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On the subject of true stories:

- While you're going through your questions with the interviewer, he suddenly looks up from his laptop and says, "These are great questions. I'm going to have to use them next time I interview."

- Interviewing manager, sitting next to CTO, says to you, "Convince my boss here that automated tests are worth the investment."

- Executive of SEO company casually lets it drop that they're being sued by Google.

- You're meeting after 5pm and interviewing manager jokes with CTO during interview how his wife is the one making his smartphone buzz like a swarm of angry hornets. Then as you're exchanging your farewells in the lobby an hour or so later at end of interview, a fuming woman storms in, stands next to manager glaring, no one is introduced, and you awkwardly take your leave.

- The conversation somehow turns to what you would do if you won the lottery. You say you'd probably spend more time working on open source projects. The CTO interviewing you remarks that he'd buy a harem. The HR rep and the other developer in the interview, both female, laugh uneasily. A couple minutes later he repeats the comment.




Those are good. The only one I have worth mentioning was a conversation that went like this:

Manager: So you like caving?

Me: Yeah, I was able to go on a month long expedition last summer to the mountains of Peru.

Manager: I can't believe your old job didn't fire you for taking a month off.

Me: I gave a lot of notice and had the vacation saved up.

Manager: That would never happen here. I have a problem leaving for a week.

In retrospect, I really appreciated the honesty. Declined that offer without hesitation.


What country do you live that they can fire you (or the manager) for taking a month off?


USA

They could easily threaten or guilt trip you when asking for a month off... If they would actually follow through is another question


I requested two weeks off - first vacation in 3 years, 6 months in advanced. Leading up to this, the guilt trip was laid on thick. Luckily I was leaving the country, so just said I had no internet and phone during this time. Yes, USA.


I've just returned from five weeks of traveling. Four weeks unpaid vacation (whole March) and six days regular vacation. Yes, Germany. ;)


Yep i have 6 weeks booked off in July. Will see my parents in UK. Flipside is i get paid less than a yank.


Good for you. It's vacation, there should be no expectation for support or work while you are gone.


I once had a manager sarcastically say, "and they don't have the internet in Hawaii?" I said they probably do, but I didn't intend to have the internet in Hawaii.


I haven't done this yet, but next interview, if something like this happens, I'm going to walk right out of there. Funk that shit!


"- You're meeting after 5pm and interviewing manager jokes with CTO during interview how his wife is the one making his smartphone buzz like a swarm of angry hornets. Then as you're exchanging your farewells in the lobby an hour or so later at end of interview, a fuming woman storms in, stands next to manager glaring, no one is introduced, and you awkwardly take your leave."

That one actually sounds good, as it means that people at the company aren't really expected to stay late.


Well, there was a bit more to it than that. The manager (more technical lead, really) who was interviewing me had mentioned to me that he and his wife carpooled together. He also said he had been rewriting their old version of the company's main product in his free time.

During the same interview, the CTO said something to me like: "You can come in, do your work, and leave at 5pm every day. And that's fine. Or, you know, you can stick around a little longer and help take this company to the next level. That's great, too."

As soon as I got home, I googled the company a little more deeply and found a slew of developers complaining on Glassdoor about being pressured to work long hours and come into the office on weekends.

My read on the situation was that the wife had been waiting in the car out in the parking lot for an hour or two (I remember we wasted a half-hour on a whiteboard puzzle-solving exercise which, while kinda fun, didn't really seem that relevant to the position) and was beyond getting sick of this shit.

I imagined him pitching it to her like, "Hey, once we hire another dev, I can start getting out of the office at 5 every day like I promised," when in reality the two (interviewer and new dev) would just guilt each other (or maybe inspire each other!) into working even longer hours.


Actually it sounds like one of my very early jobs where two of the three founders were husband and wife. So nice at interview, both of them. Bought me lunch at the end too.

The daily domestic and the weekly I'm asking you to do this because I'm pissed at my partner and I know it'll piss them off got very wearing.

Probably worst place I ever worked.


> - Interviewing manager, sitting next to CTO, says to you, "Convince my boss here that automated tests are worth the investment."

That's a legitimately good question, and you should feel bad for not knowing how to answer it.


However, the answer is very dependent upon the group that you are going to work with. Even though automated tests are worth the investment in nearly every situation, how you explain it will not be the same. You're going to need to see how people are doing their work now, how they mitigate risk, how successful they currently are at mitigating risk, what the cost of their efforts are, etc, etc. You're also going to need to see the people involved and chat with them about their attitude towards testing and try to understand what kind of challenges you will have to move in that direction. Because it is entirely possible that you will say, "OK, let's all write automated tests" and spend a huge amount of time and money only to find that 3 out of the 5 team members refuse to do it and sabotage your efforts.

My answer to that question would be, "I will be very happy to. My rates as a management consultant are $X per day." :-)


I think they may have been looking for the longer paragraph you wrote (I would be - to see how you would tackle the problem and get a conversation flowing), not for an actual answer you eventually gave. The wording of the request was unfortunate, IMHO - it did make it sound like "help me influence my boss" first and foremost.


Or, "That sounds like a fun challenge! Can I ask you a couple questions to better understand how this company is structured before answering?"

Just saying you don't have enough information to formulate a plausible response doesn't make a very good impression from my experience.

They're asking you to qualify yourself and so you need to know where you fit into the equation.


The problem is what the question implies, which is that in this workplace the interviewer has until now found it impossible to to convince his manager. This doesn't look good for the interviewer or his manager.

Note that he does not say that he was unable to answer the question. That is a conclusion you jumped to.


It could do, or it could imply that they want to hear how you would "sell" a given improvement to upper management (and whether you understand the benefits to the business). Whether or not its a warning sign depends on whether or not they currently do tests.


I think the implication is that the CTO currently doesn't think that automated tests are worthwhile, so there wouldn't be any in their codebase.


That's the implication, but the problem is how ambiguous the statement is, particularly in written text.

For all we know it could mean "hey, for an interview exercise, I'd like you to sell (this guy) on the importance of automated testing."

Suddenly it sounds like a pretty good interview question.


Is it you who is defining the legitimacy here ? Let's not ask questions that would lead to proving something like x^n + y^n = z, only when n = 2. In order to show this is true you have to show it is not true for all n up to infinity. Quite a rabbit-hole and difficult. Has been done, but is this truly worth it in an interview ?

You should feel bad for being one of those who would end up dragging interview process to hell.


I once interviewed with the owner of a small agency, looking for my first dev job, not having many responses, and reaaaaallllly wanting to get my foot in the door. They were sort-of a wordpress sweatshop, did a lot of cookie-cutter work for local realtors.

It was by far the worst interview I've ever been to, though I've only had a few. She hadn't reviewed my resume, she hadn't looked at any work I had done, she started the interview late, and she took a conference call in the middle of the interview. The icing on the cake was that she started listing out job responsibilities and said:

"Your number one responsibility is keeping me happy."

I told her I didn't think I was a good fit for the position.


I had one surprising answer to a question I asked. We were at the end of the interview and I asked the interviewer what he liked about the job. He responded that he really liked the amount of money he got paid. The company was known for making competitive offers, but it was still an unexpected answer.




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