I'm not looking for a new job, but a head-hunter called (from a five year old resume) with a position that sounded pin point perfect. Since there is nothing going on at work, I thought I'd check it out.

At the interview, I met some mid and senior level developers, and the team lead. They asked the usual technical, problem solving and how-would-you-x type of questions. I answered fairly well, and established a decent rapport while trading war stories. They seemed to feel the same way, as they grabbed the manager to chat with me afterward.

I spent about 30 minutes answering higher level architectural, support and management type questions. Then he asked me something for which I was completely unprepared.

"Do you ever read The Daily What-the-F***?"

"Um, sure; I read it often! Why?" (my fault for asking)

"Have you ever read any articles by 'snoofle'?" (uh oh; where is this going?)

"As a matter of fact, I have; why do you ask?" (again my fault, I was flustered)

"What do you think of the way he seems to deal with incompetent co-workers and management?"

(How to proceed?)

"I think he accepts that IT is there to support the business, and that you can't always do things the 'right' way; but it's important to ensure people understand the cost of running up a technical debt. Then try to gently nudge them in the right direction. What do YOU think of him?"

He generally agreed. I sensed an opportunity: "What would you do if snoofle walked in here, sat down in this chair, handed you a resume and asked to be considered for this position?"

"I'd hire him outright!"

"Without tech'ing him out?"

"Yes; I know the type from his writings."

"What if he and I were both sitting here?"

"I'd probably go with snoofle..."

"(With a smile) Even though your team has already decided I'm a keeper?"

"I think so, but you're here and he isn't..."

I asked if I could use his PC to show him something, opened up a browser, went to TDWTF, logged in as snoofle and showed him. After a moment, his eyes bugged out...

Shortly after the interview ended, I got a call from the agent: "Congratulations; you got the job!"

That night, something about the manager's willingness to blindly hire an unknown entity started to bug me. I don't know why; it just did. The next day, I begged off and declined the position.

Naturally, the agent gave me the hard sell, but then I got a call from the hiring manager...

"Why did you turn us down?"

I explained my uneasiness with his willingness regarding an unknown entity, and politely thanked him for his time and consideration.

After some futile pressure on his part, he continued (hesitatingly): "You know, I can tell folks your real name..."

To myself: What the... did he just threaten me?

I told him there was nothing I could do to stop him, but if he did, then I'd be completely justified in posting all over the Internet about his threat - identifying him by company, department and full name. Then I advised him to let it go. Then I hung up.

Interviewing is something of a soft scientific/artsy kind of process, but when all is said and done, trust your instincts.

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