Tales from the Interview

I enjoy reading about interviews. Especially the bad ones.  Luckily The Daily WTF keeps me stocked with stories that would chill your bones:



A Doomed Interview (from John) 
Times have been tough, so I’ve been looking just about evernwhere for work. Buried in the last page of the local newspaper, I found a tiny job ad seeking a candidate with several technologies I had experience with. Against my better judgment, I called the number and, after a few minutes of small talk, was invited to an interview. Not the next day, not the next week, but right then and there. Within hours, I found myself on a backwater industrial parkway, standing in front of a non-descript building.

Stepping through the front door was like entering a DooM level: dark as hell, a creepy bad atmosphere, and a slight fear that a giant spider was lurking around the corner. As my eyes adjusted to the gloom, it took all of three seconds to realize that I didn’t want to work there. Against my better judgment, I headed in and up a dimly lit staircase.


The office was decrepit, devoid of people, and looked like a dingy basement with clutter, files, and junk strewn everywhere.What kind of a person would work here, I asked myself. Against my better judgment, I tapped on the door and called out “Hello?”. 

You’ll just have to visit The Daily WTF to see how it ends, for my part; I’ve only had one really weird interviewing experience:

The year was 2007, the bubble was bursting but no one in the banking industry realized it yet; especially not the two floor trading specialists that needed a software developer who could troubleshoot application problems on the ‘trading floor’. I sent in my resume and was called for an interview.  At the time Wachovia was building a skyscraper in Charlotte; it was the topic of conversation by every recruiter or interviewer I talked to that day.  Except for one fateful conversation.

Two of the members of the application development team started taking me through the interview process, and let me know that they were going to stress me out while requiring me to solve brain teasers on a whiteboard. Somewhat confused, I replied, “You know I was in the Army, right?”  I guess that didn’t meet their definition of stress. They continued to ask me rather hurried questions about various programming ideas while wondering why I hadn’t solved their problem about the snail going up the well wall. 

Fast forward six months, and their division was cut (due to the recession), and my job would have undergone a cut as well. Their skyscraper is now owned by Duke, and they were bought out by Wells Fargo. I went on to a contract as a Web Application Developer using Perl.


Leave a Reply