Interviews are usually fun, interesting, and always different. Last month I went through a number of job interviews for a software developer / consultant positions – my wife got a fulltime position in Calgary, we moved, I needed a new job.
Some of the types of interviews I attended:
A pop-quiz / quiz show type interview, where the interview shook my hand, sat down, and proceeded to run through lists of questions procured from the internet – afterwards, I was able to find the question list the interviewer had quized me via the internet. This went on for an hour or so, when the interviewer ran out of questions he abruptly stood up, shook my hand, and left me to find my way out.
Reflections: from what I observed, their corporate environment differed significantly from what was presented on their corporate webpage. In addition their interviewer and interview style contradicted their corporate statement of values and corporate culture. I should have been better prepared, but without a specific job description it was difficult to prepare. Many red flags were raised – most large companies should have a formal interview process or an HR department, shouldn’t they?
The second worst kind of interviewer is the Quiz Show Interviewer. This is the kind of person who thinks that smart means “knows a lot of facts.” They just ask a bunch of trivia questions about programming and give points for correct answers. – Joel Spolsky: The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing (version 3.0)
A write the code first interview, where I was greeted by a nice HR lady, shown to a room with a computer and given a test with a one hour deadline. In the second interview I was met by two developers, I was given a couple white board questions, and asked resume related questions.
Reflections: this company seemed to have many different job descriptions for the same position, the nature of the work didn’t vary, but the educational requirements did – their job descriptions individually targeted a High School, a College, and a University Grad. Their job discription was vauge, and wide – it seemed like they were trying to pull anyone in. From what I observed, the staff looked exceptionally young, the interviewers looked tired, and the computer I wrote my test on was old. I did like that I had to write code through the interview process, but again many flags were raised – mature employees are a sign of a healthy work environment, tired interviewers with transparent skin don’t give off good first impressions.
the behavior of interviewers influences their decision to accept a position, … despite the fact that companies are increasingly desperate for talent, many are becoming their own worst obstacles when interviewing qualified candidates. Among the sort of behaviors that adversely affect job seekers’ willingness to work at a company are interviewers who are aloof … – http://www.management-issues.com/2007/8/9/research/poor-interviewers-driving-away-talent.asp
Anyhow; I’m now happily employed, and working with a great bunch of developers on an exciting Agile project based around Test Driven Development (TDD) / Unit Testing, Continuous Integration, and the .NET Framework!