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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

phone interview at a large tech company

About two months, an in-house recruiter from a rather large, famous tech company contacted me and recommended I apply for a certain job. I did so. The job had a certain day reserved for interviews. That date passed and I heard nothing. It was obvious I wasn't even selected for an interview.

Then the same recruiter contacted me again and recommended I apply for exactly the same job again. I guessed it would go nowhere but as it only takes about 15 minutes to apply via their Internet form,  I applied again. Again it went nowhere.

I thought working for a such a company wouldn't be such a bad idea and so I applied for a few other jobs I saw on their Internet site.

I applied for three jobs. Despite 30 years experience of writing software (I started when a teenager), I didn't hear back from the two dedicated coding jobs. The third job wasn't coding but more support etc. Their recruiter phoned me about this job and I guessed I spent 30 minutes on the phone with him talking about how my own software business was getting on etc.

I then had a 45 minute technical telephone interview. Given each question lasted one minute, I would guess I was asked anywhere between 25 - 40 questions. I thought I did reasonably well. I only failed to answer two questions.

One of the questions was to name a command-line tool that can be used with a certain one of their software packages. I couldn't answer that one.

The second question I couldn't answer was to expand three different acronyms ending with SaaS. I said I knew Saas stands for software as a service, but that was all.

So there you are, I got two questions wrong out of thirty.

Anyway a few days later I was informed I failed the telephone interview step.

I expressed surprise. Anyway it seems I was sent back an edited transcript of my telephone interview and I was told I got their MVC question wrong and as such lacked the breath and depth of a software developer their require.

My answer for the MVC question was:

"I first used MVC in such-and-such classes. MVC stands for model-view-controller. The controller mediates interaction between the model and view and could be something like a button press [need to sort etc.] The view could be something like a grid control. The model can represent a database, XML, hardcoded data or anything you want - it matters not to the view. In the models I've used, the interface has methods such as GetRowCount and GetRow."

Well this is an approximation of what I said. But I clearly remember saying the model can be a database, XML or hardcoded data.

Anyway I was told the correct answer was "independence of concerns". I thought pretty much my answer said this as I said the model can front any form of data.

I am disappointed. Either so many people apply for these jobs, you need to get all 30 questions correct to go to the next stage or I failed because my interviewer didn't understand my answer was really the idea behind what his answer was.
Bobby Send private email
Monday, October 19, 2015
Smells like they have a heap of people and they can afford (unfortunately) to reject people without more than a superficial look at them.

Which is odd because you also hear the devs are in demand...

Either the above, or ageism - who knows?
Bob Frances Send private email
Monday, October 19, 2015
Bobby, the guys you describe are idiots and its good you're not working for such a dumb shop. Please name and shame them to help others avoid them. Thanks.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
I agree with Scott.  They have zero respect for people.  You just don't jerk people's lives around like that.  A job interview is an important event in someone's life, especially if that person is currently unemployed, and they're treating it with disdain.  It's disgusting.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, October 22, 2015
BTW, since they contacted you out of the blue, you're now on their files as someone unworthy to hire in future, because you failed their test -- a test which you didn't even apply for.  Remember that for future cold interview calls.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, October 22, 2015
I also do programming for 15 years and it is very hard for me to find decent developer job or any, I sent about a 200 CVs but response are minimal and most of interview finish in 5mins, I am still living by creating my own iPhone, iPad and windows apps, there were good and bad times, now it's even harder to make living as developer because competition is huge and everyone develops this days.
Damjan Send private email
Thursday, October 22, 2015
I'm really surprised they gave you that level of detail back on why you failed the tech interview - most companies will intentionally not say anything more than "you don't have all the skills that we require", or something equally vague.  That's for liability/discrimination reasons.  So sounds like a pretty inept recruiter / HR person to me...

Joanna Lees Castro Send private email
Friday, October 30, 2015
It sounds to me that you did well at the interview; it's not so much about the answers to specific technical problems but more about attitude.

There are many reasons why you might have been rejected. They may have had an internal candidate lined up, or someone with an internal recommendation. Perhaps they already interviewed someone who is the perfect candidate and needed a comparison candidate to reject.

If it is a big company, I doubt that this one interview will have got you blacklisted. If they are the kind of company who would blacklist you then you don't want to work for them.
koan Send private email
Tuesday, November 03, 2015

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