The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

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  • Funkenstein 2011-06-02 12:39
    Is my comment awesome?

    Fuck yes it is.
  • Martin 2011-06-02 12:43
    Congratulations, you managed COMMENT_POSITION today, though sadly not frist.

    Oh, and there's nothing like wasting someone's time in an interview to broaden your network and bring opportunity in the future.

    incassum: Incassum gonna throw balled-up paper at your head...
  • snoofle 2011-06-02 12:45
    I get letters like that last one from headhunters all the time. They just blast to everyone on the job board who has even a single word in common with the job req; ignoring salary, geography, and actual relevant skills-matches.

    I *hate* headhunters!
  • Larry 2011-06-02 12:49
    When a big picture recruiter like me with nearly 20 years of experience working with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per year,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!
  • frits 2011-06-02 12:54
    If it only took him 3 minutes to finish, it must not have been that bad.
  • SpaceCowboy 2011-06-02 12:55
    It could have been worse. The Recruiter's name could have been Lorena Ipsum.
  • Nagesh2.0 2011-06-02 12:56
    Larry:
    When a big picture recruiter like me with nearly 20 years of experience working with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per year,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!



    When a SIZE picture recruiter like me with nearly NUMBER years of experience ADJECTIVE with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per TIMEFRAME,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!
  • Me 2011-06-02 13:01
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?
  • Andrew 2011-06-02 13:01
    Cave Johnson applied for a job? Fuck yeah he did!
  • Leo 2011-06-02 13:02
    Do this: print out a copy of this comment, ball it up, and throw it at your own head.

    (Actually, I'm kind of on Thomas B-----'s side.)
  • boog 2011-06-02 13:08
    "The thing is," he ranted, "using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–"
    No wonder he doesn't like doing front-end work.
  • MP79 2011-06-02 13:08
    perhaps worryingly, having recently applied for new jobs myself. The second guy sounds a great deal like me when describing my vehemence against front-end work. Though the subject was JSP rather than javascript and i'm fairly certain i didn't compare it to oral copulation.
  • Kevin 2011-06-02 13:09
    SIZE: grande
    NUMBER: 6.02x10^23
    ADJECTIVE: Stinky
    FIELD: corn
    JOB: glass blower
    CLIENT: Firefox
    REVENUE: ONE MILLION DOLLARS
    TIMEFRAME: 7 days
  • Joe Office 2011-06-02 13:11
    I don't know about you guys, but I like the Big Picture Thinker's style. Wouldn't want to work with him, but I like his style.
  • Nagesh2.0 2011-06-02 13:21
    Joe Office:
    I don't know about you guys, but I like the Big Picture Thinker's style. Wouldn't want to work with him, but I like his style.


    His style is like a bad blow job. It's funny at first but soon becomes irritating.
  • Anonymous Coward 2011-06-02 13:28
    Front-wend work?
  • Franz Kafka 2011-06-02 13:35
    Joe Office:
    I don't know about you guys, but I like the Big Picture Thinker's style. Wouldn't want to work with him, but I like his style.


    I'd like working with him, assuming he wasn't like that _all_ the time.
  • Ptorq 2011-06-02 13:35
    When you're applying for a job, here's what you don't do:

    1. Act like a complete jackass.

    Seriously, there is no way I would ever hire someone who did this. Apparently this was such a great test for seeing how someone handles written communication that it works even when you forget to send it.
  • Ptorq 2011-06-02 13:39
    Franz Kafka:
    Joe Office:
    I don't know about you guys, but I like the Big Picture Thinker's style. Wouldn't want to work with him, but I like his style.


    I'd like working with him, assuming he wasn't like that _all_ the time.


    This is how he acts when _applying for a job_; I think it's reasonable to conclude that most of the time he's probably worse.
  • Erik 2011-06-02 13:42
    Seriously, the first message is a classic, right up there with Paula Bean.

    Isn't it amazing how a few people like that social misfit end up giving the rest of us normals a bad name? That guy will forever be cemented in the submitter's mind as the living embodiment of all IT workers.

    I've worked with people like that in the past - it's hell. Try to get anything done when the one person who is God of Everything spends 20 minutes telling you how brilliant he is and how I couldn't possibly understand what he does. (Yes, that's a real experience.) Arrogant + passive-aggressive + fanboi mentality is a really BAD personality combination!

    My guess as to who that is hiding behind the assumed name: (a) Terry Childs, (b) Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons
  • jonnyq 2011-06-02 13:49
    "Lorena C-------"

    With the names in today's article, I can't tell if we're censoring things or playing hangman.

    I'm gonna go with both.

    Lorena C---F---

    Your move.
  • Jay 2011-06-02 13:50
    Maybe this is too obvious too even need pointing out, but, well, apparently not to person #1:

    Okay, person #1, so you were totally uninterested in this job because you think company X made bad choices about what technologies to use. Okay.

    So suppose you keep looking for another job and find that you just can't find anything else. While you don't like the way they do things at X, it's looking like the choices are them or the homeless shelter. So now what? After that letter, it would be pretty tough to go back and say you've reconsidered.

    Okay, maybe you're sure that's an unlikely scenario. Maybe there are lots of jobs available in your area. So how about scenario 2: You keep looking around and apply for a job at Company Y. This looks like your dream job: they're using technologies that you think are great, high pay, good benefit, whatever. Except one of the people who interviewed you and read your rude letter at Company X just moved to Company Y. And that letter was memorable. And now they ask his opinion of this new candidate, and he says, "Hey, remember the good laugh we all got when I told you about that crazy, obnoxious letter a job candidate once sent us at Company X? Well guess what ..."

    I've had a number of occassions where people I worked for at what company turned up at another company I got a job with many years later. In one case, my employer bought a company I had worked for just a few years before, so EVERYBODY I had worked with there was now a co-worker again.

    My simple philosophy is: No matter how much I hate a job, no matter how mad I am at how badly I was treated or how stupid the boss was or whatever, when I leave, I write a nice resignation letter saying that I have enjoyed working here, I am leaving to pursue what I believe to be a better opportunity, and other such polite pablum. If I turn down a job offer, I say thank you but this offer does not fit my present goals, etc.

    Sure, screaming about how stupid everybody is may give you a few minutes of emotional satisfaction, but you never know what it will cost you down the road. I've never had a case where I looked back and said, "Oh, if only I had not been so polite to that person, I would be so much better off today."
  • penk 2011-06-02 14:03
    Oh dear lord. So, the fellow in the first post, 'Thomas'. I worked with someone whose name was "Thomas", and his last name began with B, and the number of hyphens in the post at the top matches the number of letters in his last name correctly.

    And this sort of exchange is EXACTLY the sort of mail he would send.

    Can someone ask the OP if this fellow is in the Boston area? If so, then hoo boy do I know who he is, and that mail exchange is so blazingly typical.
  • Andrew 2011-06-02 14:07
    Was I the only one who read that letter in the voice of GLaDOS?
  • jkupski 2011-06-02 14:17
    Jay:
    I've had a number of occassions where people I worked for at what company turned up at another company I got a job with many years later. In one case, my employer bought a company I had worked for just a few years before, so EVERYBODY I had worked with there was now a co-worker again.

    My simple philosophy is: No matter how much I hate a job, no matter how mad I am at how badly I was treated or how stupid the boss was or whatever, when I leave, I write a nice resignation letter saying that I have enjoyed working here, I am leaving to pursue what I believe to be a better opportunity, and other such polite pablum. If I turn down a job offer, I say thank you but this offer does not fit my present goals, etc.


    To sum up: the toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.
  • C 2011-06-02 14:17
    Andrew:
    Was I the only one who read that letter in the voice of GLaDOS?


    Nope, mine was in the voice of comic book guy. GLaDOS would have been much better, though.
  • HellKarnassus 2011-06-02 14:17
    Nagesh2.0:
    Joe Office:
    I don't know about you guys, but I like the Big Picture Thinker's style. Wouldn't want to work with him, but I like his style.


    His style is like a bad blow job. It's funny at first but soon becomes irritating.

    Sounds like someone out of this forum
  • Mike 2011-06-02 14:23
    Jay:
    Okay, maybe you're sure that's an unlikely scenario. Maybe there are lots of jobs available in your area. So how about scenario 2: You keep looking around and apply for a job at Company Y. This looks like your dream job: they're using technologies that you think are great, high pay, good benefit, whatever. Except one of the people who interviewed you and read your rude letter at Company X just moved to Company Y. And that letter was memorable. And now they ask his opinion of this new candidate, and he says, "Hey, remember the good laugh we all got when I told you about that crazy, obnoxious letter a job candidate once sent us at Company X? Well guess what ..."


    Exactly. I was recently head of IT for an electronics recycling company. Seeing as there's not a lot of "IT management" in the average day at a recycler, a big part of my job was actually communicating with clients (top-level IT guys at our customers' locations) and coordinating server decommissions, data erasure schedules, backups, pickup schedules, and the like. I had drinks regularly with a lot of these guys.

    Well, one day we're looking for an outside programmer/consultant to freshen up a C-pound front-end to our SQL database. In came several people, a few independents, some company-types, and then "Steve X". Steve wants to dig in right away, during the interview. My boss (CIO/VP) told me to let him take a look at the code, and Steve made a few changes right away, which I reviewed and pushed live on an evening shift (to avoid a complete day shift meltdown). The updates weren't too bad, but he broke a few things and I reverted back to an older version.

    We chose a different developer for the updates, and Steve went ballistic. He called us everything but straight white men, and after a few weeks of harassing emails and phone calls, we had our attorney notify Steve that he shouldn't contact us again if he valued his freedom.

    Fast forward about a year. One of the IT guys I knew, a top guy at a large health care conglomerate, was looking for a lead developer for a project to bring several newly acquired hospitals into the current system. In the course of beers and asking around the table if anyone knew of a good candidate, he mentioned that he had a strong lead but that the guy, despite his obvious skill, seemed just a little off. When he said the name "Steve X" I almost spit my beer in my lap. Needless to say, a psychotic episode coupled with some barroom networking cost Steve a lucrative job that day.
  • Soviut 2011-06-02 14:26
    Me:
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?


    I love the self-appointed "rock star" developers who think they're hot shit. What's even funnier is this guy is obviously just a cowboy coder; shunning good practices for the wrong reasons. I know what he's getting at, with all the over engineering going into "enterprise" software, but he blames the practices rather than blaming those who abuse them.

    A guy like this believes his "own efficient methods" are the way to go. Undoubtedly, this means he's either written some crappy wrapper library that he foists on any company he works for, or he just plows through code without doing any planning. He thinks being efficient means getting it done as quickly as possible with no consideration for maintenance or sanity.

    Plus he's an asshole. He'd be brutal to work with.
  • Dan 2011-06-02 14:27
    Maybe the recruiter wanted to play Mad Libs.
  • Robb 2011-06-02 14:34
    You don't worry about COMMENT let me worry about BLANK
  • Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous 2011-06-02 14:55
    “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    I know! The way I pull my hair out when I'm writing JavaScript, it's just like a bad blow-dry!
  • Frodo 2011-06-02 14:55
    Nagesh2.0:
    When a SIZE picture recruiter like me with nearly NUMBER years of experience ADJECTIVE with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per TIMEFRAME,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!


    SIZE: evil
    NUMBER: 250
    ADJECTIVE: killing
    FIELD: battle
    JOB: Uruk Hai
    CLIENT: Mount Doom
    REVENUE: 3 kingdoms
    TIMEFRAME: tome
  • Shaftoe 2011-06-02 15:01
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer
  • Anonymous 2011-06-02 15:10
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer


    Or maybe they want to weed people like #1 out?
  • Dan 2011-06-02 15:14
    >Steve made a few changes right away, which I reviewed and
    >pushed live on an evening shift (to avoid a complete day
    >shift meltdown).

    So, you took some code that a guy you were interviewing wrote on the fly and rolled it out live?

    THIS is the WTF for me today...

    Maybe you spend too much time at the bar?
  • Did I just say that? 2011-06-02 15:22
    boog:
    "The thing is," he ranted, "using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–"
    No wonder he doesn't like doing front-end work.


    I imagine it's better than doing back-end work
  • MrBigDog2U 2011-06-02 15:29
    I was hoping that someone could come up with a three minute dissertation on how JavaScript is like a bad BJ/ I'm not disputing that it is but I WOULD like to know why.
  • boog 2011-06-02 15:30
    Did I just say that?:
    boog:
    "The thing is," he ranted, "using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–"
    No wonder he doesn't like doing front-end work.

    I imagine it's better than doing back-end work
    I agree. At least with front-end work, you can see what you're doing.
  • JamesQMurphy 2011-06-02 15:35
    Possibly dandelions? Now that's hysterical!
  • Coyne 2011-06-02 15:36

    From: Robin Lee
    Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 3:03 PM
    To: Lorena C-------
    Subject: Great Job Opportunity!

    Dear Lorena,

    Unfortunately, I am not sure if I am qualified for JOB TITLE.
    I would need additional information before agreeing to move to
    CITY, COUNTRY for DURATION; especially as there may be extensions.

    Perhaps you can elaborate on whether my SHORT SKILLS DESCRIPTION would be
    compatible with SHORT JOB DESCRIPTION..

    I do not know if I have any colleagues who may be interested in this contract
    opportunity, since I cannot easily explain the nature of it to them.

    Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon,

    Regards

    Robin Lee
    Prospective Contractor
  • Dave 2011-06-02 15:39
    Andrew:
    Cave Johnson applied for a job? Fuck yeah he did!


    And he's got the FRUIT needed to do the JOB.
  • Smarty McSmartyPants 2011-06-02 15:40
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews.


    ProTip #1: People who say they've been successfully developing big money software for 10+ years are often completely full of EXCREMENT-EUPHEMISM. I don't care what your cover letter and resume says. When I went through that whole, "trust what people tell you during interviews" phase I was rather forcefully taught to assume it's all lies.

    ProTip #2: Per "ProTip #1", that was probably just the first interview to make sure you weren't blowing smoke up their ORIFICE-OF-CHOICE. After making sure you at least kinda-sorta know what you're talking about, it's not uncommon to make sure you don't drool on yourself or otherwise appear to suffer a turrets flare up when presented with basic social interactions BEFORE scheduling a much more expensive resource to take you out of the box and see what you can really do. Oops.

  • Dave 2011-06-02 15:44
    C:
    Andrew:
    Was I the only one who read that letter in the voice of GLaDOS?


    Nope, mine was in the voice of comic book guy. GLaDOS would have been much better, though.


    Depends if James S was adopted or not...
  • Paul W. Homer 2011-06-02 16:19
    OK, I'll admit the first interviewee's response was a bit over the top, but having gone through interviews with companies that were both obnoxious and arrogant I'd be very tempted to send that that reply myself.

    "Really, you're testing my ability to XOR stuff? Are you implying that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience on my resume are a lie? That's no way to start a relationship, I have to go now ..."

    Generally I assume that if they don't have any initial respect for my experience, they are probably another mindless sweatshop. A place to be avoided.
  • SeySayux 2011-06-02 16:20
    Nagesh2.0:
    Larry:
    When a big picture recruiter like me with nearly 20 years of experience working with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per year,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!



    When a SIZE picture recruiter like me with nearly NUMBER years of experience ADJECTIVE with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per TIMEFRAME,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!


    EVENTUAL-SUBORDINATE-CONJUNCTION INDEFINITE-ARTICLE SIZE CONCEPTUAL-NOUN JOB COMPARATIVE-CONJUNCTION PERSONAL-PRONOUN-OBJECT POSSESIVE-CONJUNCTION APPROXIMATIVE-ADVERB NUMBER TIME-UNIT PARTIAL-PREPOSITION CONCEPTUAL-NOUN ADJECTIVE POSSESIVE-CONJUNCTION PLURAL-NOUN PREPOSITION FIELD VERB PERSONAL-PRONOUN-OBJECT INDEFINITE-ARTICLE CONCEPTUAL-NOUN PREPOSITION JOB POSSESIVE-CONJUNCTION INDEFINITE-ARTICLE ENTITY-NOUN COMPARATIVE-CONJUNCTION CLIENT DEMONSTATIVE-PRONOUN COPULA-VERB EXPRESSION REVENUE PREPOSITION TIMEFRAME DEMONSTRATIVE-PRONOUN COPULA-VERB DEMONSTRATIVE-PRONOUN PERSONAL-PRONOUN-SUBJECT NEGATED-VERB: VERB PERSONAL-PRONOUN-OBJECT DIRECTIONAL-PREPOSITION WEBSITE!
  • Bob 2011-06-02 16:21
    jonnyq:
    "Lorena C-------"

    With the names in today's article, I can't tell if we're censoring things or playing hangman.

    I'm gonna go with both.

    Lorena C---F---

    Your move.
    I'd probably like to F--- Lorena's C--- but the whole time I'd be wondering if she might be Lorena Bobbit so that would kinda ruin my concentration.
  • Z 2011-06-02 16:25
    Smarty McSmartyPants:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews.


    ProTip #1: People who say they've been successfully developing big money software for 10+ years are often completely full of EXCREMENT-EUPHEMISM. I don't care what your cover letter and resume says. When I went through that whole, "trust what people tell you during interviews" phase I was rather forcefully taught to assume it's all lies.

    ProTip #2: Per "ProTip #1", that was probably just the first interview to make sure you weren't blowing smoke up their ORIFICE-OF-CHOICE. After making sure you at least kinda-sorta know what you're talking about, it's not uncommon to make sure you don't drool on yourself or otherwise appear to suffer a turrets flare up when presented with basic social interactions BEFORE scheduling a much more expensive resource to take you out of the box and see what you can really do. Oops.



    True that. After spending an excruciating amount of time interviewing candidates rather than coding over the last two years (although, let's be honest, any time spent interviewing rather than coding is excrutiating), I can honestly tell you that:

    1) Resumés lie.
    2) Phone interviews by your HR recruiter lie.
    3) Even interview questions you ask youself can lie.

    Someone can claim X years experience all they want, but watch what happens once you ask them to solve a (trivial) practical problem. 17 car pile-ups are prettier.
  • Ace 2011-06-02 16:28
    Me:
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?


    He's probably very bitter or something. And no, he probably couldn't afford burning those bridges. If he could, he wouldn't have the need to yell out. I understand him, though. IT is almost as fashion based as the fashion industry, and intelligent people are often far between. Poor guy (although the OOP comment was a bit extreme)
  • D-Coder 2011-06-02 16:30
    SeySayux:
    Nagesh2.0:
    Larry:
    When a big picture recruiter like me with nearly 20 years of experience working with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per year,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!


    When a SIZE picture recruiter like me with nearly NUMBER years of experience ADJECTIVE with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per TIMEFRAME,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!


    EVENTUAL-SUBORDINATE-CONJUNCTION INDEFINITE-ARTICLE SIZE CONCEPTUAL-NOUN JOB COMPARATIVE-CONJUNCTION PERSONAL-PRONOUN-OBJECT POSSESIVE-CONJUNCTION APPROXIMATIVE-ADVERB NUMBER TIME-UNIT PARTIAL-PREPOSITION CONCEPTUAL-NOUN ADJECTIVE POSSESIVE-CONJUNCTION PLURAL-NOUN PREPOSITION FIELD VERB PERSONAL-PRONOUN-OBJECT INDEFINITE-ARTICLE CONCEPTUAL-NOUN PREPOSITION JOB POSSESIVE-CONJUNCTION INDEFINITE-ARTICLE ENTITY-NOUN COMPARATIVE-CONJUNCTION CLIENT DEMONSTATIVE-PRONOUN COPULA-VERB EXPRESSION REVENUE PREPOSITION TIMEFRAME DEMONSTRATIVE-PRONOUN COPULA-VERB DEMONSTRATIVE-PRONOUN PERSONAL-PRONOUN-SUBJECT NEGATED-VERB: VERB PERSONAL-PRONOUN-OBJECT DIRECTIONAL-PREPOSITION WEBSITE!
    Woah! Do you kiss your mom with that mouth?
  • JamesQMurphy 2011-06-02 16:40
    Paul W. Homer:
    OK, I'll admit the first interviewee's response was a bit over the top, but having gone through interviews with companies that were both obnoxious and arrogant I'd be very tempted to send that that reply myself.

    "Really, you're testing my ability to XOR stuff? Are you implying that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience on my resume are a lie? That's no way to start a relationship, I have to go now ..."

    Generally I assume that if they don't have any initial respect for my experience, they are probably another mindless sweatshop. A place to be avoided.


    Have you ever participated in any sort of interviewing? I mean, from the interviewer's side? Do it for a few weeks; you'll learn to assume that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience listed on a resume is either a lie or, at best, useless.

  • jmucchiello 2011-06-02 16:49
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.
  • владимир 2011-06-02 17:04
    Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous:
    “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    I know! The way I pull my hair out when I'm writing JavaScript, it's just like a bad blow-dry!

    You're doing it wrong.
  • Captain Oblivious 2011-06-02 17:14
    jmucchiello:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.


    Now that's interesting. Where do you rate trivial, obvious syntax errors, assuming the logic is correct?
  • Kjella 2011-06-02 17:22
    Mike:
    He called us everything but straight white men, and after a few weeks of harassing emails and phone calls, we had our attorney notify Steve that he shouldn't contact us again if he valued his freedom.
    (...)
    Needless to say, a psychotic episode coupled with some barroom networking cost Steve a lucrative job that day.


    Snapping once is an "episode", going on like that for weeks means you have deep permanent problems. If one of these people manage to burrow into your organization, you are in for a world of pain.
  • ThePants999 2011-06-02 17:50
    What Thomas B did was... inadvisable. But I still want to hear his side of that story.
  • Satanicpuppy 2011-06-02 17:55
    Leo:
    Do this: print out a copy of this comment, ball it up, and throw it at your own head.

    (Actually, I'm kind of on Thomas B-----'s side.)


    Seriously. That would have made my day if someone had sent that back to me.
  • chrismcb 2011-06-02 18:04
    [quote user="Mike"][quote user="Jay"]Okay, maybe you're sure that's an unlikely
    Well, one day we're looking for an outside programmer/consultant to freshen up a C-pound front-end to our SQL database. In came several people, a few independents, some company-types, and then "Steve X". Steve wants to dig in right away, during the interview. My boss (CIO/VP) told me to let him take a look at the code, and Steve made a few changes right away, which I reviewed and pushed live on an evening shift (to avoid a complete day shift meltdown). [/quote]

    Uhmm.... you pushed into production code someone wrote during an interview? WTF!
  • Johnny 2011-06-02 18:06
    "The thing is," he ranted, "using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–"

    I'm not sure that he's bagging JavaScript quite as much as it might seem at first...

  • Smarty McSmartyPants 2011-06-02 18:07
    Captain Oblivious:
    jmucchiello:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.


    Now that's interesting. Where do you rate trivial, obvious syntax errors, assuming the logic is correct?


    Rating: Trivial. You may be underestimating the kind of wholesale failure we're talking about here...

    I also thought it was "interesting" that "hardcore" veterans with a decade of experience were wholly unable to write passable code in their language of choice. Even if one allowed for "language of choice" to be typo-riddled magical unicorn psuedo-code. They don't know wtf they're talking about, at all. Noticing this becoming a recurring pattern rendered it more obnoxious than interesting, further degrading my already rapidly dwindling faith in humanity.

    People lie. A lot. Believe the hype.
  • Johnny 2011-06-02 18:07
    Joe Office:
    I don't know about you guys, but I like the Big Picture Thinker's style. Wouldn't want to work with him, but I like his style.

    He's got balls, that's for sure (so does the JavaScript character, I guess)...
    Arrogance aside, he might be good for meetings with idiots.
  • Mickey Mouse 2011-06-02 18:10
    Erik:
    Seriously, the first message is a classic, right up there with Paula Bean.

    Isn't it amazing how a few people like that social misfit end up giving the rest of us normals a bad name? That guy will forever be cemented in the submitter's mind as the living embodiment of all IT workers.

    I've worked with people like that in the past - it's hell. Try to get anything done when the one person who is God of Everything spends 20 minutes telling you how brilliant he is and how I couldn't possibly understand what he does. (Yes, that's a real experience.) Arrogant + passive-aggressive + fanboi mentality is a really BAD personality combination!

    My guess as to who that is hiding behind the assumed name: (a) Terry Childs, (b) Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons


    I don't work with any "Erik"s - what's your real name?
  • mjk340 2011-06-02 18:14
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"
  • Julian 2011-06-02 18:15
    jkupski:
    Jay:
    I've had a number of occassions where people I worked for at what company turned up at another company I got a job with many years later. In one case, my employer bought a company I had worked for just a few years before, so EVERYBODY I had worked with there was now a co-worker again.

    My simple philosophy is: No matter how much I hate a job, no matter how mad I am at how badly I was treated or how stupid the boss was or whatever, when I leave, I write a nice resignation letter saying that I have enjoyed working here, I am leaving to pursue what I believe to be a better opportunity, and other such polite pablum. If I turn down a job offer, I say thank you but this offer does not fit my present goals, etc.


    To sum up: the toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.


    or:
    The toes you step on today could be the ones that will be kicking your butt tomorrow.
  • MrBob 2011-06-02 18:17
    Soviut:
    Me:
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?


    I love the self-appointed "rock star" developers who think they're hot shit. What's even funnier is this guy is obviously just a cowboy coder; shunning good practices for the wrong reasons. I know what he's getting at, with all the over engineering going into "enterprise" software, but he blames the practices rather than blaming those who abuse them.

    A guy like this believes his "own efficient methods" are the way to go. Undoubtedly, this means he's either written some crappy wrapper library that he foists on any company he works for, or he just plows through code without doing any planning. He thinks being efficient means getting it done as quickly as possible with no consideration for maintenance or sanity.

    Plus he's an asshole. He'd be brutal to work with.


    The test worked!
    Seriously, looks like both parties are better off...
  • Smarty McSmartyPants 2011-06-02 18:20
    Paul W. Homer:
    OK, I'll admit the first interviewee's response was a bit over the top, but having gone through interviews with companies that were both obnoxious and arrogant I'd be very tempted to send that that reply myself.

    "Really, you're testing my ability to XOR stuff? Are you implying that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience on my resume are a lie? That's no way to start a relationship, I have to go now ..."

    Generally I assume that if they don't have any initial respect for my experience, they are probably another mindless sweatshop. A place to be avoided.


    Let's put it this way... If you're smart enough to be offended, then I assume you're also smart enough to figure out how, freed of influence pesky things like morals, ethics and integrity, you could bluff your way past anyone daft enough to trust you on your word alone. Playing the odds, if you've been around 20 years I'm willing to bet you met someone who did this on the job at least once.

    I'll walk if they DON'T assume everything was questionable and failed to perform due diligence/vetting. If they didn't closely scrutinize me, they probably didn't bother doing so with my potential future coworkers either. They're probably a mindless sweatshop that is more interested in selling my credentials than actually using them. I don't want to walk in to that kind of environment... yet again.


  • MrBob 2011-06-02 18:23
    Paul W. Homer:
    OK, I'll admit the first interviewee's response was a bit over the top, but having gone through interviews with companies that were both obnoxious and arrogant I'd be very tempted to send that that reply myself.

    "Really, you're testing my ability to XOR stuff? Are you implying that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience on my resume are a lie? That's no way to start a relationship, I have to go now ..."

    Generally I assume that if they don't have any initial respect for my experience, they are probably another mindless sweatshop. A place to be avoided.


    Resumes are often, um, embellished. You offer them no reason other than your toothy grin to take you at face value.
  • Henning Makholm 2011-06-02 18:28
    ThePants999:
    What Thomas B did was... inadvisable. But I still want to hear his side of that story.

    Sure thing. Just take the first big block of monospaced text in the article and run it through a speech synthesizer.
  • Nitty 2011-06-02 18:35
    Anonymous:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer


    Or maybe they want to weed people like #1 out?


    Me agree too. I often think there are stupid steps and tasks in recruitment processes, but I like to think that irrespective of whether I agree with how the hiring process goes, they will always see that I'm the talent they want. Although telling them their fucking idiots because of the way they run their recruitment might make you stand out, I'm thinking it might not give you the best chance of securing the job. I've worked in many jobs where the hiring process was a bit silly - but often the jobs themselves didn't reflect this.

    If I really want a job, I'll do what I think it is worth doing to get it. That doesn't include JavaScript like activities, but if it means playing the game and answering how I can weigh a Jumbo Jet then I'll play along and answer the question. At the end of the day, there's no point complaining that they're idiots - it won't get you the job, so you have to decide whether it's worth completing their little puzzles or whether you'd rather drive a street-sweeper.
  • jarjams 2011-06-02 18:38
    Too many people completely misunderstand the guy in #1.

    If you are employing someone who is currently a director and give him some shitty demeaning technical test, you can expect him to lose interest in your job. If he is insulted enough, he may even return the insult. This is what has happened.

  • aasg 2011-06-02 18:47
    Paul W. Homer:
    OK, I'll admit the first interviewee's response was a bit over the top, but having gone through interviews with companies that were both obnoxious and arrogant I'd be very tempted to send that that reply myself.

    "Really, you're testing my ability to XOR stuff? Are you implying that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience on my resume are a lie? That's no way to start a relationship, I have to go now ..."

    Generally I assume that if they don't have any initial respect for my experience, they are probably another mindless sweatshop. A place to be avoided.


    I like people like you. I don't think I've often been the best qualified candidate, but arrogant developers with lots of experience seem to shy away from actually doing anything that might even remotely help them get the job. Because they feel that they are doing the prospective employer a favour by applying, they tend to be arrogant and upset said employer. That seems to leave me at the top of the list to score the awesome work (despite not having 20 years experience XORing).

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for all the great jobs I've had!
  • boog 2011-06-02 18:58
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions ... which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    ...blah blah reasons blah...

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".
    ...
    "Er, no, I mean linked list."
    ...
    "Array"
    ...
    "Linked List"
    ...
    "Array"
    Yikes. I've seen code from people like that guy; no rhyme or reason, they just use WhateverTF comes to (absent) mind while writing it, usually resulting in an incoherent mishmash of algorithms all working together to solve a simple (and in some cases non-existent) problem.
  • Harry 2011-06-02 19:07
    jmucchiello:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.

    Spot on. No tricks needed. Creating (or even just choosing) Data Structures should help separate the sheep from the goats. Most people coutn "experience" as "time spent in a job", not necessarily "time actually doing something useful". 20 years IT Experience could involve about an hour's actual work.

    If you've got 20 years experience but can't build me a linked list (I don't care that you've never built or even used one - I'm sure you're well aware of what it is, and I can describe it nicely for you if you like) then I'm not interested in hiring you. Maybe that's unfair, but I need some way to distinguish between the 800 candidates that applied - and the claims they make regarding their experience ain't gonna be my yardstick. I don't care how many years you've sat in front of a computer, I want to know that you can help me finish the project I've committed to - if I choose to ask stupid questions about how many piano tuners there are in the world, and you don't like it, than you simply don't want this job enough - I want people that want to work for me. I don't want people who are going to look elsewhere the second they come across some little task they don't really want to do. Finding the right candidate is difficult, and candidates do often get annoyed at the hoops they have to jump through, but their reaction to said hoops often gives an insight into their character. Of course, sometimes we misjudge people, but that's life. We need to do something to find our candidate, and believing their claims comes somewhere near the bottom of the criteria...
  • Thomas B------- 2011-06-02 19:32
    From: Thomas B-------
    Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 2:45 PM
    To: Lorena C-------
    Subject: RE: Thomas - a great Job Opportunity!

    When COMPANY in CITY, COUNTRY sends out job opportunity letters for JOB DESCRIPTION, here's what you don't do:

    1. Set up a mass mailing system designed to replace certain KEYWORDS with real data, but don't bother to check how to operate the system.
    2. Don't proofread the first batch when you mail it out to your prospective customers.

    Here's my style: I am certain I can run circles around your emailing staff, and write my own, original, incredibly efficient mass mailing system; but more importantly, I am a director that can help your crew run around their own current misguided misconceptions. But I am thankful for this lesson, as I have learned that I need a better spam filter for my inbox, as clearly the one I have now is completely inefficient in weeding out the serious job offers (which I'm sure there are, somewhere in this insanely large stack of fake job offer letters) from the stupid fake job offer letters I seem to be getting constantly.
    Until you've smarten up your massmailing skills, DO NOT contact me. I'd be wasting too much time responding to your drivel and I certainly don't want that.

    So the question now is: Am I going to take up your offer to work in CITY, COUNTRY for DURATION plus extensions?

    The answer is: Fuck no, I won't.

    Thomas B-------

    PS. You forgot to enter in the details for the job offer.

    Do this: Print out a copy of it, ball it up and wipe your arse with it, because that's what I'm going to do after I'd taken a shit.[/code]
  • IOC 2011-06-02 19:51
    If a blow-dry is causing you to lose hair, the problem is either your hair, or your choice of a Pratt & Whitney J58 as your "blowdrier".
  • Cyt 2011-06-02 19:52
    Thomas B, Marry Me!! [Or civil partnershipise me, or WTF ever it's called these days]
  • Henning Makholm 2011-06-02 20:07
    Harry:
    ... I want to know that you can help me finish the project I've committed to - if I choose to ask stupid questions about how many piano tuners there are in the world, and you don't like it, than you simply don't want this job enough - I want people that want to work for me. I don't want people who are going to look elsewhere the second they come across some little task they don't really want to do.

    Ever considered that the attitude you're displaying here might be part of the reason why the people you hire go look elsewhere really soon?

    Sure, if you've got 800 applicants you can always find some warm body to fill the chair, but the real top performers, those who can make the difference between a success and a trainwreck, they are as rare as ever. The interviewing experience will given them an insight into your character and how working for you will be, and since they know they have other options ... they won't be the ones who're full of themselves, screaming indignantly about how they are superstars.

    The actual guy you don't want to miss will put on his best cheer while jumping through whatever silly hoops you've lined up, and then he'll go home and send you a short polite email: "Thanks for your time. On reflection I don't think I'm a good match here. I hope you find somebody who is. Sincerely, etc."
  • eXtremeDev 2011-06-02 20:08
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer


    I totally agree.

    Last time I was looking for a job, I interviewed with this rather small company. After acing the presented problem in a very limited timeframe (this was the technical part of the interview) and showing the guy my portfolio (some of those apps are live and running on the web), the man proceeded to ask me questions like:

    1. How many people are born in this city every minute?
    2. What is the volume of water on Earth?

    I did answer, but once I got home I rethought everything and realized I didn't really want to work for someone who didn't value my technical expertise and treated me like an idiot. Perhaps he was trying to establish pecking order early on, or he genuinely lacks common sense to realize that if an experienced person who has both shown him his portfolio AND solved the technical part should not be asked these kinds of questions.

    I emailed him and politely told him I wouldn't be able to take the position.
  • lolwtf 2011-06-02 20:16
    Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous:
    “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    I know! The way I pull my hair out when I'm writing JavaScript, it's just like a bad blow-dry!
    I think he meant blow-out. Using Javascript is unpleasant, much like having a bad blow-out on the highway.
  • Dani 2011-06-02 20:44
    Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous:
    “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    I know! The way I pull my hair out when I'm writing JavaScript, it's just like a bad blow-dry!

    When will people realize that jQuery(or equivalent) + Chrome javascript is *NOT* IE6 javascript? (seriously, its 2 completely different languages).
  • Harry 2011-06-02 20:51
    Henning Makholm:
    Harry:
    ... I want to know that you can help me finish the project I've committed to - if I choose to ask stupid questions about how many piano tuners there are in the world, and you don't like it, than you simply don't want this job enough - I want people that want to work for me. I don't want people who are going to look elsewhere the second they come across some little task they don't really want to do.

    Ever considered that the attitude you're displaying here might be part of the reason why the people you hire go look elsewhere really soon?


    Hadn't noticed that they do look elsewhere particularly soon - and this I put down to this attitude.

    Henning Makholm:

    Sure, if you've got 800 applicants you can always find some warm body to fill the chair, but the real top performers, those who can make the difference between a success and a trainwreck, they are as rare as ever. The interviewing experience will given them an insight into your character and how working for you will be, and since they know they have other options ... they won't be the ones who're full of themselves, screaming indignantly about how they are superstars.

    The actual guy you don't want to miss will put on his best cheer while jumping through whatever silly hoops you've lined up, and then he'll go home and send you a short polite email: "Thanks for your time. On reflection I don't think I'm a good match here. I hope you find somebody who is. Sincerely, etc."

    End of the day, if we have 800 people for 5 jobs we need to cull them somehow. Prospective candidates will also cull offers if they get more than one, and the interviewing experience may impact that. I'll even agree that the most capable have the most offers and are therefore most likely to decline an offer, but it should be noted I don't necessarily need the best candidate. Sure, it's always nice to have a ferrari, but for getting around the city any car might be just as good. It's nice to think that you can always pick the absolute best person, but you don't actually need to, and I'd rather have a process that weeds out the rotten eggs (even if it means sacrificing some of the best) than a process that makes it very difficult to determine which ones are the rotten eggs.

    It's a simple optimisation problem. I haven't the resources to guarantee the best solution every time, but I have a solution that seems to give good results every time - this is all I can hope for.
  • Anonymous 2011-06-02 21:04
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.
  • Anonymous 2011-06-02 21:09
    If the guy has so many options, I don't get why is he even pushing for a 800 applicants job.
  • Billy Goat 2011-06-02 21:16
    Anonymous:
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.

    The point the OP was making (before the story), was that the question is designed to see whether the interviewee asks the right questions to determine whether there is a good strategy for one or the other. It also leads into other questions that might compare data structures.

  • IronMensan 2011-06-02 21:27
    Anonymous:
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.


    Just because two algorithms are O(n), doesn't mean they take the same amount of time. Using a linked list means more memory access as the next pointers are fetched in addition to the caching consequences as was mentioned earlier.
  • mjk340 2011-06-02 21:39
    Anonymous:
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.


    I make it a point to tell the candidates that the questions are open ended and meant to spur discussion, and that there isn't really a right or wrong answer.

    Rather than answer your question, I'll ask you what I would have asked you in the interview as a follow up: How would you jump to the center of a linked list to perform the first comparison in a binary search?
  • Mick 2011-06-02 22:02
    Dani:
    Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous:
    “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    I know! The way I pull my hair out when I'm writing JavaScript, it's just like a bad blow-dry!

    When will people realize that jQuery(or equivalent) + Chrome javascript is *NOT* IE6 javascript? (seriously, its 2 completely different languages).


    Really? This is what you're thinking when you've got your cock in a girls mouth?

    I'm wondering if I can get it to shoot out her nose...

    captcha : opto ... hell yeah
  • lucidfox 2011-06-02 22:08
    Ugh.

    The second story makes me think job interviews should include questions to determine social aptitude.
  • Captain Oblivious 2011-06-02 22:33
    Smarty McSmartyPants:
    Captain Oblivious:
    jmucchiello:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.


    Now that's interesting. Where do you rate trivial, obvious syntax errors, assuming the logic is correct?


    Rating: Trivial. You may be underestimating the kind of wholesale failure we're talking about here...

    I also thought it was "interesting" that "hardcore" veterans with a decade of experience were wholly unable to write passable code in their language of choice. Even if one allowed for "language of choice" to be typo-riddled magical unicorn psuedo-code. They don't know wtf they're talking about, at all. Noticing this becoming a recurring pattern rendered it more obnoxious than interesting, further degrading my already rapidly dwindling faith in humanity.

    People lie. A lot. Believe the hype.


    I believe it.

    I suppose I was interested because I am going in for an interview on Monday, based on previous experience doing mathematical analysis and some web development. In my mathematical and programming career, I've probably used 100 different logics and languages. It's very easy to forget language syntax, especially if you rely on "abstract interpretation" as much as I do.

    An interviewer once asked me to "describe" a linked list, and I drew a circle (gave it type "node"), drew an arrow from the circle, and gave a name "next" and a type signature "node -> node". The interviewer was very happy with that answer. Languages are easy and forgettable. Concepts take time to learn.
  • Bruce DICKinson 2011-06-02 22:49
    Does anyone else suspect "Iron Mensan" is C-Octothorpe?
  • mickey 2011-06-02 22:51
    What is the alternative - back-end work - different type of "blow" job. Now that really sucks.
  • A good guess 2011-06-03 00:05
    > “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    >
    > I nearly choked on my coffee as he continued talking about
    > the, erm, job. It was a fairly complex metaphor that
    > involved a woman, grocery shopping, and possibly dandelions,
    > but I was too stunned to remember how it all tied together.

    Ok, here's an artist's reconstruction of how it tied together.

    The thing is, using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow-out on your car.
    See you're sat there happily driving along the freeway with your missus, on the way to do your weekly grocery shop. Traffic is flowing, the sun is shining, everything's peachy.
    She's probably at this moment looking out the window admiring the dandelions growing out in the field.
    But you're nearly there and your exit is coming up, so you shift lanes and BLAM! Your tire just explodes for no apparent reason. Suddenly cars are slamming their brakes on and swerving, you're fighting to control the car and she's just sitting there in the passenger seat screaming exceptional language at the top of her voice.

    With one little shift, your entire day has been ruined.
    That is what it's like dealing with javascript in the real world.

    If that took less than 3 minutes you're probably reading too fast.
  • Seahen 2011-06-03 03:14
    Hi Lorna,

    Thanks for contacting me about the POSITION opening at COMPANY. I've been hoping to get into INDUSTRY, and this opening sounds like it will provide the BENEFIT I need in order to VAGUE REFERENCE TO PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION. With my expertise in SUBJECT and proven ability to deliver PRODUCT, I'm confident I can achieve RESULT and make this employer more ADJECTIVE.

    Yours,
    PERSON
  • Generic 2011-06-03 03:34
    –let's call him Paul –

    Well, apparently Paul is actually named "he" because the name "Paul" is never mentioned again.
  • yes but 2011-06-03 05:08
    Erik:
    Seriously, the first message is a classic, right up there with Paula Bean.

    Isn't it amazing how a few people like that social misfit end up giving the rest of us normals a bad name? That guy will forever be cemented in the submitter's mind as the living embodiment of all IT workers.

    I've worked with people like that in the past - it's hell. Try to get anything done when the one person who is God of Everything spends 20 minutes telling you how brilliant he is and how I couldn't possibly understand what he does. (Yes, that's a real experience.) Arrogant + passive-aggressive + fanboi mentality is a really BAD personality combination!

    My guess as to who that is hiding behind the assumed name: (a) Terry Childs, (b) Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons


    Although funnily enough, a whole team full of people like that can be very productive.
  • Anonymous Cow-Herd 2011-06-03 05:53
    Harry:
    I don't want people who are going to look elsewhere the second they come across some little task they don't really want to do.

    If you're looking at candidates and thinking that they're likely to leave for the competition, you're doing it wrong.
  • eXtremeDev 2011-06-03 06:15
    I can't believe the comment thread degenerated into a discussion on object oriented languages.

    It seems to me that half the people in IT have asperger's syndrome or something.
  • Anonymous Cow-Herd 2011-06-03 06:32
    eXtremeDev:
    I can't believe the comment thread degenerated into a discussion on object oriented languages.

    It seems to me that half the people in IT have asperger's syndrome or something.

    That's a bit unfair. Not least because anyone that could reasonably defend against that accusation will be distracted by the shine coming from your sweaty brow.
  • Soviut 2011-06-03 07:16
    Paul W. Homer:
    "Really, you're testing my ability to XOR stuff? Are you implying that the twenty previous years of hardcore programming experience on my resume are a lie? That's no way to start a relationship, I have to go now ..."

    Generally I assume that if they don't have any initial respect for my experience, they are probably another mindless sweatshop. A place to be avoided.


    There are such things as formalities. Not recognizing this seems pretty strange to me. They don't know who you are or if you lied on your resume, so they give you a quiz to establish a baseline. What's the big deal? Especially when you could take their quiz, ace it, and move on.
  • Cyt 2011-06-03 07:42
    eXtremeDev:

    Last time I was looking for a job, I interviewed with this rather small company. After acing the presented problem in a very limited timeframe (this was the technical part of the interview) and showing the guy my portfolio (some of those apps are live and running on the web), the man proceeded to ask me questions like:

    1. How many people are born in this city every minute?
    2. What is the volume of water on Earth?

    I did answer, but once I got home I rethought everything and realized I didn't really want to work for someone who didn't value my technical expertise and treated me like an idiot. Perhaps he was trying to establish pecking order early on, or he genuinely lacks common sense to realize that if an experienced person who has both shown him his portfolio AND solved the technical part should not be asked these kinds of questions.

    I emailed him and politely told him I wouldn't be able to take the position.


    Actually, he was gauging your ability to fling out estimates on the fly - a skill very useful and needed when dealing with clients - a skill which could not have been gauged in the preceding technical tests.

    AFAIR, developers for investment banks often get these kinds of questions at the interviews as well.

    The joke's on you for feeling treated like an idiot.
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2011-06-03 07:48
    I don't really see the issue with the first story apart from the brusque way he wrote it. Many software engineers, especially senior ones, find it downright insulting to be asked to do some kind of technical test for a company that they are probably better than. Sure, the guy writing it comes off like a total douchebag bozo but he has a point: You don't belittle candidates with this in-the-box puzzle question bullshit like Microsoft tries to pull (the manhole question, or crossing the bridge, nonsense like that).

    I would have refused that as well, although wouldn't have been as much of a jackass in the reply. Ask me for a code sample, ask me to walk through some ideas for a small application (one job interview I had we were discussing how to build a house for a mad scientist and sketching out ideas on a whiteboard), that's fine. But don't ask stupid textbook logic question garbage, because that's a waste of time.
  • Arancaytar 2011-06-03 07:56
    The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler.

    The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages.

    Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao.

    But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.


    Be wary of any programmer cursing a particular language. While it is easier to write good code in some, the quality of the code depends ultimately on the programmer. An experienced programmer may criticize PHP's flat and inconsistently named global function namespace, Javascript's poor DOM traversal or both languages' haphazard object orientation, but when someone rants that a certain language simply "sucks", it is just as likely that they can't use that language very well.
  • Sad Javascript hacker 2011-06-03 07:56
    "using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–" - to the face. I've been hacking on JavaScript for about 18 months and it doesn't get any better.
  • nobulate 2011-06-03 07:57
    boog:
    "The thing is," he ranted, "using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–"
    No wonder he doesn't like doing front-end work.


    He must be a back-end kinda guy.
  • Antman 2011-06-03 08:00
    Arancaytar:
    The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler.

    The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages.

    Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao.

    But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.


    Be wary of any programmer cursing a particular language. While it is easier to write good code in some, the quality of the code depends ultimately on the programmer. An experienced programmer may criticize PHP's flat and inconsistently named global function namespace, Javascript's poor DOM traversal or both languages' haphazard object orientation, but when someone rants that a certain language simply "sucks", it is just as likely that they can't use that language very well.


    Eh, I rant about Java quite heavily... simply because there are better alternatives (such as C#) that do the same thing... for practically EVERYTHING that Java does, there is a better alternative: hence, it sucks. It is inferior to its competitors overall, and Java itself doesn't appear to have been designed very well - it can be extremely frustrating to use in many situations, whereas using even C++ in the same situations is quite easy (I actually enjoy using C++).
  • eXtremeDev 2011-06-03 08:59
    Cyt:
    eXtremeDev:

    Last time I was looking for a job, I interviewed with this rather small company. After acing the presented problem in a very limited timeframe (this was the technical part of the interview) and showing the guy my portfolio (some of those apps are live and running on the web), the man proceeded to ask me questions like:

    1. How many people are born in this city every minute?
    2. What is the volume of water on Earth?

    I did answer, but once I got home I rethought everything and realized I didn't really want to work for someone who didn't value my technical expertise and treated me like an idiot. Perhaps he was trying to establish pecking order early on, or he genuinely lacks common sense to realize that if an experienced person who has both shown him his portfolio AND solved the technical part should not be asked these kinds of questions.

    I emailed him and politely told him I wouldn't be able to take the position.


    Actually, he was gauging your ability to fling out estimates on the fly - a skill very useful and needed when dealing with clients - a skill which could not have been gauged in the preceding technical tests.

    AFAIR, developers for investment banks often get these kinds of questions at the interviews as well.

    The joke's on you for feeling treated like an idiot.


    Oh, don't worry, I can estimate those numbers quite easily. But that's not the point.

    You can give those questions to some newbie fresh out of college, but doing it to someone with a fair amount of experience in the industry is plain insulting. If he deems it appropriate to decide whether I'm a good candidate by asking me silly and inane "why are manhole covers round" type of questions, he can forget about me working there.

    A man's intelligence can be inferred implicitly by paying attention to his code, his previous projects and overall demeanor.

    It seems to me that those questions aren't really there to establish your ability to "give estimates on the fly", but rather to gauge your personality and filter for people who are willing to take it up the ass and not complain about it.

    Now granted, some big companies tend to ask those questions. If I were interviewing with a big I-bank or a company like Microsoft, I'd probably take it, since they have an established hiring process and you can't do much about it. It's not personal. But it becomes personal when you sit face-to-face with the owner of a small startup who really has the choice not to treat you like a moron, and he still opts to treat you like you're mentally deficient.
  • Dilbertino 2011-06-03 09:21
    It could have been better. The Recruiter's name could have been Lorena Sanchez.
  • marc 2011-06-03 09:45
    eXtremeDev:
    Cyt:
    eXtremeDev:

    Last time I was looking for a job, I interviewed with this rather small company. After acing the presented problem in a very limited timeframe (this was the technical part of the interview) and showing the guy my portfolio (some of those apps are live and running on the web), the man proceeded to ask me questions like:

    1. How many people are born in this city every minute?
    2. What is the volume of water on Earth?

    I did answer, but once I got home I rethought everything and realized I didn't really want to work for someone who didn't value my technical expertise and treated me like an idiot. Perhaps he was trying to establish pecking order early on, or he genuinely lacks common sense to realize that if an experienced person who has both shown him his portfolio AND solved the technical part should not be asked these kinds of questions.

    I emailed him and politely told him I wouldn't be able to take the position.


    Actually, he was gauging your ability to fling out estimates on the fly - a skill very useful and needed when dealing with clients - a skill which could not have been gauged in the preceding technical tests.

    AFAIR, developers for investment banks often get these kinds of questions at the interviews as well.

    The joke's on you for feeling treated like an idiot.


    Oh, don't worry, I can estimate those numbers quite easily. But that's not the point.

    You can give those questions to some newbie fresh out of college, but doing it to someone with a fair amount of experience in the industry is plain insulting. If he deems it appropriate to decide whether I'm a good candidate by asking me silly and inane "why are manhole covers round" type of questions, he can forget about me working there.

    A man's intelligence can be inferred implicitly by paying attention to his code, his previous projects and overall demeanor.

    It seems to me that those questions aren't really there to establish your ability to "give estimates on the fly", but rather to gauge your personality and filter for people who are willing to take it up the ass and not complain about it.

    Now granted, some big companies tend to ask those questions. If I were interviewing with a big I-bank or a company like Microsoft, I'd probably take it, since they have an established hiring process and you can't do much about it. It's not personal. But it becomes personal when you sit face-to-face with the owner of a small startup who really has the choice not to treat you like a moron, and he still opts to treat you like you're mentally deficient.



    You'd think that someone who reads tdwtf would realize that no matter the amount of experience, or the number of projects worked on.. That's no guarantee for competence
  • Cave Johnson 2011-06-03 09:46
    Andrew:
    Cave Johnson applied for a job? Fuck yeah he did!


    When life gives you a man with my skills, do this: Take your comment, roll it up, and HIRE ENGINEERS TO INVENT A COMBUSTIBLE COMMENT THAT BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN.
  • Alex 2011-06-03 09:53
    mjk340:

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    He was simply confused because of the latest addition of the ArrayLinkedList class to all known libraries. Totally understandable.
  • cappeca 2011-06-03 10:05
    Jay:
    I've never had a case where I looked back and said, "Oh, if only I had not been so polite to that person, I would be so much better off today."


    I did, with my ex-wife.
  • foo 2011-06-03 10:12
    Nagesh2.0:
    Larry:
    When a big picture recruiter like me with nearly 20 years of experience working with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per year,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!



    When a SIZE picture recruiter like me with nearly NUMBER years of experience ADJECTIVE with people in FIELD sends you an opportunity for JOB with a company like CLIENT that is pulling down REVENUE per TIMEFRAME,
    here's what you don't do:

    Post it to TDWTF!


    When a commenter with ABILITY humoAMERICANISMr makes a ADJECTIVE-arsed attempt at the recycled meme of replacing FIELDS in the OP, here's what you don't do:

    Repeat it.
  • Anonymous Cow-Herd 2011-06-03 10:16
    cappeca:
    Jay:
    I've never had a case where I looked back and said, "Oh, if only I had not been so polite to that person, I would be so much better off today."


    I did, with my ex-wife.


    In local government, incompetent people get "redeployed". They get shifted from pillar to post. Unfortunately, by the time anyone high enough up the food chain realises that they've hired an incompetent, it's too late to do anything about it - if they try and fire it, it'll sue for unfair dismissal, harassment, bullying and victimisation, and the whichever way it goes the employer pays the costs and the manager concerned gets sacked or demoted. I bet they'd say something like "Oh, if only I hadn't been quite so polite to that person, maybe I'd still have my job and even have been promoted by now ..."
  • Neville Flynn 2011-06-03 10:23
    Generic:
    –let's call him Paul –

    Well, apparently Paul is actually named "he" because the name "Paul" is never mentioned again.

    That irked me about the article. It's like declaring a variable and not using it.
  • SG_01 2011-06-03 10:47
    Well, if you want to give people a programming test, you could always do something like http://angel.sg01.net/test.php

    Though that might be a bit cruel :D
  • FuBar 2011-06-03 10:48
    eXtremeDev:
    Cyt:
    Actually, he was gauging your ability to fling out estimates on the fly
    Oh, don't worry, I can estimate those numbers quite easily.

    I think he was trying to figure out whether you knew the difference between an estimate and a guess. That's a reasonable indicator of the degree of cowboy-ism.
  • Lafcadio 2011-06-03 11:15
    10+ years of experience doesn't mean you're good. It could mean that you're just competent enough not to fail completely with a different employer every few years, and as soon as you get to the point where you can't fake it any longer ("oh shit, double-linked lists!") you move on.
  • amischiefr 2011-06-03 11:28
    Me:
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?

    What is more likely is that this kind of attitude the person has is exactly the reason they are in the market for a new job.
  • Thing that goes *toot* in the night 2011-06-03 11:56
    Erik:

    I've worked with people like that in the past - it's hell. Try to get anything done when the one person who is God of Everything spends 20 minutes telling you how brilliant he is and how I couldn't possibly understand what he does. (Yes, that's a real experience.) Arrogant + passive-aggressive + fanboi mentality is a really BAD personality combination!


    Worked with one once. When he got on my nerves, I'd dig up the source for something he'd written, figure out how to make it core dump, and then file a bug report.
  • jl 2011-06-03 12:02
    Proper response to Mr. Big Picture "Thanks for being such an a-hole up front so we didn't discover it after we hired you. We really didn't need someone who was going to do nothing but regurgitate white papers from Gartner/Burton/et al and then rant about how stupid everyone else was when your vague 'ideas' turned out to be poorly conceived and missing answers to the actual hard questions."
  • Prinny 2011-06-03 12:28
    Naah, that's 100% Cave Johnson. I don't think Thomas B was talking shit, considering how he made it passed round 1 of the interview process.
  • Jay 2011-06-03 12:51
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer


    Umm, but how can they know your skill level until they, like, ask you some questions?

    Do you really expect to call a company and say, "I'm fully qualified for this job", and they'll reply, "Oh, well, okay then, I guess we needn't bother with all that silly 'interview' stuff."
  • SG_01 2011-06-03 12:57
    SG_01:
    Well, if you want to give people a programming test, you could always do something like http://angel.sg01.net/test.php

    Though that might be a bit cruel :D


    ==== Highlight for Spoilers ====


    For the people who got question # wrong:

    1. Shame on you!
    2. Might want to try a different font
    3. That operator is a bit obscure, I know
    4 & 5: Might want to review operator precedence


    ==== End spoilers ====
  • Jay 2011-06-03 13:02
    From: Robin Lee
    To: Lorena C-----
    Subject: Robin - a great Job Opportunity

    Dear Lorena,

    Thanks for letting me know about the JOB TITLE job. Yes, I'm very interested in this position. I've been thinking for some time that I'd like to move to CITY. I think it's one of the most interesting and lively places in COUNTRY.

    I am certainly qualified for this job as I have over 7 years experience in SHORT JOB DESCRIPTION.

    I am a little concerned that the job is only for DURATION. I had been looking for a position that would be for at least DURATION*1.5. But I'm sure we can discuss this further with HR MANAGER.
  • YourMoFoFriend 2011-06-03 13:48
    eXtremeDev:
    It seems to me that those questions aren't really there to establish your ability to "give estimates on the fly", but rather to gauge your personality and filter for people who are willing to take it up the ass and not complain about it.

    Is that really such a common occurrence in your work life - companies using your ass for their entertainment? Really?

    I agree, sometimes interview questions seem silly (especially to an experienced developer), but given the attitude demonstrated by The Big Picture Thinker, my bet is he is much more likely to be a dickhead rather than a top-notch engineer... and if he is both than I'd probably not want to have him on my team anyway.
  • EverInterview 2011-06-03 14:35
    You should always send the "insulting". It was a written test that the guy never received, so how would he know how hard or easy or "in the box" the test was going to be.

    When I run interviews, I always run tests because even the questions that I think are insulting end up pushing out at least 90% of the people because they can't seem to answer them.

    Undergrad, Graduate, 2+ years experience, 10+ years, etc. Amazing!
  • Joe 2011-06-03 14:44
    Wait? Isn't it the same thing?

    Depending on the level of abstraction you're interested in, no they're not the same thing.

    Consider locality of reference. Arrays are stored linearly in memory. This means that the CPU's prefetch can more efficiently gather the soon-to-be-referenced memory data.

    A linked list is harder to predict and pipeline. Not to mention that it's harder to parallelize onto multiple threads.

    --Joe
  • Dilbertino 2011-06-03 16:08
    The Big Picture thinker is probably the same guy who left this voice message to a potential date: www.noob.us/entertainment/the-douchiest-voicemail-in-the-history-of-douchebags/
  • Rob 2011-06-03 17:19
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer


    Eh, I've seen senior level developers with 15 years of experience who can *talk* a lot about writing software and throw around buzz words and mostly just state the obvious. But ask them to write something trivial, from scratch, in a language they say they've used for the last five years and they drop the ball.

    I don't know how the lasted so long, or what they did in the past. Still, they exist. I'd never be offended if someone asked me to show off what I can do.
  • PRMan 2011-06-03 18:45
    jmucchiello:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.


    Way to test if people can code 20 years ago. I had an interview once where I politely told the guy that I do know pointers, but that if anyone actually used UNSAFE code in C# instead of the built-in lists, that it would be very unwise.

    Despite raining on his parade (again, politely), I got offered the job (but I took a higher-paying one).
  • PRMan 2011-06-03 18:53
    Anonymous:
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.


    Linked lists have to follow pointers repeatedly while arrays go directly to a memory address. Following 100 pointers may be fast, but it still requires 100 memory reads. Array references require zero memory reads since the address will most likely be filled in during compile time. If not, it's still only 1.

    Today, this probably makes zero difference in 99% of cases, since CPUs can do about a million things a second anyway.
  • Don 2011-06-03 18:57
    Anonymous:
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"


    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.


    No at all. In addition to what others have already pointed out, if you know that the array is sorted, you can do an easy and efficient binary search. Not so easy on a linked list since access is sequential rather than random.
  • Gunslinger 2011-06-03 20:25
    jkupski:

    To sum up: the toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.


    If you never kiss anyone's ass, then you don't need to worry about it. Simple.
  • Gunslinger 2011-06-03 20:36
    mjk340:
    Anonymous:

    Wait? Isn't it the same thing? Both would need linear time for search unless you are allowed to sort, but if you are allowed to sort, then you can sort the linked list as well, and it is the same thing.


    I make it a point to tell the candidates that the questions are open ended and meant to spur discussion, and that there isn't really a right or wrong answer.

    Rather than answer your question, I'll ask you what I would have asked you in the interview as a follow up: How would you jump to the center of a linked list to perform the first comparison in a binary search?


    With a pogo stick.

    Alternatively, magic.
  • cloudberry 2011-06-04 09:51
    Thomas B-------:


    From: Thomas B-------
    Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 10:37 AM
    To: James S------
    Subject: RE: Written Test


    When a big picture thinker with nearly 20 years of experience in IT sends
    you a resume and cover letter like mine and says that he can help you win a
    client that is pulling in 1.3 Billion per year, here's what you don't do:

    1. Set up an interview with a couple of in-the-box thinking Microsoft
    drones with questions on minutia.

    2. Hand him a test to see what his "style", attention to detail, and
    problem solving approach is.

    Here's my style: I am certain that I can run circles around your best
    developers with my own, original, incredibly efficient model; but more
    importantly, I am a director that can help them run circles around their
    own current misguided misconceptions. But I am thankful for this lesson,
    as I have learned that I need to add a cover to my cover letter that reads:
    If you are an in-the-box thinking Microsoft house, and you find yourself
    regurgitating terms like OOP, MVC, TDD, BDD, Cucumber, etc..., without
    really understanding what it all means and how much it is actually costing
    your company to have bought into that industry pushed bullshit, then DO NOT
    contact me. I'd save you too much money, and you obviously do not want
    that.

    So the question now is: Did I pass the test?

    The answer is: Fuck yes I did.

    Thomas B-------

    PS. You forgot to attach the quiz.

    Do this: Print out a copy of it, ball it up, and throw it at your own
    forehead, because that's what I would do if I were there.



    James S------:


    From: James S------
    Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 11:44 AM
    To: Thomas B-------
    Subject: RE: Written Test


    So, does this mean you're not interested in the job anymore?

    James S------


  • zefi 2011-06-04 10:26
    You mean, you can use C# to write cross-platform apps?
  • Johnny Biggg 2011-06-04 11:34
    I have to say that I can see where the first guy is coming from. The style of the email indicates a mentally unstable person whom you probably don't want working for your organization, but I myself get more and more annoyed by recruiters sending my resume for senior developer positions and companies asking me questions like "what is an interface" and "how do you apply a CSS style". Guys, if you get "senior" resumes who don't know what interfaces are, stop working with that recruiter, and if you really think that it's worth your and my time asking these kinds of questions "just to make sure", then look elsewhere.
  • Lazy Bum 2011-06-04 11:55

    Hey, that job opportunity looks just right for me! As you can see I have just the right skill set and experience required:

    RESUME
  • Reinier 2011-06-06 03:36
    Looks like a full mental block. You'd need to figure out whether something like it would be likely to occur under normal working conditions.
  • A Gould 2011-06-06 10:24
    Me:
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?


    If you were sending this to the interviewer's boss, then I can see this as a sort of Hail Mary play. Try to position yourself as so far above the maroons you have working for you now that the quiz is beneath you. (This assumes you can BS the one-up into believing you sight unseen.)

    Sending that pile of drenn to the *interviewer*? This is either someone who didn't want the job, or someone very, very stupid.
  • Rich 2011-06-06 19:25
    I know this is an old post, but the first guy is a tool.

    1) BS ability is easy in geek jobs. If a manager can't and doesn't measure you properly, it's easy to hide out even with no ability. How many people moved college homework projects as work projects? A roommate had a project that filled a 2 dimensional array with 'stores' and gave a datapoint as input, show me the closest 'store'. He dressed it up so it looked like GPS.

    I had another guy I interviewed that supposedly did kernel work. Something equivalent to NATting. I felt I may insult him when I asked my screener question - linked lists. He failed miserably. If I just assumed he knew it, we may have hired him. And a 'kernel hacker' couldn't do a linked list.

    On the other end, there's my ex-boss Chris' friend Mike. Chris was a hard core geek, doing TSRs for the hell of it. Mike was totally nontechnical, but had learned enough buzzwords from Chris that he literally had HR folks chase him at parties to hire him as a developer.

    2) Even if it's justified to feel insulted (and he didn't even see the questions, the attachment was forgotten, so hard for me to se justification) the reaction was over the top. The OP said that developers had to interface with clients occasionally. What if a client asked a 'stupid question' and this guy shits all over the contract?

    So this guy has unknown tech skills, and he's shown himself to be a dick. I'd shred the resume.

    CAPTCHA: feugiat
    Made me thing of a feudal gay man for some reason.
  • Almafuerte 2011-06-07 01:04
    Oh fuck. I'm always looking for new awesome hackers to hire, and I would hire this two first motherfuckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hprogrammers without a doubt.

    Really, if you guys are reading, post contact information, you'll fit in our team like a glove.

    (BTW: Javascript really is like a bad blowjob. At first, you want it. You think it'll get the job done, but getting through it can be as awkward as painful. In the end, you reach your goal, but you feel empty and disappointed, but hey, it's still better than nothing. )
  • MAAK 2011-06-08 15:56
    Welcome to the Arpeture Science testing facility. We are sure you, <SUBJECT NAME HERE>, are the pride and joy of <SUBJECT HOMETOWN HERE>
  • drdamour 2011-06-08 16:30
    Me:
    I can never understand what is going on in the minds of people like the first guy. Do they actually believe that acting like that will somehow get them the job? Or are they just so full of themselves that they think they're so likely to find a different job that they can afford to burn every bridge they cross just to blow off steam?


    i'm always looking for people like this, as long as they do actually know how to do all that crap. these types of interviews are insulting to many people for good reason, and i'm glad they have these types of interviews because otherwise a lot of bad matches would be made.
  • drdamour 2011-06-08 17:04
    SG_01:
    SG_01:
    Well, if you want to give people a programming test, you could always do something like http://angel.sg01.net/test.php

    Though that might be a bit cruel :D


    ==== Highlight for Spoilers ====


    For the people who got question # wrong:

    1. Shame on you!
    2. Might want to try a different font
    3. That operator is a bit obscure, I know
    4 & 5: Might want to review operator precedence


    ==== End spoilers ====


    how come #5 question is:
    true || false && false

    and the answer page shows:
    true && false || true
  • Arancaytar 2011-06-09 03:00
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

    I interviewed a 15+ year experience guy with every popular language known to man on his resume. He said "Array".

    I asked, "Why do you say that?"

    "Er, no, I mean linked list."

    "Why?"

    "Array"

    "Relax, this isn't a trick question. Let's say I have an array of strings. How can I tell if a given string already exists in the array?"

    "Linked List"

    "Fine, how could I tell if a string exists in a linked list?"

    "Array"


    I like the mental image that the poor guy kept on repeating this until you thanked him for his time and told him you'd be in touch, and he went out the door saying "Array".
  • SG_01 2011-06-09 05:42
    drdamour:
    SG_01:
    SG_01:
    Well, if you want to give people a programming test, you could always do something like http://angel.sg01.net/test.php

    Though that might be a bit cruel :D


    ==== Highlight for Spoilers ====


    For the people who got question # wrong:

    1. Shame on you!
    2. Might want to try a different font
    3. That operator is a bit obscure, I know
    4 & 5: Might want to review operator precedence


    ==== End spoilers ====


    how come #5 question is:
    true || false && false

    and the answer page shows:
    true && false || true


    To figure out if you're paying attention of course ;)
  • woodle 2011-06-09 22:51
    Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous:
    “The thing is,” he ranted, “using JavaScript is like getting a bad blow–“
    I know! The way I pull my hair out when I'm writing JavaScript, it's just like a bad blow-dry!


    You're doing it wrong.

    Addendum (2011-06-09 23:11):
    Edit: Too slow, and too obvious.
  • Anonymous Coward 2011-06-10 10:47
    I like this guy. I'd hire him!
  • Anonymous Coward 2011-06-10 11:30
    "1. How many people are born in this city every minute? "

    Estimate population - UK is about 50 million, so my big city is about 500k
    Halve it to remove men = 250k
    Assume equal number of people of each age
    Assume people die at 75
    Use assumptions to remove people not likely to be pregnant - those < 16 years or > 45 years old - so remove 45 years worth of people in 250k group = 110k
    Assume 5% of 'pregnant capable' women are pregnant now = 5k (biggest uninformed guess I've made)
    Assume they have even distribution of dates to give birth = 5k/365 = 13 per day on average

    Sounds about right for a city of 500k.

    Estimation, showing assumptions and methodology, is not a useless skill.
  • Anonymous Coward 2011-06-10 11:35
    "13 per day on average

    Sounds about right for a city of 500k"

    I've just checked - the actual answer is 8 per day - pretty damn close!

  • zenstain 2011-06-13 13:52
    Oh that's ok, I believe Steve X went on to become head of Microsoft.
  • e john 2011-06-15 23:17
    Thomas B. had easily the best and most correct reponse to the nitwit interview process (NIP) that I have seen in years.
  • e john 2011-06-15 23:33
    shift happens.
  • e john 2011-06-15 23:56
    Anonymous Coward:
    "1. How many people are born in this city every minute? "

    Estimate population - UK is about 50 million, so my big city is about 500k
    Halve it to remove men = 250k
    Assume equal number of people of each age
    Assume people die at 75
    Use assumptions to remove people not likely to be pregnant - those < 16 years or > 45 years old - so remove 45 years worth of people in 250k group = 110k
    Assume 5% of 'pregnant capable' women are pregnant now = 5k (biggest uninformed guess I've made)
    Assume they have even distribution of dates to give birth = 5k/365 = 13 per day on average

    Sounds about right for a city of 500k.

    Estimation, showing assumptions and methodology, is not a useless skill.


    Alas, the question was how many were born every MINUTE, not every day ... so ... ah ...

    Anyway, it was a very nice estimate.
  • Something Like That Guy 2011-06-20 05:40

    The first guy was spot on. Not only was that an outfit of junior achievers who clearly wasn't competent enough to be able to tell if he was competent or not, they wanted him to fill out an asinine written test and didn't even manage to attach the test!

    The fail here is completely on the side of the recruiting company.

    I have to laugh at these companies who are offering the programming equivalent of a "fry cook opportunity" and think that engineers should jump thru hoops and answer asinine questions.

    If you're any good, it becomes immediately obvious when you're dealing with a company that is being run by idiots. For me, the first clue is usually wanting to do a phone interview. If you can't tell from my resume that you want to bring me in, either I've targeted my search very wrong, or you're just not qualified to determine if I'm qualified.

    I'm not arrogant, though and so I submit to phone interviews- and more often than not, my expectations are confirmed: They're just throwing interviews at people and are going to hire the one who makes it thru the battery without confusing any of their junior programmer interviewers. They have no idea how to tell if someone is competent or not... because they themselves are incompetent.

    Never do a technical interview over the phone. Get a sense of personality, fine. Have a chat, fine. Say "have you ever worked with frobozz extractors", fine. But never "if your frobozz extractor is on the fritz, which widget do you twiddle?"

    I stopped putting my livelihood in the hands of other people years ago because I got tired of dealing with this crap. I've done much better starting my own business... but back when I was willing to work for others, it was astounding how clueless recruiters and most companies were, and how arrogant they treated recruits.

    Here this guy is arrogantly asking him to do something very pedestrian, and you're going "WTF" when he calls you on it? That's the very definition of being so incompetent that you're unqualified to judge competence.

    Submitting it to WTF just shows you're an idiot.
  • Something Like That Guy 2011-06-20 05:45
    Ptorq:
    When you're applying for a job, here's what you don't do:

    1. Act like a complete jackass.

    Seriously, there is no way I would ever hire someone who did this. Apparently this was such a great test for seeing how someone handles written communication that it works even when you forget to send it.


    It absolutely works! The amazing thing is, you don't even realize you've been discovered for being a jackass, and then you submit it to TDWTF!

    The hilarious thing is you're presuming the person applying for the job has no standards, no self respect, and is desperate.

    So much of the interviewing process is conducted by people who are so arrogant-- such jackasses-- that they will waste the candidates time because they presume candidates are desperate to work for them.

    This letter is proof that there are candidates with self esteem. It being submitted to TDWTF is proof that even when it is pointed out to them, jackasses never realize that they are jackasses.
  • The Poop... of DOOM 2011-06-21 04:22
    snoofle:
    I get letters like that last one from headhunters all the time. They just blast to everyone on the job board who has even a single word in common with the job req; ignoring salary, geography, and actual relevant skills-matches.

    I *hate* headhunters!

    My brother and I got that too. I'm happily employed as a developer and he's not-so-happily employed as a helpdesk drone. I want to stay where I am now, he wants to leave helpdesk behind and go on to become server or network admin (and is more than capable of doing so).

    There're some headhunter agencies that often send both of us job offers... Both of us the SAME job offers, even though we got completely different skillsets. Hell, I'm not even looking for another job. We both mark it as spam each and every time, cause... well... it is.

    Headhunters are like a bad blowjob. They latch on and no matter how much you tug and pull to get free, they won't let go!
  • The Poop... of DOOM 2011-06-21 05:33
    Smarty McSmartyPants:
    Captain Oblivious:
    jmucchiello:
    Shaftoe:
    I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
    Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

    I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.


    Now that's interesting. Where do you rate trivial, obvious syntax errors, assuming the logic is correct?


    Rating: Trivial. You may be underestimating the kind of wholesale failure we're talking about here...

    I also thought it was "interesting" that "hardcore" veterans with a decade of experience were wholly unable to write passable code in their language of choice. Even if one allowed for "language of choice" to be typo-riddled magical unicorn psuedo-code. They don't know wtf they're talking about, at all. Noticing this becoming a recurring pattern rendered it more obnoxious than interesting, further degrading my already rapidly dwindling faith in humanity.

    People lie. A lot. Believe the hype.

    At my previous job, the pointy-haired (well, baldy) boss hired a second developer. That guy was so full of bullshit I'm amazed the boss didn't see it.

    Guy was about 24 years old, said he's had 5 years of experience. He worked at a company I worked at several years earlier, apparently before AND after I worked there, but only one of both. I still don't fully understand what he means! He also finished a college degree that takes 4 years. So in total, after finishing highschool and all that, he'd be around 28 years old, instead of 24.

    He also claimed to have made his own CMS in .NET, that performance was his key interest. Why oh why does that CMS put every single site made in it on the same hosting, same DB and everything?

    When he arrived, he actually refused to write any code. He claimed he should just be able to download everything online and do a couple of clicks to set everything up. I HAD to teach him how to use the APIs and tools we use, so I tried to have him make a very simple contact form. I even gave him example code of which he just had to change some variable names AND actually opened the page with the most important function call's documentation. At the evening, he still didn't have his contact form. He didn't even know -- even though the documentation clearly stated so -- that that function call had a return value!

    Instead of actually doing his job and program, he wasted my time trying to start endless, useless discussions. Stuff like setting text in contents in bold or italic is a designer's task, not a content manager's task (I'm not kidding! He actually claimed that!). He also kept spewing bullshit like "his ambition" being becoming a web developer.

    And all the while, the boss there kept going on about what a clever guy that is...
  • Volodya 2011-07-12 03:16
    Actually the true WTF was that a person with 20 years of experience is getting a run around and *then* an incompetent person doesn't even know how to attach the test to the e-mail.

    If people in HR do not know how to spot the good candidate, they should fire themselves.
  • cid 2011-07-27 10:06
    If I were Robin, I'd respond. Enthusiastically.
  • Mook 2011-10-23 01:21
    After going through many interviews with junior people who have no idea how to interview, much less judge talent, I'm very much in Thomas B's side. The posting is even funnier because the maroon James somehow thinks he's shown Thomnas up by posting this. In fact, he's showing what a total incompetent he is: he has no idea he's been served and pwned by Thomas B.

    Work with you ANY day, Thomas.
  • Mook 2011-10-23 01:27
    Antman:
    Arancaytar:
    The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler.

    The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages.

    Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao.

    But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.


    Be wary of any programmer cursing a particular language. While it is easier to write good code in some, the quality of the code depends ultimately on the programmer. An experienced programmer may criticize PHP's flat and inconsistently named global function namespace, Javascript's poor DOM traversal or both languages' haphazard object orientation, but when someone rants that a certain language simply "sucks", it is just as likely that they can't use that language very well.


    Eh, I rant about Java quite heavily... simply because there are better alternatives (such as C#) that do the same thing... for practically EVERYTHING that Java does, there is a better alternative: hence, it sucks. It is inferior to its competitors overall, and Java itself doesn't appear to have been designed very well - it can be extremely frustrating to use in many situations, whereas using even C++ in the same situations is quite easy (I actually enjoy using C++).


    Aren't you precious and precocious, my little C++ stud muffin.
  • Spitting Mole 2011-11-03 17:41
    I think that many people assumed that if someone is applying for a job, he must be currently unemployed. Maybe he was just looking for a better job. There is no good reason to ask trivial questions when you are looking for someone with 10+ years experience. The liars may be able to answer them and the qualified ones will get offended.

    aasg:
    Because they feel that they are doing the prospective employer a favour by applying, they tend to be arrogant and upset said employer.


    Still much less common than employers thinking and behaving like they are doing a favor to the emloyee and employers underpaying and treating their employees like sh*t and then crying they can't find enough qualified workers.
  • Marnen Laibow-Koser 2011-11-14 15:20
    If it doesn't get better, then ur doin it rong. I'm primarily a server-side developer, but I'm constantly amazed at the hate on JavaScript. *When you use it properly*, it's a really nice language. If it's not feeling really nice, sharpen the saw by learning more about the language. (And use CoffeeScript if you can -- the standard syntax is not appropriate to the structure of the language.)
  • Reow 2012-01-26 18:09
    LMAO re 'Big Picture Thinker'. You guys had your arses handed to you and are so ignorant that you didn't even realize it. I think this is the first self-pwntage I've seen on TDWTF!
  • Cbuttius 2012-10-04 11:54
    mjk340:
    I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

    I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.


    Array, every time.

    If the array is sorted, you can use binary search for a start as you have random access.

    But let's assume it is not sorted, so the complexity of the lookup is the same as the list. However traversing an array is far more efficient than traversing a list, as you are going to get fewer page faults. This would be the case whether you use pointer arithmetic (with C or C++ as the language) or index arithmetic. Pointer arithmetic is likely to be slightly more efficient.

    A linked list is more efficient than an array on the whole in only one operation, that being insertion and deletion in the middle. If you want to maintain a sorted collection, you would be better off using a binary tree (which is not a linked list). The other place where a linked list can be more efficient is when you have to allocate more memory, although in this case a double-ended queue, which is essentially usually implemented in a "paged" manner, is more efficient.

    In C++, a vector must be contiguous. In Java or C#, the implementation is on a virtual machine so an array or vector does not have to actually be contiguous, the standard is just that random access is constant time. You get that too with a std::deque underlying implementation.

  • Zip 2013-12-07 21:01
    Actually, I think you do. Getting a generic job offer letter like that would be beyond insulting.