Interviewing

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Sarvis
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Interviewing

Postby Sarvis » Sat May 19, 2007 4:07 am

So I'm going to be interviewing a programmer next week. I've never interviewed anyone before... so does anyone have any tips on interviewing?
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Postby Thilindel » Sat May 19, 2007 5:28 am

Search the web for 'what to say during an interview' That gives the general idea of the default questions. Then try to add or modify from there. The tips on some sites definitely have helped me on the getting hired end. Imagine if you modify, it'd help you interview just the same.
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Postby Corth » Sat May 19, 2007 11:22 am

Ask them vague and meaningless questions like "If you were a color, what color would you be, and how would it effect your job performance?"
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Postby Cirath » Sat May 19, 2007 12:53 pm

Make sure your trap door is well oiled, and in working order, and that the large caliber weapon under your desk is freshly loaded.

What? Some people don't take rejection well.
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Postby Ambar » Sat May 19, 2007 1:01 pm

background? other jobs, history of leaving a lot of jobs is baaad
experience?
what will you do for our company?
what do you expect to accomplish?
personal goals/future eductaion and familial goals
salary expectations

seems pretty straighforward .. keep it neutral, dont be too relaxed, dont let them relax TOO much ..

we all know you have had lots of interviews .. add those up and pick what you liked best out and use that

Have personally only been thru four interviews but my boss at Suntrust told me WAY too much gossip about the company on our initial interview.
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Postby Sarvis » Sun May 20, 2007 9:44 pm

Corth wrote:Ask them vague and meaningless questions like "If you were a color, what color would you be, and how would it effect your job performance?"


Oddly enough, I might have expected something a bit more useful from the business owner of the group...
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Postby Corth » Mon May 21, 2007 12:06 am

I'm way more useful than the dozens of free resources available on the internet that address your question!
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Sarvis » Mon May 21, 2007 2:03 am

I can see customers walking into your office: "Can you answer a legal question for me?"

"No! There's tons of free resources on the internet... go use those!"
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Postby Corth » Mon May 21, 2007 3:41 am

Thats exactly what I say until I see the cold hard moneh!
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



Goddamned slippery mage.
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Postby Birile » Mon May 21, 2007 2:00 pm

To add to the useful suggestions:

Be aware of the personalities already present in your workplace and ask questions that will gauge how the interviewee would "fit" with those personalities. This also serve to weed out those who have any sort of conflict issues, ie. with authority, taking suggestions, receiving criticism, etc.

To add to Corth's suggestion:

When I was editor of a magazine I worked for in the late '90s through 2001 I used to ask "What is the square mileage of Puerto Rico?" Helps you gauge how someone reacts to a curveball and also gauges how willing a person is to tackle a complete unknown and see if they can at least reason out an answer of some sort and provide the reasoning for their response. I like those people. Or the people who say, "I don't know off-hand, but let me check Google and I'll provide you with the answer momentarily!"

*shrug*
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Postby Botef » Mon May 21, 2007 3:17 pm

I like to put people I'm interviewing on the spot and see how they handle a simple problem.

I usually ask them what 1/3rd + 1/7th is. Most people say they forgot how to do fractions, so I offer them a calculator (which doesn't help much) and a piece of paper. I'm not all to concerned on if they can do the problem, I'm more interested in seeing how they handle it and if they can work through it without stressing. You usually learn fractions in 4th grade mathematics, nothing to stress over, but you'd be surprised how many people do stress and can't cope.

Of all the questions I ask this one tends to give me the best perspective on how the person is going to deal with oddball questions from clients when I'm not around. So long as they can work through it calmly, even if I have to offer them some help, they usually end up working out good in the end.
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Sarvis
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Postby Sarvis » Mon May 21, 2007 8:44 pm

Heh... I'd probably panic, give you a blank stare and then figure it out in my head after you already decided I was an idiot. ;) (10/21 right?) *checks calculator* Yep!

I hate interviews...

His ability to figure things out is actually going to be pretty critical though, I'm thinking about giving him a laptop and having him code a few simple problems and one which he'd have no way to know, but which can be found out on google with some quick searching. If he can't figure that out, he won't work...
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Postby thanuk » Tue May 22, 2007 12:09 am

i moved to hartford for a job, got here, signed a lease. The job was friggin bullshit though, not what it was supposed to be and had no future so i quit almost immediately. I had to find a new job up here so i interviewed with basically half the insurance companies in hartford, of which there are many.

The #1 question i thought was when they would ask me to narrarate my resume. Just tell me the story of your life from the day you graduated college up until today, and they would just let me talk. 3 times i talked my way out of a job(b/c they found out what a sarcastic obnoxious prick I am), 1 time i talked my way into one, for the same reason.

The other thing i noticed a few guys do that i thought was clever is they would just flat out insult me, and then gauge my reaction to that. Like one guy said I was a bull in a china shop. I said that was truer than i want it to be, but i is what i is. he almost fell out of his chair laughing, and im hired. But im in a sales job, im not sure how this would work with a programmer.

Last good one was "what's the hardest thing you ever had to do?" I screwed one job up like this, cuz he meant work. I told him the hardest thing I ever had to do was his mother. I really said this out loud. I didnt mean to, it just came out. He didnt laugh, i just picked my shit up and walked out right there. Im not expecting a call.
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Postby Shar » Tue May 22, 2007 12:50 am

Ask questions that will sort out the talkers from the do'ers. You'll want do'ers ... unless you enjoy doing other peoples jobs for them. So, questions like:

Are you a talker or a do'er and how do you plan on showing that? (this one usually shocks them, but if you place it near the end you should already have a good idea of what they are.)

How would you deal with a peer who is not doing what is expected of them, which in turn affects your job or how others view your performance?

What are three questions you would ask me, if our roles were reversed?

Tell me several things you have done in the past that you are extremely proud of, non job related.

Why should we hire you over someone else? (This one will generally be answered by "hard working" and "committed" and crap like that, but other non standard answers, should you get one, can be very insightful.)

Thats about all the suggestions I have. I've interviewed people before for many different types of positions and the ONE thing I hate is when people dodge questions about how they normally react to negative situations. That, to me, is a big red flag. Watch them with their eye contact and body language. If they use their hands when they look at you while talking it usually means they are comfortable. If they have arms and eyes that appear glued to the table or some other object ... they are either so uncomfortable in the situation that they'd rather be anywhere elese, or they are lying.

Hope those things help!
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Postby Yasden » Tue May 22, 2007 1:26 am

thanuk wrote:Last good one was "what's the hardest thing you ever had to do?" I screwed one job up like this, cuz he meant work. I told him the hardest thing I ever had to do was his mother. I really said this out loud. I didnt mean to, it just came out. He didnt laugh, i just picked my shit up and walked out right there. Im not expecting a call.


HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby Arilin Nydelahar » Tue May 22, 2007 3:06 am

Yasden wrote:
thanuk wrote:Last good one was "what's the hardest thing you ever had to do?" I screwed one job up like this, cuz he meant work. I told him the hardest thing I ever had to do was his mother. I really said this out loud. I didnt mean to, it just came out. He didnt laugh, i just picked my shit up and walked out right there. Im not expecting a call.


HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!



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Postby Ragorn » Tue May 22, 2007 2:15 pm

Shar wrote:Why should we hire you over someone else? (This one will generally be answered by "hard working" and "committed" and crap like that, but other non standard answers, should you get one, can be very insightful.)

I never really watched ER (or television in general), but one scene has always stood out in my mind. Couple doctors interviewing med school students looking for an internship, and they ask the standard template question "why do you want to be a doctor?"

What followed was a four-minute montage of about 60 different med students all saying "I want to help people."

Yes, it's a sappy TV drama, but the point stands. You can ask bullshit questions like "what is your biggest weakness?" and immediately disqualify all of the people who give the standard answer (in this case, "I guess sometimes I work too hard/get lost in my work/forget that there's more to life than work").
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Postby Sarvis » Tue May 22, 2007 2:19 pm

Err... isn't wanting to help people actually one of the big motivators for becoming a doctor though?
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Postby Ragorn » Tue May 22, 2007 4:17 pm

Sarvis wrote:Err... isn't wanting to help people actually one of the big motivators for becoming a doctor though?

The point is, you don't go to 10 years of medical school because you want to help people. There's a better reason than that, and if you can't figure out what it is, you don't really know what you're doing there in the first place.
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Postby Corth » Tue May 22, 2007 8:34 pm

Works both ways. Some employers want to see that you can 'play the game' and give the standard cliche answer. Other employers want someone who can think a little bit outside of the box and has the cajones to say something different. Thats how Thanuk talked his way out of three jobs and into one job based on the same types of answers.

From an employer's perspective, I suppose the most important thing is to figure out in advance what type of person you want. If you want someone who will play nice and follow the rules, you ask certain questions and expect certain answers. If you want a problem-solver who can think on his own, you ask different questions, and expect different answers.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



Goddamned slippery mage.
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Postby Sarvis » Thu May 24, 2007 3:04 pm

So the interview has started, and he's taking a test right now. So far I think I'm more nervous than he is...
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Postby Sarvis » Thu May 24, 2007 6:24 pm

Interview over, not hiring the guy. I wrote up a test consisting of several questions I knew he wouldn't know, and gave him a laptop with internet connection. I can't imagine how you can get every single question wrong when you have access to google... but I'm pretty sure it means he can't hit the ground running the way we need right now.

Anyway, thanks for your help everyone. I used several questions and ideas from this thread...
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Postby Ragorn » Fri May 25, 2007 3:49 pm

lol... what were the questions?
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Postby Sarvis » Fri May 25, 2007 5:09 pm

Here is the test in it's entirety:

Part I – Real-World Tasks

1) In the Clearviewtest database there are tables [call], [call_task] and [work_task]. [call] and [call_task] are related by the [call_no] field, while [work_task].orig_doc_ref refers back to the [call_task].record field, but only when [work_task[.orig_doc_type] is ‘CLT’.

Please write a query that returns all calls created in May, and their associated work_no if it exists.

2) There is a project CVExporter already open in Visual Studio. Compile this project in Release mode and install the resulting .NET program as a service.


3) Look at the CVExporter Solution’s Worker.cs file. The DoWork() function is not behaving as expected when an exception is thrown. Determine the reason why and repair the issue.

Part II – Questions (Please answer in the space provided.)

1) What differences are there between the C# switch statement and the C++ switch statement.


2) What two conditions require a class to be declared as abstract.
a.
b.

3) What classes would be used to query a database from a .NET program.


4) What effects to the keywords protected, public and private have on class member declarations.






5) List the events in ASP.NET’s page lifecycle.

6) What ASP.NET control would you use to make a field required.
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Postby moritheil » Fri May 25, 2007 8:32 pm

What people think is and is not "clearly BS" varies with experience. That said, it seems like Sarvis's test was pretty fair if the programmer is going to have to do similar work.
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