Tale of the Interview Gunfight. A cautionary tale for interviewers and… | by Matt Schellhas | Jul, 2022

A cautionary story for interviewers and interviewees alike.

Elegant weapons for a extra elegant duel by Chris de Lima on Unsplash

One late afternoon, a determine walks by means of an nameless doorway. Inside, a tiny bar such as you discover in each metropolis. It’s darkish and dreary, however the determine strikes with familiarity. An everyday. That out of labor engineer. The bartender is aware of that look. Unemployment taking its toll.

The same old?

The engineer nods.

Job hunt once more?

The engineer takes their drink and wishes little prompting. Yeah. I had the worst interview at the moment. Simply full incompetence. I’m unsure how they’re nonetheless in enterprise.

First they’d me do a coding check. Twenty 5 years within the business, however apparently I may not be capable of write code! No matter. Regular leetcode shit. Take some knowledge, juggle it round. Used a heap and pounded out an optimum log-n answer. The bartender nodded with professionally feigned understanding.

Then it was some programs design. The same old whiteboard diagrams. However they needed a grocery listing app? The engineer shook their head and remembered their drink, ending a 3rd of it in a single go. I imply, I designed up a pleasant scalable answer. It’d deal with a couple of million clients no drawback. Then the interviewer asks me about bread and dates? I don’t like dates. Who eats dates?!?

However then it bought worse! Extra behavioral nonsense. “Inform me a few time while you had been superior?” mockingly. So I did! You do not forget that LSI Holdings challenge final yr? The bartender didn’t. Six months to salvage that dumpster hearth. Hell, I wrote half of the code myself. Made them thousands and thousands. “Inform me a few time while you had a battle with a coworker?” so ingenious! The drink was practically passed by now.

They mentioned no. The dunderhead supervisor mentioned I “wasn’t a great tradition match”. The engineer spit out the previous couple of phrases and completed the drink. “Wasn’t on the anticipated degree technically”?!? I’ve been a senior engineer for a decade! I may do this job in my sleep.

The bartender nodded sympathetically, producing one other drink as they lastly spoke up. Tough. With an interview course of like that, what wouldn’t it be like working there? It sounds such as you actually dodged a bullet.

Across the similar time, a couple of miles down the street one other darkish and dreary bar welcomes a unique patron. An engineering supervisor. They scowl their approach to the acquainted bar, and are greeted by one other bartender with a chilly drink and a heat smile.

Unhealthy day?

The supervisor eagerly takes the drink.

Unsure we’re ever going to rent anybody. At the moment was the worst candidate but.

Oh? The bartender grabbed a principally clear glass to wash additional whereas the supervisor talked. Previous behavior. People get nervous while you pay attention too intently.

Yeah. Tons of expertise, however a lot of purple flags.

Primary stuff even. Like their coding problem didn’t have any exams. The code appeared good, however it didn’t really work! Simply dumb errors. Possibly that stuff would get caught with actual work, however it’s sloppy and simply makes the dearth of exams extra obvious. It’s arduous sufficient to get new grads to put in writing good exams with out seniors that skimp on them. The bartender nodded. That is smart. Even on the bar, they needed to set a great instance.

After which the design spherical was a catastrophe! We do stock monitoring, like along with your beer and burgers and stuff. The app will warn you when issues are about to go dangerous or run out. A well-practiced pitch of their product it appeared. In any case, we’ve candidates do a easy model to see how they strategy issues. Apparently, this one approaches issues by over-engineering the hell out of them! That one got here with a tragic chuckle for the unhappy joke. Two separate databases, queues, and occasions in all places, and it nonetheless didn’t deal with expiration dates… The interviewer tried to assist them, however they had been new to it and the candidate didn’t get the trace.

The supervisor appeared disillusioned as they reached for his or her drink. I may possibly cope with that stuff, however then we requested about management. How they influenced a big group. Glasses moved quietly from the “principally clear” pile to the “completed” pile because the bartender nodded alongside. I requested a couple of questions and the solutions had been all in regards to the tech. “I rewrote the CI pipeline!” and “I designed this multimillion greenback structure”. We want people to form our tradition and develop the corporate, not some hero coder. The one time they didn’t speak about tech was the time that they bought a workforce to work time beyond regulation for 3 months to hit a deadline they made up! As if that’s one thing to be pleased with…

That elicited a chuckle from the bartender, who lastly spoke up. Heh, yeah. The type that burns the boats hold the crew motivated. It sounds such as you actually dodged a bullet.

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