• Cbuttius (unregistered)

    I'd just outsource the job to the Shamen.

    Because they can move, move, move any mountain...

  • Thorsten (unregistered) in reply to Raedwald
    I'd hire someone who asked that question. We programmers are meant to have some understanding of efficient and inefficient processes. And make suggestions for improving things.

    I most definitely wouldn't. She understands what's best for herself, but does not even think about what's best for the interviewer. Different interviewers have different areas of interest, so it is usually pointless to gather all in one room and waste all their times to listen to answers they are not interested in, just to potentially spare the candidate some duplication. And even if the start question is the same, the discussion will probably lead in completely different directions, Doing this in one big group would be extremely awkward. Just imagine a developing conversation, and after half an hour someone starts "Lets go back to the answer you gave thirty minutes ago...", an hour later the same...

    Not to mention the total lack of social skills and patience.

  • Sensible (unregistered) in reply to Severity One
    If you had to move Mount Fuji, how would you do it?
    I'd advise a lot more consideration first. There's clear geological evidence that it's been moved a few times in the past; does anyone know what problem this was trying to solve and whether it succeeded?
  • Iain (unregistered)

    What I don't get is why is the magazine application mentioned in the agency letter being rolled out across the whole country of Poland but only a single city in Ukraine?

  • Rick (unregistered) in reply to Rosuav
    He got awards just for being outstanding in his field? I have a scarecrow like that.

    I Loled

  • dv (unregistered)

    Certainly, the best possible answer to the "Mt. Fuji" question as well as the "same question asked multiple times" is: "Is this to be an empathy test?" Or, if you are being really annoyed, something along the lines of "Mt. Fuji? Let me tell you about Mt. Fuji...". Captcha: incassum... incassum the interviewer actually likes 1980's movies, you'll get the job.

  • The scarecrow (unregistered) in reply to Rosuav

    @Rosuav He got awards just for being outstanding in his field? I have a scarecrow like that.

    I see what you did there

  • (cs) in reply to Bavarian Chef
    Bavarian Chef:
    A more coding centric way of answering the Mt. Fuji problem:
    1. Draw a crude map with Mt. Fuji labeled on a piece of paper.
    2. Move said paper
    3. Ergo - Mt. Fuji moved.
    4. Spend the rest of the interview talking about the difference between call by value and call by reference and how it impacts language semantics.
    • BC


  • (cs) in reply to PRMan
    I had the same phone interview:

    (I posted my resume with clear instructions that I would not move and wanted to work in Orange County or South LA County California.) HER: We have a great opportunity at Intel! ME: That's great! Tell me about it. HER: Are you willing to relocate to Phoenix? ME: No, I'm looking for something in Southern California. HER: Ooh, wrong answer... ME: Did you read my Monster.com status page? HER: Yes. ME: Ooh, wrong question... HER: So, Intel has a world-class benefit package and... ME (Interrupting): I'm not moving to Arizona. HER: You really should hear about this opportunity... ME: OK. HER: Blah-blah-blah about the position. So, what do you think? ME: What does it pay? HER: ($10K less than my current job) ME: Did you read my salary requirements? HER: Yes. ME: Why are we still talking?

    ME: Just because you are desperate to find people for a position does not mean I am also equally desperate.

  • meh (unregistered) in reply to ThomasX
    Instead of moving mount Fuji it might be easier to move the client in the opposite direction. If the client wants to move mount Fuji 10 miles south simply move the client 10 miles north. Mount Fuji is then in the same relative position to the client.

    This of course only works if the client is the center of the universe.

    I'm pretty sure any client that actually requests a mountain to be moved thinks he is the center of the universe.

  • Nickster (unregistered)

    W00t! I'm going to put "iPhone native language" on my resume today!

  • (cs) in reply to Dave
    I agree with the interviewee's comments though, it's a pretty stupid question if asked without any context. For example if I had to move Fuji my solution would involve a fair bit of lithium-6 deuteride in a sloika design, which is relatively cheap to source. The downside is that in that particular configuration it's not a very big target for neutrons, so you need quite a lot of it to achieve ignition. That would have no problems moving Mt.Fuji, but side effects could be (a) moving the Japanese home islands (b) igniting some portions of the atmosphere, and (c) stripping the atmosphere off the planet.
    Thanks for your suggestion, Edward “Dave” Teller.
  • (cs) in reply to Nickster
    W00t! I'm going to put "iPhone native language" on my resume today!
    Looks like you already speak it.
  • Jay (unregistered) in reply to pitchingchris
    2. I would put out a call for a million volunteers. Each volunteer would be instructed to bring a spoon from home. Then I would direct them to each take a spoonful of dirt from the mountain, carry it to the desired destination, and drop it. Repeat until the mountain is moved.

    Good luck scooping a spoonful of hot lava

    That's the only flaw you see to that plan?

  • Jay (unregistered) in reply to Jaybles
    For the Mt. Fuji answer I would also want to find out is moving Mt. Fuji a business requirement or an implementation thrust upon you by the users.

    It could be that they don't really want Mt. Fuji moved, they'd just like to find cheaper airline tickets for a trip there and thought that moving the mountain was a better solution than going to Expedia.com

    It should not matter from the implementer's standpoint. You have to trust that the requirement has been properly vetted before making it to you. I would not have hired Grig for his answer. I want the mountain moved. Don't make me justify my reasons. I represent the business, and I say this is what the business wants. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

    If you're applying to be a code monkey, sure. You're not being paid to think, you're being paid to code. But then, if you're interviewing to be a code monkey, why in the world would the interviewer ask this sort of question?

    If you're interviewing to be a lead/senior developer, then yes, you should question the validity of seemingly ridiculous requirements. You should have the experience and knowledge to know that what you're being asked to do is insane/impossible, and be able to ask the right questions in order to arrive at a more plausible solution that accomplishes the same goal, which you would then hand down to your team of code monkeys.

    To take the question seriously: That's a good point. Suppose a user gave me a requirements paper that said, oh, how about: whenever someone visits our website we should download our entire customer database to his desktop. Surely the wrong response is, "Oh, okay." The right answer is, "But Mr User, not only would this make our web site very slow, downloading 100 megabytes of data on every visit, but it would allow any competitor to gain access to proprietary information, and probably expose us to legal liability for failing to protect personal information. What is it that you really need to accomplish? Why do you want to do this?" And then when we get the real requirement from them, propose a more realistic solution.

  • took to long (unregistered)

    How to move a Mt. Fuji a mile?

    Mt. Fuji geolocation: 35°21′28.8″N 138°43′51.6″ Circumference of Earth at 35° degrees is ~32,000 km http://home.online.no/~sigurdhu/Grid_1deg.htm Speed of Earth's rotation at 35% = ~32,000 km/day 1 mile = 1.61km

    ((1.61km/32000km) * (86400 seconds/1 day) = 4.35 seconds

    Answer: Wait 4.35 seconds to move Mt. Fuji 1 mile.

    Could I do this in during an interview? Nope, because I wouldn't have the reference material... and I've got no reason to memorize the above facts.

  • Jay (unregistered) in reply to s73v3r
    But in this situation you're the one who needs a job and it's not in your interests to be a shithead about it

    No, I don't. I currently have a job. I might desire another job, but I certainly don't NEED one. You have to appease me just as much as I'm supposed to impress you. Clearly the company did not impress her, so she didn't care what they thought.

    Regardless, burning bridges is never a good idea. If you did that, then the recruiter who sent you in there would likely never work with you again, nor would anybody that they talked to in regards to your bad attitude.

    Being rude only serves one purpose: to make you feel better now. It's ironic that getting a job when you have one is easy, however it's an entirely different storey when you've already been out of work for seven weeks and don't have any interviews lined up... Add to it that you have intentionally sabotaged yourself by removing at least one person from your network because you were a dick during an interview.

    Addendum (2012-03-13 16:45): I have to admit that on at least one occasion, I've been tempted to take a shit in their fake planter and walk out with a grin on my face. It's tempting, but being the bigger person will always serve you better.

    People put far, far too much value on not burning bridges.

    Consider the question objectively. If you scream that this place is run by a bunch of idiots and storm out, it no doubt makes you feel good for the moment. And you say you decided you don't want the job, so what have you lost? Well, suppose a year or two from now you're looking for a job again, this place has another opening, and the manager who was such an idiot has moved on. They might now be offerring a position that you would want, but you've burned your bridges. Or: I don't know where you live and work, but I've had several occasions where I've run into someone at one company that I had previously worked with at another company. Suppose one of the people present for your tirade is now working at another company where you are interviewing. Maybe he wasn't the person who caused the problem, or if he was he doesn't have the power to do it here or he's learned better. But he nevertheless thinks that someone who would go on such a tirade is not the sort of person he wants to work with, and he tells others at the new company about the incident. Etc.

    Personally, I would much rather be in a position where the company offers me a job and I (politely) reject it, then to say something that will insure that they reject me.

  • Jay (unregistered) in reply to Ben Jammin
    Ben Jammin:
    On the slightly serious side: What would the interviewer consider a good answer to the Mt Fuji question? If this comes from a book of clever interview questions, I'd like to know what they consider the "right" answer. Unless the applicant is incredibly brilliant or has god-like powers, any solution proposed is likely to be wildy expensive and/or impractical. Is the idea to present a virtually unsolvable problem and then expect a solution?

    The answer is, "One rock at a time." It is obviously supposed to be how someone takes a large unsolvable problem and solves it by breaking it down into smaller solvable problems. If they are reading questions from a script, if you want the job, you just need to show you know the scripted answers.

    The key question is whether or not you want that job. Obviously, they either don't have the time, or possibly, ability to think independently. This either means you can play "big fish in a small pond" or keep looking for a different competitive/fulfilling place of employment.

    Okay, that sounds plausible. I can see somebody coming up with that question with the thought that that's the right answer.

    But if that's what they're looking for -- or something else of that sort -- it's dumb. The question is far too general for the interviewee to know that that's what you're looking for. It's absurd to ask a general question that could be answered a hundred different ways, and expect the applicant/student/whatever to think of it the same way you did.

    Like, a couple of years ago I saw some news article about the U.S. government coming up with a new test that immigrants must pass to become citizens. And one of the questions on the test was, "What does the Constitution do?" Apparently the "right" answer was something like "it is the supreme law of the U.S.". But I could imagine a host of right answers from other points of view, ranging from "it protects the rights of the citizens" to "it does nothing of itself -- it only works to the extent that the government and the people respect and follow it" to "it hangs on the wall in the National Archives in Washington DC".

    BTW, thinking of that quiz, it was filled with pointless questions. Like asking how many amendments there were to the Constitition, or how many members are in the House of Representatives. Who cares if an immigrant knows this? I suspect such questions are included because they're easy to score rather then because they matter.

  • m (unregistered) in reply to Nickster
    W00t! I'm going to put "iPhone native language" on my resume today!
    I'm going to convert my resume into "iPad format", so that it can then be read by anyone at all, just so long as they have one specific device from one specific manufacturer.

    Maybe I'll put in some HTML "bonus pages". Good to know that thanks to the best known media company in the world, iPads will soon be catching up to the level of technology of 1991. Maybe in a few years, someone will create a revolutionary "app" that will allow reading these "HTML" pages on any company's site, even if that app hasn't been specifically written for that site! Amazing.

  • (cs)

    I don't know.. .I hate having to give the same answer to multiple people too, so I actually sympathize with the second story. Multiple interviews tend to waste the candidate's time more than anything else.

  • NickFitz (unregistered)

    I've also had that email about the tree and the drinking water from Malvern.

  • my little phony (unregistered) in reply to The poop of DOOM
    The poop of DOOM:
    I once had an interview where they asked the same questions over and over... within the same interview! The whole thing pretty much existed of:

    Interviewer: Question 1 Me: Response Interviewer: Question 1 Me: Response Interviewer: Question 1 Me: Reformulated response (aka response v1.2) Interviewer: Question 1 Me: Response v1.2 Interviewer: Question 1 Me: Reformulated response (aka response v1.3)

    And so on for an hour or so. God knows what was wrong with that woman...

    I call that the "Jack Bauer" interview.

    Bonus points if the question was about your employment history. (e.g. "Who are you working for?!")

  • katastrofa (unregistered)

    @Multiple Frustrations

    The candidate did have a point. Interviewers should coordinate what they're asking about.

  • (cs)

    "How many piano tuners are there in the United States?"

    "Somewhat less than the number of pianos."

  • (cs) in reply to George
    Grig is a wiseass who I wouldn't hire either. Can you imagine working with someone who tried to sidetrack their instructions at every opportunity? Just answer the question.

    The point is, if you've never encountered that type of interview question before, there is no way to "just answer" it. Without any context, how is one to know whether the guy wants broad logistics like the answer he gave, or if he wanted mundane details like "get 10,346 dump trucks that each hold 10 tons of rock and 15 billion gallons of glue." His guess was as good as any.

  • (cs)

    Mt. Fuji:


    One word: Photoshop. Two words: Atomic bomb. (yield to be determined)

    Pretty simple if you ask me.

  • Dan J (unregistered) in reply to KattMan

    Apparently the people who send out such mails are house wives of people who come on H1-B and trying to make some pocket money.

  • Vijay (unregistered) in reply to Leo

    Multiple interviewers asking the same set of question indicates a lack of preparedness from the interviewers and a general indication of how the team works.

    If the interview panel is not able to get together for each req/candidate and discuss what aspect each of them will explore in depth, It's an indication of how they function as a team... Expect to see multiple version of the same wheel being independently developed and used in the team.

  • (cs)

    Bah, that error mangling code isn't at all enterprisey-ready!

    Everyone knows the proper Enterprisey way to handle errors is to hang permanently with "please wait" on screen.

    (Yes, my latest inherited web-turkey does that: mask the screen with random variations on "please wait, loading something" and fires off an AJAX request. The success handlers for the responses all unmask the screen and displays results. The error handlers ... don't exist. So, any failed request, timeout, session expiry etc means the user is left at a "please wait" message until they give up.)

  • The poop... of DOOM! (unregistered) in reply to Julia
    Assuming certain versions of multiverse theory, there is at least one universe where Mt Fuji is already displaced by the requisite distance. Destroy all other universes. Simples!
    You'll actually at least double the amount of universes then, cause there'll be two for each universe you try to destroy: One where you succeed, and one where you fail. And that's not even taken permutations into account, like if you decide to destroy universe X first in one universe, but in another you decide to destroy universe Y first. By trying to destroy all universes except for one, you'll only make your problem worse.
  • blank (unregistered)

    this is how to do a job interview:


    Spam, askimet? No.

  • oldperson (unregistered) in reply to Ben Jammin

    I thought it was developed in Oracle forms.

    Ben Jammin:
    Mr. S:
    TRWTF is a .NET developer at Sun!

    Were you not aware that Java was developed in .Net?

  • ctd (unregistered) in reply to Cbuttius
    I'd just outsource the job to the Shamen.

    Because they can move, move, move any mountain...


    (and wondering if anyone else got it)

  • ctd (unregistered) in reply to s73v3r
    How can you properly come up with a solution to moving Mt. Fiji if you don't know the requirements or the problem the customer has in the first place?

    Too often requirements are confused with design. Answer my "why do you want it moved?" question and you'll get a better design. Maybe the requirement truly is "move Mt. Fuji", maybe it's a design step. A good candidate will recognize the difference, and ask suitable questions to discern which it is. Also, such requirements (if it is one) come with other ignored yet vital requirements - in this case, differentiating validity of solutions like "wait 4.35 seconds" vs. "10^48 teaspoons" vs. "a fleet of dump trucks and an accountant" vs. "10^6 megatons".

    Oh, I can come up with an answer. Which answer is most favorable to the one asking it will in turn require some counter-questions.

  • Dmitriy (unregistered)

    "The lead developer there is so skilled that he has been given numerous awards for just being outstanding. "

    This sounds like the "Most Interesting Man In The World"!

    P.S. Stay thirsty my friends.

  • LOADING (unregistered)

    Perhaps asking how to move the mountain gives an idea of how you think.

    Three obvious answers.

    • If that you don't do anything. It moves on it's own, but imperceptibly slowly.
    • You move. In a certain sense, from your self as a fixed point, that means the mountain is moving.
    • Thousands of diggers, etc. Basically explain how you would move it if you had unlimited resources.
  • (cs) in reply to LOADING
    Perhaps asking how to move the mountain gives an idea of how you think.

    Three obvious answers.

    • If that you don't do anything. It moves on it's own, but imperceptibly slowly.
    • You move. In a certain sense, from your self as a fixed point, that means the mountain is moving.
    • Thousands of diggers, etc. Basically explain how you would move it if you had unlimited resources.
    Or lure Mt. Kilimanjaro to it. Those two can't stand each other and both'll run in opposite directions, hence moving Mt. Fuji.
  • cd (unregistered)

    Re: the "piano tuner" question - it was probably written by someone who's heard of "Fermi problems" -- though the original only concerned the number of piano tuners in Chicago -- but not really understood what they're for.

    But yeah, I agree with Grig - moving Mt. Fuji is not really something to be done on a whim.

  • Mathew (unregistered) in reply to anon
    I don’t know. Maybe get everyone in a room instead of having me jump from person to person?

    I'd hire someone who asked that question. We programmers are meant to have some understanding of efficient and inefficient processes. And make suggestions for improving things.

    I sure as hell wouldn't. Suggesting a better process may be a good thing, but refusing to participate in the existing process is definitely not. Also, the suggestion sucked, group interviews never work well. Either one person takes control and everyone else is left with unanswered questions (a project manager and a lead dev will have different questions, even if there is some overlap), or the whole interview will drift all over the place and no one will gain any real insight. Yes, we all know interviews are tedious and repetitive, but you can either suck it up and deal with it, or not have a job.

    the solution to this is very easy: let one after the other take the lead. this way it's like multiple interviews in a row, but without repetitious questions.

  • (cs)

    Not one mention of Godzilla? I am disappoint. [image]

  • cappeca (unregistered)

    I had an interview once where the guy kept asking me "Is it safe? Is it safe?" Creepy!

  • Flukey (unregistered) in reply to Paul
    This was from a Jerome W:

    It was a cold day, Gustav arrived for his first day at work clutching his laptop and some books on the Zend framework. His past nights had been disturbed by the 'Tetris effect', lines of pure code produced by his unconscious mind in his sleep, dropping down, one atop the other, leaving him in somewhat of a half awake, half asleep state throughout the nights. His world view was formed through code, indeed giving him great insight, yet leaving him somewhat distant from those around him. [snip a few paragraphs]

    I wonder if it's the same guy...

    ah, I got the same email! I quite liked it, if I'm honest. A lot more creative than the usual recruitment emails - which can only be a good thing in my books.

  • Marnen Laibow-Koser (unregistered) in reply to KattMan
    Can they open doors? Maybe, but I am doubtful. The emails always seem to have an urgency and rudness to them I simply do not respond. This is the current market out there regretfully, but I can get by without that type of service.

    I don't like this kind of recruiter either. But in fact, they can open doors. The job I'm about to start on Monday is one that I got through precisely this process -- and although I hear about lots of similar jobs, no other recruiter ever mentioned this one to me, which leads me to believe that these guys do have some useful sources of information.

    Yes, I was very surprised when this job panned out.

  • Man Mountain Dean (unregistered) in reply to Jay
    Answers that occur to me for the Mt Fuji question:
    1. Mohammed was supposedly able to move a mountain. So I'd build a time machine, go back and get Mohammed, bring him to Japan, and ask him to move the mountain.

    2. I would put out a call for a million volunteers. Each volunteer would be instructed to bring a spoon from home. Then I would direct them to each take a spoonful of dirt from the mountain, carry it to the desired destination, and drop it. Repeat until the mountain is moved.

    3. Wait for another tsunami to hit Japan and move the mountain for me.

    Etc. I'm sure any reasonably creative person could come up with dozens of equally realistic plans.

    I'd tap that Mount Fuji every day of the week until it moved out of exhaustion, cuz I'm Man Mountain Dean!

  • Cotsios (unregistered) in reply to Mathew

    Why on earth would you need more than a 2-part interview? You need a small coding exam, a technical interview (both to see the tech skills of the interviewee) and finally a HR interview to see the character of the interviewee. If you were the 4th interviewer, she had every right to be annoyed when she heard the same serious of questions for the 4th time, taking up so much of her time to be thrown between departments and in the end she might even not get the job. If the girl wrote this, it would be a WTF of the interviewer.

  • John (unregistered)

    How would I move Mount Fuji.

    The simplest answer is 'do nothing, except wait'. Mount Fuji is on Earth, the Earth rotates and orbits the Sun. So by waiting, the mountain already moves - it's just a matter of relative coordinate frames.

  • Mulleteer (unregistered) in reply to John

    I wonder if the company the first headhunter describes has other developers who emit "plexigass" besides the "Dali Lama".

    For such amounts of poetry (by poetry I mean BS) the guy should learn how to write properly.

  • Reow (unregistered)

    @Hari So you didn't hire a person because you and your team mates are too incompetent to agree on interview questions in advance? I'm certain they were very grateful they dodged that bullet. I'd put good money that one day they'll post their experience on TDWTF too, and you will come out looking just as much the idiot.

    @Grig Larson With your command (or lack thereof) of language, I wouldn't go calling myself an author any time soon. You can rest on the crutch of lay-offs as much as you like, but it doesn't change the fact you failed that interview dismally. It's good to be a critical thinker and point out the contextual issues to the interviewer, but you shouldn't focus on them (presuming you want the job). The point of a hypothetical is that you ignore the improbabilities of the situation and show your problem solving abilities. Had I been the interviewer, you wouldn't have got a call back either.

  • Grig Larson (unregistered)

    I was the guy asked about Mount Fuji. Some stuff was removed, so it did come off like a wiseass, but eventually, the guy chuckled. "These are good questions, I don't know. In fact, I don't know why they make me ask these questions," he said. "I just want to see what you'd do with them. And those are really good followup questions. You really think about the whole scope of a project." He was impressed. For the piano tuners one, I said, "I don't know, I'd have to look up data on how many pianos there are, how often they get tuned, and what kind of market they have. Also, what is a 'tuner'; is is professional title, like being ACE certified mechanic, or is it just some guy with a tuning fork and a good ear?" Again, he laughed. "You really give these answers some good thought."

    When he introduced me to some of his coworkers, he was kind of proud of my answers, and asked me to repeat them. This got into some deep discussion about what each answers might mean when doing a project. After an hour with his group, they REALLY wanted me. "He is our culture" and so on. I got so close to being hired, but then... layoff city.

    Later, the manager told me, "It's a shame. They only allow me to hire from within, and no viable candidate has shown up since you."

  • Sayer (unregistered) in reply to Raedwald

    Exactly. I was once subjected to the multiple interview process and told, I'd have to wait a month to hear back because each interviewer was going on vacation immediately afterward. If a company can't even schedule their interviewing process sensibly, it doesn't bode well for their daily procedures. Also, multiple interviews are justified if different people are asking different questions, but if you're not conferring at all between the interviews and asking the same questions, you're wasting everyone's time. Lastly, in this example the interviewee had apparently JUST come from the previous interviewer's office. It defies belief that there was no way things could have been shifted around so that at least those two were in the same room.

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