June 26, 2003

The interesting, irritating interview …

I attended the interview that I was talking about yesterday and found that there was almost nobody there that I did recognize – I still am not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing :p Of course, that also dispelled my first paranoid theories that it might be some kind of a test/trap to see what I would do :p The guy who interviewed me turned out to be somebody that I didn’t remember but he seemed to remember me from the few visits that I’d paid to the old sister company’s offices. But I digress ..

The interview started off well enough but I realized that it wasn’t going to go well when the guy started asking me theoretical questions off a piece of paper :p Now, I respect people who are truly knowledgeable but when somebody thinks that they have the right to gauge how much you know based on some questions and answers that somebody else provided, I get irritated. Yes, I have a bit of a superiority complex – or something :p Anyway, I answered a few of the more general questions and then he started getting specific about syntax and exact methods to be used by specific objects/components. I immediately told him that I wouldn’t know the answers to any of that since I usually code with the help open and that since I work with several languages on any given day, I don’t bother to remember the specifics for any language.

What I didn’t tell him was the fact that I’ve also followed Holmes’ words in Conan Doyle’s "A Study in Scarlet" – "I consider that a man’s brain is originally like a little empty attic, you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it." I am not sure how long ago I’ve read those particular words (and no, I didn’t remember them verbatim just now, I looked it up in my copy of "The Complete Illustrated Sherlock Holmes" :p) and have followed them to a great extent – only thing is that I treat my mind more like a living room with interchangeable furniture :p When a new guest comes in for a longish stay, I put in furniture that suits him but for a casual visitor, I don’t deign to change the furniture at all :p

But I’ve rambled on again – the interviewer didn’t take too kindly to what I said and said how "everybody" codes in several languages and since .NET has multiple languages and they are all similar, I should be able to answer his question. Of course, what he didn’t take note of was the fact that I’ve worked mainly with only one .NET language – C# and that all the languages that I’d been working on recently (which I’d told him about earlier) were not .NET languages. So I told him plainly that if he wanted somebody who’d been spoonfed on the syntax and theory of .NET, he was wasting his time with me but if he wanted somebody who would do the job well and deliver on time, then I was the guy he was looking for. Of course, this being Sri Lanka and everybody being a little bit self-important (is that the case everywhere else? I’m not sure – I’ve found people willing to listen to reason a bit more in other places even when their ego has been bruised …), I don’t think he took that kindly (but I might be being unfair to him – I don’t read people correctly at times …) and I think his opinion of me would be either "bluffer" or "know-it-all-good-for-nothing" :p

There was more along the same vein – he told me that my methods would not work in a corporate environment, I told him that I’d already worked for a multinational with branches in over eight countries of the world and that they found me to be faster in coding on a new development environment after two months than consultants who’d be developing for the same environment for years – which incidentally is the truth .. that company hired me at a substantial salary increase from my then employer :p But this gets to be boring and repetitive since it was all in the same thread. I did tell him as I was leaving that I understood where he came from because he has to gauge my abilities based on what he knows and it is difficult to know whether I’m truly capable or not but I told him to ask some of my clients/former employers if he has any doubts. He gave me the usual bromide of "we’ll call you …" etc. But what do I think? I think I’ll never hear from them again :p

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Posted by Fahim at 6:24 am  |  No Comments