Interviews



  • A buddy of mine kept nagging me to post my interview stories, but I was always reluctant to do so because I might actually refer to someone who reads this forum. But I think that enough time has elapsed, so what the heck.

    To give you some background, I worked for several IT/software companies over the years and participated in many candidate interviews along the way. Some were group-style, some were board interviews, etc. I was always the technical aid to the management interviewers - they would ask me afterward "Is this guy okay? Does he know his stuff?" etc.

    Here goes...I'll give you two stories to begin with.

    Story #1 - B&B

    This was a board interview. In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, it's where a large panel of people (from different departments) sit along one side of a giant table...and the candidate is on the other side. Sounds pretty scary? Well, apparently this candidate didn't think so.

    It was typical practice for the candidate to be in the room way ahead of time. He was in there long before any of us arrived. As we started to filter in the room, we said hello and took our seats. There were about 7 of us in total on the panel side and we were still missing 2 members: the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and his second in command (just a systems guy, but he had the longest tenure and therefore some of the greatest clout).

    While we were waiting, there was no idle chit-chat or talk wih the candidate. He was just sitting there with this really goofy look on his face. I remember thinking to myself that he was way too relaxed. After all, this was a senior programming position he was interviewing for. This was not just another random interview.

    In comes the CTO and his 2nd-in-command. They were chatting quite a bit walking in the door and were laughing to themselves about something. Even as they took they're seats they were still chuckling. Then, out of the blue, the candidate speaks up and asks, "So...which one of you is Beavis and which one of you is Butthead?"

    The room went completely silent. I would have laughed had I not been so shocked. Everybody was in complete awe. Apparently the candidate thought this would make a funny "ice-breaker", but he was so wrong. The CTO's face turned bright red. He was so angry he couldn't even speak...then he just got up, picked up his folder, and left the room. No one knew what to do. Finally, the receptionist came in the room and asked the candidate to come with her. We never did hear from that candidate again. Boy was that a stupid thing to say at an interview!

    Story #2 - Sit Down

    At a completely different company, in a much smaller work environment, I had to sit in with the all-in-one President/CTO/Systems Admin and interview a potential candidate. I was the lead programmer and we were interviewing the candidate for a web programming position.

    In walks the candidate and shakes both of our hands. It is a small office, so there is not a whole lot of room to move around. On the side of the candidate is a dry erase board where we would usually spec-out our stuff. Anyways, the interview is going along, and we notice that the candidate is quite animated. He's using a lot of hand gestures and sitting forward in his chair. Then, he starts to get excited when telling us about one of his past projects. He leaps up and starts to erase some of what's on the dry erase board...without asking. He's excitedly drawing some diagram on the board, and I look over to the President and you could see the steam coming out of his ears. Surprisingly, this goes on for at least a minute or two. Finally the candidate turns around and exclaims, "It was such a great project! We sure nailed that one!" and he tosses the marker back on its slot.

    The President just about screamed, "Would you please SIT DOWN!!!"

    Now you have to picture what happened the instant he said this. The candidate sat back in his seat so fast that you would have thought it was military. I mean, he sat down. It was instantaneous. I had such a hard time keeping from laughing and actually had to leave the room!

    I never did go back in there because I couldn't keep myself together. It wasn't shortly after I left that the candidate was escorted out. The President wasn't upset that I left the interview early because he had absolutely no intention of hiring the guy anyway.

    If you like these stories, let me know. I have plenty more.



  • LOL...

    At my own interview when I came to work here, they asked how much experience I had using Microsoft products. (I work at a 'Microsoft Certified Partner' whatever that means.)

     Having worked in an almost solely Unix environment at my previous job I said: 'Well, none at all.'.

    They still hired me though, and I guess they're happy about it 'cos I'm still working here [:)]

    Drak



  • At one company, I was conducting the technical interview for a C# 
    application developer position.  I usually walk the candidate
    through some very simple requirements, and move from general design
    questions into specific questions about different aspects of the
    program.  After the candidate had finished explaining how he would
    move data to and from the database, I asked "What do you do if
    something goes wrong while executing the query?"  and the
    candidate responds curtly with "I'd debug it."  Trying to gauge if
    the candidate has real exception and resource management knowledge, I
    press him with "Let's say there's an unforeseen problem in your query
    or stored procedure that causes a crash.  How is the exception
    handled?"



    He looks at me and said, as if this were the most obvious answer, "That will never happen. My code doesn't have bugs."



  • My production code doesn't have bugs either.



    It has 'functionality inhibitions'.



  • I had another interview that stuck out.  Ah, the folly of failing
    to read the job description before firing off your resume and coming in
    for an interview.  The advertisement clearly read that the company was seeking an "experienced C#
    developer."  We receive a resume from a VB.Net programmer with "a
    PhD in reality" and decide to interview him.



    So he comes into the interview, and after pleasantries we get to
    talking about his experience.  Forgetting that he was a VB.Net guy
    for the moment, I ask him to highlight some of his C# projects.



    The poor guy says, "I don't do C#."

    I ask, "Why not?"

    "I looked at what I was doing, thought about it, and drew a line in the
    sand.  It's just not something I wanted to do with my life."

    "You do realize C# and VB.Net are nearly identical languages?"

    "I just don't like C#."



    That interview was over pretty quick.



  • CPound: more! More!



  • "You do realize C# and VB.Net are nearly identical languages?"




    Ok, which one of you wise guys decided to swap out the meaning of 'identical' and 'different' again?



  • @dhromed said:

    "You do realize C# and VB.Net are nearly identical languages?"




    Ok, which one of you wise guys decided to swap out the meaning of 'identical' and 'different' again?


    The languages have some minor differences and share all standard
    libraries.  I'd call C++ and C# different.  I'd call Scheme
    and Java different.  I'd call Ruby and C different.  But I
    wouldn't call C# and VB.Net different. They are virtually identical in
    every way that matters.



  • @Chris F said:

    @dhromed said:
    "You do realize C# and VB.Net are nearly identical languages?"




    Ok, which one of you wise guys decided to swap out the meaning of 'identical' and 'different' again?


    The languages have some minor differences and share all standard
    libraries.  I'd call C++ and C# different.  I'd call Scheme
    and Java different.  I'd call Ruby and C different.  But I
    wouldn't call C# and VB.Net different. They are virtually identical in
    every way that matters.




    I wouldn't call them identical, nor nearly identical. Similar would be more like it.



  • HA, two great stories. thanksf or sharing!



  • @Chris F said:

    I had another interview that stuck out.  Ah, the folly of failing to read the job description before firing off your resume and coming in for an interview.  The advertisement clearly read that the company was seeking an "experienced C# developer."  We receive a resume from a VB.Net programmer with "a PhD in reality" and decide to interview him.

    So he comes into the interview, and after pleasantries we get to talking about his experience.  Forgetting that he was a VB.Net guy for the moment, I ask him to highlight some of his C# projects.

    The poor guy says, "I don't do C#."
    I ask, "Why not?"
    "I looked at what I was doing, thought about it, and drew a line in the sand.  It's just not something I wanted to do with my life."
    "You do realize C# and VB.Net are nearly identical languages?"
    "I just don't like C#."

    That interview was over pretty quick.

     

    I don't see how that's a problem.  Why would someone who already does Vb.net even LEARN C#?  They're basically the same language; there would be no point in learning both. 



  • @elnerdo said:

    Why would someone who already does Vb.net even
    LEARN C#?  They're basically the same language; there would be no
    point in learning both. 


    I'm not hiring interns.  If the minor differences between C# and
    VB.Net present such a significant road block, I would rather not have
    such a person on my team.  Experienced programmers usually have no
    trouble adjusting to syntax differences within their chosen programming
    paradigm.



  • I'm not hiring interns.  If the minor differences between C# and
    VB.Net present such a significant road block, I would rather not have
    such a person on my team.  Experienced programmers usually have no
    trouble adjusting to syntax differences within their chosen programming
    paradigm.

    I agree completely. We have been interviewing for a few positions over the last couple of months and it is amazing to me how many people just refuse to at least be knowledgable about common languages (Java, Delphi, .NETs) much less refuse to learn them if we offer to pay them while they are doing it. Bottom line is that SomeLanguage In A Nutshell book should be about all you need.

    Quick funny interview moment... The interviewee had indicated that he like C# more than Delphi (Delphi 5 we were talking about), when asked why he responded with "it's more object oriented". I guess i wasn't aware of the degree of object orientedness scale.

    He was not called back either...



  • In a place I had worked we use to laugh and tell jokes at some talks the CEO used to give us around the concept of "commitment".

    After leaving this place I got an interview, and the interviewer used the word "commitment", and I couldn't contain a laugh after hearing that. I didn't get the job.



  • You have a commitment to bring back old threads. But I did enjoy reading the OP in this one - I remember reading it as an article.



  • @LB_ said in Interviews:

    bring back old threads

    I don't think that's right. After all these topics are new to him.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Luhmann no, he ignored this for 11 years


  • area_pol

    @CPound said in Interviews:

    The CTO's face turned bright red. He was so angry he couldn't even speak...

    @CPound said in Interviews:

    The President just about screamed, "Would you please SIT DOWN!!!"

    Those executives in these stories are unstable children.
    If they can't even keep their composure when a candidate says something stupid, how are they supposed to deal with the stress of company leadership?



  • @apapadimoulis said in Interviews:

    thanksf or sharing!

    Well, @apapadimoulis , which is it-- "thanksf" or "sharing"? I've been waiting 11 fucking years for an answer!



  • @CPound said in Interviews:

    out of the blue, the candidate speaks up and asks, "So...which one of you is Beavis and which one of you is Butthead?"

    Seems like an appropriate question to ask of someone who apparently thinks putting more than 2 or 3 interviewers in a room with 1 candidate is a good interview technique.

    Granted, if you do want the job, you should probably refrain from actually vocalizing it...

    @CPound said in Interviews:

    On the side of the candidate is a dry erase board where we would usually spec-out our stuff.

    :wtf: And you put him in the same room? With anything potentially important written on it?



  • @dhromed said in Interviews:

    "You do realize C# and VB.Net are nearly identical languages?"




    Ok, which one of you wise guys decided to swap out the meaning of 'identical' and 'different' again?

    "Nearly different" would mean identical. They are not identical.



  • The most amazing thing about these stories is how 10 years ago companies could afford to play the strongman. They kicked potentially competent candidates to the curb over petty shit like making an awkward joke or erasing a stupid whiteboard.



  • @anotherusername said in Interviews:

    someone who apparently thinks putting more than 2 or 3 interviewers in a room with 1 candidate is a good interview technique.

    It is in all the interview training videos I've watched.

    But in retrospect, those might have been porns.





  • @boomzilla Where everybody knows your name...


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