Just Shelley


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

There are few things I dislike more than interviewing for new gigs, especially in a town where you don’t know the consulting companies, and don’t have contacts. However, my name has now been submitted for several longish contracts at some bigger companies and hopefully in the next week or two, I’ll get work.

(I’m not going to mention company names, even when I do get a new contract. Who I work for is between me and the company, and the consulting company that arranges the contract.)

Today, the employers rule, and it shows. It’s discouraging to go into an interview with several years of Java development experience (and references) as well as having worked on two Java books in 1996and being Sun Java Certified, only to have the consulting firm want to have you take a bench test in Java.

Luckily, the weblog doesn’t matter — none of the folks here have heard of weblogging. And most don’t care that I’ve written books on technology. In fact, I’m finding that technology and capability is less important than how you dress and your ‘attitude’, here. Perhaps the mid-western folks in the audience, especially those in the St. Louis area, will let me know if I’m off the mark on this. I truly hope I am.

The worst interview so far was Wednesday, last week. I was interviewing to be part of a team of consultants on a gig, and as soon as I walked through the door, I could tell the guy wasn’t interested. And it continued to show for an entire hour.

So, was my college a liberal arts college or an engineering college? He’d found that people who came from a liberal arts computer science program just didn’t have the proper background as true engineers. I found this question puzzling because I graduated from college in 1987, and most hirers could care less about college when you’ve been working for several years. However, my college was a liberal arts college. He then asked if it was any good.

How does one answer a question like that? My first reaction was to say, “Well, we didn’t have computers, so we got some cardboard boxes and painted switches on them and pretended to program them.” But I didn’t.

Amidst interruptions to take phone calls or talk to people in the hallway (without once apologizing — I guess this is another engineering thing, no politeness), he also asked about what I did before I went back to college since it was obvious that I wasn’t 18 twenty years ago. Well, now, that was fun.

Also, he informed me he would have more references from me since I’d been in so many jobs. I told him I was a consultant since 1994, and normally consultants don’t spend years at a job. Since I was interviewing for a contract, this discussion just didn’t make sense.

I have interviewed so many times in the past, I’ve lost count, but I’ve never interviewed with such an obvious asshole as this guy. When I finished, I went out to my car and just leaned my forehead against the stearing wheel for twenty minutes. What the heck am I doing here?

At least my cat likes me.

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