introverts, I actually like that method for sorting out applicants (for tutor positions!). Sure, it's not nice if your tutor doesn't have a clue about the subject. But I think good group management and the abillity to explain stuff in a way that other people can understand it are actually much more important skills for tutors. If my tutor can explain well but doesn't know the exact answer to my question, he can just ask the prof and explain next time. But if he's a genius in the subject who doesn't bring out a word, I've just lost two hours of my life.

    (Note: By extroverts I don't mean the "I'll bullshit myself through everything and don't give a crap about other people" type salesmen. I don't mean blondes without an ounce of logical thought in their head either. I don't think those people would be useful in any sensible job*. But I guess that's why she was watching the discussion. Or at least I hope so.)

    (*inb4 "Marketing": I said *sensible* job.)
  • DaveK 2010-01-08 16:27
    SuperSuper:
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. Sometime during the second or third year I decided to work as a math tutor for some on-campus school-sponsored tutoring service.
    . . .

    The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.
    Good. What the fuck use is an introverted teacher? If you'd had the job you would have failed your students badly. How could any responsible college appoint you? They have a duty of care to try and get the best for their students, and some shy introvert who won't talk to them is not the best they can do.
  • DaveK 2010-01-08 16:40
    rfsmit:

    Q: Would you describe yourself as a curmudgeon and why?

    A: That's not fair! I wanted to say "no"!

    Q: Ah! So you were lying!

    A: No!

    Q: There you go again!
    Not sure that one quite works; it looks like it's trying to be "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" and failing. Permit me to demonstrate:

    Q: Would you describe yourself as a curmudgeon and why?

    A: "No, I would not", and "because I am not one".
    I don't think it works with an "and" conjunction like that, gives way too much wriggle-room. The original formulation is by far the best.
    rfsmit:

    (for the fans of forty-year-old British houmour.)
    Hmm, I don't remember that from Python, so my guess: is it off an old Private Eye flexidisc?

  • quisling 2010-01-08 17:06
    DaveK:
    SuperSuper:
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. Sometime during the second or third year I decided to work as a math tutor for some on-campus school-sponsored tutoring service.
    . . .

    The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.
    Good. What the fuck use is an introverted teacher? If you'd had the job you would have failed your students badly. How could any responsible college appoint you? They have a duty of care to try and get the best for their students, and some shy introvert who won't talk to them is not the best they can do.
    Not a classroom teacher, you cantankerous cunt, a tutor. As in: subject matter expert, at least to a higher grade than those being tutored.

    Reading comprehension is another focus with a dearth of quality tutors, i surmise...

    ...holy wait the fuck a minute, i'm replying to DaveK? Gawdammit, are you trolling me??
    *grrrr*
  • quisling 2010-01-08 17:11
    stuff:
    Chris:
    SomeCoder:
    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).

    Exactly. And it annoys me having to make up some bullshit answer to a question like that simply because if I don't, I look like a moron that's too stupid to make up a bullshit answer.


    A lot of interview questions are just about making sure that the candidate has communication skills. Pretty much every job requires the ability to communicate effective, and sadly, a lot of people can't do that. If you can't talk about yourself for 3 min in an interview, you're probably hopeless on a team or in front of a client/customer.
    Oh dear.

    Does communicating effective involve knowifying the differentiations between adjectivals and adverbiages? In text modication, does it incorporify punctuatuary skills?
  • tgape 2010-01-08 18:43
    quisling:
    Anon:
    Marvin the Martian:
    Anon:
    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.

    So you end up with a staff of salesmen? How is that going to help the company?


    Show me a successful company without salesmen.
    Show me a successful company with *nothing but* salesmen.


    So long as you define a salesman as someone who can sell themselves, then http://www.paranet.com. (At least, last I had any real experience with them.) Note that most of their people were only salesmen to the extent that Anon suggested people should be - individuals who feel that every moment of an interview, and for that matter, every moment of customer interaction is an opportunity to sell themselves.
  • JR 2010-01-08 23:13
    because you're the one that needs a job. They're the ones taking a chance by hiring you. You should know your basics without having to cheat
  • SQLDave 2010-01-08 23:20
    Chris:
    Anon:

    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    Yes, I am and I do. I hate stupid questions with canonical answers that you are expected to give just because they expect to hear them.


    Good call. Because we all know that once you're hired there willl NEVER be a situation where you'll be expected to answer inane questions with tact or excercise diplomacy or in general not be an asshole. So seeing how you react to such situations in an interview is an obvious waste of time.
  • DaveK 2010-01-08 23:49
    quisling:
    DaveK:
    SuperSuper:
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. Sometime during the second or third year I decided to work as a math tutor for some on-campus school-sponsored tutoring service.
    . . .

    The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.
    Good. What the fuck use is an introverted teacher? If you'd had the job you would have failed your students badly. How could any responsible college appoint you? They have a duty of care to try and get the best for their students, and some shy introvert who won't talk to them is not the best they can do.
    Not a classroom teacher, you cantankerous cunt, a tutor. As in: subject matter expert, at least to a higher grade than those being tutored.
    He's not going to be tutoring in a room on his own. A tutor isn't /just/ a subject matter expert, a tutor is a subject matter expert who can take a group of students, organise, manage and communicate with them, to the ends of helping them learn the material they're being taught by their lecturers.
    quisling:
    Reading comprehension is another focus with a dearth of quality tutors, i surmise...
    Nah, you're just being more pedantic with your use of language than I am. A tutor is a kind of teacher; it doesn't affect the main point, which is ...
    quisling:
    ...holy wait the fuck a minute, i'm replying to DaveK? Gawdammit, are you trolling me??
    *grrrr*
    I'm not trolling, despite my use of a bit of minor hyperbole; what I'm actually doing is assuming that the requirements of the job included *both* expert subject knowledge *and* communication skills. Regardless of whether you're an introvert or not, if you aren't even able to put your hand up and answer a question during a group discussion, how can you possibly be an effective tutorial leader? Seriously?

    It seems like a reasonable interview technique for the needs of the job at hand to me. Obviously I am assuming that they *also* check that the suitable candidates have subject skills, but we haven't been told anything about the later stages of the interview process. (Or the earlier; maybe the candidates had already been pre-screened for skills by looking at their exam results, talking to /their/ tutors and professors, examining their resumés and following up references, etc. etc.)
  • gilhad 2010-01-09 03:46
    rfsmit:

    My goodness. With an attitude like that, it'd be a wonder that you've ever worked.

    Of course you bring your ray-soo-may with you. You bring a list of questions and requirements. You bring a list of references. You do everything possible to make it easier to hire you.


    That is true only if you desperatly need the work there. I was not so desperate in my life. Nearly every interview I had was after THEY asked: "Would you like to work for us?" and it was always mutual talk - they was finding out, if they want me and on what exact place/conditions. I was finding out, if I want to work for them and on what exact place/conditions. If both parties was satisfied, we did make agreement. (and because both parties did they homeworks, it was so every time). The only exception was, when some my former co-workers started they our respective companies and asked me to join them - there was 5 such companies and I had to choose which one I like most - and all 5 did know about this competition :) So I passed 5 interwies and then select the one I did like more. Worked there for 7 years before I moved to even better job...
  • AndyCanfield 2010-01-09 06:42
    A few years ago there was an ad that said "A name on the door rates a Bigelow on the floor". My boss didn't have a name on the door - he didn't have a door! But Wing Chung was the best boss I'd ever worked for.
  • Eric 2010-01-09 09:36
    Because, dumb ass, you are the one who wants a job.
  • tgape 2010-01-09 15:48
    DaveK:
    quisling:
    DaveK:
    SuperSuper:
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. Sometime during the second or third year I decided to work as a math tutor for some on-campus school-sponsored tutoring service.
    . . .

    The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.
    Good. What the fuck use is an introverted teacher? If you'd had the job you would have failed your students badly. How could any responsible college appoint you? They have a duty of care to try and get the best for their students, and some shy introvert who won't talk to them is not the best they can do.
    Not a classroom teacher, you cantankerous cunt, a tutor. As in: subject matter expert, at least to a higher grade than those being tutored.
    He's not going to be tutoring in a room on his own. A tutor isn't /just/ a subject matter expert, a tutor is a subject matter expert who can take a group of students, organise, manage and communicate with them, to the ends of helping them learn the material they're being taught by their lecturers.


    Not all tutors handle groups of students at a time.

    That having been said, even handling one on one situations requires more social interaction than some introverts who sign up to be tutors can handle. At my college, there was no filtration process regarding who could be a tutor, beyond "apparently knowledgeable about the subject matter". I'm an introvert, but I spent many years, even before college, learning to adapt and communicate with people (enough such that there's a few people who think I'm an extrovert). As a tutor, I had a number of customers who were really appreciative of the fact that I could actually carry a conversation, and explain the subject matter in a variety of ways, rather than simply reading the book to them.

    And, yes, there were apparently tutors there who would simply read the book to the student being tutored, and worse. One guy apparently went to his student's apartment, stammered so bad she couldn't understand anything he said, until about 15 minutes into the session (she needed help and was desperate, and hoping that he'd manage to help her somehow), he managed to say, "You're a WOMAN!" and then ran away.

    I think the most astounding thing on this subject was that the guy I knew who simply pointed to the appropriate sections in the textbook 95% of the time was not the worst tutor around. (He would get out a different text book and point to where it had the answer the other 5%. That bit actually made him even better than some of the guys who would talk.) For what it's worth, that guy wasn't mute. He would talk with his family members, and would occasionally be monosyllabic with close friends.

    (Just in case it isn't clear from the above, I'm agreeing with DaveK that this is not necessarily a WTF.)
  • MSG 2010-01-10 09:44
    SR:
    frits:
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.


    If their offices are a complete toilet you may not want to get hired.


    But still preferable to an incomplete toilet.
  • SumCoder 2010-01-10 09:47
    @Deprecated:
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    I find it helps to weed out the morons...


    Yet, somehow the interviewer got the job...
  • annull 2010-01-10 09:51
    SCB:
    mvi:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    Are there any wrong questions to ask during an interview?

    Depending on where you live, there are often questions that it is illegal to ask in an interview, because of discrimination laws. But I don't think that it's illegal to discriminate against assholes (at least not yet).


    Good thing politicians don't realize they are assholes.
    Otherwise there would be positive discrimination!
  • futs 2010-01-10 09:58
    stuff:
    Chris:
    SomeCoder:
    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).

    Exactly. And it annoys me having to make up some bullshit answer to a question like that simply because if I don't, I look like a moron that's too stupid to make up a bullshit answer.


    A lot of interview questions are just about making sure that the candidate has communication skills. Pretty much every job requires the ability to communicate effective, and sadly, a lot of people can't do that.


    Apparently including the interviewer...
    How can it be effective to ask or answer a question that is clearly useless?
  • A non 2010-01-10 10:05
    Anon:
    @Deprecated:

    Seriously though, that question "Are you motivated" is just fluff. It's really saying, "Tell me something about yourself. Whatever you like!"


    Exactly! It's about getting to know somebody who you might end up spending 8 hours/day 5 days/week locked in a room with. Which going back to my first comment, if you demonstrate that you're an asshole in answering that question, then I don't want to be locked in a room with you for any length of time.


    WTF?
  • Andrew 2010-01-10 16:21
    Because you want the job?
  • Some Guy 2010-01-10 19:12
    frits:
    If you insult a potential employer's facilities during an interview, you will not get hired.

    That sounds like a case of "I'ld be insulted if they did think I was a good fit for their company".
  • db 2010-01-10 22:49
    DaveK:
    Good. What the fuck use is an introverted teacher?


    Probably quite a lot since it's a very different social situation and they probably won't be introverted in front of the class. I was a very shy postgrad student when I started running practical classes for undergrads but it wasn't hard - they are there to listen to you. They do not have equal input and emotially I think that makes the difference - there is no reason to be scared of them.

    It's easy to get up in front of a class full of students and talk, far harder to do it on front of peers and a potential boss.

    It sounds more like a psychology experiment than a job interview. This "give the job to the loudest one" bullshit with a large enough group will give you manic sociopaths or people that did MBAs designed to make them look like manic sociopaths.
  • Introverted 2010-01-10 23:04
    PSWorx:
    SuperSuper:
    I just remembered a truly bizarre interview experience I had in college. [...] "ok you guys are going to have a group discussion about what makes someone an effective math tutor... I'll be observing... ready? go!" The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.


    As a student who had some the best workgroups lead by extroverts and some of the worst lead by introverts, I actually like that method for sorting out applicants (for tutor positions!). Sure, it's not nice if your tutor doesn't have a clue about the subject. But I think good group management and the abillity to explain stuff in a way that other people can understand it are actually much more important skills for tutors. If my tutor can explain well but doesn't know the exact answer to my question, he can just ask the prof and explain next time. But if he's a genius in the subject who doesn't bring out a word, I've just lost two hours of my life.

    (Note: By extroverts I don't mean the "I'll bullshit myself through everything and don't give a crap about other people" type salesmen. I don't mean blondes without an ounce of logical thought in their head either. I don't think those people would be useful in any sensible job*. But I guess that's why she was watching the discussion. Or at least I hope so.)

    (*inb4 "Marketing": I said *sensible* job.)


    As an introvert myself, I can tell you that a one-on-one or even teacher lead tutoring session is totally different than participating in a BS discussion where only the quickest and loudest BS gets heard. I'm an awesome tutor, but in most groups, I'm just far too polite to point out that you're full of BS.
  • Iadnah 2010-01-11 03:12
    I worked at a company about a year ago that should have every aspect of it documented and turned into a textbook on how not to run a business that does anything information technology related. Please allow me to elaborate.

    My first contact with the business was through a friend of mine who worked there, who referred me because they needed a website developed for them. I got an interview to discuss what they wanted, and approached them as an outside contractor, my preferred way to work. I rode with my friend to work and found that the place was rented office space in the same building as a roofing company. I was greeted by two dogs when entering the door, one of which was urinating on the carpet whilst running around in circles. No one seemed to have an issue with this, or clean it up. There was also the nice sound of a crying baby, which I later found to be the child of the owners.

    I was directed into an office with all sorts of paper and other trash on the floor, and a huge wall hanging depicting some kind of contorted naked women on the wall. The owner, an amputee with a robo-leg, and his wife (baby and all) were in there to talk to me about what they wanted. The usual pleasantries and questions went well, despite the baby and dogs, so we began to get into more of the heart of the matter. I asked them exactly what they wanted for their site, if they had a mock-up or if they wanted me to create one, whether or not they already had hosting, and the usual line of questions. They did already have hosting and a domain, but they had absolutely no idea what they wanted at all, except that they wanted their products displayed, a realtime chatbox for customer support, and they wanted me to tie the site into a support ticket system that had been developed in-house (and which was running off my friend's desktop). I'll spare the nightmare doing all this for them was, as it took several different mock-ups to get them to decide what they wanted, and they constantly changed spec while I was making it for them.

    As time went on, they insisted on having me go to their office and work there to develop the site, as I apparently wasn't making enough visible progress (because they kept making huge changes to what they wanted). I agreed, mostly because I needed the money. This was a horrible decision. Their network was a horrible mess, the internet was almost entirely saturated by facebook and email traffic, the dogs and baby were there every day, and the desk they gave me was in a nook in the hallway between the office area and the warehouse the roofers use. There was also no heating, save for a crappy space heater, and they insisted that I use one of their computers instead of bringing my own. Their computers were all machines the owner had previously used as gaming machines, but all of them were loaded down with malware, various crapware, and all of them had some sort of hardware problem with them. I was told their IT staff (my friend) was too busy developing something to fix any of this, and they did not want me installing Linux (my preferred dev platform, which all of my tools are made for) or using a LiveCD. They expected _me_ to pick a computer and fix it so it could run Windows well enough for me to use. I did so, having to buy parts and software to do it, and billed them for. They scoffed at my rate of 35.00/h and tried to only pay me 10.00/h, even though I told them up front how much it would cost. They felt the need to dispute every single purchase, claiming they were unreasonable (a network card, a fan, a heatsink, and a power supply). On top of all this, they thought the bill of 750.00 for their site was completely outrageous. They tried to get the police involved, saying I hacked their computers and stole things, and all manner of other stuff, just because I refused to back down on the agreement we had _in writing_.
  • Fuzzypig 2010-01-11 08:11
    Interview for single system admin job, speaking with the "Global Admin Manager".

    Me: "So what's your backup strategy for the databases?"
    Them: "Yes.".
    Me: "Sorry. So what is your backup strategy?"
    Them: "Yes, we do, I think. I'd need to check. Any other questions?"
    Me: "No. That's fine thanks!"

  • random_garbage 2010-01-12 00:35
    A quick google, however, search found that he copy-and-pasted answers from other web sites for 95% of the other questions.


    Even that answer was copy-pasted: http://cheapwebhostingreviews.us/2009/12/how-can-i-own-a-domain-name-without-having-to-renew-it/!!!





    Addendum (2010-01-12 00:40):

    Or even: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081204205325AAo3WQ6 which has more. And "Dave G" has been copy/pasting that answer all over the internet anyway... http://www.google.com.au/search?q="To+get+a+domain+name%2C+you+have+to+pay+an+annual+fee+to+a+registrar+for+the+right+to+use+that+name."


  • Matt 2010-01-12 00:40
    "I copy-pasted my answers to your stupid test when I found out you had copy-pasted the test. If you can't be bothered, why should I?"

    Because they have a job.
  • emdx 2010-01-12 22:19
    I recall getting a job after completing a code test.

    One question was "how would you write a chess-playing program?" to which I answered:

    1) Make sure the move is legal
    2) look at possible moves
    3) pick the best move
    4) do it.

    When he reviewed the answer, my future boss said "oh, good! Check if the move is legal" with a big smile.

    — Well, I got the idea with an old computer cartoon where a guy was playing chess against a robot, where the robot was pointing at the ceiling and while the guy looked up, the robot moved a piece on the board…

    CAPTCHA: haero
  • PerlGuy 2010-01-14 05:50
    Did the temporary story take place in Last.fm? It certainly sounds like them!
  • Colin Edwards 2010-01-14 08:01

    Generally speaking, copying the answers is "the right solution". Setting up these services is a well-solved problem that is best addressed by using someone else's solution. Sadly, this insight is usually lost on junior programmers who feel like they need to create everything from scratch.
  • Justin 2010-01-18 01:44
    DaveK:
    quisling:
    DaveK:
    SuperSuper:


    The talkative super-social people start going on-and-on while the introverts are looking around like "wtf?!" I didn't get the job.


    quisling:
    Reading comprehension is another focus with a dearth of quality tutors, i surmise...

    quisling:

    *grrrr*


    It seems like a reasonable interview technique for the needs of the job at hand to me. Obviously I am assuming that they *also* check that the suitable candidates have subject skills, but we haven't been told anything about the later stages of the interview process. (Or the earlier; maybe the candidates had already been pre-screened for skills by looking at their exam results, talking to /their/ tutors and professors, examining their resumés and following up references, etc. etc.)


    If there were any more than 13 people in that group == Interviewer Fail.

    Group Psychology tells us that 13 is the maximum size for a group in which everyone will have a chance to talk, given a normal range of people. More than that, and some people will never have a chance to speak up, thus being denied any chance of contributing, and assumedly getting a job. A skilled interview using a group discussion technique normally has a Panel (not just one person) evaluating interactions, how is one person going to keep track of that many people and actually come up with meaningfull data on who should be hired?

    Better to give each person 1-2 mins to stand up before the group and give a Very quick talk on a germaine subject, that will at least give a measure of public speaking skills, knowledge of the subject, ability to improvise and react somewhat like they would in a classroom (assuming this is an interview for a classroom tutor job rather than a 1 to 1 tutoring job). If this was an interview for a one on one tutoring job, it's a Massive fail.

    CAPTHA - abigo. The surname of Deuce's cousin by marriage?
  • excatholica 2010-01-18 23:49
    @Deprecated:
    SomeCoder:
    Anon:
    Chris:
    so Gary, would you describe yourself as a motivated person?

    If someone asked me such a stupidly meaningless question during an interview, I'd answer "no", just to see what happens. I know that your interviews are even more ritualized than ours, but seriously, what insight do you expect to gain from that question? And would you want to work for someone that asks you questions just for the questions' sake?


    What insight do we gain? Well, in your case, we've learned that you're an asshole. Pretty useful information, no?
    Apparently you think you're too good to answer silly interview questions and think everybody else is stupid for asking them in an interview of all places!
    In some cases, it's not the actual answer that is important, but how you answer it. FYI, "yes" is the wrong answer too. Anybody can claim to be motivated, prove it to me. Give an example of a time where you took the initative and got stuff done. You may be the most motivated person in the world, but how is anybody else supposed to know that?


    You generally don't gain insight from a question like "Are you a motivated person?" unless the interviewee is a real moron. Anyone can claim to be motivated and anyone can make up a story that shows that they are motivated. It seems like a useless question (for the most part).


    I find it helps to weed out the morons...


    errm... Isn't that what the CV and covering letter is for?
  • GreenIsn'tNormal 2010-01-25 16:37
    I had a green movement once, but a trip to the doc and some medicine cleared it right up.
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  • qwerty1906 2010-03-05 13:39
    Thanks, I needed that laugh.
  • The porn office 2010-04-13 15:18
    I have a coworker who told me of one interview he had at some sort of porn magazine. While he was intervieing for the job in a conference room, outside the conference room a porn shooting was taking place. As he tried to answer his interviewer and appeared undisturbed by the scenery, full-hardcare-porn was taking place outside the conference room.
    Did I mention that the conference room was walled with glass?

    H
  • Joe 2010-07-30 00:27
    After you failed me I took pleasure in taking two more classes with you. Yea- I admit was being lazy. I passed those second two classes with flying colors and went on to be a multi-millionaire businessman. Thank you! But I was too busy learning something to bother with your class assignments. From the student who knew more than the teacher.
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  • Kuba 2011-01-12 11:04
    Anon:
    Every question in an interview is a opportunity to sell yourself. That you think the question about motivation has a canonical answer suggests that you are not very good at it.
    Most job interviews aren't supposed to be styled after roadside chit-chats with hookers. I'm not selling myself at a job interview. An interview is to get both parties to know each other in order to be able to make an informed hiring decision. A question as to whether I'm motivated is like a date asking me if I'm a good guy: missus, if you have to ask, we better part ways now.
  • Prism 2011-07-11 07:19
    Given that us mere humans negatively impact the environment by simply existing... and given that the only reason we are permitted our lowly existence is due to the fact we produce something...

    ... reason then dictates that ANY form of recycling, be it IP, labor or newspapers... must tilt that Sword of Damocles, however slightly, away from our individual heads.

    So, painful as it may be, if we accept these premises, we must accept that this 'crazy new form of recycling' is valid.
  • Jay 2011-08-17 20:05
    The incredible shrinking man who hates talking to users, sounds like something i would have said and done :)... gotta watch myself.
  • Jay 2011-08-17 20:07
    Here's a wtf for you... i commented on a wrong article. *face paml
  • TortoiseWrath 2013-04-29 22:35
    "If you were going to create a new social networking site, what technologies would you use and why?"

    "ASP.NET, SQL Server, and Ajax."

    "NEXT!"

    Seriously, the only acceptable answer to that question is PHP on Apache with MySQL, GMP, and iMagick set up, as well as pure-Javascript calls to server-side fetching frameworks.

    Obviously.