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Javva The Hutt January 2010

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Back to newsletter 110 contents | All Javva's articles

The Interviews

Apparently I gave up just a bit too early on looking for a job (but even so I'm not looking any more). One of my old colleagues, GoodHacker, tells me a tale. January, GoodHacker said, has seen a jobs explosion. He started looking early in January and he's already getting offers coming out of his ears. GoodHacker tells me that interviewing at the moment is boring to say the least. A technical interview on sheets of paper is the first hurdle. Writing code by hand? Is this still the 20th century? Why not punch cards while you are at it?

If you pass that first technical interview, you get a second interview where they check that you aren't the huggy monster (or maybe they don't actually care, it's difficult to know as he isn't the huggy monster) and then test you - again on technical. Apparently the first thorough technical test is insufficient to determine anything at all, except that you haven't been ruled out yet. This time the technical interview is (mostly) verbal, and seemingly without any reference whatsoever to the first technical interview, but not really on anything different. It seems like corporations have money to throw away on interview time.

Then, if you pass that second interview, there are interviews number three and four - with the manager of the team you will work for, and with HR (or the assassin squad as he calls them). The assassin sqaud try to trick you into telling them you've lied - no matter that he kept repeating what you see is what you get, there were no lies on his CV, they kept saying 'this is the place to come clean if you've enhanced anything'. He said they came across as quite sinister really.

GoodHacker's interviews repeated this same basic pattern, with variations. Sometimes one of the interviews was on the phone, sometimes one or other was swapped around in the order of interviews, sometimes the interviews were chunked all together stuck into one long half day. (Jack, the editor here, tells me he has come across a different way of interviewing - they send you a few real technical problems specced out, and you have to return compiled documented and working code to them for them to review. You work at home, and the quicker you get it back the better. Cool.) Some were a waste of time on GoodHacker's part, but he didn't know until he'd done the interview, he was turned down a couple of times for no apparent reason but others with a similar role offered him the job. Mostly, he was struck by the randomness of it all. Suddenly more jobs available. Random offers and random rejections. We have exited the Credit Crunch and entered the Random Economy.

GoodHacker will choose one lucky company. It won't be mine. Well I say that as if it could have been. In a way it could be, in a month or two, but not just now. You see, the reason I decided to stay here, is that once again I get to build out a performance team. Initially I'm looking for two developers. But I'm not allowed to look outside the company for at least a month, apparently I need to have rejected several internal candidates before even thinking of advertising externally. So currently I'm surfing across other internal projects to find out who could work out. More on that next month.

BCNU - Javva The Hutt. (LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/javathehutt feel free to connect me, my email as javva@ this java performance domain).


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