• Garreth Q. (unregistered)


  • Peter (unregistered)

    first, previous=zreoth

  • a programming guy (unregistered)

    A linked list is a list on a website with links. Excellent joke! While reading this story I laughed a lot. Thank you Remy for writing such a good and funny story.

  • jmm (unregistered)

    "how disastrous would it be?" ... it can always be. And if it isn't, it won't be here, anyway.

  • (nodebb)

    Let's see all the red flags here:

    1. New team lost all its senior developers, damn right that's never a good sign
    2. "Technical" director has grand vision and says "You will help implement my dream"
    3. "Technical" director points out minutiae in interviews to disqualify candidates, often for things they can't control (e.g. if the job uses Angular, doesn't matter if it was a good choice or not, it's their choice)
    4. "Technical" director jumps on latest technology regardless of if it's the right tool for the job
    5. "Technical" director chooses know-nothing guy because they hit it off well, dismisses the fact he gives not only wrong but outright stupid answers to questions
    6. "Technical" director shows complete ignorance too by equating "data structures" with databases.

    What else did I miss?

  • Chronomium (unregistered) in reply to DocMonster

    Add to #5 that the "technical" director told the guy to write a test with an answer key (i.e. you're either right or wrong with no in-between) in case non-technical people might be doing future interviews, which is a reasonably sensible thing to do, and then proceeds to completely ignore it.

  • Mike (unregistered)

    At my previous job, we had an interviewee who was famous; second interviewer: He was awesome. He knew everything about linked lists. first interviewer: He was horrible. I had to explain linked lists to him. fourth interviewer: He was awesome. He knew everything about trees. third interviewer: He was terrible. I had to explain trees to him.

    The team passed on the interviewee, but we always wondered if it was a mistake. He did seem to pick things up quickly.

  • Kashim (unregistered)

    If you really want to know how bad it is, instead of going and talking to the technical director, go and talk to all of the Senior Devs that left. It takes a pretty catastrophic problem to actually make everyone leave.

    Isn't it your job at some point to go over the guy's head to someone and say, "This project is so catastrophically doomed that every single senior developer left. At this point I just want to save the company a lot of time and money. Do you think it might be a good idea to get some other technical directors from other teams to come in and evaluate the project for feasibility and proper implementation?"

    If they disband the team, you get to transfer early...

  • Paul Neumann (unregistered)

    One of my preferred interview questions has used the format of 'Explain Like I Five'. Pick a topic or technology from their resume and have them ELIF... You'd be surprised how few people understand what they've been doing enough to describe it in simple terms.

  • TheDaveG (unregistered) in reply to DocMonster


  • SyntaxError (unregistered)

    "One interview ended early when the candidate admitted that they didn’t spend their nights and weekends hacking at personal projects." Did the candidate end it early? Did interviewers expect the candidate not to have a life? I find rejecting a candidate on this criteria unfair.

  • EatenByAGrue (unregistered) in reply to SyntaxError

    I've been penalized professionally for failing to promptly answer work emails at 2 AM on a Saturday night (well, Sunday morning). Yes, there are interviewers and employers who expect their people to have no life whatsoever outside of their work.

  • fragile (unregistered) in reply to Kashim

    There's a reason Perry's there. Bad structure, bad contracts, bad leadership, or you hit upon something criminal or malicious. You'll be seen as trying to change things which isn't good in a corporate environment.

    Diplomacy is your friend here. Go in slow, and bribe your co-workers with food to remove the scourge of insecurity.

  • Zenith (unregistered)

    I had a contract like that once. The lead developer fashioned a website that only worked in Chrome and then left. Then all of his team left except one guy that they bribed into staying by letting him telecommute. If that experience is any indication, there's a few more red flags that just didn't make it into the article.

    1. The build environment is complex and nobody knows how to set it up for a new developer.
    2. The system has no ability to create test data (like a sample order to push through the process).
    3. XML was involved. I know it's cliché but so many of these WTFs have XML lurking somewhere.

    I stayed on that contract for about a month. Too many software engineering positions are janitorial work.

  • SyntaxError (unregistered) in reply to EatenByAGrue

    I get the "on support" part of IT. I've had those calls at 2am. I don't get the requirement to be doing "personal" projects during your off time. I won't deny it's a good thing for learning (I've done the occasional personal project), just shouldn't be a requirement. I like doing other things not tech related in my off time... makes going back to the illogical tasks and requirements easier.

  • wow, just wow (unregistered)

    What comes to mind is a quote from Return of the King...

    Flee! Flee for your lives!!!

  • SolePurposeOfVisit (unregistered)

    Nobody else has said this, so I will.

    That was a boffo punch-line at the end. Nicely set up, and excellently back-referenced to the idiocies spouted by the supposed "Google" wunderkind.

    Good work there, Remy. I ... did whatever young kids these do nowadays in such cases. It involves floors and rolling, and I suspect there may be an emoticon that expresses it.

  • PTO (unregistered) in reply to Paul Neumann

    The only response to "explain it to me like I'm a five year old" is to ask if you know where your mummy and daddy are.

  • Randal L. Schwartz (google) in reply to Paul Neumann

    "Explain Like I Five". I had to google that to figure out that you meant "Explain like I'm Five". I also got distracted by ELIF, wondering if you were then shifting to elsif or elseif or something.

  • Hasse te Great (unregistered)

    Bin in this buiness for the last 30 years. I know what a linked and double linked lists are. I can identify the impementations in our projects etc. Last time I really programmed one was on University 35 years ago. Agree you still need to know what it is.

  • Sid (unregistered)

    My question is how do people like Perry become Technical Directors? I would like to know :)

  • Quite (unregistered) in reply to SyntaxError

    Personally I would reject a candidate for not knowing that "criteria" is a plural word, specifically the plural of "criterion", because I like to have developers on my team who are proficient in English.

  • Quite (unregistered)

    The first hint of decay was the first thing out of Perry's mouth: oh dear, inner platform effect. This, coupled with Perry's blethering enthusiasm about it, would have me planning to discuss the team and the project with Perry's boss, and ask him/her to reflect on how come everybody left.

  • Wernsey (unregistered) in reply to Sid

    It is the known as the Dilbert principle: People like Perry get promoted so that they can be out of the way of productive employees.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Wernsey

    To me, "out of the way of productive employees" means firing them would be better. I think the actual explanation for the Dilbert principle runs on an attempt to avert the Peter principle: You promote people like Perry because you don't want to lose a productive grunt.

  • gnasher729 (unregistered) in reply to SyntaxError

    On the other hand, I would assume that someone who is so enthusiastic they work on their own projects at home wouldn't be willing to put up with that kind of shit at work.

  • David Nuttall (unregistered) in reply to SyntaxError

    That is actually part of the point of the article. This guy is nit-picking on inconsequential stuff and ignoring the bigger picture elements. No wonder this project is floundering.

  • Barf 4Eva (unregistered)

    fkn hilarious! enjoyed this article very much. Did he really give those as the actual answers on linked lists...? Cause if so, that is pure gold.

    See, I still <3 you, TheDailyWTF!

  • Jeff Grigg (unregistered)

    Let Jack work on your system, and your data will be very unstructured, in very short order. :-/

  • Ulysses (unregistered)

    Well, it seems that Jack doesn't know jack. Neither does Perry. We need Perry Mason.

  • IAmFive (unregistered) in reply to Paul Neumann

    One good question along those lines is "Tell me how to tie a shoelace". EVERYONE knows how to tie a shoelace, some have even shown five-year-olds how to tie their shoelaces, but it's surprisingly difficult to explain. What you're testing here, though, is not so much someone's knowledge but their explanatory skills.

    My own answer to the question is "The same way you tie a bowtie".

  • IAmFive (unregistered) in reply to Quite

    I blame it on the medium.

  • (nodebb) in reply to jmm

    Well, theoretically if that interview process can hire good candidate, I'd say the story deserves to land in here too. :P

  • Evil Tim (unregistered) in reply to Barf 4Eva

    "Jack wasn’t just wrong, he was finding incredibly new ways to be wrong" I completely lost control at that point. Now I have to find a way to explain myself to the people around me...

  • Guntank (unregistered)

    See: The 6 Chicago Police officers who got fake degrees from the same diploma mill for promotions, one of whom even tried to get said degree reimbursed as 'tuition'.

    Then see: His superior who signed off on the reimbursement. Turns out he also had a fake degree from the exact same mill.

  • Guntank (unregistered)

    Point is, frauds cover for frauds, and conversely lower frauds latch onto higher frauds for protection. Perry probably got hired or promoted on virtue of some very fraudulent practices (not discounting simply using fake degrees to make himself look more qualified than he is) and he knows that employees with any semblance of competence will eventually catch on to his bullshit fairly quickly. Obviously he 'likes' Jack despite being a "Google wunderkind" because he knows Jack is

    a) equally incompetent and/or b) fraudulent, and c) is hence the least likely to want to challenge Perry's 'qualifications' months or years down the line for fear of his own fraud getting called out.

    In either case Alex wouldn't have had lasted long either once Perry and Jack saw him as a threat to exposing their fraudulence.

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