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Cover image for Please, stop trying to cheat an interview.

Please, stop trying to cheat an interview.

jorgecc profile image Jorge Castro ・3 min read

Usually, not always, but usually the interview is separate in 2 if not more parts.

The initial interview, that it's more than present the CV and nothing more in front of HR. HR does not know about technical concepts, neither they care about it. In fact, some HRs hate programmers. So the first part of the interview is easy to cheat.

The second interview, it's the technical interview and IT'S EASY (if you are not cheating). If you are aimed to be a Programmer JR. then the questions usually are easy and mistakes are allowed. Instead, if you are aimed at a seat of seasoned/expert, then the questions are hard (but easy for an expert). And you couldn't fool the interviewer.

What I had seen (in the technical interview).

People that remember a lot of questions by memory

and if I ask something different, they feel shocked if not angry because I shot a special question: "this question is not fair!". Truly, it is.

And I have seen a lot of pages, videos, and whatnot about "10 questions asked in an interview". They don't work!.

For example:

  • Q: What is the meaning of "Object"?.
  • A: Object is an instance of a class.
  • Q: Well, technically yes but what is the meaning of it? What is an instance for example?
  • A: Errm...

Diplomas and certification.

They count but they are not a free pass for the interview. I don't care if the candidate has a bachelor, or even a master or a Ph.D. and most companies are not caring about it.

Crying and telling me a history.

I have seen a lot of examples of it. People whining about their life, a sick child, feeding their family. I don't care. If they are not prepared, then it's their fault. Brown noses are not loved anymore too.

Fake experience.

We (technical interviewers) could smell a candidate with no experience a mile away.

And even if you pass the interview and you are hired ..

A few companies only do a simple interview with HR and it includes a generic exam and yes, some companies hire a mediocre programmer. But it's different to be hired than to keep working. So, even if the candidate is hired, there is no warranty to keep the job.

In my experience, I have seen candidates fired in the first week and some of them in the first or second month. Because you can't fool the team.

For example, a bad programmer will try to hide their inefficiency by:

  • Taking works that it does not involve programming such paperwork.
  • Adding comments to an existent code.
  • Trying to be kind and social but finally everybody found that you are phony.
  • Executing automatic tasks.
  • Asking for help for basic knowledge.
  • Waiting to be trained (for free) by the company.
  • Copy and Paste programmers (they could last for a bit longer but not for much).
  • Or they simply freeze. And it is sad.

Some people are sincere.

For example, if you ask an artist or a writer if he or she is good at programming, they could say "now, I suck at programming". And it is a reality, some people are bad programming but they admit it.

Let's say you are good at learning concepts by memory. So, how about to study system administration?.

However, it's really sick to see the insanely amount of "programmers" that try to enter the market by faking knowledge and experience.

Also, there are a lot of small businesses that hire mediocre IT (IT in general), they don't have much infrastructure but they need somebody to fix the computers, printers and such. Where? Find a small business, usually in a small city or town.

And some people are aggressive Passive

Aggressive-Passive= a nice way to say, they are aggressive.

  • Candidate: And who are you to decide who is fit for the job? (or who is mediocre)
  • Interviewer: It is my job.

Posted on by:

jorgecc profile

Jorge Castro

@jorgecc

You are free to believe in whatever you want to, me too. So, stop preaching your religion, politics, or belief. Do you have facts? Then I will listen. Do you have a personal belief? Sorry but no.

Discussion

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Sounds like you aren't a very good interviewer

 

Exactly, I am bad and that is a pre-requisite to be an interviewer.

The job of an interviewer is to hear lies (lots of lies) and it's hard to hear obvious lies while we should keep a poker face.

 

I've interviewed dozens of candidates. I don't agree that the job of an interviewer is to "hear lies"

While I've certainly had candidates overstate their experience on resumes, it's much better for everyone involved if (when you discover that they have less experience) you instead recommend ways that they could improve.

If I realize a candidate has less experience than we need, I very quickly transition the interview into a teaching exercise. I don't make them feel guilty for not knowing enough, but I recommend resources and teach some things by pair programming with them or drawing on a whiteboard.

Any candidate that I interview, even if I end up rejecting them for the job, should have a positive experience. If I rejected them, then I should also have helped them prepare for their next interview somewhere else. I'll often follow up with candidates I rejected and make sure they are going to do alright.

The result is that I've rejected candidates and they've come back a year later with more experience and knowledge and I've approved them.

If you're in location with a smaller developer community (i.e. Outside of the San Francisco Bay Area) it's going to be more important that you have good relationships with every developer you meet. Otherwise you're just shooting yourself in the foot, because people will talk. Junior developers will tell other junior developers that it's hard to interview at your company and recruiting will be that much more difficult.

As you become a more senior developer, it increasingly becomes your job to teach others. If you want a stronger team and a stronger community, you have to help them.

Any candidate that I interview, even if I end up rejecting them for the job, should have a positive experience. If I rejected them, then I should also have helped them prepare for their next interview somewhere else.

You should not give any feedback. It is not fair but you are protecting yourself and your company to be sued. It is the standard of the market.

you are protecting yourself and your company to be sued

This is not true in any of the countries I've interviewed people (US, AU, UK, DE, FR), maybe laws where you are are different, but "It is the standard of the market" is definitely not true.

Unless of course your "feedback" is discrimination based on gender/race/sexual orientation/religion/age/disability/etc, in which case it's not feedback... it's discrimination.

You should not give any feedback.

I can and I will.

 

"Asking for help for basic knowledge. "

I don't think this is sign of bad programmer - au contraire.

Nobody can know everything, even if you are master in JavaEE programming still you will need basic help. You can not know every framework, environment and IDE in world. You are used to work with different tools, security policies even operating systems - many people use Mac but then they have to work with Windows 10 or Linux.

The really good indicators for good programmer are those:

  • good analytical skills, punctuality
  • willingness to learn, asking questions
  • passion for programing
  • knowledge of algorithms, architectural patterns, basic networking, security and related technologies for the job and mostly:
  • skill to get things done
 

But not the basic.

If a developer is not able to find it out the basics by himself or herself, then his future will not be so bright.

Also, when a company hires somebody, it hires somebody with at least the basic knowledge and usually, the candidate swore that he knew it. How this developer passed the technical interview? 🤷

In any case, I also know a lot of crappy companies that hire anybody just to fill a seat, no matter if the developer is useless or not. Why? Some companies are rotted from the root, for example, executives that earn bonuses no matter if the project is useless or never delivered.