• Cbuttius (cs)

    So many interviews / hiring is based on "have you played with the right toys"?, often asked by people who are clueless (IT managers) and being able to answer questions like "what are you looking for".

    Poor hiring decisions and poor organisation ultimately leads to the WTFs in our industry.

  • Cbuttius (cs)

    That the interviewee was asked to code-review their production code: Perhaps if you are not hired you should bill them for your services...

  • boog (unregistered)
    TFA:
    When they came back, I complimented them on the clever examples of bad code and presented them with my rewrite. One of interviewers — the chattier of the two — didn't say another word; he was clearly upset, and I was half-concerned it might get physical.
    If it'd been my code, I'd have asked him to not only show his rewrite, but explain what's wrong with the existing code and why his code is better. If he could justify his remarks, I'd hire him and try to learn from my own mistakes. If he couldn't, I'd have told him why he was mistaken, thanked him for his time, and hoped the next candidate was better.

    Programmers shouldn't take criticism over code so personal. Code is not art. It's not something that you pour your soul into. It's just code. As long as it gets the job done and other programmers can maintain it, it doesn't matter who "likes" it.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    What exactly does anybody expect to gain from the whiny "you picked the wrong guy" response to a rejection letter. Do they really expect the guy on the other end to suddenly come to their senses and exclaim "My God! He's right! What a terrible mistake we've made!"?

    I heard a story from somebody a while back that after sending a rejection letter saying they'd picked somebody else they go a terse reply "then you have picked poorly".

    Way to burn bridges.

  • anon (unregistered)

    "The Storm-out" might be a WTF, but it's all too common.

  • Nexzus (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    What exactly does anybody expect to gain from the whiny "you picked the wrong guy" response to a rejection letter. Do they really expect the guy on the other end to suddenly come to their senses and exclaim "My God! He's right! What a terrible mistake we've made!"?

    I heard a story from somebody a while back that after sending a rejection letter saying they'd picked somebody else they go a terse reply "then you have picked poorly".

    Way to burn bridges.

    It's almost like suing your former employer to get your job back. I know the majority just up and quit on the first day back, but I bet there's a fair number of people that stay at the place they sued.

  • Julia (cs)
    He also said that he'd taken the liberty of rewriting my resume to include a couple of things about my experience troubleshooting IIS...

    ...which is a sure-fire way to plenty of timewasting interviews where every answer meets the riposte "but your resume says you're an expert with (insert WTFware here)".

    And it's not just technical stuff they fake. I had the joys of meeting such an agency once. Told them that as a relatively new mother I wasn't going to relocate or stay away from home. They doctored the resume to tell the victim company I was fine for a contract that involved alternating 3-month periods between UK and Saudi Arabia...

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    Shouldn't this be in the "Tales from the Interview" section?

  • flyboyfred (unregistered) in reply to boog
    boog:
    Programmers shouldn't take criticism over code so personal.
    You're right, but we're not machines either. It hurts to be corrected and to have your code be called a great example of bad code. Let's hope they learned something from it.
  • cystm (unregistered)

    The sad part is that the company that this "technical recruiter" works for is actually going to charge the client for finding anyone they deem fit. Meanwhile they're actually filtering out anyone decent. By very nature the recruiter works there because the recruiting company needed someone "technical" to do interviews. I'm sure this guy spouted off for a bit about servers, ISPs and IIS and was hired on the spot.

  • Trevor D'Arcy-Evans (unregistered)

    I had a telephone 'interview' once which went along the lines of:

    • what is a 'dataset'?
    • what is 'reflection'?
    • have you used any third party grid controls?

    I stumbled through some answers which I could tell the recruiter didn't understand and then named a contract rate which was 10% above the market rate. The next thing I knew the recruiter was asking me to start on Monday! Unfortunately, it was the project from hell and I left after my minimum agreed 3 months. The money was really good but not worth the stress.

  • Lone Marauder (unregistered) in reply to Julia
    Julia:
    ...which is a sure-fire way to plenty of timewasting interviews where every answer meets the riposte "but your resume says you're an expert with (insert WTFware here)".

    And it's not just technical stuff they fake. I had the joys of meeting such an agency once. Told them that as a relatively new mother I wasn't going to relocate or stay away from home. They doctored the resume to tell the victim company I was fine for a contract that involved alternating 3-month periods between UK and Saudi Arabia...

    I usually cut off stuff like this by handing them my resume. Had more than one interviewer find it interesting that what I gave the recruiting company is different than what I gave them.

    It honestly makes me wonder how people like that stay in business. Honestly, if I found out that a recruiter was falsifying applicant data just to put people in front of me, I would no longer use the lying sack of crap.

  • wtf (unregistered) in reply to flyboyfred
    flyboyfred:
    boog:
    Programmers shouldn't take criticism over code so personal.
    You're right, but we're not machines either. It hurts to be corrected and to have your code be called a great example of bad code. Let's hope they learned something from it.

    It also sucks to miss the chance to say no to a job (or yes, who knows) because you can't phrase things in a reasonably safe way. A dispassionate approach - here's what I take to be the purpose of this code, here's why I'd do it this other way - might be a better tack to take in an interview situation.

  • Lone Marauder (unregistered) in reply to Lone Marauder
    Lone Marauder:
    I usually cut off stuff like this by handing them *my* resume. Had more than one interviewer find it interesting that what I gave the recruiting company is different than what I gave them.

    Gaah, stupid distractions. That should read, "Had more than one interviewer find it interesting that what the recruiting company gave them was different than what I gave them."

  • by (unregistered)

    Recruiter: Have you ever felt the side of the server to see if it was frozen? Me: No, that's not what that means. Recruiter: Actually, that is exactly what it means--the computer will be cold if it is frozen.

  • Carl (unregistered)
    Then they showed me two half pages of code in PHP.

    So...one page?

  • Huborice (unregistered)

    Actually, I was just looking for the `close tab' button. storms out

    More seriously: Is TDWTF suffering a DDoS or something? Site's awfully slow, and it was downright offline for a few minutes. Maybe some actually decent attacker had his WTF posted here and he didn't like it...

    -- Note from Alex: Slowness has been mostly caused by this, and it's since been fixed. Faster for all, I hope?

  • SomeCoder (unregistered)

    Why do recruiters like to pretend that they are actually companies that want to interview you?

    A while back when I was looking for work, I got a call from a recruiter. From the sound of the call, it sounded like he was actually a company and wanted to interview me for an actual position.

    Once I got there, he had me take a Perl test which I passed with flying colors. It was only after going through the test that I realized that he wasn't a "company" but rather just a recruiter.

    I guess if they just say "Hey, I'm a recruiter" up front, then most people will just ignore them? shrug

  • frits (cs)
    Me:
    "you could have had the best, now you'll just have the rest!"
    Yep.
  • onitake (unregistered)

    and of course, the wtf here is going from perl to php. :)

    on the other hand, a capable perl coder with zero php experience should be able to grok out at least decent php code with a little learning...

  • Ryde (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    SomeCoder:
    Why do recruiters like to pretend that they are actually companies that want to interview you?

    ...

    I guess if they just say "Hey, I'm a recruiter" up front, then most people will just ignore them? shrug

    Pretty much. Its anecdotal, but recruiters seem to have a very bad reputation amongst the more skilled developers for exactly the reason demonstrated in this WTF.

  • pkmnfrk (cs) in reply to onitake

    Apache is iis, in the sense that it is a service that provides information over the internet. The distinction is in the lower case letters.

    Also,

    onitake:
    and of course, the wtf here is going from perl to php. :)

    on the other hand, a capable perl coder with zero php experience should be able to grok out at least shitty, perl-like php code with a little learning...

    FTFY.

  • wtf (unregistered) in reply to Carl
    Carl:
    Then they showed me two half pages of code in PHP.

    So...one page?

    Um, no. Two half pages. Two sheets of paper with approximately half a page of code on each.

  • wtf (unregistered) in reply to pkmnfrk
    pkmnfrk:
    Apache is iis, in the sense that it is a service that provides information over the internet. The distinction is in the lower case letters.

    Also,

    onitake:
    and of course, the wtf here is going from perl to php. :)

    on the other hand, a capable perl coder with zero php experience should be able to grok out php code with a little learning...

    FTFY.

    FTFY (your "fix" was redundant)

  • Anonymous2 (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    Shouldn't this be in the "Tales from the Interview" section?

    Agree. Tales from the Interview, not Feature Article.

    Or is TFTI the same as FA the same as Apache the same as IIS?

  • Matthew (unregistered) in reply to onitake
    onitake:
    on the other hand, a capable perl coder with zero php experience should be able to grok out at least decent php code with a little learning...

    Why? They don't produce decent perl code. Nobody does.

  • wtf (unregistered) in reply to Matthew
    Matthew:
    onitake:
    on the other hand, a capable perl coder with zero php experience should be able to grok out at least decent php code with a little learning...

    Why? They don't produce decent perl code. Nobody does.

    grok = understand, not produce

    go read some Heinlein, you'll like it.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to boog
    boog:
    TFA:
    When they came back, I complimented them on the clever examples of bad code and presented them with my rewrite. One of interviewers — the chattier of the two — didn't say another word; he was clearly upset, and I was half-concerned it might get physical.
    If it'd been my code, I'd have asked him to not only show his rewrite, but explain what's wrong with the existing code and why his code is better. If he could justify his remarks, I'd hire him and try to learn from my own mistakes. If he couldn't, I'd have told him why he was mistaken, thanked him for his time, and hoped the next candidate was better.

    Programmers shouldn't take criticism over code so personal. Code is not art. It's not something that you pour your soul into. It's just code. As long as it gets the job done and other programmers can maintain it, it doesn't matter who "likes" it.

    Agreed, but I think this was the bit that did it:

    I complimented them on the clever examples of bad code and presented them with my rewrite.

    It's one thing to have somebody criticize your code, it's another to have somebody think it's actually a joke.

  • Cbuttius (cs)

    Recruitment agencies are not working in the best interests of either the company they are hiring for or the candidate. They are working in their own best interests. They are businesses too.

    I have dealt with many of them - often too painful really. They always claim to have a good working relationship with the line managers, and most of the time they are lying.

    They also forget that today's candidate could be tomorrow's hiring manager. Once you have placed someone they will be an insider in the companies where you are trying to place. Give your candidates a proper service and have a good working relationship with them and if you place one, make sure you get feedback and insider information on new positions they are hiring for and their real requirements, and maybe some feedback as to what the work is actually like.

    If developers were opened up to better "real" information as to what jobs are available and what they are really like, and if proper real feedback were given back on developer's actual ability, there would not be nearly so many WTF stories.

  • boog (unregistered) in reply to flyboyfred
    flyboyfred:
    You're right, but we're not machines either. It hurts to be corrected and to have your code be called a great example of bad code. Let's hope they learned something from it.
    Point taken. I suppose his wording could have been more tactful.

    Still, I'd have laughed and said, "really? what's so bad about it?" instead of getting all moody. But I suppose every developer is different.

  • davedavenotdavemaybedave (cs) in reply to wtf
    wtf:
    Matthew:
    onitake:
    on the other hand, a capable perl coder with zero php experience should be able to grok out at least decent php code with a little learning...

    Why? They don't produce decent perl code. Nobody does.

    grok = understand, not produce

    go read some Heinlein, you'll like it.

    That's an overly simplistic definition of grok. It seems that you don't grok grokking, or you could grok it to someone else better than that. :)

    If you grok something, you are it and it is you; the space it has in your head is an accurate picture of what it is, which is why you have also written it.

    If you've read Neal Stephenson's Anathem, you might agree that it takes a stab at the same problem from another direction.

  • boog (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    It's one thing to have somebody criticize your code, it's another to have somebody think it's actually a joke.
    Well, if the shoe fits...

    Still, I'd want to hear why he thought it was a joke. Is my code really a joke? Or maybe the guy who called my code a joke really doesn't get it or is an idiot (and if that were the case, it could make a great WTF story from the other side). Unless I swallow my pride and ask, I may never know.

  • davedavenotdavemaybedave (cs) in reply to Cbuttius
    Cbuttius:
    They also forget that today's candidate could be tomorrow's hiring manager. Once you have placed someone they will be an insider in the companies where you are trying to place. Give your candidates a proper service and have a good working relationship with them and if you place one, make sure you get feedback and insider information on new positions they are hiring for and their real requirements, and maybe some feedback as to what the work is actually like.

    I am a hypothetical recruiter, Nick (spit). I place Bob at Smallco Ltd. Bob is happy with my service, and so are Smallco, but that's their recruitment done for the next year or eighteen months.

    I am another, unethical hypothetical recruiter, Mephistopheles (double spit). I see Smallco's requirements, and sell them Cedric, whom I know will not fit what they're looking for. I have now earned as much commission as Nick, but my clients are both looking for another spin on my magic merry-go-round -- because if I'm good, I've persuaded both of them that the mismatch was just an unfortunate clash of personalities, and not my fault. I send them Derek and Eric as the next two, neither of whom work out either. Meanwhile, Cedric is doing the job Derek just left, and so-on. Two or three iterations may pass before the companies in question wise up -- but by that time, I'm working for another recruitment co on a much higher salary, having made triple the placements Nick made.

  • Fred (unregistered) in reply to pkmnfrk
    pkmnfrk:
    shitty, perl-like php code
    Any code that doesn't look like line noise is for mental weaklings that don't deserve to be writing code in the first place. Give them a GUI and let them drag and drop buttons until they die.

    Anyone who doesn't know what line noise looks like is too young to work in this profession.

    You're not cool unless you've whistled into a modem and had it respond.

  • Sally (unregistered) in reply to by
    by:
    Recruiter: Have you ever felt the side of the server to see if it was frozen? Me: No, that's not what that means. Recruiter: Actually, that is exactly what it means--the computer will be cold if it is frozen.
    No that only works if the caller's name is Sally....
  • illum (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    boog:
    TFA:
    When they came back, I complimented them on the clever examples of bad code and presented them with my rewrite. One of interviewers — the chattier of the two — didn't say another word; he was clearly upset, and I was half-concerned it might get physical.
    If it'd been my code, I'd have asked him to not only show his rewrite, but explain what's wrong with the existing code and why his code is better. If he could justify his remarks, I'd hire him and try to learn from my own mistakes. If he couldn't, I'd have told him why he was mistaken, thanked him for his time, and hoped the next candidate was better.

    Programmers shouldn't take criticism over code so personal. Code is not art. It's not something that you pour your soul into. It's just code. As long as it gets the job done and other programmers can maintain it, it doesn't matter who "likes" it.

    Agreed, but I think this was the bit that did it:

    I complimented them on the clever examples of bad code and presented them with my rewrite.

    It's one thing to have somebody criticize your code, it's another to have somebody think it's actually a joke.

    So, what were they expecting? That he would look at the code and say, "Nope, can't find any problems with it."

  • RogerC (cs) in reply to Fred
    Fred:
    pkmnfrk:
    shitty, perl-like php code
    Any code that doesn't look like line noise is for mental weaklings that don't deserve to be writing code in the first place. Give them a GUI and let them drag and drop buttons until they die.

    Anyone who doesn't know what line noise looks like is too young to work in this profession.

    You're not cool unless you've whistled into a modem and had it respond.

    And I bet you've also punched a deck that makes the card reader sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" while reading it, right?

  • NutDriverLefty (unregistered) in reply to RogerC

    No, but I have written a print job that made the line printer do Beethoven's Fifth. :-)

  • frits (cs) in reply to RogerC
    RogerC:
    Fred:
    pkmnfrk:
    shitty, perl-like php code
    Any code that doesn't look like line noise is for mental weaklings that don't deserve to be writing code in the first place. Give them a GUI and let them drag and drop buttons until they die.

    Anyone who doesn't know what line noise looks like is too young to work in this profession.

    You're not cool unless you've whistled into a modem and had it respond.

    And I bet you've also punched a deck that makes the card reader sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" while reading it, right?

    I heard "Smoke on the Water" will get you more chicks.

  • A (unregistered)

    Actually, Yahoo! is an ISP.

    You can get Yahoo! BB service in Japan. http://bbpromo.yahoo.co.jp/

  • Peter (unregistered)
    Later that day, I just got an e-mail from him thanking me for his time
    I'll bet that made Joshua feel even more confident in the interviewer.
  • acsi (unregistered) in reply to A
    A:
    Actually, Yahoo! is an ISP.

    You can get Yahoo! BB service in Japan. http://bbpromo.yahoo.co.jp/

    Are you kidding me? Askimet didn't mark this as spam?

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to pkmnfrk
    pkmnfrk:
    Apache is iis, in the sense that it is a service that provides information over the internet. The distinction is in the lower case letters.

    Why do you even bother justifying the cruiter's idiocy? IIS is a specific product, and the generic term is web server.

    /i know, don't feed trolls...

  • paratus (unregistered) in reply to Peter
    Peter:
    Later that day, I just got an e-mail from him thanking me for his time
    I'll bet that made Joshua feel even more confident in the interviewer.
    Joshua:
    He scribbled something down on his paper mumbling something about how a bank is probably an ISP and added, "have you troubleshot IIS?"

    "Not, but I have maintained several Apache servers."

    What, did he say it just to rhyme?

  • Tyler (cs) in reply to Franz Kafka
    Franz Kafka:
    pkmnfrk:
    Apache is iis, in the sense that it is a service that provides information over the internet. The distinction is in the lower case letters.

    Why do you even bother justifying the cruiter's idiocy? IIS is a specific product, and the generic term is web server.

    /i know, don't feed trolls...

    . <--- The joke

    • <--- Your head

    Apache is an "IIS" because it is a server of information on the Internet, just like Google is an "ISP" because it is a provider of services on the Internet.

  • frits (cs) in reply to paratus
    captchaMan:
    Joshua:
    He scribbled something down on his paper mumbling something about how a bank is probably an ISP and added, "have you troubleshot IIS?"

    "Not, but I have maintained several Apache servers."

    What, did he say it just to rhyme?

    He was doing the short form of a "Not" joke. The long form would be:

    "I have troubleshot IIS. Not! But I have maintained several Apache servers."

  • verto (unregistered) in reply to frits
    frits:
    captchaMan:
    Joshua:
    He scribbled something down on his paper mumbling something about how a bank is probably an ISP and added, "have you troubleshot IIS?"

    "Not, but I have maintained several Apache servers."

    What, did he say it just to rhyme?

    He was doing the short form of a "Not" joke. The long form would be:

    "I have troubleshot IIS. Not! But I have maintained several Apache servers."

    Dang, you tell that joke almost as good as Borat.
  • danixdefcon5 (cs)
    TFA:
    His closing words were: "you could have had the best, now you'll just have the rest!"
    Am I the only one surprised that a 50-something would actually quote Hackers in a didn't-get-the-job rant?
  • Bill Clinton (unregistered) in reply to Tyler
    Tyler:
    Franz Kafka:
    pkmnfrk:
    Apache is iis, in the sense that it is a service that provides information over the internet. The distinction is in the lower case letters.

    Why do you even bother justifying the cruiter's idiocy? IIS is a specific product, and the generic term is web server.

    /i know, don't feed trolls...

    . <--- The joke

    • <--- Your head

    Apache is an "IIS" because it is a server of information on the Internet, just like Google is an "ISP" because it is a provider of services on the Internet.

    That depends on what your definition of iis is.

  • danixdefcon5 (cs) in reply to Tyler
    Tyler:
    Franz Kafka:
    pkmnfrk:
    Apache is iis, in the sense that it is a service that provides information over the internet. The distinction is in the lower case letters.

    Why do you even bother justifying the cruiter's idiocy? IIS is a specific product, and the generic term is web server.

    /i know, don't feed trolls...

    . <--- The joke

    • <--- Your head

    Apache is an "IIS" because it is a server of information on the Internet, just like Google is an "ISP" because it is a provider of services on the Internet.

    I would have fun responding that interview, pulling off lines from The Princess Bride:

    Interviewer: We're an ISP, just like Google or Yahoo! Me: I don't think that word means what you think it means.

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