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Pathetic Interview

 
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I wanted to share one of the pathetic interviews that my friend had gone through. He works in a very well known company and attended a telephonic round for a small company. Here it goes, have fun !

Interviewer : Tell me about your self
My friend: I'm XYZ... started my career with abc then moved to DEF and has been working with ABC company... blah blah blah.

Interviewer : ok so what do you do at ABC
[ABC is well known company which is known even to a 5th standard kid. What I do, I already told you in my above statement. Why the hell you are asking this]
My friend: sir, we are into product development.

Interviewer : ok. So you are working on Financial domain right, so what is Money laundering and how do you perform Anti money laundering
[Hey man ! did you first of all see my project before asking that question]
My friend: Sir, I did not work on Anti-money laundering functionality. Our project has retail banking functionality

Interviewer : ok thats fine. so can you eloborate more on your project
My friend: Yes sir, goes on on and on... [Not sure about whether the interview understood my friend

Interviewer : Can you speak about antimoney laundering functionality in your domain
My friend: Sir as I said I did not work on antimoney laundering functionality in that domain. so excuse me... and I assume it to be blah blah blah functionality[Getting irritated and restless ]

Interviewer : No thats not true Then why did you ask that bull shit question again

Interviewer : Anyway, what is a "View"
My friend: ok if you are speaking about the database ?

Interviewer : No no I'm not speaking about the database.I'm asking what is a "View"
My friend: ok so you are asking about the view in MVC pattern

Interviewer : No no I'm speaking about View in your project
My friend: My project contains blah blah blah .... went on explaing the whole project really irritated this time and felt like abusing

Interviewer : ok fine.
Interviewer : did you work on EJB technologies
My friend: No I did not

Interviewer : ok can you diffentiate CMP vs BMP in EJB
My friend: No I'm not sure bull shit question again

Interviewer : ok so how do you create persistence objects in your project.
My friend: we use Hibernate framework

Interviewer : oh so you use Hibernate framework ?
My friend: Yes sir we do Come on, before taking the interview you could have taken a look at the resume

After series of useless discussion (as above), now came one technical question on servlets.

Interviewer : ok so did you work on STRUTS framework
My friend: no sir I didn't

Interviewer : ok I'm done with my discussion. The HR will get back.
My friend: thanks sir

That ends the story. Given that the interview's questions, style and attitude project the companies image, I just wonder how careless the interviewers are. Moreover, see what the candidate knows and what the candidate has worked on. Don't conduct a Knowledge Transfer session.

My friend was eager to attend the interview as he is an SCJP and he was expecting some good questions on Java and related stuff.

Now, if someone asks me to attend the interview for this company, I would straight away reject the proposal.

So interviewers be careful. If you don't know the things then do a Google search and get the FAQs and ask the same questions. Atleast that doesn't harm your image and moreover the company's.


PS: I have named the specific technologies. Even my friend did name the technologies which he worked on. So now buzz words

[ March 16, 2007: Message edited by: Santhosh Jali ]
[ March 16, 2007: Message edited by: Santhosh Jali ]
 
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Perhaps this is just because you've left out the specific technology names, but it actually sounds to me as if the interviewer is trying to find out if your friend is just spouting a few buzzwords, or if s/he can actually discuss technologies other than the exact ones s/he has worked with in the past. It sounds to me as if they interviewee's attitude is "I'm special, why don't you already know that?" Anybody can put anything they want on a resume; having the right buzzwords is what got your friend the phone interview. Now the interviewer wants to know if your friend is just faking it -- all too common these days, I'm afraid.
 
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I agree with Ernest. this might just be hearding something third hand, but the questions don't seem outrageous. "Ok can you diffentiate DEF vs GHI technologies?" doesn't see unreasonable. I've never used C# or Ruby, but I can tell you the differences between the two, and that might be important for some job--just knowing that there are differences may be important. "started my career with abc then moved to DEF and has been working with ABC company..." would certainly lead me to ask "ok so what do you do at ABC?" as a brief job title really doesn't say much. But again this is third hand, so who knows what was actually said.

(BTW, what is a "5th standard guy?")

--Mark
 
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The resume is just for getting you into an interview. The interview itself then is about proving what you know and can do. As Ernest said, people lie in resumes, so I've got to find out what they know.

As to Java questions, if your friend has an SCJP, and the interviewer believes that, then questions about the language are unlikely, because that's what the exam is about.

As for the interviewer being prepared, well, it doesn't always work out. I try to read the resume beforehand and mark up the parts that I want to ask questions about. Usually I have the time, but not always. Which is not to say I'm not interested, or that my company is crappy because we don't even take time to read resumes of people we ask to come in. It's just that every once in a while something urgent comes up, and dealing with it is more important than preparing for an interview. After all, the candidate can tell me everything I should know about him in person (and score extra points by being eloquent about it). Most people who interview candidates do it too frequently to treat it as a super-special occasion that demand lots of preparation. Welcome to the real world
 
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I agree with everything the above poster said except for the fact in preparation. Don't give me the bull about being busy. Everybody is. If I'm a consultant or contract worker, that means I will interview alot and many times I have other things going on besides interviews.

As i've told other people, an interview goes both ways. If i'm expected to come in and know a little about the company, a little about the management style, a little about this and that, then I expect the company or the person giving the interview to know a little about me.

If you walk into an interview barely knowing the company you are interviewing with or the job you are interviewing for, it usually does not lead to good things. And it makes sense. But on that same note, if I go into an interview and the interviewer has no clue who I am, obviously never looked at my resume, barely knows what position i'm being interviewed for, then just like they'd do to me, I'd probably turn down that job if offerend.

You should respect the interviewers time and the company's interest in you, but at the same time, if they don't provide you with that same respect, don't work for them.
 
Kalyan Anand
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Now I have named the tecnologies. I think you can understand my point now. I was not sure whether I should post these questions, but my friend was ok with me posting these. As he got another job offer from a decent firm



...As Ernest said, people lie in resumes, so I've got to find out what they know.



Yes i agree that you will have to find out whether people lie. But to find out, you must ask questions on the technologies he worked on (which you doubt). Not simply saying "ok you you use hibernate for persistence" and leave that discussion there it self.


As to Java questions, if your friend has an SCJP, and the interviewer believes that, then questions about the language are unlikely, because that's what the exam is about.


ok but atleast some related question to other Java related technologies that he worked on must have been used to judge him.



As for the interviewer being prepared, well, it doesn't always work out. I try to read the resume beforehand and mark up the parts that I want to ask questions about. Usually I have the time, but not always. Which is not to say I'm not interested, or that my company is crappy because we don't even take time to read resumes of people we ask to come in. It's just that every once in a while something urgent comes up, and dealing with it is more important than preparing for an interview. After all, the candidate can tell me everything I should know about him in person (and score extra points by being eloquent about it). Most people who interview candidates do it too frequently to treat it as a super-special occasion that demand lots of preparation. Welcome to the real world



Knowing the position for which the interview is being performed and at the least the technologies the candidate has worked on is verymuch importnant before conducting a discussion for 45 minutes. Hardly 5 mins is needed to scan through the technologies one worked on.

When one did not specify EJB and even CLEARLY says I did not work on EJB what makes it happy to dig into discussion on EJBs only.

What kind of question would be "what is the view" - what is the context the intervoewer was speaking about !!! wen one cannot make the question clear to the candidate how would he judge wheher the candidate is fit for the position

I appreciate the interviewers time and his patience iff he has the basic understanding that a technical interview which doesn't skim through the technical aspects would be
1. Wasting the time of the interviewrs company and the resources (phone call charges)
2. Wasting the candidates time
3. Misprojects the company's reputation.

Also missed adding the point that they did not turn back.
[ March 16, 2007: Message edited by: Santhosh Jali ]
 
Ulf Dittmer
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When one did not specify EJB and even CLEARLY says I did not work on EJB what makes it happy to dig into discussion on EJBs only.


Yes, you shouldn't talk about EJB in detail, but I would expect a candidate to know at least that much about EJB to be able talk about BMP vs. CMP, or the differences between the various types of EJBs. Showing that one knows more than the immediate technologies one works with indicates a technical interest and overview that I find indispensable.
 
Mark Herschberg
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I agree with Ulf. Again, I don't know, say, Python, or Ruby, or even languages like Perl very well. If you ask me if I've used it I'll say "no" (I have used a little perl); however, if you ask me the pro's and con's of each language, I can tell you. Maybe CMP versus BMP is akin to this, maybe it's really something only people who have used EJB's know. It doesn't seem unreasonable to ask. Certainly I would expect just about any Java developer with more than about 2 years of experience to know what EJB's are, even if they and their company have never used it.

As for asking about hibernate, again I agree with Ulf. Just because someone has it on their resume, it doesn't mean much. I have perl on my resume--my largest program was maybe 50 lines. I can force my way through it if need be but I wouldn't call myself a perl developer. Still, years ago I found it helpful to have the laundry list of technologies on my resume, even if I didn't know all well and even if the company focused on only 1-2. Of course, as Ulf points out, I then follow up with "how did you use it?" "how much time did you spend on it?" "how well do you know it?" and then technical questions about it because people do list technologies to which they know to various degrees.

As for the interviewer missing that he used Hibernate, give the guy a break. Most resumes are reviewed for 15-45 seconds. This resume could have been given to the guy 3 minutes before the interview. He could have been covering for someone else. His last interview could have shown up late because of a traffic accident (i.e. through no fault of his own) and the interviewer might have decided to sacrifice his prep time for the next guy. Maybe a server blew up 30 minutes ago and this guy is covering for the original interviewing who is now trying to get the server back online. Or maybe the interviewer just doesn't care. Still, I'd tend to give him the benefit of the doubt unless I see a serious of mishaps like this, and again, from a third hand description, I don't see the pattern (which is not to say it's not there, just wasn't conveyed).

--Mark
 
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I did not find anything outrageous as such. May be the part about the "view" was a little off, if it really did go that bad. Not a very bad interview in my opinion. Fortunately I have not run into bad ones ever.
 
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Just to add that one of my key tips about being interviewed is to remain calm and ask for clarification if a question seems amiguous or unclear.

In this particular example, when asked "what is a view", a more useful response might have been along the lines of - "I'm not sure which sort of 'view' you are asking about - I am happy to describe a database view or the view in the model-view-controller approach to user interaction or even a view as a general or high-level look at something. Are you asking about any of those, or can you tell me a bit more about which sort of "view" you have in mind?"

When learning the technique of being an interviewer, the recommendation is always to ask "open-ended" questions rather than ones with a specific desired answer. It's not quite so well known, but the same technique is very useful as an interviewee. The more you can encourage the interviewer to talk about him/herself, the company, and the position, the more you will be able to adapt your answers and highlight your skills and experience as suitable to what the interviewer needs.

Unfortunately your friend's response of "are you speaking about the database?" was a 'closed' question, which was likely to result in the interviewer giving a short "yes" or "no" answer, and possibly becoming frustrated too. Time has then been wasted by both parties to no good effect.

A good interviewee should drive the discussion just as much as the interviewer does.

Does any of that make sense?
 
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You should respect the interviewers time and the company's interest in you, but at the same time, if they don't provide you with that same respect, don't work for them.



I agree, but I don't think it is about respect.

I think of it this way. My task during the interview (if I am being interviewed), is to learn about the company, culture, people, position, and anything else that can help me make an informed decision on whether I would like to work there.

I am also there to help answer any question they may have about me, so that they can make an informed decision about me. In this regard, it is their choice. They can ask any question they like, as long as it is legal. And I will answer it as detailed and as honest as possible.


This interview did seem to go south, but only because both sides seems to have nothing to talk about. This may give a sense of the person that you may have to work for, or with. It may give a sense of the culture -- which should help you make your informed decision. But why didn't you ask any questions either?

To be respected, would be nice, but I understand that it is their decision, hence their choice of questions. Their type of questions would play only a small part in my decision.

Henry
[ March 17, 2007: Message edited by: Henry Wong ]
 
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Originally posted by Ulf Dittmer:

Yes, you shouldn't talk about EJB in detail, but I would expect a candidate to know at least that much about EJB to be able talk about BMP vs. CMP, or the differences between the various types of EJBs.


Me too. This is similar to one of my followup questions to "have you heard of EJBs" if the person hasn't used them. Clearly the company in the interview uses EJB and Struts. If the candidate hasn't heard of the technologies, the learning curve is going to be much higher than for someone who has heard of them.

oh so you use Hibernate framework ?


This seems like a poorly worded attempt to get you to take about Hibernate in some detail. The view question did seem ambiguous, but that's only one question.

Mark gave a number of reasons for the interviewing not noticing Hibernate. I can think of two more. First, often places interview a lot of people in a day - sometimes sequentially. So while I may have reviewed a resume thoroughly in the morning, I have about five minutes between interview to write some notes on the person I just got through interviewing (so I don't forget), check my e-mail to make sure nothing critical happened and glance at the next person's resume. One is likely to have the resumes blend together in one's mind with this system.

The second reason is that confirming use of a technology verbally helps set the stage for discussion. Say I ask if someone has worked with Perl (even if it is on the resume as Mark described.) This gives them the opportunity to tell me that it was a short utility program or that they used it 5 years ago and don't remember the syntax. Which clearly affects the difficulty of the next question. It also informs the candidate that my next question is about Perl which gives time to make the mental shift.
 
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Like some of the others who posted here, I do interviews on a regular basis. My take on some of the original posting:

Interviewer : Tell me about your self
My friend: I'm XYZ... started my career with abc then moved to DEF and has been working with ABC company... blah blah blah.

Interviewer : ok so what do you do at ABC
[ABC is well known company which is known even to a 5th standard kid. What I do, I already told you in my above statement. Why the hell you are asking this]
My friend: sir, we are into product development.

So originally the interviewee was asked about themselves. The level of the answer you mentioned is at that high level - I worked at ABC, moved to DEF ... So the interviewer has an idea about where the interviewee has been but may (or may not) have an idea about the interviewee themselves - what their interests are, what they do.

Asking about what the interviewee does at ABC is a very logical question at this stage. Your comment about ABC being well known is, in my opinion, irrelevant - the interviewer wants to know what the interviewee does, not what the company does.

To give an example, if I said I worked at a bank, why would you be surprised if someone asked what I did there? Even if I narrow it down to being a programmer, there is still a huge number of jobs I could be doing.
  • I could be working back-end, I could be working front-end, I could be working middleware.
  • I could be working on customer facing software, I could be working on totally internal software, I could be working on software that is only used with our trading partners.
  • I could be working on financial systems, I could be working on HR systems, I could be working on educational systems.
  • I could be working as a senior developer, I could be working as a junior developer, I could be working purely on tech-support.
  • I could be developing new code, I could be maintaining code.

  • Now I could possibly narrow down what the person is supposedly working by reading what is in the resume if it is listed - so many resumes are too generic to get that sort of information.

    In addition, as has been mentioned before, some people lie in their resumes. So it is possible (as I saw a couple of weeks ago) that according to the resume an interviewee is a "senior developer" but when you try to drill down to "what do you do day-to-day" you find that they are not a developer at all (and that they cannot even write simple code :roll: )

    Interviewer : ok. So you are working on Financial domain right, so what is Money laundering and how do you perform Anti money laundering
    [Hey man ! did you first of all see my project before asking that question]My friend: Sir, I did not work on Anti-money laundering functionality. Our project has retail banking functionality

    Again, I don't have a problem with this sort of question at this stage (although I personally would not come back to it at a later stage of the interview).

    To me, this can indicate the difference between a programmer and a developer. A programmer sits in their own little area and develops the code that has been specified to them in very exact terms. A developer looks for the bigger picture, and if they work for an organization where anti-money-laundering is a major issue then the developer might go off and get a feel for what is happening - not a low level feel, but at least know what the term encompasses, what is public knowledge, and what is definitely not.

    And if the company your friend was working at was well known for their anti-money-laundering processes, then it might indicate that the interviewer had done their homework, and was asking relevant questions.

    Interviewer : Anyway, what is a "View"
    My friend: ok if you are speaking about the database ?

    Interviewer : No no I'm not speaking about the database.I'm asking what is a "View"
    My friend: ok so you are asking about the view in MVC pattern

    Interviewer : No no I'm speaking about View in your project
    My friend: My project contains blah blah blah .... went on explaing the whole project really irritated this time and felt like abusing

    I would assume that your friend mentioned a view in their project. As has been mentioned earlier, interviewers like to know whether the interviewee actually has knowledge or whether they are using buzzwords. A common technique is to drill down on a specific area that an interviewee has said they worked on.

    The other questions have been dissected enough I think.

    Regards, Andrew
     
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    The interviewee here has assumed that he is so special for Java. I think the whole interview posted here is normal and has nothing to do with slapping the organisation for any misconduct in the interview. Hope every one understand this...especally the interviewee
     
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    Hello all,

    I read through the entire discussion and I feel there is something to learn from it for me even though I am neither the interviewer nor the interviewee nor the company

    Good interviewers dont just ask what is A? or what is B? They look at how feasible the person is for a specific position

    Sometimes irritating questions are asked to get to know the personality traits of the interviewee.

    Being able to visualize the scenario in a broad sense is very important as the experience counter keeps ticking.
     
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