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How To Mess Up An Interview Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 8:59 AM
Old Hand

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welllll, considering the prevalence of grammatical errors in the article, I'm pretty sure it wasn't genius.   A "happy accident" perhaps.

 




Post #230715
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 12:00 PM


Old Hand

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Genius seldom troubles itself with grammatical concerns.

Grammatical and spelling corrections are within the realm of proofreaders.

Would you have the kind author put a poor proofreader out of work? 




aka "Paul"
Non est ei similis.

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. ~ Albert Einstein
Post #230839
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 1:01 PM
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Regarding Steve's "The Great Uproar" piece today, I have to say I hold the Featured Article to a much higher professional standard than the content of the forums.  Mr. McCown's "article" might have been better labeled a "Guest Opinion".

An editor is responsible for editing the content of his publication to fullfill his vision.  If Steve's vision for SSC is to create a professional publication with broad appeal to a technical audience, this article failed dramatically to deliver on that vision. 

If Mr. McCown writes an article in the future that fulfills my needs, I'd like to read it.  I place my trust in Steve to edit or reject the article--again using his vision as his guide.  An author is reponsible for knowing his target audience.  Mr. McCown clearly didn't consider the size and diversity of his audience and needed guidance from his editor.

As a consumer of technical periodicals, I make my choice at the publication level, not the article/author.  This article was unprofessional on so many fronts, and--given its location within the publication--it reflects poorly on SSC. 

Apology accepted, Steve.

- Jeff -




Post #230874
Posted Friday, October 21, 2005 2:04 AM
Grasshopper

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A refreshing break from the insipid sterility of run-of-the-mill "professional" articles. Its nice you see someone expressing themself for a change - a few useful tips to boot.
Post #231047
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 3:14 AM
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This article was excellent - but only if you actually bothered to read it intelligently!

To quote renrob's reply:

"I'm certain Sean wasn't trying to be offensive, however it is obvious that more than a few voters, um, I mean tech people were offended. With the SSC forum being a microcosm of the "real" world, this serves as a great example of Sean's paraphrased advise: "know your interviewer" before you open your mouth."

The problem is that, as far as publication for a wide audience is concerned, you have three choices:

1) Spew off a stream of moronic, blandly inoffensive platitudes which are useless and devoid of content but unlikely to alienate anyone.  This is the route typically taken by successful political candidates.

2) Say what you believe (assuming that your intent is actually to offer useful advice, as I believe was the intent of this article), and hope that your readers are intelligent and open-minded enough to accept your opinions in the manner in which you put them forward, rather than insisting on twisting what you wrote to fit their own private agenda.  At the same time, realise that some people are going to be offended.

3) Say nothing.

Options 1) and 3) are never going to help anyone.  So the only real option for offering constructive advice is to go with option 2) and grow a thick enough skin to handle the knee-jerk reactionary criticism you're bound to receive from skim-readers looking for something to get upset about.




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C8H10N4O2
Post #315812
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 3:30 AM
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LMFAO...

...and yes, for those uninitiated in the finer subtleties of online cursing, that stands for "Laugh My F*cking A$$ Off"...




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C8H10N4O2
Post #315816
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 3:57 AM
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Beat me to it!

Genius does not imply knowledge of grammar.  Besides, who's to know it wasn't grammatically perfect when submitted and subsequently doctored by the editor?

The genius was a possibility; the irony, however, is certain.

Post #315823
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 4:27 AM
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Ok, done reading the forum, time for a serious reply:

Firstly, thanks to Steve and the SSC team for publishing this to start with, and for highlighting it in the "One Year Ago" section today, so that it came to my attention.  And, of course, thanks to Sean for the time and effort he took to write it.

Because it's a well-written, engaging, intelligent and funny article which offers some interesting and seldom-given advice on interview technique.  Just read it and you'll see.  That's right - read it, don't just skim it.

The practice thing is brilliant.  His points are spot-on: there's a huge difference between knowing the answer and actually being comfortable rattling it off your tongue, and that comes with spoken practice.

Anf the other two points, religion and language, kind of boil down to the same thing, if you actually understand his POV.  It's about professionalism and being yourself at the same time - a tricky balance, but vital to a happy work environment.  The professionalism means that you are there to work, not to proselytise.  As a Christian, I still don't wan't my colleagues doing stuff like printing "May the Grace of God follow you all your days" on the footer of any company material, unless it is a specifically Christian company.  It's just not appropriate.  Your personal mission is your own business, but you need to realise that when you are doing something for the comapany, you have a responsibility to put the company's interests first - your personal agenda should never even onter into it.

And please note that Sean wasn't calling religion or anyone's specific religious beliefs "crap" - he used that perjorative to refer specifically to inappropriate usage of religious jargon in a professional environment.  And he's absolutely right - leave that crap out of the workplace.  Your beliefs, salvation, and faith in God will be with you wherever you go, anyway...

As far as the cursing goes - it's really not a language or politeness issue, it's about being yourself.  Too often (and as a veteran interwiewer, I'm sure Sean has seen this plenty of times) a candidate is so eager to get a job that he is happy to present himself as whatever he believes the company is looking for.  While this may get you the job, presenting yourself as something other than your true self can only last so long, and it will ultimately involve you being very unhapy with a work environment and team with which you are not actually a natural fit.  If you are completely uncomfortable with swearing, that's cool, but understand that some people use it regularly as a form of expression, and in either case, you need to find a work environment which suits you. 

Remember that it's not just the company checking you out, it's also you checking the company out, and seeing if you really want to be a part of their team.  I've worked in completely puritanically clean-mouthed offices, and I've worked in shops where every second word was unprintable and conversations routinely involved a stream of invectives about bestiality and coprophagia.  Obviously those are extremes, but the point is that you need to be comfortable with the other team members if you're going to work with them.  Give-and-take and tolerance and being sensitive are all cool, but there's a limit to how much people can go adapt their behaviour against their natural inclinations. 

Likewise, if the interviewer curses and you take offense, it's an excellent indication to you that you should probably look elsewhere, and I think Sean would agree with that.  There's no point pretending that you're comfortable with something in an interview if it's going to make your skin crawl on a daily basis in the workplace if you actually get the job.

In that light, if you are serious about wanting to work in a place where you can sing the Lord's praises explicitly in every aspect of your job, you actually probably should mention that a few times in the interview, or you run the same risk as someone who doesn't check out the attitude towards colourful language carefully enough...

And as Sean pointed out - don't apologise.  Say what you mean.  If you want to explain that the documentation was reall sh*t, say exactly that.  (And yes, I realise the irony in the fact that I'm not writing it in full, but that's because I don't have complete control over who reads this.  Were I speaking in an environment where I deemed it appropriate, I would be necessarily explicit, though not gratuitously so).

That's enough from me.  Thanks for the great article, Sean, and I hope to read plenty more from you in the future.

 

Michael

 

PS - One final note on the use humour in the article:  If you make something funny, you're going to offend.  Guaranteed.  But the value of incuding humour in your post is that people will actually read all the way through the damn thing, rather than glossing over it, and you have half a chance of actually getting your message across (assuming you have one).

To wit - politicians are not funny, stand-up comedians are offensive.




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C8H10N4O2
Post #315827
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 6:07 AM
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Well said, Clinton!
Post #315845
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 7:45 AM


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Right on, Sean!  Finally somebody who gets it...  and isn't afraid to tell it (and possibly offend folks in the process)!

I work in an environment where everybody curses like a bunch of sailors, and I can honestly say I prefer this environment over the stuff-shirt (mainly religious-right staff dominated) team of DBAs I was on at my former job.  After deciding to leave that place, then going to a couple of interviews at companies with people just like the environment I was at...  then coming in here, sitting down in the interview and feeling so relaxed as I had more of a conversation than an interview with a couple of guys who recited every swear word in the book while describing what it would be like to work here...  SOLD!

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