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Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
Just thought I'd start this one, just for fun. It's not that I have nothing else to do
1. I am invited to an interview to a big-and-old financial company. You know, mahogany desks for managers, tiny cubes for the peons. Position - analyst, calculating risk, pentions, etc. The first thing they give me a math test.... my resume clearly says M.S. in math. OK, they say, it's 1 hour. It takes me 15 minutes to finish it, and another 15 to go through it again and retest all the answers. Then I am bored for 30 minutes, so I get up and walk around the floor a little, to learn more about the company. I guess that really pissed them off, this lack of effort...I obviously didn't get the job.
2. Will not name this one, but let's say it's the biggest software company in the world... I get a few strange phone calls about my resume, a person on the other line are really obnocsious and rude, he doesn't bother asking me when is it convenient for me to have an interview. He says, we are going to call you in an hour, you will have technical interview. OK, fine, I ate that. So the other person calls and starts asking questions. I specifically tell her that I don't really have experience with C++. After 3-4 questions, she goes "What if it is pointer to pointer to whatever to object..." Me: "It is obviously a C++ question, and I said before I am not very familiar with it". Ok, fine, 3-4 questions later "What if you have class and subclass and ..." some more C++ stuff. I go "As I said before...." She goes "Ok, next question. In C++ when you pass parameters by reference....". Anyway, I didn't get the job. As I found out later they were looking for support people to maintain new release of their software (not even a deverloper!). And salary was 60% of what I was making at the time.

Any posted remarks that may or may not seem offensive, intrusive or politically incorrect are not truly so. - Russian America today - Guide To Russia
John Tkacz

Joined: May 08, 2002
Posts: 2
Okay, I have a good one...
I posted my resume on One day I received a phone call from "THE COMPANY" - will not give out names as you never know . The guy introduced himself and said that he is currently looking for a JAVA PROGRAMMER with strong database skills. It sounded exactly like what I am currently looking for - had lots of JDBC, JAVA coding and designing of databases. Then the interviewer asked me to talk about my experience. This was my first phone interview EVER - and I have to admit that I don't like it because they are very impersonal. Anyways, I talked about what I have done, he cut me off a couple of times saying "don't talk about the product, talk about what you did" etc. Then he asked me the following:
1. How would you go about designing a JAVA/database application ?
2. Design schema for a simple music store (catch: I was supposed to know that in case where there is a many-to-many relationship between entities, you need a "junction table")
I was struggling explaining things to him - don't get me wrong, databases and JDBC are my strongest points. Naturally, now I am able to explain "how to do thing", including unnecessary details, but that day......that was a different story.
He also threw in comments such as "You should know this", "This is pretty basic stuff" etc. Anyway, the interview ended with "Good luck with everything"...
Couple of weeks after this I noticed an add calling for a JAVA PROGRAMMER posted by "ANOTHER COMPANY". It also had JAVA, JDBC and databases. I got all excited, crafted my cover letter and submitted my resume to their HR. A couple of days after I did that, I received an email asking to schedule a phone interview. I was in heaven ! Another opportunity !
Okay, here is the funniest part - an evening before the shceduled interview, I received an email saying: It turns out "THE PERSON" already interviewed you for this position - we don't need to speak anymore. Yeah, it turned out "ANOTHER COMPANY" was a spin-off from "THE COMPANY" and "THE PERSON" was really interviewing to fill position at "ANOTHER COMPANY".
What a mess...
[ May 09, 2002: Message edited by: John Tkacz ]
Roseanne Zhang
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 14, 2000
Posts: 1953
See here, tons of them
Share your worse interview experience!
Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
One more, very recent.
I am interviewing for Programmer/Analyst position for Health Insurance company.
First interview with Project Leader. She tells me a bunch of stories, how their systems work, including the one where they just installed new VB transactional system (?!?!? :roll: ) instead of their old mainframe-base. So she says that they were trying to do stuff in VB, but it is slow (duh!) and so now they do most of their processing in SQL.
So I ask her "are you sure it a is a VB system, because your data volumes seem to be pretty high?" and she says "yes, we selected among a number of systems, and this one was the closest in functionality to our business". Fine, but I still don't understand why VB and not C++, it is, after all, a transactional system with batch processing capability. Turns out later, the business process is actually written in C++, but they are not allowed to change it; anything they change is VB.
Fine, so they say that they also have problems transferring data from old system to new one, and it might be a big project. Well, I've done that before for a medium size company, and I picked brains of few people who've done it for giants, so I know it's not big deal, and I offer my help. Which she politely ignores.
Next interview - Tech Lead. After a few minutes into discussion I realize my knowledge is a lot broader then this guy's. First he asks me a few simple questions, and then we go to architecture. He asks "where whould you put business logic in a 3-tier app?" I start drawing an example, we talk a little about how'd you invoke dlls, etc. Eventually we get to a point where I say "I don't know this exactly, I think it'll work like this..." and he says "well, I don't know either, I was just curious, 'cause we haven't done it here yet"
So I have an impression that I am majorly overqualified for this position. A week later it turns out to be the truth, their excuse was that my salaray range was too high.
I am generally bored being interviewed for Programmer/Analyst position, because I know even if they think my knowledge is not deep enough for anything higher and hire me, I'll pick it up and be overqualified in 3 months.
[ May 10, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]
Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
And one more, this one I catually might've liked to have:
A company was nice start-up with a solid management, about 4 years old with around 200 people in 8 locations. Each location is pretty small and independent to qualify as a small start-up itself.
The HR person is a little over-passionate, but very nice. We have a nice chat (+1 point). After her, I am interviewed by technical guy and by Senior Manager. (+1 and +1) The office is small and jammed, but they are moving into a bigger space, almost accross the street (+1 point). I think they liked me too.
After 2 hours of interviews, they say thay want me to meet one more tech lead. I wait for 15 minutes (they offer juice and cookies!!! +1), the guy comes in, he wears a rain-coat and a hot-shot attitude (never takes either off). He shakes my hand and looks at me with a doubt or sarcasm (didn't quite get which one it was). :roll: Anyway, he askes two-three questions and leaves. (-1)
Overall company score: +4.
Next day I get a phone call. HR says everything is fine, they want to bring me on board. I am leaving to Europe for 4 weeks, so I tell them I have about a week left to receive an offer, unless they want to wait another month untill I come back. They don't, I within 2 day I receive an official offer.
Now the fun part starts. The offer states my position differently in 3-4 different places, including Programmer, Senior Programmer, Consultant and etc. Plus, I receive 10 times more stock options then I should!!! I call them up, they say I can come in and they change everything right there. I come in, and it turns out that they are hiring me for a position of Programmer (we talked about Senior with their tech guy). Plus, they shave extra zero from stock options. So I am a little disappointed, but I say I have to think about it. With this, I leave to Europe. Later in the trip, I decide that it might still be worth the try, interesting work and people there.... When I call them up (from Geneva) they say that offer was only valid for 10 days and now is expired, and if I want to try again I should submit my resume to HR again... Bummer
Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
Originally posted by rick collette:
can a person wake you up at midnight and give you a phone interview? Is this called a raid?

I got MICROSOFT to call me back at a better time, so are you kidding???
(in my story above, when they called 2nd out of 3 times I told them I can't talk right now and they should call me back, I was too pissed that they were rude before)
Be polite, and say that this is not a good time for you to talk. Don't worry, if they want you they'll call back. If they don't, chances are they either don't care or they had a lot of candidates lined up already, so your chances are slim anyway.
Rumors that you only get one shot at the best companies are highly exaggerated
[ May 10, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]
Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
I just found that position I was interviewing with One Big International company has been reposted online. I was told that, although they liked me (besides, their HR was my personal contact) they hired someone else, and that they will not get another openning until 3 months later (which is in summer). So they LIED in my face. Apparently, they don't want me.
Just for the record, I worked with a Senior Manager who came from their system, he was the most clueless manager I've ever worked for. And their tech guy was the one who told me at the interview that when App Server produces HTML page it sends it to console?!???!! (I guess he was a little confused between messages that JVM produces and the HTML that is sent to a port - or through TCP/IP, I'd presume - to Web Server). They also recently announced mandatory 50 hours weeks for IT staff (Mark, they should read Peopleware )
So I guess it works out nicely, I am better off not to work there either.
[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]
I agree. Here's the link:
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