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Oddball Interview Questions Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 4:03 PM
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Megan Brooks (2/7/2014)
[quote]I regard an interview as a two-way process. ...


This and the rest of the post is excellent. It is a two way street, both are seeing if there is a correct fit. Both should be able to ask questions as they see fit and both should evaluate both the question and the response.


It is one thing to have a silly or strange question being intentionally asked, but to tell you the truth, some of the time while sitting on the other side of the table the responses from the person being interviewed have been so funny it has been very hard to keep a straight face. It is even funnier when those responses have not been intended to be humors.

M.



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Post #1539429
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 6:57 PM


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Megan Brooks (2/7/2014)
I interview them while they interview me.

That is the best way to look at an interview.

I can understand the oddball question being asked. But I put it in the same as the requirement to have a college degree for most IT jobs.

Yes, there are some jobs in IT that it is probably needed like when Fujitsu hires only college degreed people to develop the next gen of hard drives. But a decent 19 year old with a tech background from her parents could probably be a sys admin with no degree in site.

If you look at my resume and see all the IT stuff I have done, but say you want a degree I'm going to ask question as "Are you the right fit for me?" I also don't want to be a manager. If you want me to be a manager and a tech -- that isn't my position. Relatively short time project team lead I can deal with.

So the "stupid" question won't turn me off -- but I'm going to question is the company a fit for me just the same as a degree requirement.




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Post #1539457
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 10:05 PM


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Knut Boehnert (2/7/2014)
"How would you fill a coffee cup in T-SQL?"


I wouldn't because that's RBAR. I'd write the code to fill a million coffee cups according to size and, if there were only one coffee cup to be filled, it would automatically handle that.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

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(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

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Post #1539466
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 4:25 PM
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IMHO oddball questions are not reliable or valid means of determining a candidates competence or fit for a job.

A few weeks ago I read a paper by some sociologists about the stress of searching for work in different cultures (call me an infovore!), specifically making a comparison between looking for work in the US and looking for work in Israel. According to this research people found job search much more stressful in the US because you have a culture that emphasises personality over competence
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Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 6:38 PM


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mtucker-732014 (2/9/2014)
IMHO oddball questions are not reliable or valid means of determining a candidates competence or fit for a job.


I couldn't agree more.


A few weeks ago I read a paper by some sociologists about the stress of searching for work in different cultures (call me an infovore!), specifically making a comparison between looking for work in the US and looking for work in Israel. According to this research people found job search much more stressful in the US because you have a culture that emphasises personality over competence


Not quite true... at least, not for me nor where I work. We want good people all the way around. They have to fit the team and that means being competent enough to actually get work done. In order to get work done, you have to communicate with people not only to get the requirements but to get some help on the tough spots. For sure, when you first work in a new environment, everything is a "tough spot" because of esoteric knowledge of the systems required and documentation alone doesn't answer all of those questions. We don't want some arrogant jerk or some lame sot that won't be able to communicate without pissing everyone off. There's no reason at all why someone can't be both competent AND a good team member. As on the 8 Ball League I used to play on, there's a huge difference between a good shot and a good player and both can be experts at 8 Ball.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1539609
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 7:11 PM


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Jeff Moden (2/9/2014)
We don't want some arrogant jerk or some lame sot that won't be able to communicate without pissing everyone off. There's no reason at all why someone can't be both competent AND a good team member. As on the 8 Ball League I used to play on, there's a huge difference between a good shot and a good player and both can be experts at 8 Ball.

I can understand and agree with that sentiment so much. We have a senior level programmer that always comes off as an arrogant jerk. He was in charge of redeveloping a software package into more of a .Net program. There was a flaw that a simple fix to the deployment package would fix. (Put 127.0.0.1 in the default config file so it wouldn't auto scan for other servers.) He said that employees missing the that setup change when installing hundreds of them should be considered incompetent and should be retrained or fired. The failure to make the change could have caused a HIPAA violation that could be in the $#00K+ range. He couldn't grasp that his minor f***-up could have bankrupted the company. It took a senior level CxO type to get it through to him that he was wrong.

And that wasn't the first time for that type of attitude. Unfortunately he is still with the company.

The upside is that we were bought out and he is now back to the same level as the rest of the programmers on the new SW compared to the 5+ years ahead he had with the old software. That has taken him down several notches.

So a team player that fits in is valuable. His extra skills may be important, but not being able to learn from the more knowledgeable people with specific experience is a wast of time.




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Post #1539616
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 9:26 PM


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Jeff Moden (2/9/2014)
mtucker-732014 (2/9/2014)
A few weeks ago I read a paper by some sociologists about the stress of searching for work in different cultures (call me an infovore!), specifically making a comparison between looking for work in the US and looking for work in Israel. According to this research people found job search much more stressful in the US because you have a culture that emphasises personality over competence
Not quite true... at least, not for me nor where I work. We want good people all the way around. They have to fit the team and that means being competent enough to actually get work done. In order to get work done, you have to communicate with people not only to get the requirements but to get some help on the tough spots. For sure, when you first work in a new environment, everything is a "tough spot" because of esoteric knowledge of the systems required and documentation alone doesn't answer all of those questions. We don't want some arrogant jerk or some lame sot that won't be able to communicate without pissing everyone off. There's no reason at all why someone can't be both competent AND a good team member. As on the 8 Ball League I used to play on, there's a huge difference between a good shot and a good player and both can be experts at 8 Ball.

Jeff, I think you are picking up "social skills" where mtucker said"culture". They are different things. Maybe he was thinking of a real problem: Someone who wears the right fraternity ring from Ivy League or the right class ring form Annapolis (USNA) or West Point (USNA) is "cultured", anyone who doesn't may be competent but isn't cultured, and hence is much less employable. I dont like it at all, and I don't like it's equivalent in the UK or in the rest of Europe (despite having schooling that puts me on the "cultured" side), because it often keeps good people out. It doesn't happen everywhere, not even in half the companies that employ people like you and me, but it does happen far too much.


Tom
Post #1539620
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 10:01 PM


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To me, there's not much difference, Tom. The end result at work is the same.

And, I agree... ring knocking is generally not a problem at the types of companies that I've worked at.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1539625
Posted Monday, February 10, 2014 11:27 AM


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Post #1539890
Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7:40 AM


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Miles Neale (2/7/2014)
Sean Lange (2/7/2014)
That sounds to me like some people need to find more work to do. They are obviously spending way too much brain power over analyzing interview questions.

What is the point of the score? Do they offer positions based on score alone or does the score somehow figure into the salary offer? I know the hiring process is not an easy one. I have been on both sides of the table about equally. What you are describing sounds like I would want to run out of the interview screaming. It really sounds like they want to remove all personality from the process and give a standardized test.


Short answer is "Government".


LOL that certainly explains some of the over analyzing and worrying about strange trivial things that don't amount to anything concrete.


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