Thursday, August 11, 2011


I've been on both ends of the interview. I've seen that both ends pretty much suck. Interviewers ask pointless and stupid questions. Interviewees are in a half panic and act like they've lost 50 IQ points or more. It's not realistic on either side. It's mostly luck if it ends up with any kind of a match.

Despite getting resumes from recruiters, who were supposed to match requirements to experience, we seldom got the experience we were looking for. We soon discovered that only 1 in 3 candidates that we asked in for an interview actually showed up. So, we invited everyone. No big deal - i always had work to do to fill in. In one interview, the English was so bad that it wasn't clear if the candidate matched the resume or not. One guy showed up, we showed him the job in the morning. He went out for lunch and didn't return.

One of our best employees was transferred in from another department. She would never have made it through our interview. She had little actual relevant skills, but learned quickly. I spent about an hour with her about once a week in a code review. I tried not to critasize her working code too much. I'd simply make non-mandatory suggestions. Her code improved rapidly in quantity and quality. Everyone has a learning curve period. Hers was no worse than most. When she left, she tried to get me hired by her new employer. They turned me down.

These days, when i'm the interviewer, the question is "is this someone i'd like to hang out with?". It's not that i want someone to hang out with. It's just that these are the people who are the really sharp candidates. Very little else matters. I don't care if the candidate can't wake up in the morning, if they're obnoxious, if they're holding 3 other jobs. I only care if they'll get the job done.

I often get a contract with only one or a couple interviews. I often get offers for months after getting hired and i've stopped sending out resumes. How long do they think i'll wait?

I didn't send a resume or cover letter for my first interview. It was a summer job while i was in school. I'd made it through my freshmen year in Engineering, and that was enough. I didn't send a resume or cover letter for my first job after i graduated. I said i had an Engineering degree. They wanted to hire me for whatever. By the time i needed a resume, i had tons of experience on it. Many employers are looking for specific narrow skills these days, so i have to edit it down to what they want to see.

I don't say anywhere that "I have strong communications skills." My resume now has a reference to my TV show. It's a real attention grabber.

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