Worst Phone Screen Ever?



  • Not sure where this belongs, so posting here.

    Had a phone screen last night that went something like this:

    them: Heeeey Glathull, thanks for your time. Your resume looks great, and your cover letter was awesome. We're very excited to be talking to you.

    me: Great! Thanks! It's good to be talking to you too. You've read my resume, so that's already making me feel good about this. You'd be surprised how often that doesn't happen. So, where do you want to start?

    them: Well, it looks like you've got the Python experience we want and the SQL experience we need. So that's really good. What we're really wondering is how much experience you have with go.

    me: It's on my list of things to learn, but I can't really say I have any experience with it. Maybe a toy project or tutorial here and there.

    them: We are looking to take our entire codebase from Python to go over the next 8 weeks. So we really need an expert Python guy who is also an expert go guy. One of the things that really stuck out at us was that you mentioned in your cover letter that you have definitely become the "go-to guy" in many of your work situations. We were thinking that meant you had a lot of experience with go.

    me: Hey, I'm sorry if I send the wrong bells ringing, but I didn't mean that I'm a go guy. Like I said, it's on my very long list of things to-do, but I'm . . . here, let me ask you something about your codebase that you want to port. Do you mind if I ask you some questions about that?

    them: Sure! Ask away! We don't really know why this is happening. It just is. We're re-writing everything from scratch in go instead of Python. But we're happy to have the conversation. Do you have a different idea? Maybe you know something more modern like Ruby or Haskell? That could be an interesting option.

    (Ruby is a more modern language, wtf???!!! Python and Ruby are almost exactly the same age.)

    me: Do you mind if I ask kind of where you are in the food chain at your company? Before I answer that question, I just kind of want to know who I'm talking to, and I don't think we went over that.

    them: Sure thing! I'm the director of Software Development, and also on the phone is my handy-dandy Software Architect.

    me: Okay, so I'm wondering why you are moving to a more modern language. What is it that Python isn't doing well for you that go or Haskell does well. I mean, where is the performance bottleneck that you are looking to fix? You have an app that's working pretty well on the web. Why is this happening?

    them: This is really simple, okay? We are both very new here. The company that wrote this web app got acquired by our company, and now we are in charge of things. But we don't really like what we see, so we are starting over from scratch. But we think it would be really great to have a go or something modern like Ruby or Haskell powering the new app. That's where you come in with your Python experience.

    me: But that's all I really have: Python and SQL and C#. I don't have any of these other things mentioned. Go and Ruby and Haskell aren't even on my resume. I'm a little bit confused.

    them: Would you say that you know Python well enough to know go? Our thought is that our Python developers just aren't good enough. If they were better at Python, they would be good at go. That's why we chose go.

    me: I don't think I'll ever know Python well enough to know go. I'm pretty sure that I'll have to know go really well to know go.

    them: That's really too bad. We were really hoping for the best of the best here, and we were willing to believe that you were it. But it seems that this isn't the case.

    me: Sir, I'm afraid this is not the case.

    them: Good talking to you. Best of luck.

    me: Best of luck to you as well.



  • @glathull said:

    What we're really wondering is how much experience you have with go.

    cc @ben_lubar



  • @glathull said:

    We are looking to take our entire codebase from Python to go over the next 8 weeks.

    Anyway, this means you're probably better off not working for this company. This, and them somehow figuring out that "go-to guy" has anything to do with Go.

    But mostly the porting part.

    @glathull said:

    Python and Ruby are almost exactly the same age.

    So's Haskell, for that matter. And neither of them really count as "modern".



  • I don't know enough about Haskell to know that. But good to know, nonetheless. Just didn't want to talk about things I literally know nothing about.



  • Also, yes. I very much did not want to have anything to do with this company. It sounded terrible, and I do not want.

    Those two guys might be the biggest brains in software right now. I wouldn't take a job there under any circumstances because their way of communicating and thinking is so bad to mine. We would never work.



  • Just be glad that you didn't have anything about "basic programming skills" on your resume.

    "So, about GW-BASIC........"



  • Was there any discussion about what'd you'd be doing after those 8* weeks ended, and the Python code was all fully Gone?

    *: yeah, because an 8 week project specified like that has a real chance of coming in on time...



  • them: Would you say that you know Python well enough to know go? Our thought is that our Python developers just aren't good enough. If they were better at Python, they would be good at go. That's why we chose go.

    Our python devs suck at python and if they didn't suck at python they would be good at go. So lets port to go anyway.

    That logic.

    Reeks of guy wanting to pad his own resume.



  • @delfinom said:

    if they didn't suck at python they would be good at go

    Maybe they don't know how to whitespace? *ducks*



  • @glathull said:

    I very much did not want to have anything to do with this company

    Then why you wrote that excellent covert letter and started the interview praising on them?



  • @Eldelshell said:

    Then why you wrote that excellent covert letter and started the interview praising on them?

    Because he hadn't realized they were a bunch of arrant tools at that point in the narrative.



  • @tar said:

    Was there any discussion about what'd you'd be doing after those 8* weeks ended, and the Python code was all fully Gone?

    *: yeah, because an 8 week project specified like that has a real chance of coming in on time...

    That's a really good question. There was a lot of WTF-ing going on in my head at the time, and I didn't make it down that path. I'd like to think I would have if I were going to do a second call. But who knows.



  • @Eldelshell said:

    Then why you wrote that excellent covert letter and started the interview praising on them?

    What tar said, basically. When I looked the company up and did some basic research, everything seemed pretty okay. At least reasonably okay. Going into the phone screen, I was pretty optimistic and my feelings were genuine. But it went way down hill very quickly. By the time we were done with that call, I did not want to work for them.



  • Their idea of a "modern language" sounds like it's influenced by when they heard about a particular language, not anything to do with the language itself.



  • I would have just said "sure" but demanded 4 times my current salary (in writing, natch). I'd love to get a job hit from people this stupid. Take advantage of the stupid. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STUPID!



  • Can't hurt, stick it out for 3 months and you should be able to 'retire' for the rest of the year at the same level of income. Do some work on the side, develop some personal projects, or just eat nachos in your pants and watch the whole of Netflix...

    I wonder if I can get my current employer to rehire me...



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I would have just said "sure" but demanded 4 times my current salary (in writing, natch). I'd love to get a job hit from people this stupid. Take advantage of the stupid. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STUPID!

    This is a good idea that I didn't think of. Maybe I should call them back.



  • @tar said:

    Can't hurt, stick it out for 3 months and you should be able to 'retire' for the rest of the year at the same level of income. Do some work on the side, develop some personal projects, or just eat nachos in your pants and watch the whole of Netflix...

    I wonder if I can get my current employer to rehire me...

    One of my best friends started his business by quitting his job and getting contracted as a consultant to the same company. At 3 times the price. It's a thing that happens.



  • I hate that because it usually means they were obfuscating the shit out of their work so nobody else would be able to take over, then left the company when they knew it had worked. It's like halfway to blackmail.

    But the guys in the OP are just rock-stupid. Different situation.



  • Having a conscience gets expensive at times, doesn't it? :<meh>/



  • You have to have left here as a full time employee for 6 months before you can come back as a contractor. It generally avoids this as if they've found a way to manage in the 6 months then they're less desperate to get you back.



  • Not only in development. I've seen this happen so many times, and they usually come happy in their brand new Porsche.

    Specially annoying case was with some Navision guy we had at some place I worked at several years ago. So, we're a Java/Linux shop and some manager bought this Navision thing for business stuff (although the application we were working on already did pretty much everything, but oh well) and hired a meat-shop (consulting firm) to send a guy and do some training on us. You can imagine how well that went.
    Six months later, the Navision guy is contracted and shows up with this brand new (needles* on the tires new) BMW M5. Good for him, took us away from a lot of business crazy shit & report building.

    [*] IDK how those little things that are left on new tires are called.



  • Meh, lots of sour grapes here. Sometimes the only way you can get your ideas to management is to get out and get back in touch. Good people get stuck in low-level roles. It's a thing that happens.



  • Hey, do'n go about dissing GW BASIC, I did a lot of neat things with that when I was in 9'th gradde... :smile:
    (or so it seemed at the time, some 25 years ago now...)

    And after I got to learn a real language with local variables as oppoed to all variables beeing global I never looked back...

    However it was surprising how you could actually make som neat games in GW-BASIC (mostly PacMan lookalikes)

    Yazeran



  • If you want function-local variables in Awk, the 'approved' way to get them is to add them to the function parameter list, and then set them at the top of the function. I'm not sure if the same trick would work in GW-BASIC or not.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @glathull said:

    them: We are looking to take our entire codebase from Python to go over the next 8 weeks. So we really need an expert Python guy who is also an expert go guy. One of the things that really stuck out at us was that you mentioned in your cover letter that you have definitely become the "go-to guy" in many of your work situations. We were thinking that meant you had a lot of experience with go.

    Why on earth were you still on the call after this?



  • Morbid curiosity?

    Maybe I wanted to keep the conversation going so that I would have a WTF to post here.

    Or maybe, just call me maybe, I was thinking that perhaps these guys were as bad at interviewing people as I am at being interviewed. There are really good engineers that completely suck at dealing with people or get flustered or something. There are lots of reasons to move forward after someone says something like that.

    I've got a really good job right now, and I'm sort of just shopping around to see if there's anything better. I'm not unemployed and desperate.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @glathull said:

    I was thinking that perhaps these guys were as bad at interviewing people as I am at being interviewed.

    That's actually another reason to get off the phone. Unless you like working with fuckwits.



  • Everyone works with fuckwits. Either your users are fuckwits or you managers are fuckwits or your investors are fuckwits or your coworkers are fuckwits.

    There's always some fuckwits involved.

    Sometimes I'm a fuckwit. I wouldn't want anyone to write me off for a small fuckwit moment.



  • @glathull said:

    Everyone works with fuckwits.

    I don't work with fuckwits.



  • @ben_lubar said:

    I don't work with fuckwits.

    Good point. I should have said that everyone fucks workwits.

    But then some pedant would have shown up and said, "I don't fuck workwits."

    :smile:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @glathull said:

    Good point. I should have said that everyone fucks workwits.

    But then some pedant would have shown up and said, "I don't fuck workwits."

    What about those who “wits workfucks”?



  • @dkf said:

    What about those who “wits workfucks”?

    ZOMG that's the worst. There is this really hot chick at work, and I want to bang her so bad, and every time I ask her to get it on, all she says is,"wits workfucks”?!.

    Not really sure what that means. But it sucks in that way that actually doesn't get you sucked.



  • Fork witwucks!


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    Sam Witwicky?





  • @tar said:

    the function. I'm not sure if the same trick would work in GW-BASIC or not.

    There's functions in gw-basic? I think the only old basic I've been is basica which doesn't have functions perse.

    Old basic programmers never die. They just GOSUB and never RETURN.



  • @Zemm said:

    There's functions in gw-basic?

    QBasic had them, so I assume so did GW-Basic. SUBs and FUNCTIONs separately, too.


    Okay, scratch that, it didn't have FUNCTIONS - it had DEF FNs limited to a single line, which were basically more like macros than actual functions (in that you could only make it a shorthand for a single expression). But QBasic/QuickBasic did get them.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zemm said:

    There's functions in gw-basic?

    Only crippled ones. Writing a complicated program in GW-BASIC was an exercise in remembering line numbers. :confounded:



  • I remember in 1992 we got our first computer: 386 running msdos 5.0. Its 80MB hard drive had several megabytes of games and simple applications. Along with several *.BAS files but these weren't text files: I knew about the type command but this just produced random characters. Eventually I found qbasic which could actually read most of them and run them. These were all old school line numbered programmes. (Nibbles and gorilla being exceptions)

    But there was one (mathpac iirc) that was source code protected. I eventually found a different basic interpreter on my aunt's computer which could run this one.

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    it had DEF FNs limited to a single line, which were basically more like macros than actual functions

    I still feel guilty using variables beginning with the characters fn since these were still reserved in qbasic. Which I haven't used properly since 1998. (Engineering at uni used qbasic for intro to programming, switching to C and assembly later)

    @dkf said:

    Writing a complicated program in GW-BASIC was an exercise in remembering line numbers.

    Before my time thankfully. I did read several old programmes but never wrote anything like that.



  • @in another context said:

    Would you say that you know English well enough to know Greek? Our thought is that our English speakers just aren't good enough. If they were better at English, they would be good at Greek. That's why we chose Greek.

    <post cant be empty>


  • Ποιος χρειάζεται Έλληνες όταν το Google Translate είναι ένα πράγμα;


  • SockDev

    @tar said:

    Ποιος χρειάζεται Έλληνες όταν το Google Translate είναι ένα πράγμα;

    according to @translator that is: "I need to Greece Shuttle service Google is one of these things?"



  • After 10 translations Bing says:

    one of the things that need to be moved, according to the @translator: Google is in Greece.

    Filed under: English -> Slovenian -> Catalan -> French -> Thai -> Spanish -> Turkish -> Latvian -> Indonesian -> Polish -> Norwegian -> English

    <!-- Posted by SockBot 0.15.1 "Zany Zoe" on Mon, 02 Feb 2015 21:08:29 GMT-->


  • Impressive.



  • After 10 translations Bing says: Printing. @Translator thousands of ants invasion in my pants. I have n p, lawn, no matter how e square. Was gas, PAPI Cook bread JAWS?

    Filed under: English -> Vietnamese -> Lithuanian -> Czech -> Hungarian -> Danish -> Spanish -> Polish -> Norwegian -> Chinese Traditional -> German -> English

    <!-- Posted by SockBot 0.15.1 "Zany Zoe" on Mon, 02 Feb 2015 21:09:52 GMT-->


  • WTF happened there? Is somebody pranking @translator?



  • After 10 translations Bing says: What's going on. Play jokes to the other @translator it?

    Filed under: English -> Swedish -> Romanian -> Italian -> Thai -> Greek -> Ukranian -> Dutch -> Chinese Simplified -> Catalan -> Spanish -> English

    <!-- Posted by SockBot 0.15.1 "Zany Zoe" on Mon, 02 Feb 2015 22:02:02 GMT-->


  • Now that it's been derailed: Worst Phone Screen Ever.



  • If I wasn't on mobile, I would post Pinkie Pie saying "meh, I've seen better".


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