Interview blunders.

Given, i have been attending some sequence of interviews over the last year or
so, here are my observations about what felt odd or failed about each of those.

0. Gzr jpjkvdj:
The tech round was a breeze, it seemed to me that the interviewer was
more nervous than me. And his questions were easy, for anyone who had
recently been reading up on CS theory. Next comes the weird part, i had
an interview with the PM for seeing how i fit?. I was asked about one of
my oldest project,importantly a rather vague question.I gave a very
short answer and that was the end of it.

1. vzdxcrnwc: Badly phrased question, what does python lambda function
return? Apparently the answer was a C function pointer.
2. bydautyd: rigid process that goes through asking java related questions,
even after i made it very clear, i have not worked on java in 5 years and only
learnt in training period before that.So by the time, the only question i could have done well on(one about a db design where you can expect a lot of graph traversals, i was too tired and just said i’ll us e graph-based db like hypergraph or bigtable. meh..Instead of actually asking questions like how much read vs write? Is there a redis-like cache mechanism i can use if there are a lot of read mechanisms?

3. Nameless chenai company*: right out told me that they are interviewing for a
different posting than the one i had applied for. Then asked me why i am
and then to convince them why i am interested, then said they are not convinced and after all that proceeded with the interview, which i was continuing only out of reflex and not
really interested anymore. So i my interview was downhill, i just blabbered whatever my pattern-matching part of the brain threw up to all questions.Result: when asked difference between soft-link vs hard-link i said no difference. I was actually remembering, what i had read about hash-bangs and some security vulnerabilities they used to have, but no more.

4. zuzivtkz : the interviewer calls me at the scheduled time, i pick up and say hello, only to hear the interviewer talking to somebody else. Basically instructing him to type ‘sudo ‘ from the shell prompt. Hmm..that’s odd.. we talk about my work experience and i repeat mostly what is in my resume(all the while getting annoyed at the repetitive nature of what i am doing). Later, he asks me to swap two integer values without using a temporary variable, i think for about half a minute, before giving up**. No i don’t want to work here.
5. gnkvsbefher (web service startup): After a telephonic discussion for about 10-15 mins about my background and experience, i was told, startups look for passionate people. And i don’t seem passionate about web development. *shrugs*

6.sgntfgsvnqjr: Now, i am beginning to grasp at those interviews, that i classify as gray areas rather than black/white(like/not-like) companies. i never had a technical interview, but got a call from the HR,(after sending my resume through a referral). After we did the standard dance of HR, asking random questions(most info from the interview, some not, this is standard practice to gauge how much the interviewee is bull-shitting, and is one filter employed by most recruiters), he says their interview procedure involves the candidate writing code first. I said ok, and then he tells me he’ll send a mail with two problems , for which i am to code up solutions(within 2 days or so) and after having their tech people look at it, i’ll be notified of further interview process. (At this point am thinking, dude, why not just get an account on interview street or something and ask the candidate to code solution to a problem live??). Anyways, i agree and end the conversation. Later, he sends the mail with two problem descriptions(clearly written by a business user ==> vaguely, phrased functionality, with implicit assumptions, i remember one was something to do with sales order, can’t remember the other.) My reaction, meh… still i was not in a position i could just ignore it, and saved it for to-do later and went on to do something interesting. Did think about it before sleeping that night a little, but never eventually got around to writing/coding up. There were so many implicit assumptions, i had to make that I couldn’t just excite myself up to write code for it.
7. zvaqgerr: Oh yeah, this one was one of the most annoying one. i had to communte an hour across the bangalore city to reach their office. Then, i am interviewed by a couple of people, who have my resume printed out and are clearly just going through the resume. So basically the interview went something along the lines of them looking at my resume, asking something random about that specific project i had done/worked on. I was irritated, but was polite. Anyway, at the end of the interview, i am told they were looking for someone with hands-on experience. What the fuck?? you couldn’t have seen the resume before? This was my first trigger to decide am never interviewing in person without a phone screen. As much as companies do a phone screen, i’ll also employ a phone screen. my filters are not likely to be very good, but i don’t want to be wasting my time either. So much for looking for expertise and the companies complaining about not finding good quality hires. All the other companies, i avoided right at the phone screen rather efficiently.

A job is a two way contract or agreement to exchange certain commoditites(attention + skill + time for money). I don’t care if you’re trillion dollar turnover MNC or a hot-shot startup with a million dollar seed funding round. If your recruitment process doesn’t seem to value my time, don’t even bother.

Update May 15: I realized it may not be a good idea to name the companies directly, so used rot cypher on them.

P.S: All of these were interviews that happened atleast 1.5-2 years ago(during early 2011), things must have changed, people must have changed.
* — Forgot the name. not my current company, am not stupid enough to publish a
review of them yet. :-)

** — I know, it’s a simple a = a+b b = a -b a = a-b. But by the time, we went to that question, i am already desperate to get out of the interview and have the call end, that i didn’t recognize the question at all.(i.e: my brain’s pattern matching module did not run and was on strike by the time we came to that Q.)

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