275

Worst dev I've interviewed?

"Archie" ran his own consulting business for almost 20 years. Prior to his interview, Archie sent HR (to send to us) his company's website, where he had samples of code for us to review (which was not bad, this guy did know his stuff).
What I found odd was Archie was the lone wolf at his company, but everything I found about him (the about page, his bio, etc), Archie was referred to as 'Mr. Archie Brown'.
Ex. 'Mr. Archie Brown began his humble career and 'Mr. Archie Brown is active in his church and volunteers his time in many charities ...'
Odd to refer to yourself in the third person on your own site, but OK, I like putting hot sauce on my mac & cheese (no judgement here).

Then the interview..standard stuff, then..
Me: "Given your experience, this is an entry level developer position. Do you feel the work would be challenging enough for you?"
Archie: "Yes, Mr. Archie Brown would have no problem starting at bottom. You see ..."

Almost any time he would reference himself, instead of 'me' or 'I', he would say 'Mr. Archie Brown'. As the interview continued, the ego and self-importance grew and grew.
My interview partner wanted to be done by using the escape clause, "PaperTrail, I'm good, do you have any questions?"

Yes, yes I do. I was having too much fun listening to this guy ramble on about himself. I made the interview go the full hour with the majority of time 'Archie' telling us how great he is.

The icing on the cake was my partner caught his gold cuff-links and tie-pin where his initials and how he kept raising his hands and playing with his tie to show us (which I totally missed, then was like "oh yea, that was weird")

After the interview, talking with HR:
HR-Jake: "How did it go?"
John: "Terrible. One of the worst. We would have been done in 10 minutes if PaperTrail didn't keep asking questions."
Me: "Are you kidding!? I had the best time ever. I wish I could have stayed longer."
HR-Jake: "Really? This guy was so full of himself I wasn't sure to even schedule with you guys. With his experience, I thought it deserved at least a round with you two. You think we should give him a chance?"
Me: "Hell no. Never in a million years, no. I never in my whole life met anyone with such a big ego. I mean, he kept referring to himself in the third person. Who does that?"
HR-Jake: "Whew!...yea, he did that in the phone interview too. It was a red flag for us as well."

Couple of weeks later I ran into HR-Jake in the break room.
HR-Jake: "Remember Mr. Archie Brown?"
Me: "To my dying day, I will never forget Mr. Archie Brown."
HR-Jake: "I called him later that day to tell him the good news and he accused me of being a racist. If we didn't give him the job, he was getting a lawyer and sue us for discrimination."
Me: "What the frack!"
HR-Jake: "Yep, and guess what? Got a letter from his lawyer today. I don't think a case will come in front of a judge, but if you have any notes from the interview, I'll need them."
Me: "What are we going to do?"
HR-Jake: "Play the waiting game between lawyers. We're pretty sure he'll run out of money before we do."

After about 6 months, and a theft conviction (that story made the local paper), Mr. Archie Brooks dropped his case (or his lawyers did).

Comments
  • 40
    I can't say it otherwise: that was fucking great.
  • 19
    I don't find calling himself Mr. Archie Brown or Mr. Fucktard any annoying at all nor his super fucking ego or boasting behavior. It is not uncommon at all these days

    But that idea of suing an employer for rejecting him was outrageous. Only a useless pathetic developer (or a Human) would do that. All he needed to do was ask more questions to understand what went wrong. If the HR goes vague (and they definitely do), you DEMAND for an answer as you spent your time and effort to attend their interviews. But it stops right there. Suing somebody for such things is like Oracle suing Google for Android source code
  • 4
    Lmao this was hilarious thank you for sharing
  • 10
    @asgs

    Funny or sad, we weren't the only company Archie attempted to sue because they didn't hire him.

    I had some theories. Ego aside, Archie was smart, really smart and always the 'center of attention' of his company (clients went to him, not the other way around). The idea of having to prove himself to anyone was below his level. I suspect Archie assumed companies would swoom over his experience and credentials and they didn't.
  • 6
    Great story! Was a very pleasure to read.

    One thing bothers me, though: Even if the lawsuit was a total bullshit, he did not lose because of that fact but because he "run out of money" before a big company did. Imagine this would have been the other way around, a fooled man had never got his rights only because he had not have enough money in his pockets.
  • 2
    > But that idea of suing an employer for

    > rejecting him was outrageous.

    In some countries its an epidemic situation these days.
  • 2
    > All he needed to do was ask more

    > questions to understand what went wrong.

    What if they reason they didn't hire him was a racist one ?

    A company is hardly to admit to that one. :-)
  • 1
    @PaperTrail

    > "Hell no. Never in a million years, no. I never

    > in my whole life met anyone with such

    > a big ego.

    I have one of those. :-)

    Being that getting feedback is very difficult, can I ask, what is wrong with having a big ego ?

    I'm really interested to understand why if they was good at their job, they wasn't hired.

    Assuming of course, it wasn't a race reason !

    Like, if someone of a different race with the same ego issue applied, they wouldn't get the job either ?
  • 1
    Archie Brown...aka....Aryan Brotherhood
  • 1
    @swablu

    You learn something new every day, I had no idea about the connection there.

    Googling these two terms brings up nothing:

    "Archie Brown" "Aryan Brotherhood"

    Does anyone have a link about the historical connection between the two ?

    Makes me wonder what other terms I'm completely unaware of.
  • 2
    @Nanos the answers you seek lies here in this link...

    http://archiecomics.com
  • 2
    .
    (waiting to see answers to @Nanos 's questions)
  • 1
    @swablu

    Thanks, but having visited and looked around there, I'm still lost to the connection !
  • 1
    The last one who referred to himself in third person was Julius Cesar 😂😂
  • 2
    @dmonkey no it was javascript 🧐
  • 8
    @Nanos Individuals with big egos tend not to be team players. Its OK to have an ego (we all do), but it is important to know when to put your ego aside for the team and bigger picture.

    With 'Archie', I knew immediately he cared more about being the center of attention than being part of a team.

    My interview methodology and criteria are simple.

    Is this individual smart? Are they willing to learn?

    Is this individual a team player?

    Does this individual have a passion to serve people?

    'Yes' to those questions, I could care less about what languages you know, skin color, gender, tattoos, political affiliation, whatever.
  • 0
    @swablu <scratches head>

    I don't know what that means.
  • 2
    @Nanos

    I'm 100% sure nobody cares, at least in the IT department.

    Weird part is our HR actively attempts to recruit diverse individuals (race, ethnicity, whatever). We keep failing because other companies snag them up first. Apparently it's more 'hip' for the youngsters to work for Google, Microsoft, and Amazon than a company few have heard of in the middle of the midwest.
  • 0
    @PaperTrail

    > Is this individual a team player?

    I reckon is a really important question, as such, how do you tell ?

    Other than, having a feeling about it.

    Or maybe someone else can offer some insight into that area of staff hiring, as in the past I've found it very hard to figure out in advance if someone is a team player or not.

    The only test I'm aware of, is some kind of team game.

    I am reminded though of my own experience there, where our team won with me as leader, running a dictatorial management style with me ordering everyone else to do task X and Y, including one person who I ordered to sit in the corner and do nothing as they had no useful skills for the task.

    The other team spent half their time voting on who was going to do what task..

    I put myself forward as leader with no objections.

    So, was I a team player, or not ?
  • 3
    @Nanos I agree, determining who is a 'team player' is a soft skill. I don't want be on a team of robots (afraid to move without being told exactly what to do) and having individuals who can also think for themselves is a huge benefit for any/all teams.

    My 'BS Meter' goes off when a so-called leader starts bragging about how his/her team won (successful deployment, etc) solely because their 'leadership' and/or thinks shouting/bullying is leadership. Our best leaders in our department have/had military backgrounds. They live the motto 'You give all the glory, take all the blame.'

    When the team wins, its because of the team (a leader praises his team, not him/herself).

    If they lose, its because of the leader.

    That's it. I take PayPal.
  • 0
    @PaperTrail

    > solely because their 'leadership'

    But that can be true though !

    I'm reminded of a corporation I started and ran well, eventually giving it to the workers to run themselves.

    But instead of them keeping up with the carefully worked out work schedules, they slid back to their old ways of doing things before I appeared on the scene.

    As such, productivity fell markedly and they all earned 1/10th of what they did when I was in charge, for the same number of working hours !

    Surely in that example, it was soley due to my leadership !

    Thus I can quite imagine a teams success could well depend on a good leader.

    Over the years I've seen many teams that could in my view succeed, if only they had a better more capable leader. (The leaders main fault was not listening to those in the team !)
  • 0
    I sometimes have this argument with other bosses / managers on what it actually means to lead, be in charge.

    As I see it, the leaders job is in essence is to problem solve issues the team has to get the job done.

    Often this involves the other team members having a problem that either you have to solve, or you have to implement the teams offered solution.

    Where as other bosses / managers tell me I'm wrong and I should be telling them what to do all the time, based on what I think is the best solution.

    I think, well, that is kinda what you do, but you have to listen to your workers, their suggestions, and they often know the job better than you, unless you have learned from the ground up.
  • 0
    > Our best leaders in our department

    > have/had military backgrounds.

    Now that is interesting.

    I'm reminded how folk would often say they thought I had been in the military. :-)

    How would they lead any different to the leader who didn't get the job ?

    I'm pondering that its just because the person was pushy about their abilities, rather than humble that rubbed people up the wrong way.

    I see the same thing if I'm in a discussion about something and mention I'm good at X or Y, some people get very hateful then towards me.

    But if I see someone else say that, I don't get hateful, I just think, well that is useful to know.

    So I'm still wondering, was the best decision made there, or is there more to the decision process that you might be unaware of. (eg. subconscious bias.)

    I notice this for example between lower class folk hating upperclass folk.
  • 1
    > thinks shouting/bullying is leadership.

    How do you get folk to do things unless you sometimes need to shout at them ?

    See, I'm not really a shouty person, and I wonder if not being like that is why sometimes no one takes notice of me !

    Eg. what are the secrets to being a successful leader ?

    So far, I've only found being a good leader works when I've got a good team !

    What do you do the rest of the time.. ?
  • 0
    I guess my next question is, do I sound enough like 'Archie' that I wouldn't get the job ?

    This advice would be super helpful in any future job interviews I might have !
  • 2
    @Nanos

    "Surely in that example, it was soley due to my leadership !"

    In some leadership circles, that would be seen as a colossal failure. If the company requires you're constant presence to succeed, then its your fault for not making yourself replaceable.

    Any of your senior leaders should have been able to step into your role and the team succeed. When you left and the company failed, the failure is on you, not the team.

    Our CEO and senior leaders *constantly* blather on about this. Everyone of them groom and coach their senior leaders (and the leaders below them) to reduce/eliminate the 'bus factor' (would the company go under if 'Bill' gets hit by a bus?). This mentality virtually eliminates 'heroes within the company.
  • 1
    @Nanos

    >Now that is interesting.

    >I'm reminded how folk would often say they >thought I had been in the military. :-)

    These guys take what they liked about the military discipline and discard what they hated.

    For example, they embrace/live the 'decentralized command' mindset and attempt to push their leadership up the chain of command.

    This is also something new for us (grown over the past 3 years or so). Its not like we've been managing like this for 20 years.
  • 2
    @Nanos

    >I guess my next question is, do I sound enough like 'Archie' that I wouldn't get the job ?

    >This advice would be super helpful in any future job interviews I might have !

    Sure. I don't think anyone could go wrong with "I'm not looking for a job, I'm here to work."

    Come in with a "I'm here to serve" attitude (and actually able to execute that), at least at this company, you can go far. Our new-ish dept. mgr has that mindset and he's being groomed for taking over as VP (when/if he retires or gets hit by a bus)

    Come in with a "I'm here to chew bubble gum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum" attitude *might* get you in the door (we've still got a few of those), but you'll never make it past sub-middle mgmt.
  • 0
    > Everyone of them groom and coach their

    > senior leaders (and the leaders below them)

    > to reduce/eliminate the 'bus factor'

    FX [ Nods in total agreement. ]

    Where I am sadly, our grooming and coach methods are so out of wack with what is needed, that we mostly train up people to be complete idiots.
  • 0
    > If the company requires you're

    > constant presence to succeed, then

    > its your fault for not making yourself

    > replaceable.

    One of the difficulties with that solution is finding staff good enough to be trained up.

    With an ever increasing global shortage of such people, I ponder the only solution is to keep offering higher and higher wages to attract such folk.

    Which make it more difficult to make a profit !

    So far from my limited experiments in just offering more money, this did not appear to make any difference in attracting suitable employees, even when offering salaries 500% average !

    Does it have to be 1,000% ?

    Or do such people simple not exist ?

    I can't tell.

    This makes business start ups particularly difficult, as you end up doing everything yourself because you can't find affordable talent.
  • 0
    After a bit of digesting there, the management style reminds me of McDonalds, eg. you design the process to build the product to be handled by Joe Average.

    I can see the logic for long term stability.
  • 0
    "Never to my dying day will I forget Mr. Archie Brown"
    Me neither. I too will no longer forget about Mr Archie Brown until the day I die.

    Also him trying to sue is a little over the top.
  • 0
    Not racist you dont do the jobs ending !
  • 0
    I would be irritated to find out a colleague spent an hour with someone they knew we wouldn't hire.

    Is his name Brown or Brooks?

    Either way, fuck that guy. Good read
  • 0
    @LoyalRayne

    The names were changed to protect the innocent. Meant to type 'Brown' and I was talking to our dev Brooks. I didn't realize my screw up until the next day (too late to fix).
  • 1
    Flaming Hot Cheetos + Mac n Cheese

    Your welcome.
  • 0
    @PaperTrail This military motto is really great
  • 0
    ... The fuck?
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