• ray10k (unregistered)

    Sounds like someone mistook the Dunning-Kruger effect for "a positive personality trait."

    That, and an immense amount of entitlement, of course.

  • Bogolese (unregistered)

    Don't tell me . . . Paul Baen?

  • bvs23bkv33 (unregistered)

    Brillant Paul Baen

  • Quite (unregistered)

    What??? Do you seriously believe that this constitutes a serious attempt to describe an interview? You haven't even begun to describe the doughnuts or the coffee! I mean, get a grip!

  • null null (unregistered)

    So, did he get the job?

  • David (unregistered)

    Oh man, I've interviewed devs like this before. I remember one guy who went off on a particularly lengthy rant about how the language (his language of choice, no less!) was stupid, rather than explaining how to get around a quirk of its design, which was what I actually asked him.

    And the amount of 'rockstar' developers who can't do pseudo-code interview questions because 'in the real world they have Google to help them'.

  • bvs23bkv33 (unregistered)

    Q: X-Wings, B-Wings, Millennium Falcon, Proton torpedoes - describe a simple attack on a Death Star using one of the above.

    A: Seriously??? I wouldn't use any of that. I'd use a force. Thats what there there for. Man you need a rethink!!!

  • DQ (unregistered)

    "...this government shop was actually fairly efficient and pleasant to work for" ??
    I call BS

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to ray10k

    Sounds like yet another person has failed to understand that the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a joke. A humorous paper was submitted, which a bunch of people who didn't know the limits of their own ignorance then proceeded to take seriously.

  • Appalled (unregistered)

    WTF? There's jack-asses in this world? WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF??? Who knew???. Duh.

  • Gummy Gus (unregistered)

    On the other hand, last night I was asked to take such a test. It had questions like :

    Object-Oriented programming is:

    (A) Good for large projects.

    (B) Great for making modules.

    (C) Inefficient over networks.

    (D) Puts abstraction over patterns.

    Gee, I wonder why I got only 65% on that test!

  • TheCPUWizard (unregistered)

    While that candidate is clearly a WTF, repeated experience has shown that many of the tests are quite WTFy (as per Gummy Gus's comment above).

    When my company is retained to provide technical screening, one initial question is "What pre-screening do you do?". If they use a "test" than we ask for a copy. Of the over 100 we have received, over 80% of them have flaws in over half the questions.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered)

    If they'd actually heard him describe himself as a "sovereign citizen" then TRWTF was not cutting it all short right there, Why would one of them apply for a government job anyway? unless he was planning to uncover the mystery behind his birth bond or something.

    Anyway, those questions are far too sensible to be the real ones, when I consider some of the stuff I've has slapped in front of me. This contract I'm trudging through now is a pretty horrid baby language vs sql one. The agent had me do a C#.Net test (and very tough one at that) because it was the "closest they had, technology-wise". Not one question was remotely relevant to the actual technologies on the role description, or what I'm doing now. I would say, it's a good job I'm multi-skilled, but the way this contract is turning out, yet again I should trust my instincts more when the hiring process seems a bit odd!

  • Zenith (unregistered)

    I'll take "things that never happened" for $500, Alex.

  • RichP (unregistered)

    No, I'm sure many people visit his blog. I know plenty like that. Later on they regurgitate tales of how Income tax is illegal, and you can get out of it, cuz, um something about inconstitunitonal... and and, THEY can't just take your money... They used to veer off into talking about the secret Russian bases 'Bama established in the US that were going to ensure he got a third term. Not sure what they're griping about nowadays...

  • Forestphoenix (unregistered) in reply to Gummy Gus

    Okay, what would the correct answer have been (I'm guessing 1)?

  • MyOtherBrotherBob (unregistered)

    The Real WTF is that the interviewers brought people in to take a screening test that could have been handled in a phone screen. Frankly, I'd be pretty irritated if I were called in for an interview only to be handed a quiz and then dismissed. That just seems rude. Stupid too since it makes your interview process less efficient.

  • Somebody Somewhere (unregistered)

    Off topic, but clearly reCAPTCHA is clearly not working out. Maybe add a second line of defense, like one of those "which of these dozen images contains a bird?" tests that a spambot won't be able to solve.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Forestphoenix

    I'm guessing the correct answer is A and B. For C, Object-Oriented Programming is mostly independent of network efficiency, unless you write a really horrible serialization function. As for D, maybe I'm a bit out of the loop on OOP, but that option doesn't even make sense to me.

  • Michael (unregistered)

    I once interviewed a guy who claimed a lot of experience with Mongo DB. So I was curious what he could tell me about it. He confessed that he once bought a book, but it's on his shelf and he never even opened it.

  • t0pC0der (unregistered)

    "the man so sure of his own greatness that he becomes enraged at the world whenever it fails to bow before his massive intellect."

    Should be, the woman so sure of her own greatness that she couldn't understand why everyone hates her writing. You should take some inventory of your daily life. You're not cut out for writing

  • Quite (unregistered) in reply to Somebody Somewhere

    Possibly works through all combinations of 3 or 4 from 16 (or however many boxes there are) -- not prohibitively many for a bot . Some of them will get through.

  • Leonardo Herrera (unregistered)

    Off topic, you guys should replace your CAPTCHA for a single question regarding the content of the article. The stupid spam is unbearable when one is here mostly for the comments.

  • Alex (unregistered)

    I had a guy with an absolutely stellar resume who couldn't describe simple concepts like "what's a class?" He kept saying stuff like "This is something specific you do in this company, not an industry standard."

    By the end of the interview he blew up and actually said "I'm and INNOVATOR. You people are a bunch of nerds!" He then stormed out of the room muttering "You need to get laid" under his breath.

    Pro tip: if someone describes themselves as an innovator without being sarcastic, they're not a good fit :)

  • bryan e (unregistered)

    "which had return addresses in prison" - almost drowned in my coca-cola. thanks!

  • Bitter Like Quinine (unregistered)

    I'd generously assumed he has mistaken the paper winning an IgNobel for the paper being "a joke".

    Or perhaps he was just being ironic?

  • World best at everything (unregistered)

    Once had a bloke hired to do database stuff as I was leaving. Old guy, like writing SQL rather than use those fancy point & clicky things. Eh fine whatever.

    A few months later after he deleted half the database (prod, test, dev, huh?) I was back fixing things with him watching when he casually asked "so just how do you deal with quote marks in queries anyway?"

    Apparently I had a rather stunned look on my face. He, ah, departed soon after and sued them for unfair dismissal.

    Another hire (friend of a colleague, GREAT coder!) couldn't figure out how to get a variable out of a function, asked me and before I got a chance to answer (needed to process the WTF first) he said "Never mind, I'll just make everything global".

  • Observation (unregistered)

    I hear they're hiring at the White House.

  • Drone (unregistered)

    I really want to read the rest of his answers. This is hiring gold.

  • Bitter Like Quinine (unregistered)

    On the other side of this, I was once given a test by a major company which erroneously said the Oracle LONG data type was numeric. When later sat with the interviewer, she asked how I thought the test had gone (well enough for an interview at any rate), so I took the opportunity to point out the mistake.

    "No it's a numeric." she insisted, "It's used for large integers."

    Well it'd work for ones up to a couple of billion digits long I suppose, but the conversion time really sucks! Anyway I persisted, and mentioned it had been deprecated in favour of LOB so probably wasn't much used anyway.

    She cut me off with "Long always refers to a binary integer. It is an industry standard." And then was frosty for the rest of the interview.

    I didn't get the job, but I can't be too sad. My interviewer was the Oracle Team Leader.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to Alex

    I remember about 18 years ago going for a fairly junior role in a small coding house (like, ten people) up near London. Got put through some incredibly long winded screening, testing, phone interviewing process over a few days, which eventually resulted in me being called in for another batch of meetings and couple of tests. One test was just some standard language one for the job, VB I think, and then this one they gave me 45 minutes to do, which was kind of logic, problem solving etc, not really coding, actually quite fun to do.

    This is then followed by a "final interview with the team you'll work with". Apparently they'd had a bit of a burn-rate of new recruits and I was about to find out why .... this bunch of smug-faced poorly washed social misfits trooped into the room and immediately started competing to trip me up and tear strips off me. I'm more than happy to admit weaknesses and I don't blag. In the end I realised what this lot were up to and just threw them an easy one in response to "So, explain why you are leaving a role you've been in for a few months having moved out of a different industry!". My answer; "I've been programming as the sole IT person in firms for about five years now and moved to my present role as I wanted exposure to other programmers so I could develop my skillset to that of a real developer" .... "So you admit you are not a REAL developer!". They loudly cheered and almost started dancing on the tables with glee. Lead misfit told me as well as being the resident programming genius he was expert in psychology. Once they'd finished giving each other handjobs the directors came back in, shoo'ed them out, and sat down to talk about my test results. Obviously I was turned down as not a good fit!

    a couple of years ago I get chatting to a fellow contractor (a guy who really was a programming genius, and damned fine chap with it), turned out (though we couldn't be sure on dates) he'd had that job. My suspicions were right, I had a lucky escape!

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered)

    ... and the test.

    Well, apparently on this logic test I'd booked the highest score they had ever seen, several points higher than any of the existing team BUT that I'd attempted more questions then any of them had and made more mistakes ... so I'd done 19 of the 20 questions and got 16 right, where their team in there had mostly scored 14 to 16 with zero or one mistake only. "Well, we really don't know what that means!"

    I left thinking, if you are going to set tests like that, with fancy scoring systems, at least understand how to interpret the results rather than waste all our time . I've no idea where that would place me relative to their guys ... more productive with a higher bug rate?

    But I'm guessing the real clue is they put through all of that because they'd "had a few people take this role and not stay" and not any point seen the obvious fact staring them in the face that their existing team had some very toxic people on it who would destroy any chance of expansion.

    I've noticed a trend with interviews that firms who develop a turnover problem get carried away micro-managing the selection process because they are in denial about the whatever is going on in front of them.

  • sunnyboy (unregistered)

    We interviewed dolts like the one in the story. Worst part was they could bs-the-buzzwords well enough to convince the PHB that they "knew stuff". We were exceptionally close to hiring the person when I managed to come up with the one thing they teach in PHB seminars. I said "I have a yellow flag". Apparently this is PHB-speak for "danger Will Robinson!", or enough that they are taught to dig deeper and "clear the flag".

    We explored my concerns, and I was gratified to find my PHB was actually astute. As I explained what was bothering me, he condensed it into "so you are saying that although he says he has 12 years experience, what he really has is ONE year experience repeated 12 times". I agreed and he did not get the job.

    I have always remembered that phrase as it describes so many "rock stars" and other amazing developers and other IT "pros" so very, very well.

  • CYBER (unregistered)

    Taxes are not illegal, but they are immoral.

  • World best at everything (unregistered) in reply to CYBER

    Build your own damn infrastructure then.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to sunnyboy

    Yeah, together with the "I've been doing this for twelve years".

    Yes, you've been doing it wrong for twelve years!

    And your description is that of the person I'm now working for, I'm looking at a handful of techniques, some good, many not, and many good but misapplied and misunderstood, that have been cut and pasted into this behemoth of an application over most of a decade. Someone had the bright idea to port the access back end to SQL server for performance reasons, but the schema is so borked, and the data such trash, and the queries still mixed up in an access UI between local tables and SQL ones that the whole thing got worse. There's a few reasons, but I have noticed before that Access can actually outperform SQL/Oracle on a shitty setup.

    Trouble is, your hands are completely tied because nothing can be challenged, it's all the work of a genius, and with all my experience I was supposed to wave a magic wand, not explain what was so wrong and help them develop a plan to move towards sanity. I tried some tricks, didn't really work because every time I just discovered the thing was even more fucked than I thought, and genius "forgot" to tell me about the other systems that feed data into this one and how the data is trash and all the constraints are switched off in production (yeah, the so called test system was a fork that was 7 years out of date, I found after being blamed for a failed roll out)

    I pity the poor bastard they drag in after me, but then I'm pretty sure there have been a few before me!

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to CYBER

    Name a moral society that functions without them.

  • World best at everything (unregistered) in reply to MiserableOldGit

    but I have noticed before that Access can actually outperform SQL/Oracle on a shitty setup.

    Access is rather good at optimising some queries, especially where you are doing things like calculations or data conversions, eg something like IsMale = [Sex]='M' to get a True/False result.

    Works fine in Access, people are surprised at how much slower things run when they move to a real back-end.

  • Avium (unregistered) in reply to DQ

    There are some good government departments. Some competent people - completely accidentally - do wind up in government jobs. I used to work for one...until they were merged into a larger department that was the usual complete screw up.

    In fact, we were merged into the other department to "balance things out". We were running under budget and merging us meant that the larger department was now "on budget" since the others were so far over budget.

  • "MoralSociety" (unregistered) in reply to MiserableOldGit

    Moral societies legally kill 100,00 civilians (US - Bombing of Tokyo), legally enslave large populations (governments around the world), legally kill millions (Germany - Holocaust), and all other atrocities legally and continuously committed by various states?

    I'll pass.

  • Avium (unregistered) in reply to MiserableOldGit

    <quote>I pity the poor bastard they drag in after me...</quote>

    Do the next guy a favour and add some comments in the code. At least give the poor bastard a heads up.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to "MoralSociety"

    Oh dear, please give the keyboard back to the grown ups.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered)

    <quote>Access is rather good at optimising some queries, especially where you are doing things like calculations or data conversions, eg something like IsMale = [Sex]='M' to get a True/False result.</quote>

    Grab a few of those sort of thing, and then try to join across them, and SQL runs off into the corner and sulks, and takes all the other user sessions with it (which is the really bad part). I'd always recommend SQL over Access, but then you probably need to ask the developer they've got what he understands by Boyce-Codd, and watch if he gets a recipe book out before backing away slowly.

    <quote>Do the next guy a favour and add some comments in the code. At least give the poor bastard a heads up.</quote>

    Well, strangely (or perhaps not), genius deletes them all. Could explain why I can see several coding styles and no comments. I mean, I think we'd all admit to being a bit light on comments and documenting, but most of us give it a go, if only for own sanity 12 months down the line.

  • World best at everything (unregistered) in reply to MiserableOldGit

    Grab a few of those sort of thing, and then try to join across them, and SQL runs off into the corner and sulks,

    Like I said, Access is rather good at fixing dodgy queries. Then people move the back-end to SQL server and are puzzled when it doesn't work: "But you said SQL Server is faster..."

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered)
    Like I said, Access is rather good at fixing dodgy queries. Then people move the back-end to SQL server and are puzzled when it doesn't work: "But you said SQL Server is faster..."

    Yes, I used to think, "move it to SQL and then we'll sort the problems", but I've learned that's the wrong way around. Especially as once on SQL you get sucked into all the organisational change control stuff with (usually) nothing in place to do any performance/load testing. Mind you, I've never seen it this bad ... I'd be shoving up weeks of material to DWTF if it wasn't for the fact I, ahem, well, can't, <wink>.

  • Bill (unregistered)

    People like this are not unique. Many self-ordained "rock star" developers have heads that are mostly empty and inflated so much you wonder how they get their heads through the door.

    I've interviewed one who admitted he had no real experience with peer reviews because "I don't have peers". He was right, although not in the direction he thought.

    One claimed experience with A.I, but didn't know Prolog. He'd done everything in Basic and claimed "there's nothing you can do in Prolog you can't do in Basic".

    Then there was the Linux coder applying for a Visual C++ job. He had zero experience with Windows, and considered it his mission to convince us to switch our development shop from Windows to Linux, because "Windows is garbage".

    And then there are the tests.

    I've seen tests that were more like post-grad university exams. I don't mean they're difficult, I mean they're arcane, to the point that I'd be suspicious of anyone who passed.

    At one company I contracted at, management decided to make a coding test. So, they asked for sample questions from every department. The result was a test that anyone would be able to do, so long as they were experts in XML parsing, object-oriented databases, embedded real-time safety critical control systems, distributed COBOL application development, FPGA, web development, SSL transport, Mac/Linux/Windows development suites, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, Rexx, BASH, and, of course, CMOS logic.

    Needless to say, most interviewees failed spectacularly; I think the highest score was 20%. So the company then tested its' own employees, and found the internal score average was 12%, or thereabouts.

  • MaxArt (unregistered)

    After removing those written in crayon, with massive coffee rings obscuring the text, or which had return addresses in prison

    Well, I understand excluding those who are in prison (but shouldn't we all support remote working nowadays?), but rejecting crayon and coffee-stained resumes?! Come on, this is discrimination, I say! Such resumes are pure art!

  • "MoralSociety" (unregistered) in reply to MiserableOldGit

    Silly me. Why in the world did I think we should consider the "moral" actions of assumed-moral societies?

    I now fully accept the millions of dead and persecuted individuals by the hands of the various omnipotent states as something moral humans perform. Roads are much more important and relevant (even though they've existed and were voluntarily funded before state funding)!


  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to "MoralSociety"

    Question was to show an example of a taxless setup which is moral, it was some idiots assertion that taxes are immoral, please stop moving the goalposts because you can't justify the assertion ... do identify a tax free society which is not a crime infested hell-hole, or a facilitator of the crap you are referring to. Genocide is a very popular pursuit that predates any form of taxation, requires only control and fear (justified or otherwise), which you would know if you did a bit of actual research.

    And roads, speaking as a former highway engineer, never came about or survived without tax funded government to support them, although it was someone else who posted about infrastructure. I mean, what did the Romans ever do for us?

  • Zenith (unregistered) in reply to Dragnslcr

    I hate to go out on a limb like this but the answer they wanted was probably option D. None of the first three are really specific to OOP but the fourth has the right buzzwords from my OOP textbook. That's all they're looking for on their checklist pretending to be an interview. In practice, OOP is a pointless requirement. I've almost never seen anybody use inheritance or polymorphism. They just don't know how or why. The codebase only has objects because their Java courses did it that way and libraries they're downloading seem to stuff every static function into object instances for no good reason...

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