Never Quite Made the Interview

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  • Stupidumb 2008-01-23 10:03
    I would like to leave a comment.
    I am an expert at writing comments.
    I have a desk and would like to write comments from my desk.
  • yet another Matt 2008-01-23 10:07
    Please tell me King of Prussia is a real place, somewhere. I want to work there too.
  • gabba 2008-01-23 10:10
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?
  • Fizz 2008-01-23 10:10
    King of Prussia is a real place. It's out by Philly. All I know about it is there is a big mall out there.
  • FredSaw 2008-01-23 10:11
    I want to program in CSS, web.config and JPG. I am an expert in JPG.
    I would like to work for a company. First on a GIF and then on a JPG.
  • Jason 2008-01-23 10:12
    King of Prussia is a real place about 30 minutes (no traffic) outside of Philadelphia. In fact, it is the home of the second biggest mall in the world, and the biggest mall in terms of sheer retail space. (Mall of America can suck it.)

    I work there myself (sitting in a building in KoP right now), and it is a great place to live...although a tad expensive. The commute to the outer suburbs, however, is not fun.
  • java.lang.Chris; 2008-01-23 10:13
    "Will code for food".
  • SuperousOxide 2008-01-23 10:14
    yet another Matt:
    Please tell me King of Prussia is a real place, somewhere. I want to work there too.


    Sure, it's real. It's near Philadelphia (which didn't make this guy's list for some reason). There are a couple of big malls there.

    edit:
    Looking at the other comments here, it seems the mall is the only point of interest about King of Prussia :)
  • GalacticCowboy 2008-01-23 10:16
    Based on his city choices, why didn't he refactor his list to "Somewhere in the eastern half of Pennsylvania"?
  • Jason 2008-01-23 10:17
    SuperousOxide:
    yet another Matt:
    Please tell me King of Prussia is a real place, somewhere. I want to work there too.


    Sure, it's real. It's near Philadelphia (which didn't make this guy's list for some reason). There are a couple of big malls there.

    edit:
    Looking at the other comments here, it seems the mall is the only point of interest about King of Prussia :)


    To clear things up - the KoP mall is actually one whole mall, but due to the crazy amount of growth, it is split into two sections. The Court and The Plaza.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Prussia_Mall
  • yet another Matt 2008-01-23 10:18
    Fizz:
    King of Prussia is a real place. It's out by Philly. All I know about it is there is a big mall out there.

    Wow! And here I was thinking, he'd made that one up through some strange translating fluke. That is a crazy name.
  • AC 2008-01-23 10:20
    Ok, so the Sybase/Oracle database thing was really dumb.

    But what would have been a good answer to the Google/Microsoft/etc. question?
  • clively 2008-01-23 10:21
    This reminds me of a candidate I interviewed for a Biztalk position. The resume looked good so I brought him in.

    Over the course of the interview it was apparent that he had opened Biztalk exactly one time to look at an orchestration. So, I was honest and said that I didn't think he was quite ready to take on the responsibilities of this particular job.

    At which point he said, "But I am very passionate about my work! I love doing this, because I have so much passion. You'll never find someone as passionate as I am!" He went on for a full five minutes in this manner.

    My response: "Err. Uhm. Well okay. I'll consider it."

    I decided right then that I should never be honest with a candidate and instead to just say something non-committal about talking to HR when closing an interview.

  • Someone You Know 2008-01-23 10:23
    And not only is there a town called State College, Pennsylvania, but three called State Line, Pennsylvania.
  • Paulo 2008-01-23 10:26
    Work from an RV parked outside the company? That raises telecommuting to a whole new level.
  • Tim 2008-01-23 10:27
    SuperousOxide:
    yet another Matt:
    Please tell me King of Prussia is a real place, somewhere. I want to work there too.


    Sure, it's real. It's near Philadelphia (which didn't make this guy's list for some reason). There are a couple of big malls there.

    edit:
    Looking at the other comments here, it seems the mall is the only point of interest about King of Prussia :)


    The mall really is the only thing worth visiting in KoP.
    The reason he didn't list philly would probally be the lack of RV areas and the traffic sucks ass even from < 20 miles away I've turned down multiple jobs from the philly area b/c i couldn't do a commute like that.
    Oh or he wanted to lessen the risk of being shot on his way out the door.
  • Tim 2008-01-23 10:28
    Don't forget, Blue ball, Middle Sex & Virginville
  • java.lang.Chris; 2008-01-23 10:29
    The thing that amazes me whenever we're recruiting is the amount of lies people put on their resume (or CV to a Brit). Time and time again I've had candidates come in, only to find out they have never used some of the programming languages, operating systems or other technology such relational databases that are mentioned on their CV. I'm not even talking about stuff that's irrelevant to the job they're applying for, or even listed as a I nice to have, this is the key skills the job demands them to have!

    Then there's the testing. At one company we managed to pare down the list of CVs to six likely candidates for a junior programming job. We contacted them and they all expressed interest in coming in for an interview. When I mentioned that they'd first sit a half hour written test, three of the candidates suddenly stated they weren't interested in coming in after all. A further candidate walked out without taking the test (he hadn't even seen the questions), and another asked to use the toilet halfway through and never came back. The final candidate flunked the test.

    After that, we gave up on the recruitment for several months and employed a contractor.
  • SuperousOxide 2008-01-23 10:33
    Tim:
    Don't forget, Blue ball, Middle Sex & Virginville


    If you're listing interesting PA towns, you have to include Intercourse.

    Or if you're looking to confuse people, attend school in Indiana, PA or California, PA.
  • Anonymous 2008-01-23 10:34
    Maybe he only has a Pennsylvania drivers license.
  • barneyp 2008-01-23 10:35
    At least the RV guy listed his preferred work areas in a... well... *vaguely* alphabetical order.

    That's got to mean something, doesn't it?
  • lizardfoot 2008-01-23 10:36
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    Probation issues.
  • Tim 2008-01-23 10:39
    SuperousOxide:
    Tim:
    Don't forget, Blue ball, Middle Sex & Virginville


    If you're listing interesting PA towns, you have to include Intercourse.

    Or if you're looking to confuse people, attend school in Indiana, PA or California, PA.

    I knew I forgot 1.
    And Reading, PA is pronounced Red-ding not Reed-ding. That screws with people.
  • Trawn 2008-01-23 10:40
    The editorial WTF here is the 9 digit zip code which likely corresponds to one address. Google for it, probably someone's dad...
  • Josh 2008-01-23 10:44
    Let's not forget Jersey Shore, neither in Jersey nor even remotely near the Shore.
  • java.util.WTFException 2008-01-23 10:44
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    the FBI told him not to leave the state pending the investigation?
  • JM 2008-01-23 10:48
    AC:
    Ok, so the Sybase/Oracle database thing was really dumb.

    But what would have been a good answer to the Google/Microsoft/etc. question?

    A good answer would be one that shows you did your research and know what sort of companies Sybase is competing/cooperating/coexisting with, and why you'd want to work for Sybase instead of them. The actual answer isn't that important, as long as it's sincere, and more sophisticated than "gotta work somewhere". If you just sort of don't care where you work, the company's probably just sort of not interested in hiring you.
  • someone 2008-01-23 10:49
    the real WTF is... i crashed seamonkey and acrobat by reading that PDF :-p

    acrobat used 1.2gig of memort :-p
  • GalacticCowboy 2008-01-23 10:49
    Or the one that never gets old... :D You have to go through Intercourse to get to Paradise.
  • alex 2008-01-23 10:53
    Tim:
    SuperousOxide:
    Tim:
    Don't forget, Blue ball, Middle Sex & Virginville


    If you're listing interesting PA towns, you have to include Intercourse.

    Or if you're looking to confuse people, attend school in Indiana, PA or California, PA.

    I knew I forgot 1.
    And Reading, PA is pronounced Red-ding not Reed-ding. That screws with people.


    Reading, Berkshire, UK is also pronounced Red-ding.
  • Chowlett 2008-01-23 10:53
    Tim:
    SuperousOxide:
    Tim:
    Don't forget, Blue ball, Middle Sex & Virginville


    If you're listing interesting PA towns, you have to include Intercourse.

    Or if you're looking to confuse people, attend school in Indiana, PA or California, PA.

    I knew I forgot 1.
    And Reading, PA is pronounced Red-ding not Reed-ding. That screws with people.


    What, exactly like Reading, UK? Who'd'a thought it?
  • SuperousOxide 2008-01-23 10:56
    Chowlett:
    Tim:
    [
    And Reading, PA is pronounced Red-ding not Reed-ding. That screws with people.


    What, exactly like Reading, UK? Who'd'a thought it?


    I know it used to screw me up. But that was when I was a kid playing Monopoly, and mispronouncing the Reading Railroad (Sounds like a PBS show with Geordi LaForge)
  • FredSaw 2008-01-23 10:58
    java.lang.Chris;:
    The thing that amazes me whenever we're recruiting is the amount of lies people put on their resume (or CV to a Brit). Time and time again I've had candidates come in, only to find out they have never used some of the programming languages, operating systems or other technology such relational databases that are mentioned on their CV. I'm not even talking about stuff that's irrelevant to the job they're applying for, or even listed as a I nice to have, this is the key skills the job demands them to have!
    Sometimes this isn't the candidate's fault. They talk to a headhunter and answer a series of questions and the headhunter draws up their resume based on that talk. The headhunter, of course, is simply looking to get the candidate hired so they can collect their fee. So they pad the resume. If you once created a web page with FrontPage, you're an expert in HTML. If you once converted a ColdFusion app to C#, you're a CF wizard.

    I once interviewed a guy whose resume said he had an Associate Degree from Sam Houston State University. Knowing better, I said, "Hmm... I didn't realize SHSU had a two year degree program," and he turned red and stammered an explanation that he had attended some classes there for a couple of semesters, and that the headhunter must have put that on the resume.
  • Lars Vargas 2008-01-23 11:01
    I, too, have an RV MotorHome and can live and work out of it. However, I am ambitious and can do this is there is an RV park with 25 miles.

    For the right position or salary, I would even consider 30 miles.
  • Frank Wilhoit 2008-01-23 11:14
    20 miles would be a LONG run of Cat-5.
  • Patrick 2008-01-23 11:15
    Paulo:
    Work from an RV parked outside the company? That raises telecommuting to a whole new level.


    Maybe he worked for /etc/bus

    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/The__0x2f_etc_0x2f_bus.aspx
  • Aaron 2008-01-23 11:20
    AC:
    But what would have been a good answer to the Google/Microsoft/etc. question?

    The smartass answer (my answer) would probably be "The thought of free lunches and huge game rooms just doesn't appeal to me. I'm here to work, dangit!"

    The only other responses I can think of that wouldn't be total BS are immensely nerdy jokes:

    - "I want to find out once and for all whether we're supposed to use identity keys or GUIDs."
    - "You guys were first in the index."
    - "They all wanted me to work at a table, but I want to work in the fields."

    Even I cringed at the last one... but hey, it's better than "I didn't make the cut."
  • lw42 2008-01-23 11:22
    Say, Alex, the zip code on the image gives enough info to almost identify the person, or at least the small place where he works. Google it. Err, I mean, black it out.
  • Paul 2008-01-23 11:23
    I can't think what I'd have said if someone asked me for an example of 'out of the box' thinking.

    It's not something you deliberately remember (at least, I wouldn't), and in hindsight it might not seem to be 'out of the box'.

    In any case, thinking 'out of the box' isn't always a good idea for a developer - if it's too far out of the box it can be hard to maintain... "Good" thinking out of the box would probably be totally forgettable because the result is so elegant and 'obvious' (in hindsight).

    I suppose a good example of thinking "out of the box" would be the first person who came up with something like quick sort or radix sort instead of bubble sort (which is the most obvious sorting technique). If so, then if that's the sort of 'optimisation' the interviewee did, it would seem to be good to me.

    (See http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/v4i30_hargadon.html )
  • GettinSadda 2008-01-23 11:26
    So with 30+ years experience with PL/M until 1997, a) why does he call it PLM and b) why does only one of his positions mention it (and that was for 5 months only)?
  • pitchingchris 2008-01-23 11:26
    It must get cold working in PA out of an RV all the time. Nice for a camping trip, not so nice to be in for working hours. The guy either has family there or is in trouble with the law.
  • el jaybird 2008-01-23 11:27
    I heard from my boss that when he was hiring for the position I have now, there were some people who he interviewed who were plainly only in it because they had to be showing some token job hunting effort. When asked why he wanted to work here, one guy apparently said "Well, actually, I don't, but I got a call from HR so that's why I'm here".

    And I thank him sincerely for it. I love my job.
  • Graham 2008-01-23 11:27
    Bail/parole conditions?
  • whicker 2008-01-23 11:31
    what is the wtf about the first one? So he has an atypical living situation, maybe his wife divorced him and took everything? Maybe he does have a house, and thinks the RV is going the "extra mile"?

    "I would like to work with a Company". What if instead he intended that to mean, "I would like a full time position".

    Reading the work history, the person did some interesting stuff and certainly had (at the time) some good related experience.

    However, he really sucks at Word formatting, but I don't entirely blame him.

    Or was the humor more like the "Live in a van down by the river" comedy sketch by Chris Farley?
  • Patrick 2008-01-23 11:35
    java.lang.Chris;:
    The thing that amazes me whenever we're recruiting is the amount of lies people put on their resume (or CV to a Brit). Time and time again I've had candidates come in, only to find out they have never used some of the programming languages, operating systems or other technology such relational databases that are mentioned on their CV. I'm not even talking about stuff that's irrelevant to the job they're applying for, or even listed as a I nice to have, this is the key skills the job demands them to have!

    Then there's the testing. At one company we managed to pare down the list of CVs to six likely candidates for a junior programming job. We contacted them and they all expressed interest in coming in for an interview. When I mentioned that they'd first sit a half hour written test, three of the candidates suddenly stated they weren't interested in coming in after all. A further candidate walked out without taking the test (he hadn't even seen the questions), and another asked to use the toilet halfway through and never came back. The final candidate flunked the test.

    After that, we gave up on the recruitment for several months and employed a contractor.


    Written test, isn't that a little bit over the top? I'd be weary of any place that forces a written test.
  • Aaron 2008-01-23 11:35
    Paul:
    I can't think what I'd have said if someone asked me for an example of 'out of the box' thinking.

    In any branch of engineering, the real problem isn't in thinking outside the box - that's easy. The real problem is defining the box and staying inside it. Many if not most projects fail precisely because they don't do that.

    Addendum (2008-01-23 11:41):
    After reading the whole resume, it makes me genuinely sad that somebody could be living in the U.S. for 30 years and still have such utterly atrocious English skills. And even then, is it so hard to find someone to proofread!?
  • jkohen 2008-01-23 11:39
    I love these series and this one is probably the best we've had. Keep it up!
  • vt_mruhlin 2008-01-23 11:40
    java.lang.Chris;:
    The thing that amazes me whenever we're recruiting is the amount of lies people put on their resume (or CV to a Brit). Time and time again I've had candidates come in, only to find out they have never used some of the programming languages, operating systems or other technology such relational databases that are mentioned on their CV. I'm not even talking about stuff that's irrelevant to the job they're applying for, or even listed as a I nice to have, this is the key skills the job demands them to have!


    Yeah, but how many times does a job listing say you need to know all sorts of crap that isn't actually used at the company? Half the time they need somebody who's "really an expert" in a language or framework that only takes like a week to learn. "Oh, do you have any experience with the 1.6 JDK? Oh, you've only done 1.5? Well I'm sorry, you just don't cut it." Especially when dealing with recruiters. They just try to do an exact string comparison between your resume and the job specs.

    Addendum (2008-01-23 11:49):
    As for the written test... Having been told to take BrainBench tests before, I tend to be a little weary of them myself. At least in the case of BrainBench, the tests are ridiculously trivial. Had one on JSP that asked me for a precise definition of SSL. All the answers were nearly identical except for some minute grammatical changes in a few.
  • pitchingchris 2008-01-23 11:41
    Patrick:


    Written test, isn't that a little bit over the top? I'd be weary of any place that forces a written test.


    Its not too unusual to have a test. Although I don't completely agree with some of them, the company would be investing money to hire you, so they want to weed out the weak ones. Some companies only want the elite, so a written test is their way of finding those people with excellent math/logic skills, etc. But that doesn't always make the best programmers...
  • Secret Santa 2008-01-23 11:43
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    Warrants for his arrest in New York, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and New Jersey.

    He's boxed in!
  • SuperousOxide 2008-01-23 11:45
    Secret Santa:
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    Warrants for his arrest in New York, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and New Jersey.

    He's boxed in!


    He could slip out through Delaware. But then, he'd be in Delaware, so that's no good.
  • Brian 2008-01-23 11:47
    My favorite resumes were years ago when Word macro viruses first came along. I was the IT manager at a tiny low budget shop and fully half of the resumes I would get had a virus attached.

  • morry 2008-01-23 11:50
    java.lang.Chris;:
    The thing that amazes me whenever we're recruiting is the amount of lies people put on their resume (or CV to a Brit). Time and time again I've had candidates come in, only to find out they have never used some of the programming languages, operating systems or other technology such relational databases that are mentioned on their CV. I'm not even talking about stuff that's irrelevant to the job they're applying for, or even listed as a I nice to have, this is the key skills the job demands them to have!


    On the flip side, I've seen too many job listings that ask for the moon, or ask for skills that are never needed. My current position is a prime example. The position was advertised with the below requirement (among others):

    • Excellent knowledge of COBOL, IMS, DB2, VSAM, JCL, TSO/ISPF, Fileaid and MQ.

    Of all of those, I only know TSO/ISPF and even then, I would not call my knowledge excellent. I applied and got the job (obviously) and after 3 years, there has been no mention or need for any of those other skills. I know why the company did it, but it's lying, just the same. Had I not had the years of experience to know I could ignore that line of requirements, I either would have not applied, or felt compelled to lie in order to meet the minimum.
  • ChiefCrazyTalk 2008-01-23 11:52
    Fizz:
    King of Prussia is a real place. It's out by Philly. All I know about it is there is a big mall out there.
    LOL I'm from Pittsburgh, and even though I've never been there all I know about King of Prussia is the mall, too.
  • snoofle 2008-01-23 12:02
    Paul:
    I can't think what I'd have said if someone asked me for an example of 'out of the box' thinking.

    It's not something you deliberately remember (at least, I wouldn't), and in hindsight it might not seem to be 'out of the box'.

    In any case, thinking 'out of the box' isn't always a good idea for a developer - if it's too far out of the box it can be hard to maintain... "Good" thinking out of the box would probably be totally forgettable because the result is so elegant and 'obvious' (in hindsight).

    I suppose a good example of thinking "out of the box" would be the first person who came up with something like quick sort or radix sort instead of bubble sort (which is the most obvious sorting technique). If so, then if that's the sort of 'optimisation' the interviewee did, it would seem to be good to me.

    (See http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/v4i30_hargadon.html )

    re: an example of out-of-the-box thinking.
    The post from yesterday (re lock and timer verses win-98 pc's and tanning beds), or something analogous would be a great answer.

    Personally, my out-of-the-box story happened a couple of years ago. The company had a login policy of something-you-have and something-you-know (site-certificate and password). The rule was that the cert's couldn't be distributed by e-mail (yeah, I know, but whatever). Thus, they needed to be distributed in person to each Pc at each company site every 3 months. Since we have customers globally, it got really expensive really fast. The users who were paying for all of this wanted a cheaper alternative. The engineering group proposed something for 6 million dollars and 6-12 calendar months of effort. I laughed, took 2 hours to code up a couple of cold fusion pages with short-lived challenge-response passwords to limit access. Total cost: $1500 for the CF license and the (old) PC was free as it was collecting dust in a closet. The security folks approved it and a day later it was deployed.
  • Someone You Know 2008-01-23 12:03
    Secret Santa:
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    Warrants for his arrest in New York, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and New Jersey.

    He's boxed in!


    Then he probably wouldn't be able to answer the "thinking outside the box" question either.
  • SkippyForce 2008-01-23 12:07
    While the King Of Prussia mall is a large attraction, there are a lot of tech companies in the area as well.
  • snoofle 2008-01-23 12:09
    Patrick:

    Written test, isn't that a little bit over the top? I'd be weary of any place that forces a written test.

    I once went into a 7AM interview, and while I'm a morning person, it happened to be one of those days when I just couldn't get my brain in gear. The guy hands me a written test to code up a binary tree implemented using doubly linked lists. Now, I don't claim to be Mr. Wizard, but after 25 years, I can code most things without a whole lot of thinking, but at 7AM on that particular day, my brain just wasn't up for it. He told me that I just wasn't qualified to be a programmer. I laughed in his face, and wound up getting another position that paid a whole lot more.
    I often wonder if those written tests are there because the folks at the other end simply don't know how to tell if you know what you're doing without being able to compare your answers to an answer key.
  • GalacticCowboy 2008-01-23 12:10
    SuperousOxide:
    Secret Santa:
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    Warrants for his arrest in New York, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and New Jersey.

    He's boxed in!


    He could slip out through Delaware. But then, he'd be in Delaware, so that's no good.


    Yeah, there's nowhere to go from there - still surrounded by New Jersey and Maryland... Plus he'd have to go dangerously close to Philly to get there.
  • GalacticCowboy 2008-01-23 12:14
    Brian:
    My favorite resumes were years ago when Word macro viruses first came along. I was the IT manager at a tiny low budget shop and fully half of the resumes I would get had a virus attached.



    To whom it may concern:

    Dear sir:

    My resume and a sample of my work are attached. Please review and contact me at your earliest convenience regarding the open position at [[tiny low budget shop]].

    Sincerely,

    1337H@xor
  • Neal 2008-01-23 12:14
    I was sitting at home some ten years ago, contemplating career and employment, when my telephone rang. Calling was an engineer with a large multi-national company. He was based in Texas, at one of the company's defense and aeronautics divisions. He mentioned that he'd been looking at my web page, which was very heavily biased towards electrical engineering and building prank UFO's, and then he asked me a few odd questions then thanked me and the call ended.

    The call struck me as a little wierd but I decided he was just curious and dismissed it. A few days later he called me again, with another engineer, on speakerphone and they asked me a few more questions about my UFO projects, my engineering interests, and the like - then they thanked me and that call ended. "Ok," I thought, "that was really strange," and then I shook off the wierd feeling and forgot about it.

    The following week I recieved a third call from this engineer who turned out to be a project lead and in charge of hiring. He spoke to me a minute and then said they'd like to fly me down for a few interviews and to offer me a position. Well, since I wasn't interested in moving, especially halfway across the country, I said no thanks and explained why. I was met by the longest silence, some confused mumbling and obvious disbelief, and finally a question presented in a most puzzling tone. "If you didn't want to move here then why did you apply for a position and why have you been interviewing with us?" Before I could answer he sighed, said they were really excited about getting me, and hung up on me.

    I never got the chance to tell him that I hadn't applied for any position, not with his company or any other, and that I had no idea I that was being interviewed. I could only come up with two possible explanations for this bizarre happening: 1) A headhunter had found my resume on my web site and had forwarded it on hoping to get a fee. 2) Someone in the company had seen my resume on my web site and sent it thinking I'd been a good candidate but something was lost along the way.

    Naturally, failing to grab this opportunity that was dropped into my lap is something I still regret to this day.
  • Craig 2008-01-23 12:16
    Gee, this is sort of sad. You can almost picture it - young guy gets into programming back in the 70s and does well, gets married, has kids. The employer overlooks the guys personality quirks since he is nominally productive. Then a few deadlines slip and he laid off. Has a hard time and starts drinking. Stressed out. Loses the wife and kids in the 80s and hits bottom with the drinking. Gets a few DUIs and loses his license. Homeless on the street. Finally gets into the 12-step program in the 90s and pulls himself back out. Finds an old school bus that he fixes up to live in and flips burgers for a while. Finally decides to try his hand at programming again, but the neurons just don't want to connect anymore. Yeah, he does his best at calling his old bosses and lining up agreements to say nothing bad about him, but those old Wordstar skills just aren't up to handling modern word processing, the verbal and written portions of the brain were burnt out on all that MD20/20 and the result is the sort of pitiful attempt we see here.

    Yeah, laugh now me buckos - life is sweet, you are young, and you have the world by the cojones - but when the big AIs take over writing all software and you find yourself thinking seriously about flipping burgers or picking lettuce, the guy that wrote this resume will have grabbed the job of polishing the AIs knobs or feeding it fuel rods and will be the section chief responsible for reviewing potential resumes for other janitors - like yours for instance :-)

  • Smash 2008-01-23 12:17
    AC:
    Ok, so the Sybase/Oracle database thing was really dumb.

    But what would have been a good answer to the Google/Microsoft/etc. question?


    Raja: "Why do you want to work for Sybase, and not at, say Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Oracle?"

    Candidate: "I actually applied for them too, but I can't just sit while I wait for their call. In fact, just supposing they might not have an opening right now is more than enough reason to keep spreading my resume to other companies."

    There you have it, this answer shows you're proactive and considers possibilities (which means you're used to plan ahead). On the plus side, if your resume is decent enough, they will think their competitors may take an interest on you and they may lose the opportunity to hire you if they take too long to make an offer.
  • Martin 2008-01-23 12:20
    > I can't think what I'd have said if someone asked me for
    > an example of 'out of the box' thinking.

    If you tout yourself as an "outside the box thinker", you better be able give some examples of that! As with anything you say you know or did.
  • Played a dba on TV once 2008-01-23 12:24
    is Sybase really still has a database company? Gee, who knew.
  • Anonymous 2008-01-23 12:29
    Is there any other type of a .NET developer than the "fresh out of school" one?

    Also, did anyone else notice Scranton mentioned in the cover letter? (you'd have to watch a certain comedy show for such a discovery to be amusing)
  • FormerOracleDBA 2008-01-23 12:34

    TRWTF is that the INTERVIEWER thought that Sybase was a database company.

  • Someone You Know 2008-01-23 12:36
    Anonymous:
    Is there any other type of a .NET developer than the "fresh out of school" one?

    Also, did anyone else notice Scranton mentioned in the cover letter? (you'd have to watch a certain comedy show for such a discovery to be amusing)


    Scranton, Pennsylvania is a real place. The writers of "The Office" didn't just make it up.
  • Jay Levitt 2008-01-23 12:37
    I want to know what a feather is.
  • Smash 2008-01-23 12:41
    Though Alan pointed out the creepiest quirks on the guy's resume, the full PDF version has a few more WTFs. I liked this stretch:

    "... I worked for Robotics For Agriculture of Selden, NY. I developed a package for them. It included an add/delete feather. An edit feather and a Monthly/Quarterly report. It was constructed of Visual Basic and Visual Fox Pro. I have written programs in Visual Fox Pro. I have discored Visual Basic Guide To The Windows32 API, also SpyWorks..." and it goes on and on.

    Seriously, halfway through reading it I could swear there would be a "No Quack" at the end.
  • Charlie 2008-01-23 12:46
    Wading through a bunch of job application emails, The following subject line caught my eye:

    "Hai i am loking for developer job"

    The thought of hiring a lolcat was appealing, but i decided against it.
  • GettinSadda 2008-01-23 12:51
    The author of that resume couldn't find anyone that would take his programming skills seriously, so he set out to launch his pet project on the world: A desktop search system written in VB!
  • sweavo 2008-01-23 12:55
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    Nun o' your damn business!

    Jeez, some interviewers are nosey
  • Marcos 2008-01-23 12:57
    Why oh shy Raja didn't you tell him Sybase is a database company? I know it's probably related to "being nice" and "not wanting to embarrass him" but sometimes you just have to put the lulz first, I bet his response would have been hilarious.

    CAPTCHA: nulla
  • Harrow 2008-01-23 12:59
    Frank Wilhoit:
    20 miles would be a LONG run of Cat-5.
    Thass OK I are also a networkking guru.

    An I pasionate! Hoo boy I pasionate, I hav my own plyers.

    -Harrow.
  • Stupidumb 2008-01-23 13:01
    Someone You Know:
    Anonymous:
    Is there any other type of a .NET developer than the "fresh out of school" one?

    Also, did anyone else notice Scranton mentioned in the cover letter? (you'd have to watch a certain comedy show for such a discovery to be amusing)


    Scranton, Pennsylvania is a real place. The writers of "The Office" didn't just make it up.


    You're right. But Anonymous never claimed that they did make it up.
  • cconroy 2008-01-23 13:03
    Patrick:
    Written test, isn't that a little bit over the top? I'd be weary of any place that forces a written test.


    I'd be weary only if the test were several hours long. I wouldn't be wary, however, of a reasonable attempt by a company to make sure I actually know how to code before hiring me.
  • Gonzalo 2008-01-23 13:16
    the rose is red
    violets are blue
    honey is sweet
    and how are you...

    can work with qwerty keyboards.
    can work with 640X480, 800X600 and will try to acomplish 1024X768 in the future...
    would like to work in a company that made software (not database). Would like to work in a major project (like a new google). I have 2 month of experience and I made a full site in HTML with about 6 pages...
    And i can write some code in vb4 (never fully understand vb5 but i try my best!)
  • Lord Parity, Last Count of Register 2008-01-23 13:18
    My "personal best" was from an 18 year old who had recently graduated from a local high school, applying for a senior development position. The resumé had 128 words, 35 of which were misspelled.

    I cut off the name and address at the top and sent the "headless corpse" to the chair of that high school's English department.
  • JiP 2008-01-23 13:21
    I know this guy (he used to be a colleague) who never made it to his interview either because of the following:

    By mistake, he ended up (unaware) at the company (although there was a name similarity, it was nevertheless not the company he applied at) I was working for then and said to the receptionist that he was to have an interview. As things weren't organized that well at the time, the manager just believed there had been a miscommunication and told the guy that he could have the interview. He got hired after the interview (I can tell you that he was very good indeed), leaving the company he originally applied wondering ever since what happened to their applicant...
  • Tp 2008-01-23 13:32
    Thinking outside the box??? Excuse me, but at my company we are only allowed to leave our cubicles for feeding purposes!
  • SuperousOxide 2008-01-23 13:40
    Tp:
    Thinking outside the box??? Excuse me, but at my company we are only allowed to leave our cubicles for feeding purposes!


    Sounds inefficient. They should just shovel the slop over the cubicle walls.
  • ThePants999 2008-01-23 13:41
    Charlie:
    Wading through a bunch of job application emails, The following subject line caught my eye:

    "Hai i am loking for developer job"

    The thought of hiring a lolcat was appealing, but i decided against it.

    im in ur office, writin ur codez
  • vt_mruhlin 2008-01-23 13:47
    Back in college, I made a few attempts to tailor the "objective" section of my resume to the specific job I was applying for. After a few "attaching the wrong file" mishaps, I ended up sending IBM a resume saying that I wanted a job with Microsoft.... Needless to say, I didn't get that job (or one with IBM).

    Now I just don't include an objective.
  • Tp 2008-01-23 13:48
    Smash:
    AC:
    Ok, so the Sybase/Oracle database thing was really dumb.

    But what would have been a good answer to the Google/Microsoft/etc. question?


    Raja: "Why do you want to work for Sybase, and not at, say Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Oracle?"

    Candidate: "I actually applied for them too, but I can't just sit while I wait for their call. In fact, just supposing they might not have an opening right now is more than enough reason to keep spreading my resume to other companies."


    Last summer I worked as a summer intern together with some other dude. First day at lunch, sitting with our project group (6 other full-time employees) someone askes how we got internships here. Mr. Idiot replies: "I actually didn't want to work here, but no better company offered me a job"!
  • FredSaw 2008-01-23 13:51
    Anonymous:
    Is there any other type of a .NET developer than the "fresh out of school" one?
    Yes.
  • JD 2008-01-23 14:01
    Patrick:
    Written test, isn't that a little bit over the top? I'd be weary of any place that forces a written test.
    Agreed. I had one place that wanted to administer a coding test. They wanted me to develop a solution to a non-trivial task using syntax for a visual programming language, without using a computer - just write it down. Sorry, not interested in doing a song and dance people! I did end up recruiting 2 of their people to come work for my company though ;)
  • Ron 2008-01-23 14:10
    Trawn:
    The editorial WTF here is the 9 digit zip code which likely corresponds to one address. Google for it, probably someone's dad...

    http://listings.allpages.com/pa-0122935199-milton.html

  • ParkinT 2008-01-23 14:15
    At least he alphabetized the list of city names (although he probably could not spell or pronounce "alphabetize")
  • ParkinT 2008-01-23 14:21
    vt_mruhlin:
    Back in college, I made a few attempts to tailor the "objective" section of my resume to the specific job I was applying for. After a few "attaching the wrong file" mishaps, I ended up sending IBM a resume saying that I wanted a job with Microsoft.... Needless to say, I didn't get that job (or one with IBM).

    Now I just don't include an objective.

    Isn't the *real* objective always the same? To be employed!
  • el jaybird 2008-01-23 14:22
    JiP:
    By mistake, he ended up (unaware) at the company (although there was a name similarity, it was nevertheless not the company he applied at) I was working for then and said to the receptionist that he was to have an interview. As things weren't organized that well at the time, the manager just believed there had been a miscommunication and told the guy that he could have the interview. He got hired after the interview (I can tell you that he was very good indeed), leaving the company he originally applied wondering ever since what happened to their applicant...


    Wow. How long did it take him to figure that out?
  • Christophe 2008-01-23 14:31
    pitchingchris:
    It must get cold working in PA out of an RV all the time. Nice for a camping trip, not so nice to be in for working hours. The guy either has family there or is in trouble with the law.


    I know! He's 'Harry Tuttle, Renegade Software Engineer'!
  • FredSaw 2008-01-23 14:44
    Patrick:
    I'd be weary of any place that forces a written test.
    vt_mruhlin:
    Having been told to take BrainBench tests before, I tend to be a little weary of them myself.
    You guys might want to be even wearier of spelling checkers. Or if not weary, then at least wary. Or leery.
  • Ilyak 2008-01-23 14:50
    Which is understandable but isn't that smart. I've met people with excellent resumes who just couldn't write non-wtf code, and also I've met smart guys with whiny/desperate-looking resumes.

    Also, English might not be his primary language. The only really creepy thing on his resume is that he attained those MS Office courses :)
  • dlikhten 2008-01-23 14:52
    Well, I hate web-sites, I despise java, and my absolute worst hatred is computers. Which is why I am working as a java software developer making a website! (though I really do dislike java, Ruby is the way :) )
  • duckyd 2008-01-23 15:15
    If you can't think outside the box, build a bigger box!
  • Someone You Know 2008-01-23 15:37
    ParkinT:
    At least he alphabetized the list of city names (although he probably could not spell or pronounce "alphabetize")


    Except for the fact that he doesn't seem to be entirely sure where the letter W falls in the alphabet.
  • immibis 2008-01-23 15:44
    Is that PDF a resume that has been printed out and scanned back in? You should have put a picture of a wooden table behind it when you scanned it.
  • Andrew 2008-01-23 15:45
    SuperousOxide:
    yet another Matt:
    Please tell me King of Prussia is a real place, somewhere. I want to work there too.


    Sure, it's real. It's near Philadelphia (which didn't make this guy's list for some reason). There are a couple of big malls there.

    edit:
    Looking at the other comments here, it seems the mall is the only point of interest about King of Prussia :)


    Why should he work in Philadelphia? Can you imagine parking an RV in Center City? I learned to parallel park my mother's 1980 Buick there, and it bareley fit.
  • Stupidumb 2008-01-23 15:47
    duckyd:
    If you can't think outside the box, build a bigger box!


    Now that's thinking outside the box.
  • ben 2008-01-23 15:54
    The chair of a high-school English department? Wow.
  • . 2008-01-23 16:03
    "...if you’ve reviewed a whole crap ton of resumes..."

    I was under the impression that the SI unit was a "metric fuckton".
  • CRNewsom 2008-01-23 16:22
    He was using US Customary units, that's why it looks that way.
  • Minos 2008-01-23 16:41
    Jay Levitt:
    I want to know what a feather is.


    It's the suggested replacement his spell checker gave for "featcher". Say it out loud.
  • Jay 2008-01-23 16:56
    My favorite Pennsylvania place name is Mars, zip code 16046. I have no idea if there are any IT jobs there, but I think it would be way cool to be able to say, "I am from Mars" and be telling the absolute truth.
  • no one 2008-01-23 16:56
    In addition I have several courses to take now!

    All your base are belong to us!
  • Jay 2008-01-23 17:06
    On the serious side: Every source of advice on interviewing I've ever seen says that you should research the company you're applying to. In the days before the Internet, I used to go to the library and search through directories and newspapers and I'd literally spend hours. And then when I went to the interview, in the first 5 minutes the interviewer would tell me everything I'd learned from my research. These days with the Internet it's easier. But still, I don't think doing such research has ever done me one iota of good. I've never had an interviewer ask me anything that required a knowledge of their company.

    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?, the locations of all 129 branch offices and the part numbers of their best selling products? I suppose if you were applying for a computer job at a big computer company, like Oracle or IBM, and you had no idea what they did, that would say something about your computer knowledge. But if you don't know what Podunk Products makes? Who cares?

    My honest answer to "why didn't you apply to [company x]" would be "Because you had a want ad or job listing for a position that I am qualified for and they didn't, and while I suppose I could send applications to every company in the world in the hopes that they have a suitable opening, that seems like rather a waste of time." Are there a lot of people out there who really send out job applications to companies that they think might be a nice place to work without regard to advertised openings? Maybe that's a good way to find a job. I suppose there wouldn't be as much competition. Can't say I've ever tried it.
  • Bob 2008-01-23 17:12
    The +4 part of the ZIP code probably should have been blacked out. From that part of of the ZIP code you can determine that the address is for a house on the odd-numbered side of the 300 section Park Avenue in Milton, PA. Fortunately, that doesn't narrow it down to a specific house.

    http://tinyurl.com/2ckvzw
  • FredSaw 2008-01-23 17:19
    Minos:
    Jay Levitt:
    I want to know what a feather is.


    It's the suggested replacement his spell checker gave for "featcher". Say it out loud.
    Roffle-mayo! I love it!
  • Mackenzie 2008-01-23 17:22
    whicker:
    what is the wtf about the first one? So he has an atypical living situation, maybe his wife divorced him and took everything? Maybe he does have a house, and thinks the RV is going the "extra mile"?

    "I would like to work with a Company". What if instead he intended that to mean, "I would like a full time position".

    Reading the work history, the person did some interesting stuff and certainly had (at the time) some good related experience.

    However, he really sucks at Word formatting, but I don't entirely blame him.

    Or was the humor more like the "Live in a van down by the river" comedy sketch by Chris Farley?

    He has the writing abilities of a first grader. Every sentence is formatted almost exactly the same. They all either start with "I" followed by a verb and a noun or "It was" followed by an adjective or verb. It reminds me of a little kid reading "Tom is a boy. Spot is a dog. Spot is Tom's dog. Spot can run. Tom can run. Spot and Tom run." He capitalizes random words, and some of his sentences aren't even sentences. How about this gem?
    "I developed a package for them. It included an add/delete feather. An edit feather and a Monthy/Quarterly report."
    The last "sentence" has no predicate. That should have all been one sentence that sounds like maybe an 8th grader wrote it, "I developed an application which allowed records to be added or deleted and could generate monthly and quarterly reports."

    Based on his grasp of English, I'm thinking he'd write code that looks like this:

    int a = 0;
    a = 1;
    int b = 0;
    b = 2;
    int c = 0;
    c = a;
    c = c + b;
    c = c + 5;

    instead of...oh i don't know...

    int a,b,c;
    a=1;
    b=2;
    c=a+b+5;
  • tiro 2008-01-23 17:34
    yet another Matt:
    Please tell me King of Prussia is a real place, somewhere. I want to work there too.


    Yes it is, I used to live there. Not much there but a huge mall that was formed when two smaller malls grew into one another and merged.
  • clively 2008-01-23 17:39
    Jay:

    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?, the locations of all 129 branch offices and the part numbers of their best selling products?


    Twice now I've had phone interviews where the recruiter sent me the wrong company name. In both cases it was due to a minor misspelling, and I was still offered the real jobs.

    The reality is that it really doesn't matter if the company makes airplane engines or pop tarts. The problems they need solved are basically the same. Also, because of a highly mobile workforce companies are used to having to at least somewhat sell themselves during the interview process.
  • Jimmy 2008-01-23 17:42
    GalacticCowboy:
    Or the one that never gets old... :D You have to go through Intercourse to get to Paradise.


    Not necessarily, if you're coming from Bird in Hand, Unicorn, or Peach Bottom.

    If you're coming from Blue Ball or Pine Swamp, then maybe.
  • whicker 2008-01-23 17:58
    Jay:
    ...But still, I don't think doing such research has ever done me one iota of good. I've never had an interviewer ask me anything that required a knowledge of their company.

    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?...


    Knowing what the company does or what skills and knowledge the position actually requires, so you can stress how you're the "right fit", is the point of doing research.

    One time I sat locked in a small room in a day-long interview, where the highlight was a two-hour lecture from the head project manager explaining the nuances of the relationships of the different internal departments and such with a grid on a big whiteboard. My stomach was growling fiercely because I had skipped breakfast because of a snowstorm.

    At the end of the day, I couldn't even remember what what I would be doing or what the initials were of the internal department I was to be working for. Something with P's and Q's. I know I messed up the thank-you letter by spelling it wrong. Hmph. Some candidate. Spent two hours explaining it and he can't even spell my department properly!
  • Robert Robbins 2008-01-23 18:03
    Wow, this programmer was looking for work in my area. Living in a RV is not so unusual. I think my boss lives in a trailer home. He is well qualified for a job in my town. Seriously, you should outsource to PA. My rates are now lower than the typical hourly rate in India.
  • Franz Kafka 2008-01-23 18:18
    FredSaw:
    java.lang.Chris;:
    The thing that amazes me whenever we're recruiting is the amount of lies people put on their resume (or CV to a Brit). Time and time again I've had candidates come in, only to find out they have never used some of the programming languages, operating systems or other technology such relational databases that are mentioned on their CV. I'm not even talking about stuff that's irrelevant to the job they're applying for, or even listed as a I nice to have, this is the key skills the job demands them to have!
    Sometimes this isn't the candidate's fault. They talk to a headhunter and answer a series of questions and the headhunter draws up their resume based on that talk. The headhunter, of course, is simply looking to get the candidate hired so they can collect their fee. So they pad the resume. If you once created a web page with FrontPage, you're an expert in HTML. If you once converted a ColdFusion app to C#, you're a CF wizard.

    I once interviewed a guy whose resume said he had an Associate Degree from Sam Houston State University. Knowing better, I said, "Hmm... I didn't realize SHSU had a two year degree program," and he turned red and stammered an explanation that he had attended some classes there for a couple of semesters, and that the headhunter must have put that on the resume.


    This is why you bring a copy of your resume. No reason to ever let a headhunter _write_ your resume.
  • Michael 2008-01-23 18:20
    ...I looked over the .PDF resume, and noticed that on page 3, he lists one of the languages he worked with is Bobcad.

    ...is there such a thing, and is it just one of those custom-built language types that never hit the mainstream? Bobcad sounds like a WTF all on its own...but I'm no expert in Bobs or WTFs. My dad's name is Bob though.
  • Russ 2008-01-23 19:01
    snoofle:
    Paul:
    I can't think what I'd have said if someone asked me for an example of 'out of the box' thinking.

    It's not something you deliberately remember (at least, I wouldn't), and in hindsight it might not seem to be 'out of the box'.

    In any case, thinking 'out of the box' isn't always a good idea for a developer - if it's too far out of the box it can be hard to maintain... "Good" thinking out of the box would probably be totally forgettable because the result is so elegant and 'obvious' (in hindsight).

    I suppose a good example of thinking "out of the box" would be the first person who came up with something like quick sort or radix sort instead of bubble sort (which is the most obvious sorting technique). If so, then if that's the sort of 'optimisation' the interviewee did, it would seem to be good to me.

    (See http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/v4i30_hargadon.html )

    re: an example of out-of-the-box thinking.
    The post from yesterday (re lock and timer verses win-98 pc's and tanning beds), or something analogous would be a great answer.

    Personally, my out-of-the-box story happened a couple of years ago. The company had a login policy of something-you-have and something-you-know (site-certificate and password). The rule was that the cert's couldn't be distributed by e-mail (yeah, I know, but whatever). Thus, they needed to be distributed in person to each Pc at each company site every 3 months. Since we have customers globally, it got really expensive really fast. The users who were paying for all of this wanted a cheaper alternative. The engineering group proposed something for 6 million dollars and 6-12 calendar months of effort. I laughed, took 2 hours to code up a couple of cold fusion pages with short-lived challenge-response passwords to limit access. Total cost: $1500 for the CF license and the (old) PC was free as it was collecting dust in a closet. The security folks approved it and a day later it was deployed.


    Yet another example of ColdFusion turning a $6 million dollar project into a $6000 project.
  • real_aardvark 2008-01-23 19:07
    I suppose this ironic, coming from somebody who is repeatedly accused of being a "grammar nazi." (Whatever that is. I suspect I'm more of a "grammar peronista," if you want to get technical.)

    However, I see very little wrong with this resume at all.

    Granted, it's very sad, and it betrays an overarching reach beyond possibility of attainment.

    I have, however, been forced to manage a fifteen person team (it was scheduled to be four, but apparently corporate management have yet to learn of Brooke's Law) at the height of the .com bubble. Needless to say, there was variance.

    One of the important life lessons that this taught me is that anybody with the desire to work in a technical job has the possibility of qualifying for one. Not, obviously, the guy who froze like a rabbit in the headlights when I asked him to debug something. (I put him in QA. He's now a Business Analyst.) Not, obviously, the recent immigrant from India who had that irritating cultural habit of standing behind you and noisily swallowing his own phlegm. (I put him on writing contrived test cases for the vendor, even though I knew that there was nothing wrong with the vendor's software. Hell, we're paying for support. Eventually I recommended him for a support job, at which he's apparently a star.) Not, obviously, the 60 year old "programmer" who just got in the way. God solved that one for me with incurable brain cancer. Thank God for God.

    <obama>My point is that we here, all of us, my brethren, tend to find this stuff funny. It isn't, really. There's nothing funny about living in an RV; it might well be a plus point in a resume. There's nothing funny about listing every single podunk town in eastern Pennsylvania; that's a rational decision. (BTW, I love Pennsylvania.) And there's certainly nothing funny about the resume in general.</obama>

    Whatcha want? It's reasonably literate, by programmer standards. The man sets out his stall (and yes, I know he's asking for a rather peculiar progression). He's prepared to move (to a trailer park near you) just to get a job -- presumably any job. And, best of all, there are no (obvious) lies at all.

    No Paula.

    No quack.

    Me, I'd call the poor sod in for two reasons. One, he might be qualified for a job in QA or customer support (low bars, I'll agree), and two, if I fail him, I might be able to point him towards a better career.

    Charity, people, charity. (I would say caritas, but I suspect that Alex has nicked that for a captcha.)
  • chrismcb 2008-01-23 19:36
    Paulo:
    Work from an RV parked outside the company? That raises telecommuting to a whole new level.

    Gonzo? Is that you?
  • vt_mruhlin 2008-01-23 19:58
    whicker:
    Jay:
    ...But still, I don't think doing such research has ever done me one iota of good. I've never had an interviewer ask me anything that required a knowledge of their company.

    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?...


    Knowing what the company does or what skills and knowledge the position actually requires, so you can stress how you're the "right fit", is the point of doing research.

    One time I sat locked in a small room in a day-long interview, where the highlight was a two-hour lecture from the head project manager explaining the nuances of the relationships of the different internal departments and such with a grid on a big whiteboard. My stomach was growling fiercely because I had skipped breakfast because of a snowstorm.

    At the end of the day, I couldn't even remember what what I would be doing or what the initials were of the internal department I was to be working for. Something with P's and Q's. I know I messed up the thank-you letter by spelling it wrong. Hmph. Some candidate. Spent two hours explaining it and he can't even spell my department properly!


    Generally there's no amount of research that can actually tell you what the internal structure of the company is like, or what particular job you'll end up in (except maybe for a very very small company). For big companies? Research is going to yield "We're an excellent competitor in the Enterprise Widgets business. We have clients in lots of countries, and are committed to diversity!"

    Sadly, the interviewers are hoping you'll recite exactly that. Haven't yet found out if they're douchebags, or if they're just checking to make sure you actually took time to visit their web page.
  • Vsm 2008-01-23 20:47
    Jay:
    On the serious side: Every source of advice on interviewing I've ever seen says that you should research the company you're applying to. In the days before the Internet, I used to go to the library and search through directories and newspapers and I'd literally spend hours. And then when I went to the interview, in the first 5 minutes the interviewer would tell me everything I'd learned from my research. These days with the Internet it's easier. But still, I don't think doing such research has ever done me one iota of good. I've never had an interviewer ask me anything that required a knowledge of their company.

    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?, the locations of all 129 branch offices and the part numbers of their best selling products? I suppose if you were applying for a computer job at a big computer company, like Oracle or IBM, and you had no idea what they did, that would say something about your computer knowledge. But if you don't know what Podunk Products makes? Who cares?


    Researching the company probably wouldn't help you say something good in the interview, but I could see it saving you from accidentally putting your foot in your mouth...
  • El_oscuro 2008-01-23 20:55
    You just need a Wireless access point, a VPN, and you are in business. I have a small data center in my RV.
  • El_oscuro 2008-01-23 21:08
    whicker:
    Jay:
    ...But still, I don't think doing such research has ever done me one iota of good. I've never had an interviewer ask me anything that required a knowledge of their company.

    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?...


    Knowing what the company does or what skills and knowledge the position actually requires, so you can stress how you're the "right fit", is the point of doing research.

    One time I sat locked in a small room in a day-long interview, where the highlight was a two-hour lecture from the head project manager explaining the nuances of the relationships of the different internal departments and such with a grid on a big whiteboard. My stomach was growling fiercely because I had skipped breakfast because of a snowstorm.

    At the end of the day, I couldn't even remember what what I would be doing or what the initials were of the internal department I was to be working for. Something with P's and Q's. I know I messed up the thank-you letter by spelling it wrong. Hmph. Some candidate. Spent two hours explaining it and he can't even spell my department properly!


    I once interviewed with a company, in which they readily agreed to an interview after hours (starting at 5:30pm I think). I should have been suspicious immediately. Anyway, by 9:30pm I was ready to say:

    "I really don't care if I get this job. Can I just go home now?"

    I did actually take the job, but got a rude awakening when on the 2nd day, another consultant called me into a meeting which lasted 4 hours. If it is possible to be literally bored to death, it would be here. I quit the job after about six months, just before I died of boredom.
  • sas 2008-01-23 21:22
    Paul:
    I can't think what I'd have said if someone asked me for an example of 'out of the box' thinking.

    First, the guy put "thinks outside the box" on his own resume... it might have occurred to him that someone would ask for some examples, and he should have memorized and practiced a couple of stories at least.

    Second, the reason why he should do this: because too many stupid interviewers are looking to hire excellent interviewees, rather than excellent developers, sysadmins, or whatever they advertised for. These interviewers should remember that they are trying to determine how valuable this person could be to the company. And unless you're hiring a saleman, their interview skills aren't likely to be all that relevant once they're hired.
  • vt_mruhlin 2008-01-23 21:48
    sas:
    First, the guy put "thinks outside the box" on his own resume... it might have occurred to him that someone would ask for some examples, and he should have memorized and practiced a couple of stories at least.


    Wouldn't a memorized example be worse than nothing, in the context of an out-of-the-box thinker? Unless by "out of the box", he means he has a handful of solutions prepackaged in boxes, and he takes them out when he needs them...
  • Eric 2008-01-24 00:28
    I once took a phone screen for a job located in a nearby state. After the phone screen, I eagerly awaited the next step.... which appeared in my mailbox within the week:
    A job offer with moving package.

    Any company that would hire an employee sight-unseen and pay to move them hundreds of miles smells of desperation or just plain foolishness.

    I figure if they are so quick to hire, they may be just as quick to layoff (or burn you out?), etc...
  • Lester Burnham 2008-01-24 00:34
    Incidentally, nine-digit ZIP codes can really narrow down a location. That specific ZIP code seems to correspond to Breon's Welding & Repair on 309 Park Ave, Milton, (570) 742-8149. Might want to black that out next time. Or not :)
  • mtu 2008-01-24 03:07
    Neal:

    Naturally, failing to grab this opportunity that was dropped into my lap is something I still regret to this day.

    And here I was, thinking you'd declined at least partly for the fact they were engineering weapons.

    Captcha: Latin for "who"
  • Chris 2008-01-24 03:50
    Re: O RLY?
  • George Nacht 2008-01-24 05:11
    Thinking out of the box....labelled ,,Sanity"?

  • Bosshog 2008-01-24 05:28
    This is the same for the large town of Reading in England. We also have a village called Penn Street in (wait for it) Buckinghamshire, which is where the Penn family came from before they upsized to Pennsylvania!

    We also have such gems as the hamlet of Jerusalem (Cumbria), Queen Camel (Somerset), Nomansland (Devon), Boston (Lincolnshire), and Westward Ho! (Devon, and yes, it does have the exclamation mark :).

    What fun - I wish I had a village to name!
  • Taz 2008-01-24 06:05
    gabba:
    Why is he limited to Pennsylvania if he can just park his RV anywhere and work?


    High gas prices? :)
  • PC Paul 2008-01-24 07:35
    Stupidumb:
    duckyd:
    If you can't think outside the box, build a bigger box!


    Now that's thinking outside the box.

    Surely that just makes it more difficult?

    Build a smaller box, then it'll be easier to think outside of it.


    Now that's thinking around the box. Or something.
  • Someone You Know 2008-01-24 08:11
    real_aardvark:
    ...It's reasonably literate, by programmer standards...


    If that's true, then it's not this resume that's sad—it's the rest of the programming world.
  • T $ 2008-01-24 08:34
    Michael:
    ...I looked over the .PDF resume, and noticed that on page 3, he lists one of the languages he worked with is Bobcad.

    ...is there such a thing, and is it just one of those custom-built language types that never hit the mainstream? Bobcad sounds like a WTF all on its own...but I'm no expert in Bobs or WTFs. My dad's name is Bob though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_manufacturing
    Look in the section entitled "Software providers today"
  • rawsteak 2008-01-24 09:14
    That's as far as his RV will go with a half tank left of gas and coasting down hills. Didn't you read his letter?

    HE'LL WALK UP TO 20 MILES TO GO TO WORK. JERKS.
  • applebus 2008-01-24 09:29
    If you can't even give one example of when you "thought outside of the box" then why would you put it on your resume?

    If you make a claim on your resume, ANY CLAIM, you should be able to give an example or back it up somehow.
  • GalacticCowboy 2008-01-24 09:32
    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?, the locations of all 129 branch offices and the part numbers of their best selling products?


    Not exactly, but I did have an interview once where the interviewer asked what I knew about the company, which I actually knew rather well, having had two friends who worked there previously. After explaining what I knew of the company he told me that I was wrong, that what I had explained wasn't really what they did at all... and then proceeded to explain back to me exactly what I'd just told him but in a different way.

    Me: You make Widgets(tm).
    Him: No, that's not it at all.
    Me: ...
    Him: We manufacture a device that performs widget-like activity and is licensed to XYZ Corp as a "Widget".

    (Grossly anonymized)
  • shadowman 2008-01-24 11:15
    GalacticCowboy:


    Not exactly, but I did have an interview once where the interviewer asked what I knew about the company, which I actually knew rather well, having had two friends who worked there previously. After explaining what I knew of the company he told me that I was wrong, that what I had explained wasn't really what they did at all... and then proceeded to explain back to me exactly what I'd just told him but in a different way.

    Me: You make Widgets(tm).
    Him: No, that's not it at all.
    Me: ...
    Him: We manufacture a device that performs widget-like activity and is licensed to XYZ Corp as a "Widget".

    (Grossly anonymized)


    Reminds me of one time I went to Jiffy Lube, and the guy came out to the car with his may-I-help-you bit.

    "I'd like an oil change."

    "Sorry, we don't do oil changes here." He paused after this, waiting for me to say something stupid, apparently. I didn't bite, and just looked at him. "Nope, we do a Signature Service(TM)!"

  • shadowman 2008-01-24 11:17
    Smash:
    AC:
    Ok, so the Sybase/Oracle database thing was really dumb.

    But what would have been a good answer to the Google/Microsoft/etc. question?


    Raja: "Why do you want to work for Sybase, and not at, say Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Oracle?"

    Candidate: "I actually applied for them too, but I can't just sit while I wait for their call. In fact, just supposing they might not have an opening right now is more than enough reason to keep spreading my resume to other companies."

    There you have it, this answer shows you're proactive and considers possibilities (which means you're used to plan ahead). On the plus side, if your resume is decent enough, they will think their competitors may take an interest on you and they may lose the opportunity to hire you if they take too long to make an offer.


    That sort of implies that as soon as the phone rings from Google or Microsoft you're out the door.
  • WhiskeyJack 2008-01-24 11:57
    GalacticCowboy:
    Does anybody have any contrary experience? Any time that an interviewer actually quizzed you on what you knew about their company and rejected you because you didn't know, what?, the locations of all 129 branch offices and the part numbers of their best selling products?


    Not exactly, but I did have an interview once where the interviewer asked what I knew about the company, which I actually knew rather well, having had two friends who worked there previously. After explaining what I knew of the company he told me that I was wrong, that what I had explained wasn't really what they did at all... and then proceeded to explain back to me exactly what I'd just told him but in a different way.

    Me: You make Widgets(tm).
    Him: No, that's not it at all.
    Me: ...
    Him: We manufacture a device that performs widget-like activity and is licensed to XYZ Corp as a "Widget".

    (Grossly anonymized)


    I interviewed once for a new grad position in a very large consulting firm. Nevermind the fact that I was late and showed up for the interview, which was held in the Career Services building at my university, huffing and puffing and breathless (the interviewer actually paused and said "why don't you take a few minutes to cactch your breath"). I thought I'd show at least a token knowledge of the company, so the night before I did as much reading as I could about their various business divisions and alignments.

    When he asked if I had any questions I said something like "Yes, I realize how large and diverse your company is, so I just wanted to try and understand the 'big picture' -- my impression of your company is ..." and I drew out a nice matrix of business divisions, product lines, etc. on a piece of paper. I gave it to him, and asked "Does that seem about right?"

    He seemed impressed but something wasn't quite right, he was coughing nervously and said "That's a pretty good first guess" or something. Apparently I touched a nerve because I drew two business units as roughly equal in stature when in fact they were not, evidently very much not, and in some kind of deep rivalry with each other.
  • BinaryPhalanx 2008-01-24 12:14
    I often put add/delete feathers in my applications.
    Unfortunately, I never "discored" Visual Basic Guide To The Windows32 API, so I've never been able to figure out how to put any edit feathers in.
  • Henry Miller 2008-01-24 14:17
    Many executives seem to have this idea that because they came up with a good idea and made it big, nearly everyone else is just as enthused about their buisness. Therefore why should they hire anyone who doesn't care exactly which widget the company makes.

    The rest of us know that an envelope and a gear are very different physically, but are just as willing to help build either one. I don't dream about envelopes at night, but if an envelope maker needs a programmer for something I'm willing to help them make the best envelopes. If they decide not to hire me, I'll just get a job with someone who makes rubber stamps and needs a programmer.

    Of course you never say this at the interview. You always research the company so you can give a creditable impression that you really want to work for them, but are willing to work for someone else if they don't hire you.

    The other reason to research a company is to see if there is a dark underside.
  • FredSaw 2008-01-24 15:47
    shadowman:
    "Sorry, we don't do oil changes here." He paused after this, waiting for me to say something stupid, apparently. I didn't bite, and just looked at him. "Nope, we do a Signature Service(TM)!"
    Sounds like something he was required to say. Like "You want fries with that?"
  • wingcommander 2008-01-24 16:37
    There are some VERY strange names in PA, King of Prussia is almost normal.

    Try

    Blueball

    and my favorite

    Leather Corner Post

  • Bob 2008-01-24 16:42
    That specific ZIP code seems to correspond to Breon's Welding & Repair on 309 Park Ave, Milton

    Actually, it's any of the odd-numbered houses on the 300 section of the street.
  • Eternal Density 2008-01-24 17:47
    Stupidumb:
    I would like to leave a comment.
    I am an expert at writing comments.
    I have a desk and would like to write comments from my desk.

    I have a wooden table.
    I would like to write comments from my wooden table.
    I would like to photograph comments on my wooden table and upload them heah.
  • Hognoxious 2008-01-25 05:55
    FredSaw:
    Anonymous:
    Is there any other type of a .NET developer than the "fresh out of school" one?
    Yes.
    It's true, most of them never even went.

    Don't forget to tip your waitress!
  • Adriaan 2008-01-25 09:17
    I'd say he's from Transylvania rather than Pennsylvania...
  • faded 2008-01-25 13:47
    I actualy had a cusotmer in Milton PA a long time ago. Milton is a podunk place on the Susquehana river. The down town gets flooded every few years. I always wonder why they keep rebuilding the town in the same spot.
  • David 2008-01-27 17:23
    I briefly worked at Radio Shack and one of the more notable regulars was this weird guy with ratty /decaying clothing who just happened to have a Masters in computer engineer. I would never have guessed except he forget some parts he was picking up for a side project and his boss came by. It turns out he made over $150K a year, his boss had bought him a top of the line RV, and kept giving him free gift cards for clothes... but the guy just didn't get the clue.
  • Andrew 2008-01-29 19:10
    Actually, we had a DBA at our last company who did just that. Had a whole setup in there, and would park it outside. He also worked _inside_ 1/2 the time, but hey, he had everything he needed there and would use it for testing and development. He even ran CAT5 out the window to hook it up. Really sharp, with a bit of an ancient unix wizard look. It fit, somehow.

    He just showed up for the job(s). If he needed to stay years then he would go rent an apartment I figure, but he generally didn't. And it was damn cheap to live out of, I presume.

  • hhurricane 2008-11-25 01:40
    ahem....delaware!
  • wm 2009-07-06 05:28
  • aaa 2009-09-07 10:36
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
  • David 2010-03-13 09:57
    The last one sounds scarily close to being about me... Except my optimization was incredibly innovative and I got offered the job. Still it's making me rethink my interview examples!
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