I'm the ideal candidate



  • I was perusing the job scene, and applied for a position as a developer for some agency that was subcontracting for some client. On the initial phone screen, they asked me several questions on technologies with which I am barely vaguely familiar. I was honest about my limited knowledge on the subject matter, and figured that would be the end of it.

    Apparently, I passed the initial screen, and they had the agency project manager call to screen me further. Again, almost every question was on technologies with which I had nearly zero experience (some I had NEVER used in any way). Again, I was honest about never having used the tools, and explained that I would rather be honest about my lack of knowledge on the material than try and bluff my way through it. Again, I figured that would be the end of it.

    Apparently, I passed that test too because they had one of the end-client managers call to tech screen me. When I answered and he explained the purpose of the call, I asked why I was still under consideration. He explained that I was the best candidate they had spoken to thus far (I have experience with less than 10% of the technologies that they use). Again, I explained my utter lack of familiarity with almost all of their tech stack, and that I'd basically be doing on the job training. Since they needed someone who could hit the ground running, it was unlikely that I'd be able to help them meet their committments, and that I wasn't the best person for the position.

    He still wanted to screen me. Again, I couldn't speak intelligently to most of what he was talking about, but I'm pretty quick with Google, and was able to BS my way through it.

    They offered me the job because I'm the ideal (their word, not mine) candidate.

    I declined.

    And then people wonder where WTF's come from.

     



  • What were they paying? I need a new position.



  • Honestly, the last time I was involved in hiring at my current day gig (whose WTFs are mounting quickly, but I haven't had time to post yet), having someone who could Google and figure stuff out would have been our "ideal candidate." Part of our developer test was to have the developer spend an hour on a demo project that would be difficult to complete in an hour. One of the things that we deliberately put in the test was creating a connection to the (already-created) database, given the credentials. In other words, create a connection string. At least 75% of candidates got stuck there because they couldn't find out online how to create a simple connection string.

    We never hired anyone, then we eliminated the position.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I don't know. You've obviously got a proven track record that shows you can get shit done and don't need a lot of hand-holding, and you'd get bonus points from me for being honest about your unfamiliarity with something. I've interviewed so many people who were "experts" at every buzzword and acronym under the sun - and who couldn't answer the simplest quiz questions about them.

    Proficiency transfers pretty well in programming - my first projects here were J2EE and I had exactly zero Java experience when I started. (I did steer us toward .NET slowly but surely.) As long as you know the concepts, patterns, pitfalls, etc, the rest is mostly syntax and API.

    When I interview, the top skills I'm looking for are someone who can think for himself, solve problems, communicate effectively, and a willingness to learn new things. I'd probably have offered you a position as well.



  • @snoofle said:

    I was perusing the job scene, and applied for a position as a developer
     

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!



  • Think about it this way snoof...

    (1) You're obviously a very clever guy, so that puts you way ahead of almost anyone else they might interview.

    So, you don't know the technologies? Well, if anyone can figure them out from scratch, someone like you should be able to.



    (2) You're also clearly conscientious enough to be honest about what you can and cannot do.

    Immediately you're the kind of potentially employee who actually wants to do their job properly, and who's going to give

    factual answers to problems, rather than weaseling out of any responsibility when management wants to fix some issues.



    (3) Having told them you know nothing about their tech, you did a quick Google, and learned a bunch about it quickly to

    BS your way through. So, it appears to them that when you say you know nothing, you still know way more than most people.

    Whether you Googled it that morning, or just happened to know it anyway, is kinda irrelevant... you knew enough.






    FFS, will you stop declining jobs where people think you're good at what you do! Are you intent on finding the one job where

    the boss thinks you're an idiot, and hates you for it?




  • Hell, I'd consider hiring you.

    If you show overall competence in an interview, and are honest about your lack of familiarity in specific technologies, then you already stand head-and-shoulders above the other 99 people who claimed experience in my selected technologies, but upon interviewing clearly have no basic skills at all.

    Counter example:
    I was interviewing for a couple of UI devs (a standard position at my agency) and gave HR the criteria that I needed people with a very specific skill. Of the gamut of people that were filtered, 8 made it through HR to an interview with me. Of those 8, only 2 could answer an extremely basic UI dev question, and only 2 had any experience in the specific skill I needed (note, candidates from these two criteria did not overlap). I tried hiring the two people with the specific skill I needed. One backed out (I didn't get the reason) and the other turned out to be a poor fit and was clearly much more junior than her resume and interview implied.

    In this scenario I would have rather gotten an overall strong UI Dev and given on-the-job training. Hell, if the PHP developer in my office was available, I would have used him over any of candidates because he's smart and applies critical thinking.

    Perhaps the people you interviewed with recognized your value and wanted to get you in the door even if the current position wasn't 100% perfect for you. To me this sounds like a company that values competence.



  • Are you sure this was a job offer and not some research project to determine how honest applicants for jobs are?



  • It sure sounds like their thought process was "this Guy may not know the technology, but he's the only one we interviewed who wasn't a complete moron and/or liar. At least he'd be able to learn the technology." Seems awfully presumptuous to turn that down.



  • @corgimonster said:

    Part of our developer test was to have the developer spend an hour on a demo project that would be difficult to complete in an hour. One of the things that we deliberately put in the test was creating a connection to the (already-created) database, given the credentials. In other words, create a connection string. At least 75% of candidates got stuck there because they couldn't find out online how to create a simple connection string.

    TBH, the first time I had to connect to a database using a connection string, I did struggle with it a little. It seems to me like that's the sort of thing that's blindingly obvious and easy once you've figured it out, but hell, look at this page and the dozens of different examples. If you're looking at that for the first time, that's an awful lot of information to wade through and process. Not that it's not a valid demo project, I'm just saying I can understand where some people might have some difficulty and need a point in the right direction.



  • @mikeTheLiar said:

    TBH, the first time I had to connect to a database using a connection string, I did struggle with it a little.

    That's exactly the issue -- this was for a senior-level role in which candidates were expected to have experience using databases from .NET code (or, frankly, code from some other language might have been acceptable). We wouldn't expect anyone to memorize the connection string syntax, but a basic familiarity with what a connection string was should have made it pretty easy to look up. Further, all the candidates said they had this experience. If we were looking for a junior-level developer, I would probably have provided a lot more help in the demo project, including providing the connection string.

    @mikeTheLiar said:

    It seems to me like that's the sort of thing that's blindingly obvious and easy once you've figured it out, but hell, look at this page and the dozens of different examples.

    That's always my go-to site for connection strings as well. The very first example on the page would have worked just fine in this case.



  • @corgimonster said:

    That's exactly the issue -- this was for a senior-level role in which candidates were expected to have experience using databases from .NET code

    Then that's just fucked. Why I was struggling with connection strings was in the first week of starting to teach myself ASP.NET/C#.



  • @All: in the interest of brevity, I omitted some details. Specifically, I found out after the last phone screen that I had worked near (not with) the client team on an unrelated project in the not too distant past; I was familiar with some of the people on the client team, and didn't want to jump into yet another pit-o-wtf when I get out of this place, so I turned it down.

    As for why I'm looking at this point, something front-page-wtf-worthy happened very recently (which WILL be posted in a week or so) which tilted the balance.

    As to the type of job I'm seeking: I want to work on a team that has a reasonable clue of what it's trying to do, a resonable semblance of the resources (people/hardware/support) required to do it, and management that gets it when you explain why something is wrong. Mind you, I don't mind doing something the wrong way, as long as people realize that they're building up a technical debt that will inevitablly need to be paid. My previous boss here is a manager who gets it. It's HIS management that is clueless and causes the problems.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    What were they paying? I need a new position.
    $140 USD/hour



  • @snoofle said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    What were they paying? I need a new position.
    $140 USD/hour


    I'm freaking underpaid.



  • @DrPepper said:

    @snoofle said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    What were they paying? I need a new position.
    $140 USD/hour

    I'm freaking underpaid.

    You and me both.



  • @Gurth said:

    Are you sure this was a job offer and not some research project to determine how honest applicants for jobs are?

    There is currently a shortage of skilled developers, maybe it's the Startup Gold Rush... Lately a client of mine asked me to handle technical interviews for a senior developer position (C#/MVC/WFC - they do a lot of complicated dynamic discovery and routing shit); after meeting a few morons I suspected that there was a saboteur in the HR department who made sure that the skilled candidates would not be interviewed but turns out that I really had seen the cream of the crop. It was so bad t hat after 3-4 candidates I opted out of physical interviews and asked for a third phone interview (they had been screened twice before getting in my inbox) because I felt bad turning people away within 5 minutes when they had come all the way to the office.

    So for a $120-125k position (Phoenix area) these are the kind of choices they had:

    • An Indian guy with a PHD from some Indian MIT who could not tell if "using" was or was not a keyword in C#, but he "almost remembered" and would get back to me on this
    • A fat Christian Slater lookalike with greasy hair and a severe dandruff condition who allegedly worked at Google and was an expert in writing AJAX in C# but would not explain what he meant or provide an example unless he received a job offer
    • A mildly cute girl who could not name two different browsers (only "Internet") and could not tell what is the IDE she used in her 7 years of experience as a C# senior developer (only she was saying "C Hash" for C# and for the first few minutes I though she was mumbling "CS" as in Computer Science so it was a bit confusing)
    • A guy that had some understanding of Web Forms but not MVC and had no idea what is WFC, and that asked for $155,000 plus a 6-week vacation package
    • A "cloud and big data" specialist who had no C# knowledge whatsoever and said he had invented his own programming language that was faster than "the java" and that he was very close to selling it to "a big social network he could not name because of the contract"


    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.


  • @Ronald said:

    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    Yeah, I don't doubt you are. Out of probably two dozen senior-level (7+ year) sysadmins I talked to for a position, only two could describe what "load average" was. That's, like, the easiest fucking question I have, next to "Is now a good time to talk?"



  • @Ronald said:

    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    This is scary - there are FIVE people I'm more qualified than.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ronald said:
    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    Yeah, I don't doubt you are. Out of probably two dozen senior-level (7+ year) sysadmins I talked to for a position, only two could describe what "load average" was. That's, like, the easiest fucking question I have, next to "Is now a good time to talk?"

    Do they get points for knowing their name?



  • @mikeTheLiar said:

    @DrPepper said:
    @snoofle said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    What were they paying? I need a new position.
    $140 USD/hour

    I'm freaking underpaid.

    You and me both.

    Keep in mind that's 1099 pay, in Manhattan (at least, I think that's where Snoofie still is), for a guy who is a very senior-level consultant type. If you had put me on the spot and asked me what Snoofie was being paid, I'd have said $135.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    You guys are making me want to dust off my résumé; which is sad because I love where I work, the work I do, the people I work with, and the company I work for. Also the company is huge and short of a major catastrophe it's not going anywhere, so I feel pretty secure.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    If you had put me on the spot and asked me what Snoofie was being paid, I'd have said $135.

    Really? I would have said "money".



  • @Ben L. said:

    @Ronald said:
    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    This is scary - there are FIVE people I'm more qualified than.

    Yeah, but he didn't say any of them needed a haircut or used Go, so..



  • @joe.edwards said:

    You guys are making me want to dust off my résumé; which is sad because I love where I work, the work I do, the people I work with, and the company I work for. Also the company is huge and short of a major catastrophe it's not going anywhere, so I feel pretty secure.

    You also have to understand it's location and what you are being hired for. I don't know what the market is like in your area.

    Another thing you have to realize is that companies like Snoofies' will hire 100 devs at $70k a pop (chump change in NY) and then pay one or two guys lots of money to tell them why every project comes in 6 months late and why reports take 17 hours to run.



  • @Ben L. said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    @Ronald said:
    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    Yeah, I don't doubt you are. Out of probably two dozen senior-level (7+ year) sysadmins I talked to for a position, only two could describe what "load average" was. That's, like, the easiest fucking question I have, next to "Is now a good time to talk?"

    Do they get points for knowing their name?

    No, which is what makes finding good people fucking hard. I've hired shitty people because somebody pushed me to hire someone "Right away" and it's usually worse than not hiring anyone at all.



  • @Ronald said:

    @Gurth said:
    Are you sure this was a job offer and not some research project to determine how honest applicants for jobs are?

    There is currently a shortage of skilled developers, maybe it's the Startup Gold Rush... Lately a client of mine asked me to handle technical interviews for a senior developer position (C#/MVC/WFC - they do a lot of complicated dynamic discovery and routing shit); after meeting a few morons I suspected that there was a saboteur in the HR department who made sure that the skilled candidates would not be interviewed but turns out that I really had seen the cream of the crop. It was so bad t hat after 3-4 candidates I opted out of physical interviews and asked for a third phone interview (they had been screened twice before getting in my inbox) because I felt bad turning people away within 5 minutes when they had come all the way to the office.

    So for a $120-125k position (Phoenix area) these are the kind of choices they had:

    • An Indian guy with a PHD from some Indian MIT who could not tell if "using" was or was not a keyword in C#, but he "almost remembered" and would get back to me on this
    • A fat Christian Slater lookalike with greasy hair and a severe dandruff condition who allegedly worked at Google and was an expert in writing AJAX in C# but would not explain what he meant or provide an example unless he received a job offer
    • A mildly cute girl who could not name two different browsers (only "Internet") and could not tell what is the IDE she used in her 7 years of experience as a C# senior developer (only she was saying "C Hash" for C# and for the first few minutes I though she was mumbling "CS" as in Computer Science so it was a bit confusing)
    • A guy that had some understanding of Web Forms but not MVC and had no idea what is WFC, and that asked for $155,000 plus a 6-week vacation package
    • A "cloud and big data" specialist who had no C# knowledge whatsoever and said he had invented his own programming language that was faster than "the java" and that he was very close to selling it to "a big social network he could not name because of the contract"


    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.
    screw that... I just moved out of Phoenix a year ago and I'm awesome at c#

  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ben L. said:
    @morbiuswilters said:
    @Ronald said:
    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    Yeah, I don't doubt you are. Out of probably two dozen senior-level (7+ year) sysadmins I talked to for a position, only two could describe what "load average" was. That's, like, the easiest fucking question I have, next to "Is now a good time to talk?"

    Do they get points for knowing their name?

    No, which is what makes finding good people fucking hard. I've hired shitty people because somebody pushed me to hire someone "Right away" and it's usually worse than not hiring anyone at all.


    Yeah, especially when they require constant handholding and sap your time.

    At my last job, the guy hired to be my boss knew nothing about how to do anything, so he was always privately emailing me to ask me to do his work for him or walk him through some really simple task. I would reply back asking for specifics, blind copying the CEO (it was a 25-man shop). He didn't last long!

    But he did sure make a lot of money in the time he was there. It's something I've seen a few times, where someone can speak enough buzzwords and jargon to fool a PHB into hiring them, and then pretend to work for a few months before their first project blows up, and quietly collect a paycheck and severance check.



  • Thanks a lot, guys. Now I feel underpaid and I make good money



  • Hey Ronald, would he consider someone telecommuting? :)



  • @Sutherlands said:

    Thanks a lot, guys. Now I feel underpaid and I make good money
    \

    Don't worry, you're not underpaid.. ;-)



  • @Ben L. said:

    @Ronald said:
    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    This is scary - there are FIVE people I'm more qualified than.



  • @Ronald said:

    I always feel bad for people when that backfires.

    Guy 1: trying to act like he's "just joking" Man, I am one ugly dude.

    Guy 2: showing real sympathy Oh, don't talk like that. You have other qualities...



  • @Sutherlands said:

    Hey Ronald, would he consider someone telecommuting? :)

    Yes they would. But I don't recommend it; their infrastructure team is retarded and won't agree to any kind of remote access except for a poorly implemented View to which it's only possible to connect by using first a Citrix gateway. So the best you get is a vanilla, stateless machine with horrible performance which has a 3 seconds delay when you drag a window, and for some reason the RSA fobs have to be reset every 2 or 3 times you use them. Also: the IT manager is a female. RUN!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Ronald said:

    Also: the IT manager is a female. RUN!
    You're letting your prejudices get in the way. Some people are scary-competent, and that's a quality independent of gender. They can be good to work for, except when they think you're not doing enough (“But boss, we didn't do that because we were doing this other important thing.” “Yeah, well you needed to predict the future and do this now-critical-but-previously-unfunded thing too.”) Still, occasionally you manage to get ahead of them and that's wonderful.

    Save “RUN!” for incompetent micromanager; that's where someone doesn't just Fail but also Spreads It Around.



  • @joe.edwards said:

    It's something I've seen a few times, where someone can speak enough buzzwords and jargon to fool a PHB into hiring them, and then pretend to work for a few months before their first project blows up, and quietly collect a paycheck and severance check.
    Sounds like the contractor (not employee!) our company hired to run the HR department for "six months" - they're finally leaving after 18 months having overseen a few disasters.



  • @Ronald said:

    @Sutherlands said:
    Hey Ronald, would he consider someone telecommuting? :)

    Yes they would. But I don't recommend it; their infrastructure team is retarded and won't agree to any kind of remote access except for a poorly implemented View to which it's only possible to connect by using first a Citrix gateway. So the best you get is a vanilla, stateless machine with horrible performance which has a 3 seconds delay when you drag a window, and for some reason the RSA fobs have to be reset every 2 or 3 times you use them. Also: the IT manager is a female. RUN!

    for that much money I'd consider it!



  • I hate where I work but I'd never move to fucking Phoenix.



  • Seriously though if anybody knows something good in the Seattle/Redmond/Everett area, hit me up. I do C# and SQL and web programming and based on my posts here you probably all think I'm terrible at everything and possibly insane so this is obviously the best forum for me to be posting this.

    If it's in Seattle, it has to be accessible though... if you're too far off the 510 bus route, then fuck you.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I hate where I work but I'd never move to fucking Phoenix.
    its not bad. I mean, I like Missouri more, but we have a lot of friends in Phoenix.

    But I asked my wife if she would want to move back for that amount of money... She thought about it and said it would have to be more, since she wouldn't be able to work.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Seriously though if anybody knows something good in the Seattle/Redmond/Everett area, hit me up. I do C# and SQL and web programming and based on my posts here you probably all think I'm terrible at everything and possibly insane so this is obviously the best forum for me to be posting this.

    If it's in Seattle, it has to be accessible though... if you're too far off the 510 bus route, then fuck you.

    If you're not averse to it, I'm sure Microsoft is always hiring people with that skillset, with locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond and lots of transportation options.


  • If I were hiring, I'd probably ask the candidate a question about some odd technology/language/whatever that I'd be pretty certain he has no expertise in. Minus ten points for bullshiting ("Yeah, of course I know Prolog, I've been writing C# using Prolog for 7 years now"), five points for honestly admiting his lack of knowledge, ten points for asking "What the fuck does this have to do with my job"? <br >
    <br >
    Conducting the whole interview around these questions, now... that's a different story.



  • @Ben L. said:

    @Ronald said:
    I'm not kidding - those are the top candidates. The client is considering either hiring the $155k guy or going on a national search and pay a relocation premium. It's a bit of a WTF client so I don't advise people to go work there but my point is that the landscape is pretty bleak for employers at the moment.

    This is scary - there are FIVE people I'm more qualified than.

    Aww, there, there, don't say that. I'm sure there are less than that.



  • @electronerd said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Seriously though if anybody knows something good in the Seattle/Redmond/Everett area, hit me up. I do C# and SQL and web programming and based on my posts here you probably all think I'm terrible at everything and possibly insane so this is obviously the best forum for me to be posting this.
    If you're not averse to it, I'm sure Microsoft is always hiring people with that skillset, with locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond and lots of transportation options.
    I seem to remember him saying a long time ago that he previously worked at Microsoft.

     



  • I've worked for Microsoft twice actually.

    I'd consider taking another Microsoft position, if it was the right position. Redmond's a bitch of a commute though.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Yeah, I don't doubt you are. Out of probably two dozen senior-level (7+ year) sysadmins I talked to for a position, only two could describe what "load average" was. That's, like, the easiest fucking question I have, next to "Is now a good time to talk?"
    We were hiring support analysts a efw months ago. After we couldn't find anybody competant at all, I invited in a fresh business school graduate I knew. She'd showed minimal promise in the 1 year we were in IT classes together before the sexual harassment drove her out of 'tech school' - we took a $14.50/hr gamble on her because it was better than her current job and she had been forthright about not knowing a god damned thing about anything (which is much less dangerous than all the know-nothing cowboy idiots we also looked at). Three months later, she outperforms most of our developers at debugging - and when she doesn't know something, I only have to explain it once (as opposed to the actual developers we've hired who still don't understand our fundamental architecture after dozens of explanations). The only uncertain things with her is if we actually want her as a support analyst, or if we want to retask her to development - and how badly she's going to try to take us for our wallet when her six month contract renewal comes around.

    I have interviewed at least 200 developer candidates so far this year. I have hired every single one of them who showed any signs of ever having done production programming before. Twenty of them. Most of those have washed out. Most of the rest are capable of implementing things... If you tell them exactly how. Fortunately, we have enough people capable of actual thought to 'drive' them. Two of these hires are capable of independent thought and design. One of them is good at it.

    Honestly, we've had substantially more success with people who are coming from other fields than we have with people who have been working (or were educated) in IT.  Our top performing new hires were formerly: a petrochemical engineer, business analyst, grocery store manager, staples copy center employee, and architectural project manager.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    If it's in Seattle, it has to be accessible though... if you're too far off the 510 bus route, then fuck you.
    Bus?  Seriously?  Jeez man, get a car already.



  • I own a car. I like to read.



  • @Weng said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Yeah, I don't doubt you are. Out of probably two dozen senior-level (7+ year) sysadmins I talked to for a position, only two could describe what "load average" was. That's, like, the easiest fucking question I have, next to "Is now a good time to talk?"
    We were hiring support analysts a efw months ago. After we couldn't find anybody competant at all, I invited in a fresh business school graduate I knew. She'd showed minimal promise in the 1 year we were in IT classes together before the sexual harassment drove her out of 'tech school' - we took a $14.50/hr gamble on her because it was better than her current job and she had been forthright about not knowing a god damned thing about anything (which is much less dangerous than all the know-nothing cowboy idiots we also looked at). Three months later, she outperforms most of our developers at debugging - and when she doesn't know something, I only have to explain it once (as opposed to the actual developers we've hired who still don't understand our fundamental architecture after dozens of explanations). The only uncertain things with her is if we actually want her as a support analyst, or if we want to retask her to development - and how badly she's going to try to take us for our wallet when her six month contract renewal comes around.

    I have interviewed at least 200 developer candidates so far this year. I have hired every single one of them who showed any signs of ever having done production programming before. Twenty of them. Most of those have washed out. Most of the rest are capable of implementing things... If you tell them exactly how. Fortunately, we have enough people capable of actual thought to 'drive' them. Two of these hires are capable of independent thought and design. One of them is good at it.

    Honestly, we've had substantially more success with people who are coming from other fields than we have with people who have been working (or were educated) in IT.  Our top performing new hires were formerly: a petrochemical engineer, business analyst, grocery store manager, staples copy center employee, and architectural project manager.

    Last year the client wanted to beef up his BI team. Skills required: SQL, experience with Reporting Services a plus but not a showstopper. Salary: about $85,000 (in the Miami/Ft Laud area, which is pretty good). I gave a simple test to the one guy that made it through HR phone screening: write a SQL query that returns the list of clients who purchased something in the last year. It was a basic data model I had created for this test, with two tables (Client and Order) filled with data pumped from Adventureworks (which I don't use for tests anymore because it's too well-known).

    The guy said it was a piece of cake and could be done in less then one hour (first red flag - I expected a verbal explanation and maybe 3 lines of code). I went to grab a coffee and flirt with the receptionist, and when I came back 20 minutes later this was the kind of query he had written:

    SELECT FirstName, LastName FROM Client 
    WHERE (LastName = 'Smith' AND FirstName = 'James')
    OR (LastName = 'Smith' AND FirstName = 'Jim)
    OR (LastName = 'Smith' AND FirstName = 'John')
    [snip 20 lines]
    OR (LastName LIKE 'Johnso%' AND FirstName LIKE 'Ja%')
    OR (LastName LIKE 'Johnso%' AND FirstName LIKE 'Jo%')
    

    It was very funny to see that after a while he got tired of writing the entire name and used wildcards. Even funnier is that the client hired him and paid me an ungodly amount of money to spend 3 weeks training him. He ended up being a pretty decent report writer, in those 3 weeks we even had time to cover advanced SSRS stuff (dynamic grouping, drill-down charts, etc) but it's the kind of person who will never learn on his own.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    If it's in Seattle, it has to be accessible though... if you're too far off the 510 bus route, then fuck you.
    Bus?  Seriously?  Jeez man, get a car already.

    Ling (the woman behind that website / car lease business) was on Dragons Den in the UK (not sure whether there's a US version, but you pitch to entrepeneurs) and she is certifiably insane. That's a real website up there, unsurprisingly, all handmade by Ling. She makes a ton of money, though...

    She can even lease you a delorean! Get yourself a delorean!


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