Darkened Software

Archive for November, 2012

Interviews: Pay attention to the instructions.

by on Nov.14, 2012, under Industry, Interviews

This might be the funniest interview I have ever conducted.  After introductions and a min of baseline conversation I give him the back round for the problem and 3 instructions for the question.

“Topic is X, there is usually around 4 issues that arise from it, for each”

  • Write down the issue on the whiteboard.
  • Write down the data you would collect to track and understand each issue.
  • Write down how you would display the data to the user so they could solve each issue.

I ask him if he understands which he nodes to and then I hand the kid the marker and prepare to be amazed.

He stands there for a few seconds and then says the first issue must be “Y” and starts telling me how someone on the last project solved it.

So I get up and take the marker from him, step over to the whiteboard, write the issue on it and hand him back the now open marker and cap.  He says “Oh right” and then continues to talk.  Not an amazing start, I hope this kid is just a little nervous and gets it together.

He finally runs out of things to say about how someone else attacked that issue before so I prompt him think about what other issues there is with topic X.  He again goes silent for a little while and then says it could also be “W”.  Tells me he has never had to deal with it but thinks it could be solved and starts rambling on.

I get up and pick up another marker, walk to the whiteboard and write down issue “W” right under issue “Y”.  I again hand him the uncapped marker so now he is holding two open markers as he continues to talk.  This time he says nothing as I hand him the marker.  Eventually his mumbling goes silent so I ask what the third issue might be?

He loudly declares there is no more possible issues under the topic “X”.  WTF kid it is not likely I am giving you trick questions.  So after I ask him a few questions he gets to realization of the next issue and declares “well I guess there could be an issue Z”.

This time I am going to see if he eventually figures it out and I just wait in silence for him to write it down.  A full 2 min of mumbling later out of pure amusement I go get the last marker, uncap it and write issue “Z” on the whiteboard.  Then I go to hand the marker to him again but he is standing there with an open marker in each hand already.  So I put the cap back on it and attach it to the bottom of the one in his right hand.  He just stands there silently for a few seconds, so I ask him to go onto the next part of the question and “Write Down” what data he would collect to resolve the issue.

He then loudly declare there is no way to resolve it and thus it is not worth worrying about.  Your right kid, it is quite likely I am giving you problems I really don’t want you to solve.

As amusing as this is it is time to walk you to the door.


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