Ya gotta love headhunters & hiring managers



  • So I'm looking for a job, and dealing with headhunters, and have three interesting experiences...

    1. A place is looking for a "very senior person with heavy experience in <laundry list of every major server side technology>". They do a phone interview for over an hour doing a *hard* tech-out. I answer every last question in detail. The guy tells the headhunter I'm not "sharp" enough. The headhunter then admits to me that she had 7 other people (each with 20+ years of experience) go through the same thing, and can't figure out what the hiring manager is looking for. I suggested that maybe she ought to ASK him. Then *I* called the guy and asked him. Turns out he just wants a web developer to bang out a couple of simple web pages. When I asked him why he didn't just say so in the job req, he said that he was hoping he'd find someone who was fully versed in ALL aspects of client, server, messaging, database, web systems, C++, Java, .NET, Python, WebLogic, WebSphere, DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Struts, Hibernate and administration of all of the above, in addition to JSP web development. I just laughed and hung up.

    2. Another place is looking for an SOA architect (the job req specifically mentioned no coding; "real" architects only). I spent several hours talking to the 3 managers who work in the department. We hit it off well. One of the managers warns me that their boss is in an "acting" capacity and likely to be replaced soon, and that there is a "massive communication problem" in the department. Hmm... red flags galore. Now I happen to be very much the architect, *and* am still hands on enough to give most folks a run for their money, so the technical stuff doesn't phase me. The feedback? They want someone who can do 60-80% international travel (I specifically told the headhunter no-travel because of certain family obligations).

    3. A third place is looking for a server-side architect. I breeze through the first four interviewers. Then the junior guy comes in to tech me out. He draws some scenario on a board and asks me how I'd handle it. I answer. He asks for another solution. Can you see it coming? I give another solution. He asks if there's another way to do it. I think for a second and offer yet a 3rd solution. He tells me he's thinking of a different solution. I look at him and tell him that I'm not Carnac, and then get up and walk out. On the way out the door, I tell the hiring manager what happened. Since he liked me, he asks me to stay anyway. I thought for a second and decided that I didn't want to work for someone who thought it appropriate to have someone one year out of school, and absolutely no clue how to conduct an interview, try to tech out someone so much more senior.

     *sigh* - my mother was right - I should have been an accountant.



  • Just because that youngster from 3. wasn't able to interview you correctly, you didn't consider that job? Maybe he was the only one who could do the interview for that specific job,or he was the only one available (read : had time).

    3. Sounds not bad to me after all. 



  • A friend of mine worked for a contracting company that placed workers in a variety of positions.  They had asked him to recommend good workers in the past and when they asked him again last November, he suggested me.  A bit of background, we are both seniors in Computer Engineering, so we're both going to school full time.  When I talk to the company, I am told that the position was intended to be temporary, 3-6 months, with the possibility of keeping me around after the contract was up.  I tell the company I am planning on going to graduate school next year, and I also tell them that since I am in school full time, I would need to be able to do a significant amount of my work remotely.  (My friend in his position logs over half his hours remotely).  They say that they will check with the company to make sure that is ok.

     

    Fast forward two weeks and they tell me they have set me up for an interview on a Friday morning.  I show up to the interview site and meet my contact with the contracting company.  We go to the office of the potentially hiring company, where my contact basically tells me, for the first time, that the hiring company is more interested in hiring me directly rather than as a contractor, and so she takes off.

     Well, I go into the interview and things are going pretty well, when I get asked when I graduated so they knew when I could start working.  Well that leads to this awkward situation where I have to explain that I had intended to start working right away.  He then assumes that I mean I will be coming in for 8 hours a day...every day...after my classes are done.  So that leads to yet another awkward situation wherein I discover that the contracting company didn't talk to them at all about me working remotely.  Well we get a potential compromise worked out.  Then he asks me how I feel about traveling, and explains that once I am out of school they would expect me to be traveling about 25% of the time.  And goes on to say how they're really looking for someone to stay with the company for a long time.

     

    Methinks there was a bit of miscommunication going on.


     



  • Wow! The view must be wonderful from your glass tower.



  • And if I had a dime for every time they think "Java == JavaScript"...



  • @zero5zero said:

    Just because that youngster from 3. wasn't able to interview you correctly, you didn't consider that job? Maybe he was the only one who could do the interview for that specific job,or he was the only one available (read : had time).

    3. Sounds not bad to me after all. 

    Sorry I gotta side with the OP. If that place is hiring someone so senior, they shouldn't have one of your future underlings trying to extract the answer they're looking for when 3 other valid ones were given. That place clearly doesn't have much interest in filtering out the troublesome applicants, and has poor management practices already. Work for them? Yeah right, given this incident you can expect to be interviewing potential CEOs someday. Move on, find a more stable company elsewhere.

    And if you find one, let me know. Because my current one is just as insane as the 3 you posted.



  • @zero5zero said:

    Just because that youngster from 3. wasn't able to interview you correctly, you didn't consider that job? Maybe he was the only one who could do the interview for that specific job,or he was the only one available (read : had time).

    3. Sounds not bad to me after all. 

    Would you still think so, if it turned out you had to work with that youngster?



  • @HeadHunterHater said:

    3. A third place is looking for a server-side architect. I breeze through the first four interviewers. Then the junior guy comes in to tech me out. He draws some scenario on a board and asks me how I'd handle it. I answer. He asks for another solution. Can you see it coming? I give another solution. He asks if there's another way to do it. I think for a second and offer yet a 3rd solution. He tells me he's thinking of a different solution. I look at him and tell him that I'm not Carnac, and then get up and walk out. On the way out the door, I tell the hiring manager what happened. Since he liked me, he asks me to stay anyway. I thought for a second and decided that I didn't want to work for someone who thought it appropriate to have someone one year out of school, and absolutely no clue how to conduct an interview, try to tech out someone so much more senior.

    I always have a hard time understanding what's wrong with this kind of situation, because the lack of tact just isn't a good reason to leave.

    They want to determine whether you are competent in some area, and they know he is. So they have him test you. He does it in a way that is irritating. There isn't a bigger problem than that here. You apparently don't want a good job because of their respect for competence.



  • @HeadHunterHater said:

    1. ... When I asked him why he didn't just say so in the job req, he said that he was hoping he'd find someone who was fully versed in ALL aspects of client, server, messaging, database, web systems, C++, Java, .NET, Python, WebLogic, WebSphere, DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Struts, Hibernate and administration of all of the above, in addition to JSP web development. I just laughed and hung up.

    If this guy needed a janitor, he'd hire an architect.  Just to have someone well versed in ALL aspects of building maintenance.
     



  • @SQB said:

    And if I had a dime for every time they think "Java == JavaScript"...

    *shudder*

    That's when I tell them that the only thing in common between Java and JavaScript is the 1st 4 letters of their names.  (Not in the context of an interview, but in my everyday job...)

    Then they almost get it.  At least, they get it much more accurately than before.  (If I make a more precise, in-depth comparison, that just confuses them and they revert to Java == JavaScript.)



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    @SQB said:

    And if I had a dime for every time they think "Java == JavaScript"...

    *shudder*

    That's when I tell them that the only thing in common between Java and JavaScript is the 1st 4 letters of their names.  (Not in the context of an interview, but in my everyday job...)

    I prefer "Java and JavaScript are about as similar as Java and iced tea. They both pour, but that's about where it ends.". 



  • Duuur, you guys are ALL wrong about java and javascript.

    THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME!!

    Don't believe me? Here are the facts:

    Both have variables.
    Both Live on the internets
    Both if-loops
     

    Ok, seriously though, does anyone know why all these job postings (especially on Monster and the like) for IT jobs always list every single software/language/technology known to man from all of existence? I mean, who writes the posting? The HR people?  I assume they just do a google search for the word "computer" and copy and paste the first 5 pages of results.

    I remember a story I read somewhere (I think it might have been on this site) where one of the requirements was something like 10 years experience for a language that has only been in existence for 4 years. Unless Marty McFly is applying, I think they're out of luck.
     



  • @asuffield said:

    @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    That's when I tell them that the only thing in common between Java and JavaScript is the 1st 4 letters of their names.

    I prefer "Java and JavaScript are about as similar as Java and iced tea. They both pour, but that's about where it ends." 

    I like to say that Java is to Javascript as golf is to miniature golf.



  • @VGR said:

    @asuffield said:
    @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    That's when I tell them that the only thing in common between Java and JavaScript is the 1st 4 letters of their names.

    I prefer "Java and JavaScript are about as similar as Java and iced tea. They both pour, but that's about where it ends." 

    I like to say that Java is to Javascript as golf is to miniature golf.

    Miniature golf on the moon, with chainsaws maybe. Javascript is a pretty odd beast when you get up close. Consider the difference between "var x = a.bar()" and "var f = a.bar; x = f()". Works in Python, not in Javascript, and a weird little bit of magic is the cause.
     



  • Well, my current employer has asked me to "tech out" potential employees. I consider myself quite senior in the IT field, having been busy with Modula-2 / C / Smalltalk / Java, most of which server-side programming. I call myself a hacker, usually knowing good code from bad one, and being able to coach youngsters on programming as well as laying out application and database architectures.

     I felt quite uncomfortable doing these interviews because

    a) I have a hard time having to be rough on someone and telling him he is no good for the job at hand (I had to tell that to about 3 out of 10 people I interviewed)

    b) I always felt like I needed more training in interview technique. I decided to just have them explain to me in detail what they worked on last or second to last.

    c) One guy I interviewed was way beyond my own knowledge level. I acknowledged that to him. We laughed at each other and he proceeded to talk about his professional experience, and I found that I learned something myself during the 30 minutes time reserved for us. Of course, I told my boss that that guy should get a job and deserved it.

    The company I work for is an IT services company, selling consultancy/programming/outsourcing/younameit -- therefore they keep hiring good people as soon as they can get their hands on someone. Especially in the current market here in Switzerland, where you can basically sell anything as long as you can back your sale with personnel.
     



  • @HeadHunterHater said:

    I thought for a second and decided that I didn't want to work for someone who thought it appropriate to have someone one year out of school, and absolutely no clue how to conduct an interview, try to tech out someone so much more senior.

    That attitude sucks ass.  I've had to go against that since I first started work at age 11.  I started in a computer repair place and could diagnose and fix beyond everybody else there but because I was a "junior" I got a fools pay compared to the "senior" people who didn't have a clue.  Now I'm 26 and make my living coding and still see that wank junior/senior attitude.  I still piss all over most smug older coders that I meet and find their attitude to younger people is usually something that holds them back.  They're comfortable in the little niche field they've been working in for years, they don't bother learning new languages and techniques but still feel they can be smug about how great they are.

    Don't read me wrong, I don't have a problem working with older people, it's just the ones with the smug "we're older and better" attitude that nark me off.



  • @HeadHunterHater said:

    3. A third place is looking for a server-side architect. I breeze through the first four interviewers. Then the junior guy comes in to tech me out. He draws some scenario on a board and asks me how I'd handle it. I answer. He asks for another solution. Can you see it coming? I give another solution. He asks if there's another way to do it. I think for a second and offer yet a 3rd solution. He tells me he's thinking of a different solution. I look at him and tell him that I'm not Carnac, and then get up and walk out. On the way out the door, I tell the hiring manager what happened. Since he liked me, he asks me to stay anyway. I thought for a second and decided that I didn't want to work for someone who thought it appropriate to have someone one year out of school, and absolutely no clue how to conduct an interview, try to tech out someone so much more senior.

     

    Not very tolerant are you? Its possible that they are training this "young kid" to do interviews. How else will he learn? One way is to interview the same person that 4 other experienced people interviewed, then compare notes. Interviewing is not easy.



  • @quamaretto said:

    Miniature golf on the moon, with chainsaws maybe. Javascript is a pretty odd beast when you get up close. Consider the difference between "var x = a.bar()" and "var f = a.bar; x = f()". Works in Python, not in Javascript, and a weird little bit of magic is the cause.
     

     Actually, I'm pretty sure that does work in javascript - and I think most of the people dissing javascript would be somewhat surprised if they took the time to actually know the language..



  • @newfweiler said:

    @zero5zero said:

    Just because that youngster from 3. wasn't able to interview you correctly, you didn't consider that job? Maybe he was the only one who could do the interview for that specific job,or he was the only one available (read : had time).

    3. Sounds not bad to me after all. 

    Would you still think so, if it turned out you had to work with that youngster?

    Yeah, cos it must be a fucking shame to be forced to work with people less experienced than you.



  • @nixen said:

    @quamaretto said:

    Miniature golf on the moon, with chainsaws maybe. Javascript is a pretty odd beast when you get up close. Consider the difference between "var x = a.bar()" and "var f = a.bar; x = f()". Works in Python, not in Javascript, and a weird little bit of magic is the cause.
     

     Actually, I'm pretty sure that does work in javascript - and I think most of the people dissing javascript would be somewhat surprised if they took the time to actually know the language..

    Let me clarify; I typed the last bit pretty fast and left out [i]most[/i] of the explanation.

    In Python, doing "f = a.bar" will set 'f' to a bound method, if bar is a method. This means that "f()" essentially means "a.bar()" - equivalent to a method call.

    In Javascript, "f = a.bar" will assign 'f' to the function contained in a.bar, but will [i]not[/i] create a bound method, even if the function in a.bar is intended to be called as a method and contains references to 'this'. So 'f()' is just a call to a function, using the global object (I think) as 'this' inside the function.

    A method is only a direct call to a property on an object. It's a weird bit of syntax, but that's how it is.

    Try it; you can stick this whole thing in the Firefox Error Console (under Tools) if running Firefox. The first alert is 42, the second is GLOBAL!

    member = 'GLOBAL!'; a = { member: 42, method: function(){ alert(this.member) } }; a.method(); f = a.method; f();

     I'm 90% certain that Python is the opposite (you get a bound method), but it's been awhile since I messed with it.

    (Sorry for jacking your thread, man.)
     



  • @quamaretto said:

    @nixen said:

    @quamaretto said:

    Miniature golf on the moon, with chainsaws maybe. Javascript is a pretty odd beast when you get up close. Consider the difference between "var x = a.bar()" and "var f = a.bar; x = f()". Works in Python, not in Javascript, and a weird little bit of magic is the cause.

     Actually, I'm pretty sure that does work in javascript - and I think most of the people dissing javascript would be somewhat surprised if they took the time to actually know the language..

    Let me clarify; I typed the last bit pretty fast and left out [i]most[/i] of the explanation.

    In Python, doing "f = a.bar" will set 'f' to a bound method, if bar is a method. This means that "f()" essentially means "a.bar()" - equivalent to a method call.

    In Javascript, "f = a.bar" will assign 'f' to the function contained in a.bar, but will [i]not[/i] create a bound method, even if the function in a.bar is intended to be called as a method and contains references to 'this'. So 'f()' is just a call to a function, using the global object (I think) as 'this' inside the function.

    A method is only a direct call to a property on an object. It's a weird bit of syntax, but that's how it is.

    Try it; you can stick this whole thing in the Firefox Error Console (under Tools) if running Firefox. The first alert is 42, the second is GLOBAL!

    member = 'GLOBAL!'; a = { member: 42, method: function(){ alert(this.member) } }; a.method(); f = a.method; f();

     I'm 90% certain that Python is the opposite (you get a bound method), but it's been awhile since I messed with it.

    (Sorry for jacking your thread, man.)
     


    So what's your point? It works as specified both in JS as well in Python.
    Take a couple of hours to read the specs, before bashing a language you don't know.
    And if I had a dime for every time they think "Python == JavaScript"...


  • @chrismcb said:

    @HeadHunterHater said:

    3. A third place is looking for a server-side architect. I breeze through the first four interviewers. Then the junior guy comes in to tech me out. He draws some scenario on a board and asks me how I'd handle it. I answer. He asks for another solution. Can you see it coming? I give another solution. He asks if there's another way to do it. I think for a second and offer yet a 3rd solution. He tells me he's thinking of a different solution. I look at him and tell him that I'm not Carnac, and then get up and walk out. On the way out the door, I tell the hiring manager what happened. Since he liked me, he asks me to stay anyway. I thought for a second and decided that I didn't want to work for someone who thought it appropriate to have someone one year out of school, and absolutely no clue how to conduct an interview, try to tech out someone so much more senior.

     

    Not very tolerant are you? Its possible that they are training this "young kid" to do interviews. How else will he learn? One way is to interview the same person that 4 other experienced people interviewed, then compare notes. Interviewing is not easy.

    A ray of reason penetrates the darkness that is this thread... 



  • @JvdL said:


    So what's your point? It works as specified both in JS as well in Python.
    Take a couple of hours to read the specs, before bashing a language you don't know.
    And if I had a dime for every time they think "Python == JavaScript"...

    You might think so, but I'm looking at where this seems to be specified in the ECMAScript spec and I don't see how it indicates the difference. I've been into the specs before (on a scoping issue).

    Consider the cases of calling "(a.method)()" and "(b = a.method)()". Check section 11.2.3 of the ECMAScript spec and explain what each one should do according to the specification. (Good luck.)
     


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