Monday, May 05, 2008

My interview status

The patent office is taking it's time getting up to date this month, which is why you haven't seen this month's list of patents, yet.

Re my interviews from last week:

One of the jobs was really nice: good work, nice people, good salary, decent perks, good company, a good team, and I was the highest quality applicant they had had in months. I interviewed well three times, did my tests well, and got along with everyone. For reasons completely unknown to me, they passed (via the job agency). I'm bummed out about that.

At the other job, they had tedious but copious work, you would have to extract the information from the programmers while they fought you, nearly no one spoke English and I would be the lone tech writer. One of the primary people I would be working with was rigid, unhelpful, and unfriendly, had no idea what a tech writer does or how to test his skills [1] but was prepared to tell me how to do my job. The offices were run down, there was no place to park, and they offered a low salary with few perks. I passed.

Back to the drawing board. I don't have any interviews scheduled at the moment, but I've got a few people who are working on setting me up a few more in the near future.

Yehuda

[1] When assessing a programmer, would you ask: How do you compile in such-and-such graphical compiler? Under which menu is the option to insert a debug block? Can you edit this file name so that it matches the name of the program?

Of course not. You see if they can program and debug, not if they've memorized how to use a particular interface; items that would take about a minute to learn.

That's what they tried to test me on vis a vis tech writing: Under which menu is the option to insert a picture? Where is the command to convert to PDF? What is the code for an index element?

Not: Do you know how to write? Can you edit? Can you take a complex subject and explain it in simple, understandable English?

Halfway through this ridiculous grilling I told them I had had enough. When I offered to explain what I thought would be more sensible questions, I didn't even get to start. He said (to the effect of) "I'm not interested in hearing what you have to say on the subject. This is the way I do it; I know my job. You just do what you're told." That's the guy I would have to be working with.

4 comments:

David Klein said...

Regarding the good position that unexplicably turned you down: Since you got along with them well, you might want to give them a call and ask them what your weakness is so that you can try to improve it in future interviews, or if it is knowledge based, maybe you can learn the missing material. Odds are good that you will either come up with some useful information, or be told that it had nothing to do with your application. In which case it is good for morale to get that confirmed.

R. N. Dominick said...

I am a consultant programmer. Several times I have taken computerized tests for one programming language or another, and they almost all have had some riff on "what is two over and three down in the palette of widgets?" or "what menu is (option x) on?" I've never really seen the point of such questions, but yes, they do get asked.

Yehuda said...

R.N. - That's depressing.

Yehuda

YajB (WoolleyMomMyth) said...

Gee. Following in your footsteps - btdt: Muppetry, indeed.