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The Life and Times of a Dev Yes, we're really that weird

Had three interviews yesterday, all from very large companies.  The first interview was unlike anything that I've ever experienced.  Many of the questions were "masked" and the interview flowed like a conversation, not an interview.  Very relaxing although I think back to all of the things that I missed and am left to wonder how well I did.  It was a fun interview though.  This position would require me to relocate, which is a huge downer for it, but we'll see what happens.

The next interview was also rather interesting.  Few technical questions were asked, even though I was being brought in as "someone who knows the technology already."  If you don't ask technical questions, how do you know I am just not a good interviewer?  I also was allowed to see politics that had happened when this formerly small company was purchased by a very large company, and I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with it.  Based on what I saw, I'd probably be their most senior guy.  Politics are a way of life, and as long as I have stuff to work on, I don't know that I'd care much, but I'm sure I'd end up in "discussions" with the person named as their chief architect, simply because I asked him some design questions and he didn't know what I was talking about. :)  His appointment appeared to be a political assignment . . .  This one's up in the air.

The third interview was from the same company as the first, and I've got to tell you, it was one of the most miserable interviews I've ever had; not because I thought I did poorly, but because of the interview itself.  The interviewer seemed focused on a wide amount of minutiae about what I feel are more entry to mid level concepts.  For example, he asked me what normalization was (the elimination of redundant data), and then had me walk through each form of normalization!  Wasn't satified with "this is what the end result would be" but wanted each in order.  Grr.  Asked what the difference between a struct and a class was (structs are composed of primitive types and allocated on the stack, classes are not), but he wasn't happy with that answer and kept probing for more--I'm still not sure what.  He would ask questions about stuff that I wasn't sure about (such as the async methods on XmlTranformedCompile) and even after repeated statements that I hadn't used that so I didn't know exactly how it functioned, he kept going.  I gave him what I thought it did, but why probe for information when obviously I didn't know??  The most irritating was when he gave me the following scenario:  "Two laptops and a server in a room.  Both hit the same web page on the server and get different results.  Why?"  I spit out the standard answers:  Cookies, Sessions, IP Address content restriction, server errors, browser differences, client side software differences.  He promptly probes for more.  Huh?  What else can their be?  When I tell him that I don't know what else there can be, he says, "They could have been hitting different servers, like in a web farm."  What??  He explicitly stated that there was only one server!  I guess I should have verbalized the assumption that there was only one server.  More examples?  I said that I had used xslt to transform xml from one format to another, to which he acted very surprised and wanted an example.  After giving him abstract examples about how I did it (established the structure for the new document and copied the data out of the other xml document using xslt) I was able to discern that he wanted me to spell out the specific code (i.e. verbalize the xslt!!) over the phone!!  Double Grr.

The best part about this whole thing is at the end, I ask him what position he saw me filling.  Both were MANAGEMENT POSITIONS!!!  After he tells me, I guess it dawned on him that he MIGHT want to ask me some management questions, but before that, he didn't ask a single one.  Even if he offered me a position, I wouldn't take it.  I wouldn't want to work for someone like that.  Very annoying interview.

Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 9:54 AM Work | Back to top


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