Monday, November 12, 2007

Interview pet peeves for today

Really know the language that the company you are interviewing for uses. Don't think you can pull it out of your ass cause you worked in it 3 years ago. Languages change a lot. I don't have time to teach you how to deal with Exceptions in PHP 5, because frankly you aren't worth it if you can't do some homework before you come in for an interview. This goes doubly so if the posting says "PHP Developer" right in the title.

I know we're your fifth interview this week, and frankly I don't care. I get 60 minutes to evaluate whether to give you commit access to my code, code I've spent the last year preening over and perfecting. Separately, I have to evaluate whether I want to be stuck in a room with you for 8 hours a day, potentially for the next several years. You better be on your best behavior, and you better want it, and you better be excited, because if you come in here looking like you're just looking for something to do or a buck to make, you're going right back out the door. But if you want to create, if you want to make something beautiful, you'll be on my short list of favorite people, people on whom I'm going to tell my boss to spend a lot of money.

Have a passion that isn't code. It's not a dealbreaker if you don't, but I really like to see people with multi-disciplined lives. Back when you applied for college, there was a box labeled "Extracurricular activities". If you left that box empty back then, you should try and fill it soon, because it's there for a reason. Musicians write more interesting code. They see patterns I don't. Foodies know where all the good restaurants are. Gamers bring in their xboxes. Diversity in a small office is vital, because we're all going to spend more time here than at home, and if all we do is our jobs, we're going to run out of things to talk about real fast.

6 comments:

Josh.Schumacer said...

Amen brother! You're preaching to the choir, I don't understand why/how some people can come into an interview so unprepared. This is a big commitment they're about to make, jobs take up a good majority of our waking moments every day and you should really be prepared when you come into the interview.

Ken Chau said...

Man I saw this post a it scared me for a second there!

jonathan said...

Heh, no worries. We talked to a lot of losers before you came along.

Matt said...

If you really need someone with recent experince in PHP, why are you interviewing someone who hasn't worked with it for three years?

It's always easy to blame others.

jonathan said...

That's an excellent point. Many resumes we see have PHP listed under their "technologies used" section, but don't call out which job it was used in. So it's hard to tell exactly how recent or thorough their experience with the language is.

We've addressed this by adding a phone screening round to our interview process.

Magpie said...

I was wondering how you'd managed to to interview my pet cat Peeves without me knowing about it?!
But you didn't... (thankfully) as she can be a little abrasive, especially with new people...
anyway! - it's all a terrible misunderstanding, my most sincere apologies.