Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Second Verse, Same as the First

I had the in-person to follow up to yesterday's phone interview, and I can see why that guy was chosen to handle first contact. My interviews were divided evenly between people who didn't know what questions to ask (and said so, repeatedly) and people who didn't speak English.

Now, the non-funny details:

My first interviewer was had clearly never read my resume before, and quite possibly had never read any resume before. He didn't have a lot of questions, and what he did have I answered quickly. There were a lot of silences. He did not ask me to code anything.

The next interviewer spoke English even worse than the previous one. I didn't know you could pronounce "manager" to sound exactly like "major", but she did. I figure she asked the most informative questions of the lot of them (from the companies standpoint), but if "define the difference between black box and white box testing" is in the upper half of questions, I have to assume the screening process just isn't that rigorous. She did not ask me to code anything.

The next interviewers was a tester/test planner, but not an engineer, and may have had an inferiority complex about it. He repeatedly said "I can't ask you any engineering questions." When I answered his questions, I emphasized the planning and resource allocation portions of the answer, and avoided rattling off lines of code, robot-like, to impress him with my l33t neural-coding skills. Although if I could actually hack people with my voice, that would be pretty awesome, and I think I'd deserve the job. But I'd aim for a better one. Perhaps one that had employees under 30. Anyways, I think this guy asked pretty good questions, but only covered very select areas, so were I HR, and I wouldn't let him have the final vote. He, of course, did not ask me to code anything.

My last interviewer was a dev, who assured me he had no experience with testing. Finally, some coding questions, one might think quietly to oneself, and then later say outloud when asked if one had any questions. But one would be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Many of the questions he did ask were test planning related ("most of what you do is corner cases, right?"), which frustrates me because he admitted he didn't know a good answer from a bad one. The only thing he could evaluate me on was the face validity of the answer and on my confidence and body language. Which, it turns out, you can fake.

So the interview was totally softball, which means I either hit it out of the park or failed before I even got to stage 2, and they were stringing me along for most of it. I'm going to be miffed if I don't get an offer, because I don't feel I was pushed hard enough. Has anyone found ways to turn easy interviews to your advantage? When it's clear they're not asking a lot of questions I try to expand my answers, but that only goes so far.

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