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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).38
note: Not the worst dev I've interviewed but worst I've worked with.
A guy who worked in my company before me "HARDCODED" the entire calendar for next 10 years starting 2016 in dictionaries and arrays in Python for a project.12
"Can you give an example of a work-based conflict you were involved in, and how you went about resolving it?"
"Heh, ohhhh yes. Last job actually. Manager flipped out at me for the billionth time for no reason at all. I calmly handed my notice in, changed a bunch of encryption keys and disabled a bunch of users on the server before leaving and never looking back."
"Absolutely. I'm very forward-looking."
Still no idea if the guy just decided to turn up to the interview to waste our time, or he really was stupid enough to think that was a positive.13
The last two frontend devs I interviewed.
He had 15 some years of experience, but couldn't answer our most basic of technical questions, we stopped asking after the first couple.
Based on a technical test I got the impression that he couldn't distinguish between backend and frontend.
Which lead him to talk about arrays. I shit you not he droned on about arrays for five minutes.
"I have experience using big array, small arrays, breaking big arrays into littler arrays and putting arrays inside other arrays."
Never been in an interview situation where I've had to hold back laughter before. We refer to him as the array expert.
His technical knowledge was lacking, and he was nervous, so he just waffled. I managed to ease his nerves and the interview wasn't terrible after that, but he wasn't what we were looking for.
This was a phone interview.
It started off OK he was clearly walking somewhere and was half preoccupied. Turns out he was on his way back from the shop after buying rolling papers (we'd heard him in the shop asking for Rizla), and he was preoccupied with rolling a joint.
We started asking some basic technical questions at which point he faked that he'd seen a fight in the street.
We then called him back five minutes later you could hear him smoking "ah, that's better". After that the interview was OK, not what we were looking for, but not bad.
Top tip: If you require a joint to get through a phone interview, roll and smoke it before hand.16
So the job was for a web developer, specifically.
We needed a person who was very confident with PHP, JS, HTML, CSS.
This dude comes in, he says he's confident with all of them, we ask him how he would solve a problem we're having and he answers just like we answered the first time. Which is a good start.
By the end of the interview, he just says: "ok, but like I'm not here to work as a developer"
"WTF are you even here for, then?"
"To work on anything else than that"
"But we just need that"
"I won't do it"
"Ok, then, bye"10
I have a bunch of contesters fort the worst interview.
#1 The Dishonest Ignorant
Me: *asks question*
Me: It's okay to say that you don't know.
#1: *continues to ramble on without making sense*
Me: Well, okay. That is all. I don't think that this will be a fit.
#2 The fraud
Me: How would you rate your knowledge in object orientated programming?
#2: Very advanced! I am an expert!
Me: Can you state the difference of an interface and an abstract class?
#2: *surprised pikachu-face* Well not that advanced!
#3 The trickster
During a skype call (without video):
Me: *asks question*
#3: *keyboard sounds aclacking*
Me: Are you googling?
#3: No *click clack click a clack* ... and to answer your question: *starts reading from the first search results*
The real bummer is, that in all of these cases, just saying "I don't know" would have been fine. (The "expert" OOP-guy would still have some explaining to do.)
It's not like that our interview process resolves around trick questions or that you'd get kicked out for getting one answer wrong. Though how can I trust somebody not to lie to me on a daily basis if they fake their interview?
We keep the interview relatively basic and rely on real-word coding exercise anyway and it helps us to get an idea on where we would gain support from them and where we need to support them.
As a developer you spend a lot of time learning new stuff anyways.
It blows my mind.39
Nearing the end of my internship I got to sit in with a few interviews for new interns. We asked them in advance to take some of their code with them if possible.
So this guy walks in a suit and with briefcase puts his briefcase on the table and takes out a few laminated A4 printouts. That was his code. He didn't want to take a USB or laptop because he might be hacked by the company.
The whole interview only took 4 minutes from the moment he walked in.7
A very experienced PM/WebDev came to us. His resume was fantastic but a bit strange. He wrote he had been working for 15 years but his experience in C# was 18 years. Though I was sceptical about this guy, others expected him to be a .NET guru. So, the interview began. The candidate described his brilliant career, then he said he wanted to move forward as a programmer and work with the newest technologies. It wasn't easy to ask him basic questions but they were in the list, so we needed to start with questions for juniors. I asked him to tell us about value types and reference types, and the answer was: about what? I repeated the question, and he said he didn't know about such complex things. I knew his resume was strange but I was disappointed. It turned out that our candidate didn't know C# at all.7
Dev from MIT argued about every. Single. Thing. I said. I'm not talking language or cultural or political barrier, I'm talking about just a naturally confrontational person. Maybe it was just his nerves (people do weird shit when they are nervous), but damn if i didnt want to throw him out after "agreeing to disagree" for the 4th time in 10 minutes.7
A couple of goodies here:
1 - The guy that said 'I prefer to work remote so noone can bother me. I will never answer my phone if you try to call me, and emails will only be read the second I arrive at work and never again. Do not disturb me at all. I decided not to bother him again with another interview request.
2- I personally interviewed at a gaming company in Dundee, Scotland and they wanted me to create a JS application, on video call to them, on Google Docs, and that they had set aside 3 hours for this whilst they watched me and ate lunch. I apologised, said that was the most absurd thing I've ever heard of, and cancelled the interview and hung up without saying bye.
How the fuck can any sort of developer think that's okay to try to make people do?
Well I've been at a new company for the last 6 months now, and I've just discovered that job is still being advertised.4
Dude claimed that he had good practise of DS and problem solving.
My senior gave him a tough one to solve. Couldn't. Started shouting in between the interview that we tricked him with wrong question. Senior sat him down, told him how it was a right question. Dude got pissed. Stormed out of our office. Posted a review on Glassdoor calling our interview process rubbish and unnecessarily difficult.
Interviewee was googling the answers to the technical questions on a Skype interview. Their CV said they had 2 years experience.
Us: "How does X work?"
Them: "Uhh...what's X?"
[clack clack clack of interviewees keyboard]
Them: "Oh.....X! [reads verbatim from the tutorial]"
We had some fun asking ridiculous questions for a while, seeing how big a hole they could dig for themselves. Once we got bored of making fun of them we ended the interview early. Much less awkward on Skype than IRL.7
I was just a junior developer, and the senior interviewer had just left for a quick break.
And, I had to interview one dude for the post of Web Designer (we were not asking for experienced devs). And, then he comes up, opens his laptop, goes to a folder and opens an html file that turns out nothing but a "Save Page as.." of one News Website. Seriously, I just said nothing, asked him a bunch of questions and off he goes. I could not stop laughing later.3
Once I was told to interview a junior dev. It was my first ever interview from the side of employer, so I hope this story will never appear here told by my vis a vis. Ok, to the subject. Position of jun iOS dev. It was so long time ago, the manual reference counting was the only option on a platform. And I ask her, to describe how the manual ref counting actually working. She cannot answer this. I try to split the theme in to a pieces and ask more precise questions, about this or that situation, what should happen, or at least how she thinks it may work. She cannot answer this as well. Technically for me it was the end of interview, but I cannot give up on her that easy so I ask her to tell me what she is doing on her current position and we had spoke for another 15 min. TLDR she has failed.
Next year, another company, interview for the same position, the same people on the scene. So, I remember her, she remembers me. We both know the question I will ask. TLDR she has failed on the very same question.
Oh god knows how bad I feel after rejecting her second time. But I was little more experienced with the interviews and I was sure this question should not be a problem to those who have little experience on a platform.
Several years has passed. Another company. I’m about to jump to the next company and project managers are doing their best to fill the position with ANYONE as it’s a big fight for developers at the moment. So they have found a junior inside the company who wants to try. And SAME PEOPLE on the scene. Same question on a table. And some other questions, and more. So she’s got that job.
After many years I can say she could have a job from the first time if only I try to question her about other sides of day to day code writing. It was just me - not very experienced interviewer and not very experienced mid developer. I only hope she is not hating me a lot.6
“You want to know the answer to that” is the answer I got to my question about a piece of code...
I guess he thought he’s too good for the job.
The dude had decent amount of knowledge but was arrogant as fuck.
Every time I asked him a question he would react as if I was making him work without pay that too on a Sunday (it wasn’t)
P.S. fucker got rejected2
The worst dev I’ve interviewed is the only dev I’ve interviewed.. Which is probably one of the best colleagues I’ve ever worked with, and a really good dev.2
Had to interview an iOS dev.
When I asked what was better - xib/nib or storyboard? He told me He prefers to write custom c++....
Not the worst dev I've interviewed but the worst dev I've worked with.
Proposed a lot of stuff for our school project and said repeatedly he'd do his part. When the proposal was accepted, he was hard to contact and left me to do a majority of the work. Gave him a terrible review when it came to evaluations.
Every Apache Tool be like:-
Use me today, I will get update tomorrow and day after tomorrow I will have new tool out of me that you would love to use