[IRL] Interviews


I forgot what it was like to be on the other side of the table when in an interview. I had two yesterday, one with a local place and another over phone with a place way over on the other end of town.

The interview at the first place went well until they brought in the second interviewer who was a Dev Manager. He asked some hard questions I wasn’t expecting but should have been. It must have gone better than I thought because they’re following up with references which will be good.

The phone interview was short, I had to email them and ask that they push the time out because I was running late with the previous interview. Sadly, I was able to make the time since the first location was literally ten minutes away from my home. They were looking for specific skills in a more immediate sense so they emailed me this morning to decline. I thanked them and asked what they were looking for. I figure if I know someone that could fill the role, I could point them to that job posting and I was curious to see what they were looking for so, given time, I could brush up on that area. (I suspect it is a lack of experience with Unix/Linux – unfortunately, working with desktop software those OSes weren’t something I had experience with and they weren’t even likely to be something I’d need to know in the near future.)

Lessons learned?

1. Space out your interviews by about three hours or longer.

2. Be prepared for some questions like:

  • What are your three worst qualities?
  • Why hire you over these other people that worked where you worked and are also applying?
  • You took a one year programming course then immediately started working at, X, do you feel that’s enough education?

Looking back at these questions now, ย I realized they’re not the sort of thing that have been in the forefront of my mind and they sort of shocked me. To answer them now?

  • Three worst qualities:
    1. I tend to be too nice. I don’t feel comfortable with discussing negatives with others, I prefer discussing it directly with the people involved.
    2. I’m too loyal or perhaps optimistic. I should have left where I was working three years ago when it became clear the department I was in was not a growth area for the company, but hung on hoping I would be able to move into a different project.
    3. I tend to be a little too selfless. I’ll often take on the less desirable work especially when I know other members of the are looking for something more interesting. My happiness tends to be secondary.
  • I was a technical lead for the majority of my career. I’ve always had my hands in multiple projects at the same time. I was the go to guy for my manager, team members, developers and several other departments. Despite my Lead role, which involved a lot of meetings and reviews from day to day, I still jumped into problem areas within our automation and fixed them. (For the record, I did not and would not use my knowledge of co-worker negatives against them.)
  • Things have changed over the 14 years I’ve been working and most of the technologies I learned then no longer apply now. It’s an example of the fact that I am able to learn where as my 14 years of applied experience is an example that I’m capable of continuing to learn and adapt to the changing technologies.

Exciting times.


6 thoughts on “[IRL] Interviews

  1. I always get stuck on the “getting to know you” questions. Like… “if you could sit down to dinner with anyone, who would it be?” That is a TRICK QUESTION!! I don’t even remember how I answered it, but I know I was trying to be impressive and I was just lame.

  2. You took a one year programming course then immediately started working at, X, do you feel thatโ€™s enough education?

    The best answer to this is probably something along the lines of “the programming course was a one-year intensive training program designed to give me the skills to obtain an entry-level programming job. It built on my other skills and allowed me to obtain the real world experience needed to advance as a programmer, so yes, in my case that was enough education at the time. I’ve since become more experienced through the work I’ve done. Blah blah blah.”

  3. I haven’t had any questions like that, most of the initial conversation was getting a feel for what I can do and how I presented that did give some insight as to the type of person I was.

    Gord – That’s more or less what I said. ๐Ÿ™‚

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