Job Interview Confidentiality Agreements

I went on a job interview. Before the interview, they made me sign a confidentiality agreement. That’s always a bad sign.

A confidentiality agreement is offensive. The confidentiality agreement says “You’re an evil person who’s going to steal our business.”  The confidentiality agreement assumes, by default, that the other person is trying to cheat them.  The confidentiality agreement provides negligible protection against the rare dishonest person.  It’s an insult to everyone else.

Also, it shows complete ignorance. You don’t just need an idea. You also need execution. My personal business ideas are better than the ones I’ve seen on interviews. It’s a question of successfully bootstrapping them.

At that interview, they were all using Macs, another bad sign. Computer programmers who own Macs tend to be fruitcakes. Macs are much more expensive than generic hardware. A hardcore programmer would get generic hardware and install Linux.  (I admit that I use Windows 7.  For games, you really do need Windows.  I also use cygwin and other ports of Linux tools.)  That should be Apple’s slogan “A computer so easy to use, than even a clueless evil twit can use it!”

The interviewer was reciting a bunch of buzzwords. I was expected to know them. I’d never heard of any of them. Many of those “fancy development techniques” are a code phrase for “Try and extract productivity out of barely qualified twits.” A lot of these tricks are “Give a fancy name to an obvious idea.” I’d be handicapped by those rules rather than helped. I’d have to write code that follows the rules, in addition to the actual business logic.

His buzzwords were self-contradictory. He had one rule “Only create fully formed objects.” To compensate for the ridiculousness of that rule, he had another rule, “Lazy loading – Parts of an object can be loaded as needed.” That was funny. He had a stupid rule, and then another rule to deal with flaws in his stupid rule.

The interviewer thought he was doing a technical screening. He was checking that I knew the proper buzzwords!

At the end of the interview, it all made sense. The interviewer said “We got a big government grant as seed capital for our business!” They were able to waste money on stupid things. I pay higher taxes, so those fools can hire 20 people to produce less than one competent person.

As a top programmer, I’m 100x more effective than average, but not paid 100x more.  I’m literally financing their business. The State steals most of my productivity, and then squanders it on stupid businesses like that one.

Also, VC funding is a type of State funding. Most VCs are more interested creating the next hype bubble, than creating a genuinely valuable business. It’s much easier to find a good story and a greater fool to buy your shares, than creating a productive business.

Also, that made the “confidentiality agreement” senseless. Their only valuable asset is “The CEO knows some politicians, and convinced them to give him money.” Even if I knew exactly what they were doing, I couldn’t steal their business unless I purchased some Congressmen.  That’s the dirty secret of “Small business development grants.”  They usually go to insiders who game the system.  Even if someone is already a billionaire, they create a “small corporation” so they can qualify for the grant.

Those are common interview red flags. If they make you sign a confidentiality agreement before the interview, that shows an exaggerated sense of self-importance. If a computer programmer uses a Mac, that’s a bad sign. Fancy buzzwords and complicated frameworks are another bad sign. When a business is funded directly by the State, inefficiency doesn’t matter. I pay higher taxes, so those clowns can pretend they have a productive business.

One Response to Job Interview Confidentiality Agreements

  1. Anonymous Coward March 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I remember having to sign a job interview confidentiality agreement a good few years ago when I was looking for jobs. In fact it was about 5 years ago. I did ask them if it was really necessary and they insisted.

    The two founders had an idea. It was a slant on a well-know topic. I thought their idea had some merit, but I also pretty much knew it wouldn’t make any money and wouldn’t take off. It looks like I was right, because I’ve never heard of their website or idea since.

    The big alarm bell at the time was that they were still struggling to even get a website up and running. When I saw them they didn’t even have a website. When I asked about it, they said they had an external company producing their style sheet and they can’t get the style sheet to work with the HTML produced in-house.

    This is trivial stuff and they couldn’t get it to work. How could they possibly write custom code doing something complex and get it to work, if they can’t get boilerplate stuff to work?

    Obviously for my own work, I have my own website that is a means of selling my software on the Internet. I got a basic website running within a day or so many years ago. Then a few years ago, I moved from a bare-bones website into one that almost looks professional. It only took me a matter of days to get it running. The website is only a side-issue to me. It has to look good enough in order to sell my software product which isn’t Internet based.

    I’m one person on my own and I have no trouble getting a website up and running.

    This company that made me sign a confidentiality agreement, had millions of dollars of venture capital in their bank account, two founders, two contract software developers and one external company writing their style sheet. This is at least 5 people and between them they couldn’t even get a bare-bones website up and running to announce who they are!

    This company obviously disappeared in puff of smoke.

    On the resume I sent this company, I did describe my own software product, which at the time was moving from low volume sales to medium volume sales. The two co-founders told me very seriously I should cash out and sell my product to Microsoft! Obviously these people are reared on short-term thinking and getting a pile of cash as soon as possible instead of making money the normal way i.e. by selling products to end-consumers.

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