Tag Archives: interview

Mr Angry on the radio

Just making a quick catch up video for those who might be interested in some things that happened to me recently.  The first couple of things are just some garden variety morons I’ve been dealing with.  Everday occurrences for me.  But I was kind of excited to be interviewed for a radio program.  There’s a national network in Australia aimed at the youth market called TripleJ.

As I rarely act my age, this is the station I listen to.  And when I heard they were doing a story on anger management I had to call up.  Anger gets a bad rap – someone has to stand up for it.  If you want to listen to the interview, follow this link.  My bit starts at about the 8 minute mark and goes on for around 3 minutes.

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More job interview shenanigans

Well, it looks like I might be starting a new job on Monday.  I’ve been going through interviews and now there are two contenders who seem to want me so it’s down to who makes the best offer.

I don’t know if I’m getting mellower (wouldn’t that be a terrible thing?) but the questions seem to be getting less stupid.  Astute readers will know that my pet hate is being asked “what are your weaknesses?”  Why do morons who ask that question think I’m going to honestly tell them something bad about myself?

Anyway, in this round of interviews one highlight stands out.  The interview team were following a smart path as far as I’m concerned.  After establishing my basic competence they spent more time focusing on whether they could stand to be around me rather than obsessing over technical details.

This is a small startup so one technical genius who happens to be an obnoxious fuck-up could destroy the company.  Whereas a decent, intelligent human doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to make a positive contribution to the company.  So we’ve progressed to a fairly relaxed, chatty stage of the interview when the CEO of the startup leans over to me and says (I swear I’m not making this up):

“Tell me about a time when you really fucked something up.”

I like these guys.

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An angry train encounter

I’ve been going to jon interviews this week which involves the joys of public transport (parking is far too much of a hassle in the city to drive in).  We’re getting our first hot days of summer and I seem to keep lucking in to getting on trams, trains and/or buses with non-functioning air conditioning.  Plus, in Melbourne the public transport is usually absurdly crowded.

Maybe they aren’t broken.  Maybe it’s a deliberate plot.  It could be that the government is conducting large-scale experiments to see how the populace will respond to being crushed into a small space while being subjected to high heat and humidity.

If that’s the case, you can suspend the experiments now.  The results are in.  People in that situation get pissed off.

Coming home yesterday I found myself stuck on the tram from hell.  Literally, judging from the internal temperature.  My mood had gotten progressively worse until it reached the point where I was planning the order in which I would kill people when I finally snapped.  Hmmm, he looks easy… she’d be a pushover… I bet his head would pop right off… oooh, he looks tough, I’d better throw some frail bodies between me and him…

I was just about ready to put my plan into action when the tram passed a train station.  I took a punt that a train would be less hellish and jumped ship.  This turned out to be a good choice – the train was considerably less crowded.

There were a few seats empty in the vestibule of the train but somebody had a bike leaned up against them.  These are the type of seat that flip up if nobody is sitting in them so they were flush with the wall, which doubtless seemed like a good thing to the bike owner.  I thought I might actually sit in one of the seats that were designed with humans in mind rather than bikes.  It seemed like a reasonable plan but it led to the exchange detailed in the following video:

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Back in the job market

I’m testing the waters in the job market again.  I won’t be starting another contract until at least December but I’ll probably need to start lining up interviews soon.  I checked the main job website and the market looks healthy.  It seems as though about 60 contract positions for my line of work are being advertised each week.

I say “seems to be” because although that’s the number that pops up when I search, it isn’t strictly accurate.  Some of them are being re-advertised so they aren’t all new.  Some are being advertised by more than one agency so the numbers are a bit deceptive.  And then there’s the morons who advertise permanent roles under the contract listings.

This really bugs me.  When I’ve questioned agencies about this in the past they’ve said they wanted to reach the widest range of candidates possible.  Yeah, including the ones who aren’t even slightly interested.  That makes sense.  I decided to call one of the agencies and share my displeasure with them:

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Pointless Interview Questions

The job market is a fun place. Well, it’s fun for me at the moment, mostly because I’m in no rush to start another contract.  This makes me very relaxed during interviews which tends to result in me coming across better.  It also frees me up to decide I don’t want a particular job.  I’m not desperate for money so I’m content to wait for the right opportunity rather than grab the first thing that comes along.

It also gives me a bit of freedom in my responses when I think the interviewer is asking stupid questions.  I don’t want to burn any bridges so I’m not actually rude.  I never actually come out and say I think the interviewer is asking stupid questions but it’s fairly easy to turn things around so they are in the position of justifying why they’re asking questions that are so, well… stupid.

For instance, there was the putz I had to see this week who thought he was being really clever.  It seems as though someone gave him the book of Microsoft interview questions and he was eager to show off his new “knowledge”.  This style of interviewing gives you abstract questions that have no relationship whatsoever to the work you’ll be doing.  Or to the real world.

Proponents say they’re trying to see how creatively you can think.  Normal humans say it’s a waste of time.  In my case, the interview went a little like this:

Annoying Recruiter: How would you move Mount Fuji 1/2 a kilometre to the South?

ME: Why would I do that?

AR: Uhhhh, it’s a project you’ve been assigned.

ME: As part of my work I’ve been asked to move Mount Fuji?

AR: Yes, so how would you do it?

ME: How could that possibly benefit the business?

AR: What?

ME: As an analyst, my first reaction is the project would be prohibitively expensive and take forever to complete.  The first thing I’d want is to see a business case that showed how this would benefit the business.

AR: But how would you do it?

ME: That isn’t the important question.  What you need to be asking is why would you do it?

AR: I just want to know how you’d do it.

ME: But if you can’t tell me why it should be done, that tells me there’s a problem.  As an analyst, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let the project go forward without answering that question.

AR: I’m trying to get an idea of how you’d approach the problem.

ME: I’m telling you how I’d approach it: I’d try to find out why someone wanted to do this.  Seriously, even suggesting such an outlandish project tells me that things are seriously out of whack.

AR: No, this isn’t a real work project. I gave you an unusual example to see how you’d approach a problem that you wouldn’t face in your day to day work.

ME: So what you’re saying is the way you’re planning to work out if I’d be any good at this job by asking me questions that have nothing to do with the job and could never be of any value to the job?

AR: Uhh, yes.

ME: It never occurred to you to ask me questions related to actual issues I’m likely to face in this job?

AR: Well, this is a creative exercise.

ME: So you’re sticking with the plan that finding out how I deal with something useless is more valuable than finding out how I’d deal with something that actually matters to the business?

AR: Well that isn’t really the point…

ME: Is it hard to get your job? (extended silence) Wait I’ve got a better question: If I took this job, would I ever have to see you again?  Because I gotta tell you, that would have a pretty big influence on my decision.

I’d like to point out I’m not a cruel man.  It was never my intention to reduce the interviewer to tears.  But I think with the right therapy, he’ll come through this a stronger person.

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