Reader Mail – 10/23/2011 To 10/29/2011

Anonymous Coward commented on More Interview Stupidity.

FSK, you opinion of testing for software development positions is similar to mine.
I think there is a need for some testing, but the problems with the way it is done are as follows:
1) Some companies take 1 – 2 days of your time for testing. This is excessive. Then after wasting 2 days of your time with their oral and written tests, you are rejected because of something on your resume that they knew at the beginning i.e. you only have 3 years of Java experience instead of 3.5 years or that you have used Buzzword 1.30 when they need Buzzword 1.35.
2) Even if you score highly in their tests you are still rejected.
3) The best way to do things is have a normal interview first and then if you pass that, then do the tests. This way you don’t waste 2 days on tests to get rejected for a “soft” reason.
4) It is extremely tiring to have to spend 0.5 – 2 days in testing for each job you interview for. After 10 such interviews you will just give up. With high unemployment it is now commonplace to have to interview at 10 – 30 jobs before you get one job offer. More so if you are an older software developer.
I spent two whole days with a barrage of written and oral tests. At the beginning of the interview process the chief manager said the company wants its employees to learn about all the underlying maths and finance the software uses and wants them to take part-time courses. Then in a later interview I said that in one previous job I was solely doing user-interface work and felt that I should have had the chance to do other types of programming which I have aptitude for as well. Immediately the interviewer said I was rejected as they wanted me for user-interface work.
So I had wasted 2 days of my time on tests. Plus it contradicted what the chief manager had said about them wanting well rounded employees that knew things at many different levels.

There has to be some way to week out people who are unqualified and fakers. However, you should be able to do this with a 15 minute phone screen.

Most of the tests are defective. It is offensive the people are asking me basic linked list questions, when I have a CS degree and 10 years of experience. It is silly, that all the C++ tests ask about obscure points of multiple inheritance and casting. I’ve never seen or written production code that uses multiple inheritance.

Anonymous Coward commented on More Interview Stupidity.

I went for an interview with a company that writes software for airline booking, near Heathrow Airport.
In the interview the interviewer was talking about threads and locks. He then started to say thread locks are expensive in terms of time and that there should be better ways to do it.
I then gave him my solution and he said it was too expensive. I told him straight that my method was guaranteed to work and if he tried to do something “clever” it would fail.
He then went on to describe a stupid way to access shared resources using different threads. No built-in thread locking methods were used. It looked horrible.
When I got home I asked a friend who directed me to a university paper saying that the interview’s solution was completely stupid and would fail for many different ways.
So I was right in the interview. My method was simple and works. His method was incorrect. I told him so in the interview.
However I did not get the job.
Surely if you are writing software to book airline seats you don’t have to write with the same efficiency as games software. You just want the correct results. When writing airline booking software you should not write dodgy code just to save a fraction of a fraction of a second!

Anonymous Coward commented on More Interview Stupidity.

In the United Kingdom it seems most jobs are obtained via recruitment consultants. Typically they don’t bother to read CV/resumes. They just look at the very first sentence of your very last job. They understand little or nothing.
The vast majority of my programming experience is in C/C++, C# and Java. I have years and years of experience programming these languages. Even right at the top of my CV I state these are my main skills. However as I listed the work I have done in date order, the first sentence of my last job listed another type of work. Immediately below it said I was doing C/C++ work.
The result was that recruitment consultants never bothered to read my CV/resume and I only got put forward for the wrong jobs. This combined with the fact I am getting a little older, meant that I totally missed out on getting hired.
I now work for myself.


Esse commented on node.js Is VB6 – Does node.js Suck?.

One co-founder had a Harvard MBA, which translates into English as ā€œIā€™m a retard.ā€

Thanks a lot for getting coffee sprayed all over my monitor!


commented on Phones And Tablets Aren’t Replacing Desktop PCs.

There will come a point where you can direct computers with thought (mouse, keyboard and all), and get a nice big screen with some VR-esque glasses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_computer_interface . Then I see desktops going away.

That isn’t as close as it sounds. There still aren’t computers that can parse voice properly.


Anonymous Coward commented on Employer Job Interview Best Practices.

Another spot on post.
I’ve interviewed at Microsoft and have had several interviewers say that I’m extremely competent and that they are very impressed with my experience. However I got rejected due to what the manager said, despite having his employees say good things about me.
I now work for myself. However it is a pity that my vast experience can’t be used in a corporate environment now. It would be nice to work with other people.

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