Another stunning interview answer



  • Me: "What your best friend say your worst quality is"

    Him: "I'm extremely lazy"

    Me: (silence) 



  • So he answered 180 degrees from the stock "I work too hard" answer.

    Gotta give him credit for thinking outside the box.

    I wouldn't consider him seriously though.



  • Laziness isn't always a bad thing. Remember The Man Who was too Lazy to Fail (from Heinlein's Time Enough for Love)?

     



  • Actually thats default answer to

     "What is your best quality?"

    Usually the Interviwer wakes up, and he remembers this more then the "stock" answers like "I work to much" etc...

    I think lazyness is a mandatory trait for a good programmer. As a developer you try to avoid unnessesary work, for both yourself and your clients. Also you seek to automate tasks. Some of the greatest inventions where made by lazy people... Just take a look at the wheel for example ;)

     



  • @slyadams said:

    Me: "What your best friend say your worst quality is"

    Him: "I'm extremely lazy"

    Me: (silence) 

     

    I'd bet the interviewee would be pretty put off by the way the question was posed. If an interviewer structured his sentences like that, I'd be excusing myself. 

     

    "Stunning" is not what I would call this. Unexpected, maybe. Stunning would be "I fall in love with roadkill too easily" 



  • The thing is, answering a question like that by saying "lazy" is fine, but you have to frame it properly. You have to tell them what your worst quality is, as well as how you work to improve it or, in the case of laziness in IT, how you work it to your advantage. You can't just say "I'm extremely lazy", though.



  • @rbowes said:

    The thing is, answering a question like that by saying "lazy" is fine, but you have to frame it properly. You have to tell them what your worst quality is, as well as how you work to improve it or, in the case of laziness in IT, how you work it to your advantage. You can't just say "I'm extremely lazy", though.

    Yeah, but if you go into that much detail, you're proving that you were lying when you said you were lazy. C'mon, the guy is far too lazy to devote more than three words to it. It's a very existential way of proving his point.



  • Excusing yourself why? The whole "What's your best quality" and "What's your worst quality" questions are quite common, but a bit old hat. Framing it from someone else's point of view means they can't say "My best friend would say that I am thoughtful, hard working and very conscientious". It also addresses the issue of how they think they come across to others.

    If you would excuse yourself after a question like that, then I'd hang onto your job, because its likely to be the only one you'll get.
     



  • @slyadams said:

    Excusing yourself why? The whole "What's your best quality" and "What's your worst quality" questions are quite common, but a bit old hat. Framing it from someone else's point of view means they can't say "My best friend would say that I am thoughtful, hard working and very conscientious". It also addresses the issue of how they think they come across to others.

    If you would excuse yourself after a question like that, then I'd hang onto your job, because its likely to be the only one you'll get.
     

     

    I figured he was referring to the English and didn't understand that it was a translation from someone who's first language wasn't English... but now I see that it wasn't a translation, and I suspect you missed a word (probably "would") when typing it out.



  • Had a typo in the original, obviously it should be:

     



    Me: "What would your best friend say your worst quality is"




  • Morbil, yes, you made my post superfluous there! I had the window open a while before replying, so didn't see your post. Simply a typo on my part.

     

    Doesn't dilute from the brilliance of the guy's response though! 



  • @slyadams said:

    Me: "What your best friend say your worst quality is"

    Him: "I'm extremely lazy"

    Me: (silence) 

    More to the point:

    What should he answer be?  When you ask this question, what the hell are you even looking for?

    Me?  I'm incredibly lazy.  But I'm also one of the most productive people on my team.  Why?  Cuz I'm lazy.  I spend time automating daily tasks because I don't like doing them.



  • the ironic thing is that his lazy quality is not the one that lost him the job. 

    The quality that lost him the job would be considered a virtue by most:   honesty.
     



  • I guess another potential answer is, "He'd probably say that I'm a whore, since I slept with his girlfriend."



  • @tster said:

    the ironic thing is that his lazy quality is not the one that lost him the job. 

    The quality that lost him the job would be considered a virtue by most:   honesty.

    I have always found it deeply amusing that most companies hire people based on precisely one skill: how good they are at lying to their (prospective) boss.

    That alone is sufficient to explain most companies.



  • @asuffield said:

    I have always found it deeply amusing that most companies hire people based on precisely one skill: how good they are at lying to their (prospective) boss.

     

    QFT.  That's always ironically funny that they expect you to be honest and truthful with them, but during the interview, if you answer something honestly (such as this person did, or admit you screwed up something in a past job and was fired, but have since improved) then you'll probably not get the job since you're a "bad risk"



  • Character interviews always struck me as lie-a-thons. Behavioral and technical interviews were much more my style.


     



  • No, its more the case that he's being interviewed for a customer facing role. If he is so braindead to realise that "I am lazy" is a poor thing to say in an interview, then he isn't someone you want to send to a client site and put the fate of a contract in. You say the question is stupid, I saw it weeded out someone who is obviously not for us.

     



  • No, this is the first cut interview. After this one there would be a second that consists of a thorough techincal interview and then a final chat with a director. We find that most people fail miserably at the techincal portion of the interview, mostly because we are not based in a big city and as a small company can't offer the salaries that London based consultancies can. We do find good people, but we also get some spectacularly bad ones.



  • @slyadams said:

    No, its more the case that he's being interviewed for a customer facing role. If he is so braindead to realise that "I am lazy" is a poor thing to say in an interview, then he isn't someone you want to send to a client site and put the fate of a contract in. You say the question is stupid, I saw it weeded out someone who is obviously not for us.

     

     I still think its a good answer... But you need to back it up with a few explaining words. After all your job is about "automating" and "optimizing". I dont read all the stock question lists for interviews, but a variant of "Whats your best quality" is almost allways in the Interview. To answer with something thats totally not expected, will get you some attention. If you manage to put yourself into a good light, then you have a good chance of getting the job.

    I had to change jobs 3 times from 2000 on. And I allways gave that answer in the Interview. I managed to get a pretty good Interview/Joboffer ratio. I belive that one thing thats responsible for this is me not "bullshitting" during an Interview. If I have no clue about an answer, I will ADMIT that I havent done/used/worked with that tecnology/feature/whatever -SO FAR-. And I will allways indicate that i am willing to learn more about it. Reading about XAML on a few blogs does not qualify me to give an answer to some more then basic questions about it. I think thats getting you across much better then a failed bullshit attempt.

     If you apply for a job you should allways have in mind that they dont really want the guy with all the skills posted in the ad (We call this a "Eierlegende Wollmilchsau" in germany (Egg-laying - Wool and milk giving pig). Try to figure out what the key skills are, and apply where your skills and those have the best match. Also you should already know about the company, and what tools they use.



  • Developers MUST be at least reasonably lazy to want to do things right the first time or the result is something in the ballpark of  what a proud creator I know describes as Intelligent viable virtual life form that is perfectly universal(you just need an adapter, not included) and written entirely as Excel macros. It was created just because the person would rather waste his time on it than let me make something decent and maintainable in spite my constant offerings and the fact that I already had 99% the infrastructure in place needed to implement it and it was just a matter of minor modification to data collection and then querying the data from a decent base...

    PS: he is not hired as a developer. 



  • @slyadams said:

    No, its more the case that he's being
    interviewed for a customer facing role. If he is so braindead to
    realise that "I am lazy" is a poor thing to say in an interview, then
    he isn't someone you want to send to a client site and put the fate of
    a contract in. You say the question is stupid, I saw it weeded out
    someone who is obviously not for us.

    But he didn't
    say he was lazy, and that's not what you asked him: you asked what his
    friend would say, and he told you what his friend would /say/ he was
    lazy.

    For all you know, his best friend is a liar, practical joker, or has impossibly high standards.

    Your next question should have been "Why?".  I think you screwed up. 

     



  • @slyadams said:

    No, its more the case that he's being interviewed for a customer facing role. If he is so braindead to realise that "I am lazy" is a poor thing to say in an interview, then he isn't someone you want to send to a client site and put the fate of a contract in. You say the question is stupid, I saw it weeded out someone who is obviously not for us.

    Still yet - what did you want out of him?  When you ask a question, there's a general gist of an answer you're looking for.

    What are poor qualities you're looking for?  If I were doing interviews, the question would be a more or less trick question.  I would be looking for someone who can honestly assess themselves, determine their weaknesses, and when asked the follow up question "How do you deal with that on a day to day basis" they give a non BS answer.  You're asking the question and begging them to lie to you.  You know nothing about how that affects this guy.  So what if he's lazy.  Get down off your high horse - you're not perfect either.

    For example, if you interviewed me:

    Q: "What would your friend say is your worst quality?"
    A:  "I'm extremely lazy"
    Q:  "Ok, and how do you work with your laziness on a day to day basis?"
    A:  "I know I don't like doing a lot of repetitive things, so I take the time to automate them using macros and what-not so that I can type one word and it does it for me.  My laziness actually increases my productivity and helps me focus on other more challenging work."

    It's not BS either - that's what I really do.



  • Sorry guys, I don't think you're looking at this from the context of the job we're hiring for, which is a customer facing consultancy role. He must know that just saying "I am extremely lazy" in an interview isn't a good answer at all and we shouldn't NEED to prompt someone to justify/defend a weak position, he should want to do that himself. If he goes to a customer site and makes a statement like that (or another weak statement that needs further justification) and the customer doesn't prompt them to justify it and so he keeps quiet, it would leave a terrible impression of him and, transitively, us.

    It clearly showed that he does not have the common sense to talk to strangers in a professional and positive manner.

    I don't think I screwed up.

    Let me ask you this, say you were sent to prison and then released a year later due to new evidence being brought forward. In your first interview you were asked "I see there's a 1 year gap in your employment history, what were you up to?". Would you say:

     
    1)  "I've been in prison"

    2) "I've been in prison. I was unjustly convicted and have since been completely exonerated of all charges and have received apologies from the police and the CPS. I am currently in pursuing them for compensation"

     

    Answer 1 is, in your eyes a completely justified answer and I should push him for clarification. Answer 2 is much much better as the guy obviously has the nous and sense to frame him answer in a context rather than leave me guessing. Our guy didn't. 



  • I don't know what the fuss is about .... he wanted to hire somebody that could COMMUNICATE in addition to having technical skills. And the interviewee had poor communication skills ... his 3 word response following by a thundering silence underlined that.It's quite possible he had great technical skills, but that isn't just what the position was looking for. (Well to be honest, I can't think of too many positions that would welcome communications skills that poor.)

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    I agree ... "I'm extremely lazy" can be a great START to answering that question ... but it's just a START. You need to finish it off with something like "but that lazy streak just helps me get stuff done at work ... (queue up all the really helpful time/space/money saving automations you've created)". Of course you need a bit of bravado to pull it off ... if you sound nervous you'll just sound silly.

     



  • @slyadams said:

    Sorry guys, I don't think you're looking at this from the context of the job we're hiring for, which is a customer facing consultancy role. He must know that just saying "I am extremely lazy" in an interview isn't a good answer at all and we shouldn't NEED to prompt someone to justify/defend a weak position, he should want to do that himself. If he goes to a customer site and makes a statement like that (or another weak statement that needs further justification) and the customer doesn't prompt them to justify it and so he keeps quiet, it would leave a terrible impression of him and, transitively, us.

    It clearly showed that he does not have the common sense to talk to strangers in a professional and positive manner.

    I don't think I screwed up.

    Let me ask you this, say you were sent to prison and then released a year later due to new evidence being brought forward. In your first interview you were asked "I see there's a 1 year gap in your employment history, what were you up to?". Would you say:


    1)  "I've been in prison"

    2) "I've been in prison. I was unjustly convicted and have since been completely exonerated of all charges and have received apologies from the police and the CPS. I am currently in pursuing them for compensation"

     

    Answer 1 is, in your eyes a completely justified answer and I should push him for clarification. Answer 2 is much much better as the guy obviously has the nous and sense to frame him answer in a context rather than leave me guessing. Our guy didn't. 

    I work in a customer-facing position myself and commonly work with customers who have seriously complex issues in incredibly short time frames.  I have assisted with some technical interviews, but I don't consider myself an expert on the topic by any means. 

    However, I don't think you have the first clue on that person's ability to deal with any given situation outside of an interview based on one poorly thought out question with an equally poorly thought out response.

    Your second question is an overexaggeration of a completely justified question, "What were you doing for this period of 1 year", and has no bearing on a loaded question like "What would your friend say is your biggest weakness".  See, one is a genuine question, the other is a character question that requires them to degrade themselves.  You could also consider that the reason they were in prison could be confidential, in court proceedings where his lawyer told him not to talk about it, etc.  The only thing you can actually ask him is "Were you convicted of a felony?" to which he would respond: "Initially, but that was later overturned".



  • @rdrunner said:

    [...]As a developer you try to avoid unnessesary work, for both yourself and your clients.[...]

    I digress. Most of the people I've worked with could care less about the client habing more or less work - i.e.: they didn't know anything about usability, or were just sadistic enough to not care.



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    @slyadams said:

    Sorry guys, I don't think you're looking at this from the context of
    the job we're hiring for, which is a customer facing consultancy role.
    He must know that just saying "I am extremely lazy" in an interview
    isn't a good answer at all and we shouldn't NEED to prompt someone to
    justify/defend a weak position, he should want to do that himself. If
    he goes to a customer site and makes a statement like that (or another
    weak statement that needs further justification) and the customer
    doesn't prompt them to justify it and so he keeps quiet, it would leave
    a terrible impression of him and, transitively, us.

    It clearly showed that he does not have the common sense to talk to strangers in a professional and positive manner.

    I don't think I screwed up.

    Let me ask you this, say you were sent to prison and then released a year later due to new evidence being brought forward. In your first interview you were asked "I see there's a 1 year gap in your employment history, what were you up to?". Would you say:


    1)  "I've been in prison"

    2) "I've been in prison. I was unjustly convicted and have since been completely exonerated of all charges and have received apologies from the police and the CPS. I am currently in pursuing them for compensation"

     

    Answer 1 is, in your eyes a completely justified answer and I should push him for clarification. Answer 2 is much much better as the guy obviously has the nous and sense to frame him answer in a context rather than leave me guessing. Our guy didn't. 

    I work in a customer-facing position myself and commonly work with customers who have seriously complex issues in incredibly short time frames.  I have assisted with some technical interviews, but I don't consider myself an expert on the topic by any means. 

    However, I don't think you have the first clue on that person's ability to deal with any given situation outside of an interview based on one poorly thought out question with an equally poorly thought out response.

    Your second question is an overexaggeration of a completely justified question, "What were you doing for this period of 1 year", and has no bearing on a loaded question like "What would your friend say is your biggest weakness".  See, one is a genuine question, the other is a character question that requires them to degrade themselves.  You could also consider that the reason they were in prison could be confidential, in court proceedings where his lawyer told him not to talk about it, etc.  The only thing you can actually ask him is "Were you convicted of a felony?" to which he would respond: "Initially, but that was later overturned".

     
     
    Seems as though you don't value common sense very highly. A common problem nowadays. Truly I am at a loss that there are some people who are trying to justify this guy's answer, however poor the question was. Maybe WTF should stand for "want to feud".



  • @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.



  • @asuffield said:

    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

     

    And once again, he wasn't being interviewed as a software developer, but as an IT consultant. 



  • @slyadams said:

    @asuffield said:
    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    And once again, he wasn't being interviewed as a software developer, but as an IT consultant. 

     Exactly what does an IT Consultant consult about?  Does he consult
    about communication and teamwork?  Does he consult the group on a
    six-sigma initiative?   Oh wait...  IT, I've heard those letters
    before...  Oh yeah, information technology!!!  He's going to be
    consulting about the use of TECHNOLOGY.



  • I think it's funny being insulted for not having common sense by a guy who asked a crummy interview question and outright denied someone on it based on nothing else.  Common sense?  yeash...  I don't know - maybe I just live in a fantasy world where you actually try to learn something about people in an interview.  Then again, maybe I'm just not demoralized enough from doing 100 miserable interviews yet. 

    @asuffield said:

    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    For once, I agree with asuffield.  I think being bound by common sense is not a helpful trait for anyone in the IT industry.  Consultant, developer, what have you.



  • @asuffield said:

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    Aristotle would disagree. 

    Common sense has nothing to say about the shape of the world if you cannot see the horizon (e.g. tall mountains in the distance, etc). If you can, it says that it's round, and, specifically, that you are on the outside of a round object. (on the inside of one, there would be no horizon, and on a flat surface, you would either see the edge (if it is finite) or it would be perfectly level.

    The only two things that tell you the world is flat are groupthink (if you're in the dark ages when the majority actually believed that) and an overly literal interpretation of the turn of phrase "four corners of the earth" in the bible.

    Columbus was thought crazy not for believing the world was round, but for believing (incorrectly, as a matter of fact) that it was SMALL enough that he could make the trip to asia with what would have been inadequate provisioning. It was just dumb luck that there happened to be a continent in between.

    Off-hand, I can't really think of any WTFs on this site that can be described as "common sense", or for which the 'right' answer would not be.



  • The world is flat all around the world!



  • @tster said:

    @slyadams said:
    @asuffield said:
    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    And once again, he wasn't being interviewed as a software developer, but as an IT consultant. 

     Exactly what does an IT Consultant consult about?  Does he consult
    about communication and teamwork?  Does he consult the group on a
    six-sigma initiative?   Oh wait...  IT, I've heard those letters
    before...  Oh yeah, information technology!!!  He's going to be
    consulting about the use of TECHNOLOGY.

     

    tster, are you suggesting that consultants and developers don't need a fundamentally different skill set? You said

     

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead

     

    Now, either you believe that consultants and developers require the same skillset, or your last tirdae was entirely baseless. 



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    I think it's funny being insulted for not having common sense by a guy who asked a crummy interview question and outright denied someone on it based on nothing else.  Common sense?  yeash...  I don't know - maybe I just live in a fantasy world where you actually try to learn something about people in an interview.  Then again, maybe I'm just not demoralized enough from doing 100 miserable interviews yet. 

    @asuffield said:

    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    For once, I agree with asuffield.  I think being bound by common sense is not a helpful trait for anyone in the IT industry.  Consultant, developer, what have you.

     

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree. I think what you guys are getting at is that you would like someone to be able to 'think outside the box'. You can do that and still possess a great deal of common sense. In an industry where time quite literally is money, a small company cannot afford to have someone who is not sensible enough to make good decisions about time management, asking what their task priorities should be, how long they can spend on certain tasks etc. For example, I am quite happy for someone to come up with an original and novel solution to a project, but if they go off half cocked without doing such things like waiting for PO's, accurately capturing the requirements and getting customer approval at each step, then you will very likely to be hit with a very large loss.



  • @Random832 said:

    @asuffield said:

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    Aristotle would disagree. 

    Common sense has nothing to say about the shape of the world if you cannot see the horizon (e.g. tall mountains in the distance, etc). If you can, it says that it's round, and, specifically, that you are on the _outside_ of a round object. (on the inside of one, there would be no horizon, and on a flat surface, you would either see the edge (if it is finite) or it would be perfectly level.

    The only two things that tell you the world is flat are groupthink (if you're in the dark ages when the majority actually believed that) and an overly literal interpretation of the turn of phrase "four corners of the earth" in the bible.

    Columbus was thought crazy not for believing the world was round, but for believing (incorrectly, as a matter of fact) that it was SMALL enough that he could make the trip to asia with what would have been inadequate provisioning. It was just dumb luck that there happened to be a continent in between.

    Off-hand, I can't really think of any WTFs on this site that can be described as "common sense", or for which the 'right' answer would not be.

    I don't think I'd take that rule too literally.  I think the point is that, at some time or another, there was a popular belief that was just outright wrong, but was considered "Common Sense".  How about "Common Sense tells you the earth is the center of the universe" or what-have-you.  Things proven by trying to understand the simple stuff.

    And while some of the stuff looks stupid from the perspective of a competent designer, a lot of it ends up being common sense :-\  Take, for example, that meaningless and stupid "raise the IRQ priority of the clock to increase performance" tweak you see brillant organizations such as Geek Squad use.

    Or at least that's more how I took it.



  • @slyadams said:

    @ShadowWolf said:

    I think it's funny being insulted for not having common sense by a guy who asked a crummy interview question and outright denied someone on it based on nothing else.  Common sense?  yeash...  I don't know - maybe I just live in a fantasy world where you actually try to learn something about people in an interview.  Then again, maybe I'm just not demoralized enough from doing 100 miserable interviews yet. 

    @asuffield said:

    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    For once, I agree with asuffield.  I think being bound by common sense is not a helpful trait for anyone in the IT industry.  Consultant, developer, what have you.

     

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree. I think what you guys are getting at is that you would like someone to be able to 'think outside the box'. You can do that and still possess a great deal of common sense. In an industry where time quite literally is money, a small company cannot afford to have someone who is not sensible enough to make good decisions about time management, asking what their task priorities should be, how long they can spend on certain tasks etc. For example, I am quite happy for someone to come up with an original and novel solution to a project, but if they go off half cocked without doing such things like waiting for PO's, accurately capturing the requirements and getting customer approval at each step, then you will very likely to be hit with a very large loss.

     1.  In a life where time is literally all that you have between now and when you are dead, I don't have time to waste working for some jerk that would ask me what my best friend would say the worst thing about me is.  You know what my worst friend would say about me?  probably that you need to fuck off and not ask personal questions about his best friend.  How am I suppose to know what my best friend would say my worst quality is.  We don't normally spend time talking about such things.  And the question is completely unfair.  My best friend would probably say that I'm always late, because he is mad from when my car ran out of gas on my way to meet him twice.  However, that sounds REALLY bad to a perspective employer, and in actuality I am extremely punctual. 

    2.  Your right, you shouldn't gather requirements or get customer approval during the development process.  The best model is to never talk to the customer and deliver a product that doesn't solve the right problem.  With that kind of attitude you don't need to worry about too many more customers because you'll be out of business soon anyways.

     

    And to answer a question earlier.   Yes, I think a consultant should have a very similar skill-set to a developer.   After all, a consultant is helping them develop software, is he not?
     



  • @tster said:

    @slyadams said:
    @ShadowWolf said:

    I think it's funny being insulted for not having common sense by a guy who asked a crummy interview question and outright denied someone on it based on nothing else.  Common sense?  yeash...  I don't know - maybe I just live in a fantasy world where you actually try to learn something about people in an interview.  Then again, maybe I'm just not demoralized enough from doing 100 miserable interviews yet. 

    @asuffield said:

    @froggie said:

    And come on, what happened to the value of basic common sense?! We've all played the interview game before, we know they ask stupid questions like "what's your best/worst quality". If your common sense can't get you through that situation, what about on the job? Cause god knows, every job will have similarly stupid situations your common sense will have to navigate you through.

    For a software developer, common sense is about as useful as a huge iron spike embedded in their forehead. You cannot be a decent developer until you learn to suppress anything like "common sense", because it is almost always wrong where software is concerned. The same thing can be said of most engineering professions.

    Here's the iron rule to always remember: common sense tells you that the world is flat.

    For once, I agree with asuffield.  I think being bound by common sense is not a helpful trait for anyone in the IT industry.  Consultant, developer, what have you.

     

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree. I think what you guys are getting at is that you would like someone to be able to 'think outside the box'. You can do that and still possess a great deal of common sense. In an industry where time quite literally is money, a small company cannot afford to have someone who is not sensible enough to make good decisions about time management, asking what their task priorities should be, how long they can spend on certain tasks etc. For example, I am quite happy for someone to come up with an original and novel solution to a project, but if they go off half cocked without doing such things like waiting for PO's, accurately capturing the requirements and getting customer approval at each step, then you will very likely to be hit with a very large loss.

     1.  In a life where time is literally all that you have between now and when you are dead, I don't have time to waste working for some jerk that would ask me what my best friend would say the worst thing about me is.  You know what my worst friend would say about me?  probably that you need to fuck off and not ask personal questions about his best friend.  How am I suppose to know what my best friend would say my worst quality is.  We don't normally spend time talking about such things.  And the question is completely unfair.  My best friend would probably say that I'm always late, because he is mad from when my car ran out of gas on my way to meet him twice.  However, that sounds REALLY bad to a perspective employer, and in actuality I am extremely punctual. 

    2.  Your right, you shouldn't gather requirements or get customer approval during the development process.  The best model is to never talk to the customer and deliver a product that doesn't solve the right problem.  With that kind of attitude you don't need to worry about too many more customers because you'll be out of business soon anyways.

     

    And to answer a question earlier.   Yes, I think a consultant should have a very similar skill-set to a developer.   After all, a consultant is helping them develop software, is he not?
     

     

    I think you need to read more and pontificate less. You see, I used a little word called 'without':

     

      but if they go off half cocked [bold]without[/bold] doing such things like waiting for PO's, accurately capturing the requirements and getting customer approval at each step

     

    You see, in the English language, the word without can be used to negate things. I am quite happy to debate the point with you, but unless you are prepared to take the time to read what I write, I don't consider you worth talking to.

     

    Also, no, a consultant does NOT help people to develop software. If that is your definition of a consultant then I think you need to learn more about the IT industry before arguing with me about it. I've been a consultant at two of the large constulancties in the UK and at one of them, where I was for over a year, I didn't write a single line of code. I was helping write business cases for an extremely large IT infrastructure for the UK government. Consultants also examine, analyse and optimise business IT processes; analyse and critique IT infrastructures and install/configure enterprise systems, to name but a few activities.

     

    I'm not entirely sure what your level of knoweldge is, but if you think that "consultant == software developer", then you have a long way to go mate.


  • @ShadowWolf said:

    I don't think I'd take that rule too literally.  I think the point is that, at some time or another, there was a popular belief that was just outright wrong, but was considered "Common Sense".

    That's not common sense, that's groupthink. That something is popularly believed to be common sense does not make it so.



  • @Random832 said:

    That something is popularly believed to be common sense does not make it so.

    I am puzzled as to what you think the words "common sense" mean. 



  • @asuffield said:

    @Random832 said:

    That something is popularly believed to be common sense does not make it so.

    I am puzzled as to what you think the words "common sense" mean. 

    Well, for one thing, it's something that tells you that if the horizon is curved, the earth is obviously round. Because if it was flat, the horizon would be flat (if it's infinite, anyway - though, that there would be no horizon and the edge would be visible, if it were flat and finite, might be a bit beyond common-sense reasoning)



  • @asuffield said:

    I am puzzled as to what you think the words "common sense" mean.

    Something ill-defined. 

    Like XML.

    And "consultant".

     

    -- What do you do for a living?
    -- Oh, I'm a consultant.



  • @Random832 said:

    @asuffield said:
    @Random832 said:

    That something is popularly believed to be common sense does not make it so.

    I am puzzled as to what you think the words "common sense" mean. 

    Well, for one thing, it's something that tells you that if the horizon is curved, the earth is obviously round.

    .. as opposed to spherical - I see what you're getting at there; it's starting to make common sense...



  • @Random832 said:

    Well, for one thing, it's something that tells you that if the horizon is curved, the earth is obviously round. Because if it was flat, the horizon would be flat (if it's infinite, anyway - though, that there would be no horizon and the edge would be visible, if it were flat and finite, might be a bit beyond common-sense reasoning)

    Spoken truly as by someone who knows the earth is actually a globe.  Think for a moment what you would see if you were standing on an absolutely flat earth of infinite extent.  You would see sky above you, and earth below you.  You would see sky meet earth way, way out there.  Now if you were standing in the center of a flat disk say 100 miles across, I submit that it would not look any different to the naked eye, since you couldn't make out any detail at a distance of 50 miles that would make it look different.

     

    Stand on an earth-sized globe in a "flat" featureless area (e.g. a plain or on an ocean) and I contend that the appearance is pretty much the same (the horizon may be closer than 50 miles, but it's still hard to tell anything about what's happening at that distance with the naked eye).  The horizon (the line where the sky meets the earth) is a full circle around you, but it is no more curved than in the flat-earth examples of the preceding paragraph.  It is perfectly logical that someone who has not been brought up in a culture with inherent understanding of the shape of the earth would assume it to be flat, if he even thought about it.  "Common sense" has nothing to do with it.  The roundness of the earth is just not obvious to a single naked individual standing on the earth.

       /JBL


     



  • @jblInAZ said:

    @Random832 said:

    Well, for one thing, it's something that tells you that if the horizon is curved, the earth is obviously round. Because if it was flat, the horizon would be flat (if it's infinite, anyway - though, that there would be no horizon and the edge would be visible, if it were flat and finite, might be a bit beyond common-sense reasoning)

    Spoken truly as by someone who knows the earth is actually a globe.  Think for a moment what you would see if you were standing on an absolutely flat earth of infinite extent.  You would see sky above you, and earth below you.  You would see sky meet earth way, way out there.  Now if you were standing in the center of a flat disk say 100 miles across, I submit that it would not look any different to the naked eye, since you couldn't make out any detail at a distance of 50 miles that would make it look different.

     

    Stand on an earth-sized globe in a "flat" featureless area (e.g. a plain or on an ocean) and I contend that the appearance is pretty much the same (the horizon may be closer than 50 miles, but it's still hard to tell anything about what's happening at that distance with the naked eye).  The horizon (the line where the sky meets the earth) is a full circle around you, but it is no more curved than in the flat-earth examples of the preceding paragraph.  It is perfectly logical that someone who has not been brought up in a culture with inherent understanding of the shape of the earth would assume it to be flat, if he even thought about it.  "Common sense" has nothing to do with it.  The roundness of the earth is just not obvious to a single naked individual standing on the earth.

       /JBL


     

    It's obvious if you see the mast of a ship in the distance slowly going downwards as it goes over the horizon.

    It's obvious if you know that even though what you see on the horizon is just water, you _know_ that there's land on the other side.

    Standing at sea level, the horizon is only 5km away. There's enough detail at that distance to see tall objects beyond the horizon. The curvature is obvious. It's only your groupthink pseudo-"common sense" that tells you it's not.

    See Flat Earth mythology - and if you don't trust wikipedia itself, look at the references it cites.


  • Ok, you may wanna step off the Groupthink hogwash.  Something being or not being common sense has nothing to do with groupthink at all.

    Groupthink being a coinage — and, admittedly, a loaded one — a working definition is in order. We are not talking about mere instinctive conformity — it is, after all, a perennial failing of mankind. What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity — an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well.

    Written by William H Whyte, who wrote the article "Groupthink".  To put it simply, Groupthink is little more than taking an idea that seems reasonable and accepting it as true without thinking critically.  Common Sense is chaulked full of groupthink and misinformation.  Common Sense is nothing more than the general consensus on a topic.  It doesn't have to be right!

    Or to expand, something widely believed to be common sense .... IS COMMON SENSE.



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    Ok, you may wanna step off the Groupthink hogwash.  Something being or not being common sense has nothing to do with groupthink at all.

    Groupthink being a coinage — and, admittedly, a loaded one — a working definition is in order. We are not talking about mere instinctive conformity — it is, after all, a perennial failing of mankind. What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity — an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well.

    Written by William H Whyte, who wrote the article "Groupthink".  To put it simply, Groupthink is little more than taking an idea that seems reasonable and accepting it as true without thinking critically.  Common Sense is chaulked full of groupthink and misinformation.  Common Sense is nothing more than the general consensus on a topic.  It doesn't have to be right!

    Or to expand, something widely believed to be common sense .... IS COMMON SENSE.

    Even if this is true, that ignores entirely that there was never, in fact, a general consensus that the earth was flat. The first people to think about it determined that it was round, and that never changed.

    So can you name a single WTF here that is the result of "common sense", or that would not have been prevented by its application? 



  • It's obvious if you see the mast of a ship in the distance slowly going downwards as it goes over the horizon.

    Doh, the ship is slowly falling over the edge. (Slowly because there's nothing down there to pull it with much force.)

    It's when they slowly rise from behind the horizon that I freak out.



  • @Random832 said:

    Even if this is true, that ignores entirely that there was never, in fact, a general consensus that the earth was flat. The first people to think about it determined that it was round, and that never changed.

    Not sure what you mean. There was a huge general consensus about the earth's flatness. Everybody used to believe the earth was flat. Common sense. The few people who looked into the matter found the rather counter-intuitive result of a round earth.

    They were ridiculed and excluded from parties. Nobody would pick them in gym class.

    Common sense is when you take the obvious parts of what your senses tell you, and don't look any further. Common sense is the antithesis of proper investigation and rational, critical thinking.


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