• Joe Luser (cs)

    "... and they paid me way too much money..."

    Priceless!

    (first - how embarrassing)
     

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    A sharp young programmer who came highly recommended to us came in for interview. His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.

    The initial introductory interview with me went generally well, so I suggested that he also meet the senior members of my staff. I asked him to wait in the interview room for a few minutes while I gathered up my team leaders. We arrived back at an empty interview room; the programmer had up and disappeared. I check with the receptionist, look in the bathrooms, the lobby -- no one has seen him. On the way back to my office, an employee stops me in the hall and asks "Who's that guy in Scott's office?"

    Sure enough, the tight-suited, sneaker-wearing programmer started wandering around the hallways and stopped in a manager's office. As he was reading a programming book off the shelf, I asked "Excuse, me, what exactly are you doing?"

    "Oh, while I was waiting I figured I'd walk around to check out the place and read some of these books to see what kinds of programming languages you guy's use here."

    While we decided not to hire the programmer, we did make immediate changes to our interview and security procedures.

    So what? He dressed badly and was a little too curious.. Using your selection criteria you would have fired both John Carmack and Steve Wozniak.
  • Annonymous (unregistered) in reply to Joe Luser

    Apple Solaris?? It would have been a little more funny if they said Apple Solaris with the .NET Framework... a big jumble of 3 totally different platforms!! Totally WTF

  • unlisted_error (unregistered) in reply to Joe Luser

    I once interviewed at a very small electronics company and showed up in a nice suit and shiny shoes. The guy who interviewed me was wearing frayed cut-off jeans shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and open toed sandals without socks. He was both laid back yet very intense; I don’t know how to describe him exactly. He turned out to be part of the higher level management.

    From there I interviewed another person, a remarkable lady who had a naked female mannequin in her office. She was in charge of project software development for embedded systems. She noticed my interest and noted that, “that was a gift from my girl friend”. I just said “cool” and went on with the interview.

    She tuned out to be one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. The company was tragically a victim of the .com bust. The time I did work there will always have warm memories of what a work place can be like. The whole operation was like a big family. We once even had a giant squirt gun fight one summer day in the back parking lot. <span>&nbsp;</span>The squirt guns were provided by management and they joined in. The tubs you filled the guns from were filled with ice water!

    Ah, those were the days....

     

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous
    So what? He dressed badly and was a little too curious.. Using your selection criteria you would have fired both John Carmack and Steve Wozniak.

    Probably due to the lack of enough common sense to realize that you shouldn't go snooping around someone's office, while they're not there, during a job interview.
  • SumDumGuy (unregistered)

    I used to do a lot of interviewing of candidates at my previous company.

     A couple of my favorite gems:

     
    Q: What does the "private" keyword do in C# ?

    A: Well, it's like, when you don't want your colleagues to know what you're doing.

    Q: What is "this" in C# ?

    A: Well, it's itself, isn't it?

    Q: Could you walk me through the request-response cycle for a request to a web application, from the user's browser to the web server, and perhaps to a database, then back?

    A: No.
     

  • Jnx (unregistered)

    I guess I'm young and dumb. But I don't think all of those were such big wtfs. That young programmer probably weren't so experienced with professional lite and didn't realize the limits. Just teaching him something about that would probably make him not doing a similar mistake again.

    I don't think it's so weird that someone would have lot of things to say about their old company. Not after reading this site about how bad things really can be. I can't see why that would make him go nuts in other situations, assuming that the workplace he was interviewing for wasn't a major WTF in itself.

    Guess I just don't like to judge people that easily. The "these problems will always be around" guy was funny though. :)
     

  • SomebodyElse (cs) in reply to SumDumGuy
    Anonymous:

    Q: Could you walk me through the request-response cycle for a request to a web application, from the user's browser to the web server, and perhaps to a database, then back?

    A: No.

     Well, you did give him bonus points for honesty, right??

  • SumDumGuy (unregistered) in reply to SomebodyElse

    To be honest, I was so taken aback by his bluntness that I took a few seconds to collect my thoughts.  Illogically, I found myself on the defensive..."Erm, well, could you just try?  Explain it a little?"

  • Walrus (cs)

    I remember many moons ago trying to persuade my boss at the time to interview a candidate, who had little programming experience but fantastic potential. The candidate was also 'getting on a bit' and hadn't worked for 10 years. Eventually he was persuaded to interview him.

    The interview by all accounts went very badly... my boss was fuming, it took some time to calm him down. There was a strong personality clash, and certainly different senses of humour. One of the answers had particulary rattled him.....

    Boss: "Why did you finish your last job?"

    Candidate: "So I could come and work for you"

    Amazingly after more persuasion, my boss was conviniced into hiring him on a trial basis.

    The company itself did very well and grew to 60 employees (from 3 when I joined), however some bad decisions were made and the company went under..... twice. Many people stuck around over a period of 6-7 years, but eventually enough was enough and there was a mass exodus.

    The company still trades today, nearly 15 years on...... 'the candidate' is their only employee. 

     

     

     

  • tiro (cs) in reply to Jnx
    Anonymous:

    I guess I'm young and dumb. But I don't think all of those were such big wtfs. That young programmer probably weren't so experienced with professional lite and didn't realize the limits. Just teaching him something about that would probably make him not doing a similar mistake again.

    That one wasn't really about professionalism so much as basic common sense and courtesy.  If you go into someone's house, you really shouldn't snoop around in their medicine cabinet, but it's fine to read whatever they've got lying on the coffee table.  Why should it be any different in a business? 
     

  • CodeRage (cs) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    So what? He dressed badly and was a little too curious.. Using your selection criteria you would have fired both John Carmack and Steve Wozniak.


    Probably due to the lack of enough common sense to realize that you shouldn't go snooping around someone's office, while they're not there, during a job interview.

    Yet every day I work with and fix boatloads of software WTFs made by people with excellent "common sense".   Go figure. 

  • Nick (unregistered)

    "How often do you read tech-related news and blogs online?" I asked

    I'd be worried to answer that, fearing it was a trick question trying to get you to admit that you spend all day at work reading Slashdot.

     "Oh, yeah, I read those kinds of sites all the time!  But not when I'm at work, never ever there."

  • Michael (unregistered)

    I was lucky enough to have made the rounds of job interviewing not so long ago, below are from a couple of those experiences:

    Medium-sized B2B company making customer-specific web applications in PHP and synchronizing with an IBM mainframe.  I had already decided after meeting with the boss and his head programmer the environment would have driven me crazy.  So while they were asking me some specific technical questions, I just couldn't help myself:

    Q. What is the best way to iterate through an array of 300,000 objects in PHP4?
    A: To not iterate through an array of 300,000 objects in PHP4.

     
    Not long after that I interviewed with a small telecommunications startup.  In contrast to my previous experience, this environment was very clean and casual, the technology was fascinating and bleeding-edge, everything that made the .com era so much fun.  I would have accepted the job in an instant if not for the following:

    1.) I met my recruiter (it was a contract-hire) in the office lobby before my interview, where she briefed me on the history of the company and who I will be meeting with.  Then she lowers her voice and proceed to tell me that the President doesn't have very good people skills.  He's very smart she tells me, but not very easy to get along with at first, and she assures me I won't have to meet him on my first interview.

    2.) The first guy I talk to asks a bunch of personal and technical questions, then asks me how well I handle hostile co-workers.  He then goes on to warn me that the President can be rather harsh sometimes, and people have left the company because they couldn't take getting their feelings hurt, some of them even cried.

    3.) Last guy to interview me tells me a story about the President spending an hour yelling at the programming staff about something the project lead did (the project lead was not present for the tirade), and was hurling insults left and right.  He tells me he thinks the guy has a sugar imbalance, because after an explosion he eats a snickers bar, and 10 minutes latter he's your friend.  It can be bad sometime, he tells me, but it only happens a couple times a week.


  • OldSunGuy (unregistered)

    I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I always read these postings with some trepidation that I might recognize myself as the interviewee.  Only after reading through the whole thing I can say to myself, "I don't think that ever happened to me..."

     It's the same with the code snippets being held up for ridicule.  "I hope that's not something I wrote..."

     

  • oGMo (unregistered)
    His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.
    This certainly put me off.  I wouldn't want to work for a company whose VP of Tech judged candidates based on how well their suit fit or whether they wear sneakers.
  • Michael (unregistered)

    One time my boss gave me a couple of resumes to look over of candidate he was going to interview.  Since I was going to be working with them, he wanted me to sit in on the interview.  The first one was relatively standard, but one bullet point of the second candidate caught my eye:

    "Expert in all internet protocols"

     What?  Well we just had to interview this guy.  They interview itself went very well, then we brought up the bullet point.

    "Oh that?  Yeah, I just got tired of the staffing companies asking me about lists of specific protocols."

     We hired him, and he turned out to be a great programmer, though we never did let him live down his resume.

     

    Captcha: 1337 - That one's for you Gary!
     

  • Guy (unregistered) in reply to oGMo
    Anonymous:
    His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.

    This certainly put me off.  I wouldn't want to work for a company whose VP of Tech judged candidates based on how well their suit fit or whether they wear sneakers.

     

    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

  • GrandmasterB (cs) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:

    A sharp young programmer who came highly recommended to us came in for interview. His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.

    ..

    "Oh, while I was waiting I figured I'd walk around to check out the place and read some of these books to see what kinds of programming languages you guy's use here."

    So what? He dressed badly and was a little too curious.. Using your selection criteria you would have fired both John Carmack and Steve Wozniak.

    Agreed.  Its not like he was sifting through the boss's email.  It sounds like the guy was a bit socially awkward.  But it also sounds like he's a natural problem solver.  ie, he has a question so he seeks out an answer himself rather than sitting around waiting for it to be handed to him.  Thats a good attribute.  I'll take that attribute in a programmer any day over a vapid pretty-boy in a nice fitting monkey suit who brags about his MCSE.

    For his suit - its possible there was a reason for his mix-n-match appearence.  Especially if he was coming from another job and didnt want to show up there all dressed up (and thus advertise he had an interview).   In my past 3 interviews I didnt even wear a suit (jeans and sneakers).  Got 3 offers, accepted 2 of them.  As one vendor of mine used to say... 'never trust a programmer in a suit'.

     

     

  • Jon (unregistered) in reply to Annonymous

    What about OSX with mono???

  • son of anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Annonymous

    Yeah.  Apple Solaris definitely gets my vote.  Particularly since he was so adamant about version 2.0!

  • CodeRage (cs) in reply to Guy
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:
    His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.

    This certainly put me off.  I wouldn't want to work for a company whose VP of Tech judged candidates based on how well their suit fit or whether they wear sneakers.



    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

    Yeah, I'm sure the company would prefer I spend my free time shopping for shiny new shoes, shirts, pants, suits, dry cleaning them every week, getting manicures, etc, etc, instead of spending my free time learning new technologies and improving the skills that will actually be important to the job at hand.

    Heh, just kidding, dress well for an interview or else you look like an idiot. 

  • GrandmasterB (cs) in reply to Guy

    Anonymous:
    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

    I think you need to do some growing up yourself if you think your statement has any logic to it.

    If you're hiring a salesperson or fashion model, yeah, sure, they need to show they can dress up to meet with customers and otherwise impress folks.  But whether a programmer has a nice suit has little to do with how well he can design a system.

     

  • l1fel1ne (unregistered) in reply to Michael
    Anonymous:

    I was lucky enough to have made the rounds of job interviewing not so long ago, below are from a couple of those experiences:

    Medium-sized B2B company making customer-specific web applications in PHP and synchronizing with an IBM mainframe.  I had already decided after meeting with the boss and his head programmer the environment would have driven me crazy.  So while they were asking me some specific technical questions, I just couldn't help myself:

    Q. What is the best way to iterate through an array of 300,000 objects in PHP4?
    A: To not iterate through an array of 300,000 objects in PHP4.


    Not long after that I interviewed with a small telecommunications startup.  In contrast to my previous experience, this environment was very clean and casual, the technology was fascinating and bleeding-edge, everything that made the .com era so much fun.  I would have accepted the job in an instant if not for the following:

    1.) I met my recruiter (it was a contract-hire) in the office lobby before my interview, where she briefed me on the history of the company and who I will be meeting with.  Then she lowers her voice and proceed to tell me that the President doesn't have very good people skills.  He's very smart she tells me, but not very easy to get along with at first, and she assures me I won't have to meet him on my first interview.

    2.) The first guy I talk to asks a bunch of personal and technical questions, then asks me how well I handle hostile co-workers.  He then goes on to warn me that the President can be rather harsh sometimes, and people have left the company because they couldn't take getting their feelings hurt, some of them even cried.

    3.) Last guy to interview me tells me a story about the President spending an hour yelling at the programming staff about something the project lead did (the project lead was not present for the tirade), and was hurling insults left and right.  He tells me he thinks the guy has a sugar imbalance, because after an explosion he eats a snickers bar, and 10 minutes latter he's your friend.  It can be bad sometime, he tells me, but it only happens a couple times a week.


     

    Back in the dot-bomb days I was working for a fellow like that, except replace eating of a snickers bar with smoking a joint. The worst part is when he would tell off our best, and most loyal customers. Excellent support and service will only take you so far with a micromanaging jerk at the helm. Needless to say, the company went under :)

  • JoeyLemur (unregistered)

    I've learned the hard way about bad-mouthing a former employer... even if they have a permanent case of cranial-rectal inversion, its still better to mention the good things and not go into detail about why they suck so hard.

    And yes, medication helps... :)

     

  • Jon (unregistered) in reply to SumDumGuy

    Q: What does the "private" keyword do in C# ?

    Hehe... Effectively nothing since the default is private :)

  • Radiantmatrix (unregistered) in reply to Guy
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:
    His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.

    This certainly put me off.  I wouldn't want to work for a company whose VP of Tech judged candidates based on how well their suit fit or whether they wear sneakers.

     

    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

     

    I happen to agree with both you and the individual you were replying to.  Your views aren't contradictory.  The guy did come in wearing a suit -- even though it was ill-fitted and paired with sneakers.  That shows that he was trying to be respectful and that he thought the interview was important.

    For a technical position (and speaking as someone with experience as a hiring manger), it is important that the candidate be dressed in a way that shows his/her professionalism -- tidy, clean, and business-appropriate.  The bad-suit-and-sneakers combo may not be stylish, but if it was clean then he gets points for the effort.

    The quality and/or fit of the suit and the type of shoes worn with it only point to the candidate's sense of style and how able they are to afford nice clothes.  A good sense of style might be important for a sales rep, but not for most entry-level tech jobs.

     

  • Anonymous Coward (unregistered) in reply to Guy
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:
    His suit didn't fit well (at least he had one) and he wore sneakers. Normally this would put me off, but he was a young guy so I looked past it.

    This certainly put me off.  I wouldn't want to work for a company whose VP of Tech judged candidates based on how well their suit fit or whether they wear sneakers.

     

    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

    This is always one of the arguments used, and it sucks. Importance in one area does not imply importance in another. Just because I don't want to dress up doesn't mean I don't want to write good code. Just because I don't think wearing a suit and tie is important doesn't mean I don't think 'software project X' is important.

    I realize that's just the way it is. But just because it's 'the way it is' doesn't mean it's the way it SHOULD be...

    If you REALLY want to get down on how the candidate dressed, the argument would be something like, 'if you won't dress up for this interview, how do we know you'll dress up for a presentation with upper management and clients?' That would be a better point (but still off a bit... upper management and clients aren't AT this interview, so one's dress there does not necessarily represent their dress in the presence of said people).

  • Corporate Cog (unregistered)

    The "whiner" may actually meet one of Spolsky's criteria (aside from disparaging the surrounding restaurants).  His former/current position may be that bad; perhaps that's why he's looking...

  • zip (cs) in reply to GrandmasterB
    GrandmasterB:

    Anonymous:
    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

    I think you need to do some growing up yourself if you think your statement has any logic to it.

    If you're hiring a salesperson or fashion model, yeah, sure, they need to show they can dress up to meet with customers and otherwise impress folks.  But whether a programmer has a nice suit has little to do with how well he can design a system.

    It's not about how good you are.  It's about how good you appear to be.  Wearing a suit helps you appear good.  If you don't need that extra edge, good for you, but don't pretend it isn't an edge. 

     

  • Yakov (unregistered) in reply to Annonymous

    Anonymous:
    Apple Solaris?? It would have been a little more funny if they said Apple Solaris with the .NET Framework... a big jumble of 3 totally different platforms!! Totally WTF

     Oh god, please don't give any "entrepreneurs" any ideas!
     

  • jes5199 (cs) in reply to GrandmasterB

    My personal rule of thumb is: don't fake it. If you're a lazy slob who likes to sleep late - like me - then don't pretend to be a type-A go-getter suave-in-a-suit.

    Because, here's the thing, the people who hire you, well, they'll expect to see the guy they interviewed <span style="font-style: italic">every day.</span>
    So you might as well go as yourself, and only take the jobs that are actually compatible with your personality (and with your <span style="font-style: italic">actual skills</span>).

    Maybe I'm making less money because I've never worn a coat and tie to an interview, but my schedule is flexible, and I have plenty of coffee, and decent technology to play with.

  • A Businessman (cs) in reply to SomebodyElse
    SomebodyElse:
    Anonymous:

    Q: Could you walk me through the request-response cycle for a request to a web application, from the user's browser to the web server, and perhaps to a database, then back?

    A: No.

     Well, you did give him bonus points for honesty, right??

    Personally, I appreciate an honest "I'm not familiar with that" as opposed to someone attempting to BS their way through something. IMHO, I'd rather hire someone who is personable, reasonably well qualifed and who has an open mind, than look for someone who is an expert in everything (who is?)

  • Puma (unregistered)

    I would have hired the kid in the poorly fitting suit. Who cares if he didn't wear dress shoes, or if his suit didn't quite fit, as long as he looked presentable that's all that matters. Now, about him being curious... I have found curiosity to be an awesome trait for developers to have. Sure, it might be seen as poor etiquite, but he was reading a book not sifting through underwear. He was searching for the answer to a question.

  • PseudoNoise (unregistered)

    While everyone's complaining about the business dress story (MHO: putting on your best business suit for an interview is a sign of respect), I just wanted to say I LOL'd at the "Are you an astronaut?"  I'd have wanted to find a hole to crawl into.  Totally understandable, and totally embarassing.

  • darin (cs) in reply to unlisted_error
    Anonymous:

    I once interviewed at a very small electronics company and showed up in a nice suit and shiny shoes.

    I'm surprised people still expect suits for interviews.  I'm in California though.  I had an interview once and asked the recruiter if I should wear a suit, and he said of course.  When I got there, it turned out he was the only person in the entire building with a suit (including the vest) and it didn't fit well.  I stuck out badly.  After I got the job, I found out he was basically the only person in the entire mid-size company that wore a suit.  8 years and 2 companies later, ex coworkers still laugh at me over this.

    People may not remember the recruiter, even after describing his eccentricities.  But when I say "the guy in the suit", they suddenly remember and start laughing.

  • Zlodo (unregistered) in reply to JoeyLemur
    Anonymous:

    I've learned the hard way about bad-mouthing a former employer... even if they have a permanent case of cranial-rectal inversion, its still better to mention the good things and not go into detail about why they suck so hard.

    I'm always weary of the "why did you left your previous job" question myself. You've got to be frank and give a compelling reason as to why you left your job, yet this very reason might hurt your chance to get the new job.

    For instance, even if you had perfectly good reason to dislike someone in your last job, saying so might make them think that you don't get along well with people.

    If you say "their codebase was a giant WTF", they may think that you're too intolerant of things being done in a different way than yours. Also, they might be unsure that you won't get pissed off by their own codebase, since codebase are always more or less WTF-ish.


     

  • Puma (unregistered) in reply to zip
    zip:
    GrandmasterB:

    Anonymous:
    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

    I think you need to do some growing up yourself if you think your statement has any logic to it.

    If you're hiring a salesperson or fashion model, yeah, sure, they need to show they can dress up to meet with customers and otherwise impress folks.  But whether a programmer has a nice suit has little to do with how well he can design a system.

    It's not about how good you are.  It's about how good you appear to be.  Wearing a suit helps you appear good.  If you don't need that extra edge, good for you, but don't pretend it isn't an edge. 

     

     You can still look good in sneakers. One of my common interview outfits is a $100 pair of jeans that are a tad tore up, sneakers, and a nice brightly colored dress shirt (the bright color makes you memorable) with a blazer over it. It's fasionable, comfortable (which is important), and unique.

  • Puma (unregistered) in reply to Zlodo
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:

    I've learned the hard way about bad-mouthing a former employer... even if they have a permanent case of cranial-rectal inversion, its still better to mention the good things and not go into detail about why they suck so hard.

    I'm always weary of the "why did you left your previous job" question myself. You've got to be frank and give a compelling reason as to why you left your job, yet this very reason might hurt your chance to get the new job.

    For instance, even if you had perfectly good reason to dislike someone in your last job, saying so might make them think that you don't get along well with people.

    If you say "their codebase was a giant WTF", they may think that you're too intolerant of things being done in a different way than yours. Also, they might be unsure that you won't get pissed off by their own codebase, since codebase are always more or less WTF-ish.


     

     That is one of those interview questions that you should have a rehearsed BS response too. Even if you're thinking "OMG, WTF, what a bunch of morons they were."

  • Dear Lord (unregistered) in reply to Annonymous

    Anonymous:
    Apple Solaris?? It would have been a little more funny if they said Apple Solaris with the .NET Framework... a big jumble of 3 totally different platforms!! Totally WTF

    Well, Apple's OS is UNIX-based now.  And there's that-there MONO project to port .NET over to LINUX.

    Maybe this person was just way ahead of all of us.

     

    Captcha is 'clueless'. Indeed.

  • UMTopSpinC7 (cs)

    I have seen a resume with someone claiming be working towards their "Bachelorette of Science". I wonder if she ever got it?

  • anon (unregistered) in reply to Puma

    This outfit sounds like you are going on a date.  Most likely your boss will be older than you and you should dress accordingly.  Does anyone remember ties?  Like a brightly colored dress shirt, they draw attention, just in a bit more sophisticated way.

  • A Businessman (cs) in reply to Puma
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:

    I've learned the hard way about bad-mouthing a former employer... even if they have a permanent case of cranial-rectal inversion, its still better to mention the good things and not go into detail about why they suck so hard.

    I'm always weary of the "why did you left your previous job" question myself. You've got to be frank and give a compelling reason as to why you left your job, yet this very reason might hurt your chance to get the new job.

    For instance, even if you had perfectly good reason to dislike someone in your last job, saying so might make them think that you don't get along well with people.

    If you say "their codebase was a giant WTF", they may think that you're too intolerant of things being done in a different way than yours. Also, they might be unsure that you won't get pissed off by their own codebase, since codebase are always more or less WTF-ish.

     That is one of those interview questions that you should have a rehearsed BS response too. Even if you're thinking "OMG, WTF, what a bunch of morons they were."

    How about this one: "Due to budgetary constraints, my current project is being put on hold indefinitely, and there does not appear to be enough work to keep all of us busy. While the company has not made any moves toward layoffs, I prefer to be productive, and am proactively looking for a challenge. I understand the project for which I'm interviewing is a substantial effort - can you shed some light on it?"

    It's pure BS, but applies to just about any IT project on the planet, and get's past the question.

  • Shawn (unregistered) in reply to Jon

    Penicillin, bed rest and lots of fluids.  You should be back to work in a week or so.

  • ptomblin (cs) in reply to darin

    The only time I haven't worn a suit to a first interview (except for jobs I didn't want) was during a heat wave with temperatures in the high 90s.  I didn't have a/c in my car, and I asked my pimp to ask the client if it would be ok.  Probably just as well, because I would have stunk something awful by the time I drove across town in a suit.

    I graduated as an engineer rather than a computer programmer, and actually had a seminar on the psychology of job interviews.  We were told that you wear the suit not because it says anything about you or your abilities, but as a sign of respect to the interviewer.  Whether conciously or not, they want to know that you prepared for the interview, you didn't just drop in on your way to something else.  It's also important to ask specific questions that show you know something about the company interviewing you.  If it's a big company that everybody has heard of (Kodak or Xerox, say), ask questions that show you know something about the division or group that is interviewing you.

     

  • UMTopSpinC7 (cs) in reply to A Businessman

    A Businessman:
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:
    Anonymous:

    I've learned the hard way about bad-mouthing a former employer... even if they have a permanent case of cranial-rectal inversion, its still better to mention the good things and not go into detail about why they suck so hard.

    I'm always weary of the "why did you left your previous job" question myself. You've got to be frank and give a compelling reason as to why you left your job, yet this very reason might hurt your chance to get the new job.

    For instance, even if you had perfectly good reason to dislike someone in your last job, saying so might make them think that you don't get along well with people.

    If you say "their codebase was a giant WTF", they may think that you're too intolerant of things being done in a different way than yours. Also, they might be unsure that you won't get pissed off by their own codebase, since codebase are always more or less WTF-ish.

     That is one of those interview questions that you should have a rehearsed BS response too. Even if you're thinking "OMG, WTF, what a bunch of morons they were."

    How about this one: "Due to budgetary constraints, my current project is being put on hold indefinitely, and there does not appear to be enough work to keep all of us busy. While the company has not made any moves toward layoffs, I prefer to be productive, and am proactively looking for a challenge. I understand the project for which I'm interviewing is a substantial effort - can you shed some light on it?"

    It's pure BS, but applies to just about any IT project on the planet, and get's past the question.


    That is pretty good. What about, "What is your biggest weakness". Another one that's pretty tough.

  • ptomblin (cs) in reply to UMTopSpinC7
    UMTopSpinC7:

    That is pretty good. What about, "What is your biggest weakness". Another one that's pretty tough.

    "I'm so smart and good and fast that I make everybody else on the project look bad by comparison"

    "Because my code never has bugs in it, I don't get a chance to debug code much."

    "I work too hard and for too little money."

     

  • darin (cs) in reply to Guy
    Anonymous:

    Grow up, people care how you look.  If an interview isn't important enough to you to dress up a little bit then how is the company's software project going to be important enough for you to work hard on it?

    There a difference in dressing up a little and actually having fashion sense.  People with ill-fitting suits almost never know that they're ill fitting, or may not have had time to buy a new suit and have it tailored in time for the interview.  (being middle aged, I have learned that suits that are hung in the closet for ten years will shrink :-)

    (I once spent 11 months looking for a job.  I think that wearing a tie made me lose out on a few offers, indirectly.  Ie, sitting in the interview, uncomfortable, with a noose around my neck.  Late in the game one company finally told me what they liked and disliked about me.  My drawbacks were that he thought I was way too formal, answered questions correctly but too succinctly, and that I would have been a great candidate if only I had loosened up a bit so that it felt like I would have fit in.)

  • Bill (unregistered) in reply to Puma
    Anonymous:

     You can still look good in sneakers. One of my common interview outfits is a $100 pair of jeans that are a tad tore up, sneakers, and a nice brightly colored dress shirt (the bright color makes you memorable) with a blazer over it. It's fasionable, comfortable (which is important), and unique.

     

    You interview so much that you have an entire outfit laid out for just that occasion?  Jeez.  If I had to wear the same thing next interveiw as I wore to the last, I'd be just a tiny bit past the good fashion sense date.  How often do you change jobs, anyway?
     

  • Nina (unregistered) in reply to Puma

    My response was, "I wanted to try being a full-time mother, and learned that I suck at being a mother and I'd much rather be a programmer".

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