Because they sent us their resumes



  • I was asked to interview a slew of college kids for a bunch of programmer positions that just opened up. Forget the fact that we don't have desks for them to sit at. Forget the fact that our systems are fairly heavy duty, if wtf-filled. Forget the fact that very high performance and complex parallel processing/synchronization are involved, and these students are unlikely to have any practical experience in these areas.

    I asked the HR person why we were interviewing kids with basically zero experience for these types of positions.

    Well, the school had a program whereby for career-day, they brought in headhunters, each of whom took a stack of resumes from the computer science department, and submitted them to us.

    I'm all for giving a kid a chance to gain some practical experience as an intern or hiring them for junior level positions, but you don't hand a medical student the scalpel during brain surgury. (Ok that's extreme, but the point applies).

    So now I have (get?) to spend two days next week interviewing kids with no experience for positions for which they are likely unqualified.

    Ah well, the office is air conditioned, I don't have to do any work those days and I'm still billing...



  • @snoofle said:

    I asked the HR person why we were interviewing kids with basically zero experience for these types of positions.
     

    I know you've talked about WTF coding and WTF design and WTF release management and ....

    ... but your last few posts have been "WTF, HR?"

    Is that entire organisation steeped deep in WTF? Is that the pervading culture, or are there departments within that have yet to be assimilated infected?



  • Actually snoofle works for any company out there.  I have found this same level of WTFery in every company, snoofle just writes about it so well I let him do it.

    And no we don't work at the same company, doubt we are even in the same state.



  • @KattMan said:

    Actually snoofle works for any company out there. 
     

    I felt like posting a pedantic rebuttal citing an edge case about a golden needle located somewhere midst a giant haystack...

    .. but deep down, sadly, tragically... I know you to be correct.



  • @snoofle said:

    So now I have (get?) to spend two days next week interviewing kids with no experience for positions for which they are likely unqualified.

    Ah well, the office is air conditioned, I don't have to do any work those days and I'm still billing...

    I can't imagine a clearer mandate for playing elaborate sadistic psychological games with the hapless students.

     



  • You can always give them a tedious job to do as part of the "assessment". Anything on your stack you really hate?



  • @TGV said:

    Anything on your stack you really hate?
    I'm just a consultant; I don't assign work. I do get to pick and choose MY work, which has its perks... 

    @Cassidy said:

    WTF, HR?

    The team managers used to do the phone screening and interviewing and the senior managers would approve anyone they asked for.

    Now things have gotten busier (what with fixing all the WTF that went into the first generation of the software), they decided to hire an HR person whose responsibility would be to phone screen candidates whose resumes look appropriate.

    This person is non-technical and so we had to give them a whole bunch of phone-screen Q&A. Unfortunately, I've been getting feedback from candidates that the person is misreading the questions and that they (candidates) have been correcting the HR person.

    It's kind of laughable.

    @Cassidy said:

    Is that entire organisation steeped deep in WTF?

    The place started out as someone's idea for how to build a better service in a niche industry where there was clearly a need. They hired a few folks and without any planning, guidance or know-how, hodge-podged together a system. It was lots of little bits, each mostly unaware of the other, trying to talk to each other. When there were 200 users it sort of worked OK with some tweaking. Now there are 30 million users and it's falling apart at the seams.

    That's one of the reasons they hired me. They realized they were in over their heads and needed to pay someone with actual experience working with heavy duty systems to come in and make it better.

    Then, just to make it interesting, they got bought out by a large conglomerate that saw profit potential. Then the conglomerate started imposing multiple layers of procedures, which led to growing pains, etc.

    I do what I can, laugh at what I can't, and post it all for your enjoyment, because let's face it, we all deserve a good laugh!



  • @Cassidy said:

    I know you've talked about WTF coding and WTF design and WTF release management and ....

    ... but your last few posts have been "WTF, HR?"

     

    Do not underestimate HR. WTF HR is the source of all the WTF.

     



  •  30 million users.Hmm.. so somewhere between pinterest and LinkedIn?



  • @snoofle said:

    <snip /> The place started out as someone's idea for how to build a better service in a niche industry where there was clearly a need. <snip /> Now there are 30 million users <snip />


    That's some niche.



  • @pjt33 said:

    @snoofle said:

    <snip /> The place started out as someone's idea for how to build a better service in a niche industry where there was clearly a need. <snip /> Now there are 30 million users <snip />


    That's some niche.
    Mail ordering S&M paraphernalia is more popular than you think.

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    @snoofle said:

    So now I have (get?) to spend two days next week interviewing kids with no experience for positions for which they are likely unqualified.

    Ah well, the office is air conditioned, I don't have to do any work those days and I'm still billing...

    I can't imagine a clearer mandate for playing elaborate sadistic psychological games with the hapless students.

     

    Reminds me of high school on the days that middle school kids were coming for a visit and see what high school is like - my friends and I were always taking that opportunity to ask a few of them if they wanted to buy drugs. We even had bags full of sugar to show them and give them something to discuss with their parents. Good times.

    Actually things became a bit weird after a few years when one of my friends added a spin to the trick by telling the kids that if they did not have money they could pay with sex. Strangely the boys were the ones who were really freaking out. Bunch of homophobic noobs.



  • @snoofle said:

    Unfortunately, I've been getting feedback from candidates that the person is misreading the questions and that they (candidates) have been correcting the HR person.
     

    There's your first screen there - anyone who exhibits more (or identical) knowledge as the HR droid has made it to the second stage.

    Akcheevement Unloc'd!

    @snoofle said:

    They realized they were in over their heads and needed to pay someone with actual experience working with heavy duty systems to come in and make it better.

    Then, just to make it interesting, they got bought out by a large conglomerate that saw profit potential. Then the conglomerate started imposing multiple layers of procedures, which led to growing pains, etc.

     

    This bit kinda saddens me - at some point the organisation understood the need to improve, accepted there was a problem and initiated action to address it.. but that will never come to fruition due to the efforts of Older Uncle steamrollering in with his thundering "I'll tell you how it should be done!".

    Still, keeps us in WTFs for a bit.

    If/when you leave... are you going to make them aware that their fuckwittery has been a valuable source of material for this site for so long?



  • @snoofle said:

    So now I have (get?) to spend two days next week interviewing kids with no experience for positions for which they are likely unqualified.

    Ah well, the office is air conditioned, I don't have to do any work those days and I'm still billing...

     

     

    Make it a challenge to see how few words you can establish their lack of qualification for the position with.

    snoofle: "Can a computer think?"

    Under-qualified college kid: "..."

    S: "Next! P != NP. Discuss."

    UQCK: "Erm"

    S: "Next!"

    etc.

     

    (Yes I know that those aren't exactly the criteria you want for practical coding involving complex parallel processing/synchronization yadda yadda, it'll purely be fun for snoofle and a healthy dose of crushing disappointment for the college kids)

     



  • @orange_robot said:

    it'll purely be fun for snoofle and a healthy dose of crushing disappointment for the college kids
     

    Plus a demonstration that the time and effort wasted by HR and extra cost of snoofle screening a pile of novices completely unsuited to the task in hand is quite simply an idiot tax that epitomises "if you do not understand the problem, you will never arrive at a solution". (Deming)

    Judging from snoof's prior posts though... it seems this lessons is still not being learned by his current client.



  • Just cut the interviews short after two signs of gross unsuitability.



  • @snoofle said:

    Now things have gotten busier (what with fixing all the WTF that went into the first generation of the software), they decided to hire an HR person whose responsibility would be to phone screen candidates whose resumes look appropriate.

    This person is non-technical and so we had to give them a whole bunch of phone-screen Q&A. Unfortunately, I've been getting feedback from candidates that the person is misreading the questions and that they (candidates) have been correcting the HR person.

    Only once in my life have I spoken with an HR person who was a technical person (and to make it slightly rarer a woman as well - but that is irrelevant). The interviews I had were clear and concise and I didn't have to explain to her what items on my resume actually meant. In addition her sister was a VP in the same firm I was trying to get into, so that this HR person also had a good grasp of the business (or so I thought). And other people I know who joined the company at the same time also had the same impression of her

    Once in the company it didn't take long to figure out that the HR person either didn't know how bad conditions were in the company or that she was lying through her teeth about how great the work conditions were. (for example 20% staff turnover in 2011 in a company of 100, dictatorial president who thought even his VP's should be >80% billable, abusive project managers and a work environment of fear and uncertainty). It was all so bad that I only lasted 6 months. But I'm still willing to give the HR person the benefit of the doubt about her knowledge of the working conditions.



  • @OzPeter said:

    I didn't have to explain to her what items on my resume actually meant.

    I don't see why you should have to.

    I suppose this comes back to being interviewed by several people - someone with business knowledge, someone of HR background, someone of specialist knowledge all to see if your values, ethos and skills meet the job requirements. But if it's the job of HR to try and map skill requirements to interviewee capability then it should be their responsibility to research and learn - it shouldn't be the interviewee's job to explain things. Expand, maybe...

    @OzPeter said:

    the HR person... was lying through her teeth about how great the work conditions were
     

    Duh. She works in HR.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @snoofle said:
    So now I have (get?) to spend two days next week interviewing kids with no experience for positions for which they are likely unqualified.

    Ah well, the office is air conditioned, I don't have to do any work those days and I'm still billing...

    I can't imagine a clearer mandate for playing elaborate sadistic psychological games with the hapless students.
    My recommendation is to break out the Job Interviewing 2.0 (those damn annoying riddle questions), and the leadership questions.  The leadership questions are especially mean since they rely on the interviewe's prior work experience (which they don't have) to determine future behavior.

    Daily WTF on Job Interview 2.0: http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Riddle-Me-An-Interview.aspx

    Examples of Leadership Interview Questions: http://humanresources.about.com/od/leadership/a/leader_question.htm

    @Example Leadership Question said:

    Tell me about a time when you created agreement and shared purpose from a situation in which all parties originally differed in opinion, approach, and objectives.



  • @Cassidy said:

    But if it's the job of HR to try and map skill requirements to interviewee capability then it should be their responsibility to research and learn - it shouldn't be the interviewee's job to explain things.
    She was more external recruiter than HR so I am probably conflating the two positions a bit. These days it seems that most/all recruiters I deal with have no clue about the subject matter. People are just commodities that recruiters pick and choose by key word matching and then throw in front of employers in the off chance they'll get a match and then they'll get paid. Such recruiters are basically low end sales people and retain a lot of the stereotypes of salespeople in general.

    My qualifications are different/specialised enough that key word matching does work for almost all positions I get offered - let alone the insane ideas that recruiters seem to have that I want to drop everything and relocate to some far off location in the middle of nowhere (to be fair the last relocation offer to the middle of nowhere included full relocation expenses plus buying your house for $50,000 over current market value)


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