IT Employment

What do you do when an interviewer is a jerk?


In my last blog, I gave some do's and don'ts for interviewing. That was a list of things you, as the interviewee, have some control over.

But what do you do when the person conducting the interview is a jerk? Case in point: A few years ago, I applied for a job with a small, local college. I was scheduled for a three-part interview over the course of three days. First, I met with a group of folks I would be working with indirectly; second, with a group that I would be working with on a day-to-day basis; and third, with the guy who would be my boss.

The first two interviews went well. I felt a rapport with those folks and came out of the interviews feeling confident.

Then I met the big guy. His title was Vice Chancellor of something or other. He had me wait quite awhile outside his office. (During that time, one of the guys from the previous interviews came past, gave me the thumbs up gesture and said, "We're pulling for you!")

Then VC guy's secretary came out to get me to escort me the 3.2 feet into his office. Of course, he was on the phone and I sat there for a few minutes before he hung up and acknowledged me. We shook hands, and the first words out of his mouth were, "So, what do you know about me?"

Now, I had done my homework. I knew the enrollment size of the school, what the department goals were, and the public relations programs they were running. I even knew what role this guy played. But did I know anything about him in particular? No. Could I have? No. I learned later that the Vice Chancellor title was doled out just about everywhere on that campus. There was probably even a Vice Chancellor in charge of Vending Machines.

In answer to his question, I kind of stumbled around reiterating what I knew of his job role. He interrupted me with a discourse about where he went to school, what he did before he got there, and how his wife was one of the leading realtors in the area, and even the kind of car he drove. And, of course, during all this he was adopting the arrogant, leaned-back-in-chair-with-hands-behind-the-head power pose.

When we finally got around to my qualifications, he acted bored and distracted.

Before I walked into his office, I wanted that job with a passion. But in the course of a few minutes I knew I could not take it if it were offered to me. I can handle a lot of quirks in people. And I even like eccentricities. But it is not physically or emotionally possible for me to indulge an undeservedly inflated ego like the one this man was nurturing. And I knew pretty quickly that that's what the job would entail. Life is just too short.

I mustered every inch of tact I had to get through the interview but I'm pretty sure that, while my words were polite, my body language was saying, "I hope you lose all your money in a bad investment and that your wife leaves you for the pool boy."

Do you have any jerk-interviewer stories to share?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

94 comments
jksawdon
jksawdon

My worst interview was when I was moving from a administrative assistant position to a more IT position. When I went for the interview the second person was late; but the first person wasn't and we talked and she went over the information of what I would do and everything was going well between the two of us. Then the man walked in and we started going over the same information, which was okay. Except all of a sudden the salary went down $5.00/hour; the hours went up to 12 hours a day and the duties were more of an admin than the IT position. I clarified with him that we were talking about the same position. He assured me we were and that he had changed his mind about everything (which from the look of the woman was a real surprise), he then challenged me as to why it took me 4 years to get my degree as I clearly had enough credits in 3 years. I explained that in order to get the CIS degree I had to have certain courses and that caused the amount of credits to go up. He kept saying that I should have gotten my degree in 3 years instead of 4 years. At first, I thought maybe he was testing me to see if I could put up with an irate end user who would argue with me. However, after he told me the pay was dropping $5.00/hr., I stood up and thanked him for the interview. He couldn't believe that I wasn't still interested in the position. I told him that it was obvious he didn't want me for the position and that my wanting or not wanting the position had nothing to do with anything and I saw no reason to waste my time while he had fun playing games. Yes, intereviews do have game playing. Yes, they have testing of strengths and to see if you can put up with irate end users. But to blatently degrade everything the interviewee says and then change the job is a waste of everyone's time. I must say the woman did apologize to me about the interview and said she had no idea what was going on with him. Interestingly enough, a year later I received a call from the guy who saw my resume online and he really wanted to have me come in for an interview as I sounded just what they wanted. I politely told him I was not interested and when he pushed I told him that I did not want to work for anyone who behaved the way he did when I interviewed the previous time. His response was an "Oh...." and I hung up. You don't have to take rude people or people who waste your time in an interview unless you are so desperate for anything that you don't care how you are treated.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

sort of intellectual bigot. Back in the 1980s I moved from private enterprise to the public service. A few years into my new career and I was still near the bottom of the ladder - level 2, and had applied for a job at level 5 because the division head there had asked me to. In fact there were six jobs going at that level in that same branch, all newly created and to do with the support of a new piece of software the department had purchased and was deploying broadly across the department. At the time all my qualifications were from the school of hard knocks and actual field experience. In the interview for the first job the new branch head, a woman was very short and very controlling of the other two people on the panel. A few days later I was told I didn't get the job. A few days later the interviews for the second job were on with the same head of the panel. Shortly into the interview she asked 'What makes you think a newly appointed level 2 can do the work of a level 5, and you don't even have a tertiary qualification of any sort? How can you possibly understand the work at this level, and since we're the only government group to use this software, what makes you think you can work with it?" I stopped short and looked at her, stunned at her attitude. I replied "I gather there's nothing I can say to convince you that i can dot his work, is there?" She responded, "No, there's no way anyone without a tertiary qualification can do work at this level or deal with this software withou extensive expereience. And since you haven't worked in this section, you can't have any experience." Shaking my head, I wrote a note withdrawing my application and all my applications to work in that area. I also wrote a note to the division head saying that I could never work in that branch with that woman and why, in detail. I handed over the first note, and she smiled smugly as she took it. I then said "When you show that note to Mr X, your division head, you might wish to explain why I'm withdrawing after he specifically asked me to apply. You may even take the time to read my actual application, which you clearly have failed to do yet. As it would have made you aware of the fact that I've previously worked at level 7 in private enterprise and I head up the team, and part wrote the software you're using. In fact I'm the only person in country at the moment who knows enough about it to make major changes to the base code. have a bad day, goodbye." She kind of lost her smile after that. I never did work in that division, but did get some very well paid contract work to make some changes to the software a few months later. That work came from the division head's boss. After that incident I came across a lot of people in the Aust Public Service who had uni degrees and the majority felt you couldn't work at or above level 5 without a uni degree of some sort. Everyone who had this attitude had gone straight from high school to uni and into the public service. Those with uni degrees that worked between high school and uni or between uni and the public service didn't share that attitude.

mdhealy
mdhealy

About 40 years ago my father was interviewed by a Department Chairman (this was an academic faculty post) who was so rude that about 10 minutes into the interview Dad decided, "even if they offer me a job, I would not accept it." From this he quickly concluded that he no longer had any reason to take this guy's abuse, so he politely but clearly told the guy how it felt to be treated this way. Many years later, Dad happened to run into a guy who had been a junior faculty member at the time of this interview, who said, "you know, some of us still remember you for standing up to that old dragon!" I've been fortunate, in that I can't recall any really awful job interviews -- though since I've only had a few "real jobs" (not counting stuff like temp jobs during my student days) my experience as a candidate is rather limited. I've been with my current employers for almost 10 years, and in that time have been among those interviewing a number of prospective employees -- I do hope *I* have been a reasonably decent interviewer to these folks!!!

echtej
echtej

I have only read a couple of the posts, but I don't understand some of the attitude. So what if an interviewer keeps you waiting a little bit, or if they don't seem too interested in your answers. Maybe they have already made up their mind they want you, and are just going through the motions to get to the point they can give you an offer. I always thought you do what you have to to get the offer, THEN decide if you want the job.

mikifin
mikifin

Just about any interview at Microsoft fits that category. I worked there for a brief time and couldn't stomach the way they do business. About any personal slight that can be seen can be seen in the ranks of Microsoft employees. For all the flash and glitter there is a very dark underside to that company and I would advise people work there only as a resume builder and leave as quickly as possible. That's what I did.

jedmundson
jedmundson

I interviewed with the state once. Was told to help the interviewer's secretary with a problem while I waited for the interview. After a few minutes with the interviewer, I told him that we were wasting each other's time, said goodbye, shook his hand, and left. Still don't regret doing it.

Lando56
Lando56

I took extra time, paid for a motel (I was a ways away from my abode at that time), waited for the interview which was for an e-commerce webmaster. Those of you that have been heavily exposed to that area (12 years in e- commerce biz myself) know it's not exactly easy. This 'interviewer' ame by, was very nice, chatted basically small talk for a minute or two, then asked me to fill out an 'application', which I wasn't surprised of course. The 'application' was a 'personality' test!! NOTHING about the position (IT may as well had been the word 'it' in capital letters), and after words, thanked me and said something, not too sure since steam was rushing out my ears.

george.mattson
george.mattson

Prior to entering the IT field, I applied for a job as an admin assistant at a printing company. First, Dana, the owner of the company (a small shop with perhaps half a dozen employees) took three hours to conduct the "interview," as we were in the middle of the office with work going on around us that he continued to do. He'd take calls, have me wait for 10-15 minutes while he walked to the back of the shop to take care of some printing job, or simply talk with other employees doing their daily work. I also didn't get any of the questions I would have normally expected (typing speed, what programs do you know how to use, what kind of experience?), but some truly off the wall stuff. Why are you applying for a job in a woman's field, when you're a guy? "We all know that men are superior to women, of course, and smarter, but women make better admin assistants." At one point (prior to the sexist comments), Dana even gave me an IQ test. Not one question or test about my qualifications for the job or my work experience, other than a generic IQ test he printed off the Internet. I managed to make it through the entire interview without saying what I really wanted to say, but decided this was absolutely not an offer I was going to accept, and when he called the next day to offer it to me, I politely declined, lying that I'd accepted a job offer elsewhere. He actually questioned whether I did get one that quickly, but after some argument finally accepted and said that they'd go ahead and hire another candidate; a woman that scored just as high as I did on the IQ test but who he knew wasn't as smart (of course). But wait - this gets better. About a month later, I was still looking for work when Dana called back to say that the woman hadn't worked out and was I interested in the position? When I was initially reluctant, he asked if he could buy me dinner to discuss it with me. Now as an admin assistant, I'd never had anyone offer to buy me dinner to offer me a job, so I figured what the heck, at least I'd get a free meal. So I went. His main question; what would get me to take the job? I added $10, 0000 to the initial offer, a number I thought would be absolutely ridiculous, but he took it so I took the job, and that's when I found out why he was willing to pay so much, why the other candidate hadn't lasted, and why he'd been through nine assistants in the past six months. Turns out the job didn't involve any kind of database work or even any admin work; rather, it was nothing more than enabling his obsessive-compulsive disorder. My only task was going through a three-ring binder he had and ensuring that everything in the place met the "standards;" things like; the stapler had to be in the upper left-hand corner of the desk (as viewed from the seat), pointed at an exact 90 degree angle perpendicular to the worker. Rolls of tape with less than half the tape remaining (to be measured as less than 1/4 inch, if the person doing the task was in doubt) were to be thrown out and replaced (and there was to be a ruler in the top right-hand drawer of the desk, one inch from the left side, with the numbers facing so they would be readable to the worker for just that purpose), etc. The list was something like six pages long, single-spaced, in small print. I had to drive, too, as he wanted the place to "look busy" with cars in the parking lot in case clients came over. Of course, there were only four spaces and with my car there were none left, so I'm not sure where the clients would actually park. Oh, and of course, I had to be there by 6am and stay until 10pm. I had mentioned in the interview that I was a bit of a workaholic, but what I had meant was that I was a workaholic when there was actual work to do. I didn't want to sit around the office for 16 hours a day for the sole purpose of just being there and occasionally turning a toilet paper roll over to be compliant with "Emily Post" (he had a "standard" for that, too; TP over the roll, instead of under). Four days and 57 hours later, and I couldn't take it anymore and gave my notice, effective immediately. When he asked why (and kept prying for more details, over and over), I tried to be nice and say that it just didn't work out, then said that I didn't think I was the person they were looking for, that I wasn't compatible with the job, etc. Anything to refrain from telling the truth, but after ten minutes of pressing and arguing with me, I finally told him I couldn't deal with him on a personal level, that his obsessive need for control was driving me absolutely crazy, and that sticking around for 16 hours to do 15 minutes work of work was not what I wanted to do with my life.

pj.rouse
pj.rouse

I can mirror the example here. Having been given the opportunity to expand my carer elsewhere, ( or being made redundant at 57 years old) one of the positions for which I appled responded with the offer of an interview. I duly arrived, was ushered into the reception area for the department to be told that the interviewer was absent, and his deputy would see me. OK not a problem. Except, as I walked in the door, before introducing himself or inviting me to sit, the opening comment was "I didn't realise you were that old" The interview went somewhat downhill from there, lasted approximately 3 minutes. The outcome was I had a call from the main man two days later, apologising for his absence due to a death in the family and would I like to come for the replacement interview the following day! I explained why I wouldn't, a) want to come, to work for a company that employed jerks, b) and was no longer interested. I did go at his insistance, I had an apology, I was offerd a post, which I declined, and the jerk joined me in looking for alternative employment. Peter

pikeman666
pikeman666

During an extended period of unemployment when I must have gone through dozens of interviews it finally got to the point that I was able to recognize when my time was beind wasted. Despite near desperation for a position, a few times I found myself just walking out. Said "excuse me" and simply walked out the door.

jruby
jruby

In one case I went through, it wasn't exactly the interviewers that were the problem, it was the process - did you ever have to take an IQ test as part of the job selection process? One small company I interviewed for did have potential employees sit down and take a short IQ test before proceeding to negotiations. Although I scored very well on their test (proving IQ tests don't really measure intelligence!), I took the job anyway (re-enforcing that IQ tests don't really measure intelligence!).

tclark
tclark

I got one for you all. The whole "experience" started when I arrived early to fill out any application or paperwork they may need me to fill out. I was greeted with a less than enthusiastic receptionist who seemed like I was really putting her out to get an app to fill out. After filling out the app and having it basically snatched from my hand. I was told to take a seat the people interviewing me would be out when they get a chance...when they get a chance? I sat for 45 MINUTES! and was finally greeted by the CIO and "Lead Programmer" of the company. The CIO seemed like a nice person. The "Lead Programmer" acted as if I was there to replace him. The interview was brutal. Questions that had nothing to do with the job, a suprise test and just to top off the sundae with a cherry another dose of attitude from the interviewers...apparently I was wasting their time. After the test the "Lead Programmer" called me into his office where he went over the results. He gave the impression that he was very disappointed in me and that I shouldn't have wasted any of his or the CIO's time with this interview....oh ya, that wasn't an impression he actually said that! I politely thanked him for his VALUABLE time and got the heck out of there. Regardless to say, I never heard any more from them. I did try to follow up though...you know to waste more of their terribly valuable time!

kbmoose1
kbmoose1

In my very worst interview experience, the interviewer spent most of the time talking about his accomplishments - I think. I say 'I think' because I fell asleep. He was BORING. Worst part was, he offered me the job, and I accepted - because it offered a specific technical challenge I'd been looking for. I got the job, met the challenge very successfully, and left.

venividivici2003
venividivici2003

More of a case of an inflated ego than a jerk,i'm surprised you din't walk out of the interview

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

From HR. They gave me an application form to fill in, put details from resume in boxes manouvre. Only a four hundred mile round trip, for this BS. So I was going ho-hum and filling it in, till I got to the ethnicity question. Now it did state that it was for government statististics to show they weren't racists. She assured me they weren't tokenists either. So I asked why it was on the job application form, if my ethnicity had no bearing on my application. Didn't get the job, I assuming because of my political beliefs. Bolshevik. :D

Dilbert-Tom
Dilbert-Tom

I'm a Contract Mainframe programmer, most interviews are nearly meaningless and most interviewers are either jerks or they know that they're wasting time interviewing. It's easy to interview for the position, but it's only after 4-6 months that it will become apparent if the candidate is good or not. Many aspects of status reporting are equally meaningless as well. Keep a good sense of humor - ask him how he likes his car and what suburbs that his wife prefers to sell in are...always feed an ego and keep smiling - you can always leave the job later (just find another one before leaving).

royhayward
royhayward

Ok, this may give y'all some perspective. I was a member of a training team with a software company. We trained support people and others about the software that we sold and supported. Ok, so we had a couple of openings and about 100 qualified internal applications. So part of the interview process was for the applicants to come in and give us a quick 5 minute presentation on one of our apps. We provided the material, room, hardware etc. They were to teach us how to use it, and we would pretend to be newbies ant take notes on their performance. Well we had three people in the room to take this "class"; Lori, who had some technical questions to ask. Matt, who asked really simple questions that were designed to show he didn't get what they had just explained. And then me, I was the jerk. I was supposed to ask questions that got them off topic or irritate them. Ok, so maybe this sounds like torturing cats or abusing helpless animals. And we did have some angry applicants after this phase. But we did get results. We weeded out the 100 plus resumes to a dozen by rejecting anyone who failed to handle our obstacle. And in our defense, we didn't really do anything that didn't happen every day in our own jobs of training new support folk. So if they didn't make it through our interview, we were doing them a favor. So that is how I got one of the most unique titles that I have ever had. The title, "Designated Jerk"

MikeGall
MikeGall

Even easier to do if it is just an HR guy, not who your boss will be. What do I care if the HR guy of a 100+ person company is a real jerk? I will only deal with him during my interview and the occasional payroll issue perhaps, but 99% of my time will be dealing with my projects and the people in my team. No worries.

BeltwayTech
BeltwayTech

Well...I read most of the posts. Having been on both sides of the interview table, I understand some of the "attitude" being expressed. The interview is a process for position offerers and seekers to evaluate a suitable fit based on the position requirements and the candidate's qualification. When all is said and done, if an offer is tendered it is up to the candidate to accept or decline. However, the interview process is not a venue to put up with bad manners or a sorry attitude. Perhaps I am caught in a time warp. I come from a position of you treat people the same as you would like to be treated. Leee's question of "What do you do when an interviewer is a jerk?" drew some interesting responses. As an interviewer or candidate, I start of with a thank you for taking time to see me. As an interviewer, I deduct points for a candidate who is late without cause. Why not penalize the interviewer who is late without apology? Schedules do slip. But making a candidate wait 30-45 minutes without explanation is disrespectful and irresponsible. Roy aludes to the IT god complex. When things go wrong in interviews such as Leee, JamesRL, PJ, or ohpleaseagain, we are outside the box. The behaviors of the interviewers may be actionable from a legal perspective. In cases where the law has been violated, I would suggest play through the interview process and then take action. I have been in a situation in which the interviewer kept me waiting for 30 minutes. When he did usher me into his office, he said he wanted to make it quick because he had an important meeting he had to attend. No apology for him being late. I would have accepted an acknowledgment that he kept me waiting--not because I am an IT god but because it would have been proper to do. Because of the manager's actions and remarks, I had information to make an informed decision that I did not want that job. Since he was in a hurry and I needed to make a point, I suggested that we reschedule when he was not pressed for time and I could be afforded a proper and fair interview. Proper and fair are the operative words. Knowing I did not want the job, I went back to HR. Expressed that I would like to withdraw my application and the reason why. Just because you are in the job market, you should not add doormat to your list of qualifications. If you see red flags popping up all over the place, why play games? If an employer wants to hire you, the proper method for traversing the motions would be to meet you; ask a question or two; and end the interview.

royhayward
royhayward

And this is what I have always believed. Unfortunately, on another thread I was opposed when espousing a similar statement. I think that it is a combination of two things. First, many IT professionals have a god complex. Second, many IT professionals are really bad negotiators. Of course if the interview shows you that you don't want an offer, that is fine and close the door. But if there is a chance that you may want the offer, go through the paces to get it. And then you can say, well, your interviewer was a jerk, so no thanks. They now no why everyone is turning them down. And they get a chance to counter your turning them down by offering you his job. :) I received several replies on this that my strategy wasted their time and mine. Well, if I am out of work and looking, what exactly am I saving my time for? And if I have a job but am looking to get out or move up, again, what am I saving this time for? As for their time, well you don't work for them yet, why do we care if they waste time making me an offer? My rule of thumb is, if you don't get the offer, you never get a chance to turn it down. So always go for the offer, sometimes you will be surprised.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

If I were you, I'd send them a bill later for my "consulting time". Wow...talk about wasting one's time.

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

you moved all his rulers and staplers out of position on the way out!

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

I can't believe those were his first words. You should have responded with: "I didn't realize you were that stupid."

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

only test the intelligence of the person *taking* the test, not administering it.

JustinF
JustinF

I went for a job as an electronic tech with a firm in East Belfast, (very loyalist area), & did ok on the practical tests, then the interviewer suggested I may be a security risk as I would be doing work in airports because I'm from Southern Ireland. At another more recent interview the HR lady said that they were only hiring an additional IT support person because the current one had threatened to leave because of the workload and out of hours support. Then went on to tell me I would HAVE to start in 2 weeks even though my current employer required a month's notice. I politely said I wouldn't be continuing with the interview and left.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Yeah really? I've only been in IT for well over 15 years and I'm not technical enough? Perhaps they have a problem with my being honest in that I am not the kind to jump on the bandwagon of new products simply because they're out there. I recently interviewed for a contract gig at a hedge fund and it lasted about 15 minutes tops. It wasn't even technical and the only thing I was asked was about my experience with blade servers, which I really don't have because A)I've tested them in the past and they were nothing more than glorified ovens and B)They had issue with my opinion and asked me why I am against blades when everyone else is deploying them. I calmly and professionally answered to them that I like to test and verify things for myself and don't just blindly follow what others are doing or simply because some biased article in Gartner Group says so. I am an independent thinker and don't simply follow the pack. They didn't like my honesty and got back to the recruiter with the typical bullsh!t excuse of "I wasn't technical enough". That's a common coverup for them not wanting to pay my desired rate, not wanting to pay the recruiter's fees, or I somehow threaten their status quo. Also, if they expect mindless drones to work for them and not have an opinion and be skeptical about simply deploying new systems, then they should hire some inexperienced kid fresh out of school. I think like a manager at this point in my career and understand the business side of IT, which is why I don't rush to deploy new things simply because they exist. You guys have seen my responses to the Questions forum and I seem to be pretty head on with providing helpful answers. It just insults my intelligence and boils my blood when some jerk of a hiring manager tells me I am not technical, yet they themselves don't even know 1/4 of what I know.

demosthanese
demosthanese

have you ever had an interview that you just nailed? I mean you knew by the time it was over that you landed the gig, and it was where you wanted to be. Thats where I am. The interview was all of 10minutes. My boss is a great lady, and the place is so relaxed. I wear shorts and a tshirt to work every day! sweet...

q.4
q.4

...of the decline of a once proud US business powerhouse. Not quite sure how you can be so smug & look yourself, coworkers and family members in the face to be...um..."sold out" would be polite; references to the oldest profession, less kind...your company's designated ?*ss?. This is such a sad, unprofessional and manipulative tact for what I assume is an otherwise 'respectable' concern. Presumably you'll hire the candidates the company deserves.

q.4
q.4

...of the decline of a once proud US business powerhouse. Not quite sure how you can be so smug & look yourself, coworkers and family members in the face to be...um..."sold out" would be polite; references to the oldest profession, less kind...your company's designated 'ass'. This is such a sad, unprofessional and manipulative tact for what I assume is an otherwise 'respectable' concern. Presumably you'll hire the candidates the company deserves.

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

I interviewed for a training company and went through such a process over a three-day period. The first day we were introduced to the company and given some materials. Our homework was to write an essay or training document for some item in the material, and then read it on the second day. We were critiqued on our presentation and content, and our homework was to polish our work. The third day we had to give a training session with that polished work and were again critiqued. The "trainees" did include someone who didn't get it and a jerk. I treated them both the same; I figure the only difference is the size of their egos. I didn't take the job, but not because of the interview. Where I now work we deal with slow learners and jerks, but we don't do any role-playing as such during the interview. We describe a scenario with a difficult client, ask the candidate what they do in such situations and then listen and observe. Combined with all their other responses and their general demeanor during the interview, we can usually tell whether there's potential. Well, and we don't have a hundred applicants at the door, either, so we're already starting from a short list.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

If you can't take a beating, you might not want to be on the service desk. ;-)

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Oh boy, I'm glad I don't work for you...LOL :^0

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I have noticed that most of the time the person doing the interviewing is not the person who will be my boss. That's finally changed here.

royhayward
royhayward

When you show up to a job interview, what do you think they were doing before you go there? Where they just sitting around reading your resume? I doubt it. And you should be hoping that they were really slammed with work that they want to hire you to do. So he was late? Big deal. You have an interviewer that has time management issues. If this is really the biggest gripe that you have with them, and it is enough to make you quit/withdraw then you need to take a look at a career as a teacher or something where they have nice little time slots and bells in the hallways to tell you when to change classes. Should they have apologized? Sure, but in the US (and I believe other places as well) good manners are slipping a bit. But hey, its not like he asked you to meet him for an interview in a hot tub or something. "Doormat" and "Playing games" are to terms that you used here. First, having better manners that the person interviewing you is not being a doormat. Being patient and not meeting offense with offense will get your farther than being so intent on getting your own in that you lose the opportunity. I am quite sure that when the hiring manager found that you had brazenly withdrawn your application that he stopped feeling like he should have apologized and regretted having brought you in for an interview in the first place. Secondly, interviewing is always "Playing Games" anyone who tells you otherwise is putting lipstick on a pig. Just like when you flirted with a girl/guy before asking them out, interviewing is the last bit of this 'foreplay' before business begins. As stated here, there are a large variety of mechanisms to evaluate candidates, and companies. Saying you don't want to work for a company that engages in these games, is like saying you want a relationship without the need of conversation. You might find it. Good luck to you.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Man, what did he say when you told him he was a control freak?

jruby
jruby

I needed a chuckle this morning. Jim

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

Taking a momment...I pondered the last candidate. I rolled over in my head their resopnses to my many questions, the response to the blade server question, their assumption that they knew more than anybody on the planet. Despite all this somthing was bothering me. I just could not put my finger on it. It was not until later that night while sitting down to dinner that the realisation hit me. That last candidate did not even know 1/4 of what I know. :-) EDIT: My post- do as I like.

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

I sat with my potential boss for about 20 minutes one morning last millenium, after which she asked when I could start. I said, "Well, I'm parked in a visitor spot, do I have time to move my car?" I was hired by the time lunch was over. We don't get to wear shorts, but then this is the northwest and shorts season is pretty ... well, short.

Jestible
Jestible

Ah, yes. I'm partying it up with you in the same boat! My interview lasted maybe 20 minutes and was hired on the spot. Extremely relaxed environment, jeans and a t-shirt, great people, extremely cool boss, and flexible hours. Life rules.

royhayward
royhayward

but it was fun in a sadistic sort of way.

andy.nelson
andy.nelson

I must admit it is a very good angle - at the end of the day it's effectively scenario led questioning, service desks etc need people who can handle the dumb, the inane, the wound up etc etc. I know in a lot of sales/customer service interviews that I have done for clients in the past, we have deliberately wound up the interviewee to see a: IF they can handle it, and B: HOW they react when pushed, because at the end of the day you want someone who can handle the pressure and not blow up, even if their blood is boiling inside.....

chiefywiggum
chiefywiggum

I once showed up for an interview and was told by an assistant that the interviewee had just run out to the local computer warehouse store. I wouldn?t have minded much except that I had to create an excuse to leave my job early, change into my suit in the backseat of my car, and drive 50 miles to find out all was for not. Worst interview I actually HAD was with a larger corporation. The job description was vague ? network support or something similar. The HR person was first and quit pleasant. When I met with my would be manager, I was asked, off a checklist, the experience I had with various systems they used. When I informed her it was limited, she proceeded to explain in a very uppity fashion that they wanted someone that could ?jump right in.? never the less, she continued right down the check list for the next 20 minutes or so. My resume clearly stated my skill set, and I?ve never embellished my qualification either on paper or verbally. I really wanted to get ?uppity? right back at her The only reason I didn?t walk out on the spot was I had a friend that worked for the company and they knew that.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

It's part of the interview process, and it's an obvious test of your abilities to perform the job effectively and safely. Any good, reasonably intelligent applicant would know that. I don't know if that part of the interview was announced ahead of time or not; but if the job position requires people to do that task on a frequent basis, it makes a lot of sense to weed out the people who can't take it so you don't waste your's and their time.

mail
mail

believe they are smarter than their interviewees, so this makes them feel superior. From my experience, there are people like this in almost any field. IT seems to have an unnatural abundance of them, though!

george.mattson
george.mattson

I don't recall the exact words, but he was slightly defensive (though nowhere near as much as I was afraid he'd be) but mostly just quiet. One thing I did find interesting; when I left the office I discovered I'd left my jacket behind on my desk and turned around and come back. When I did, I found he was still in the conference room where I told him I was leaving, just staring at the desk (this was about ten minutes later).

jfowler
jfowler

Like how to spell "QUIET", for instance.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

opinion. Do I claim to know everything out there? Of course not, and it's not possible for anyone to know everything, but having been asked about blade servers, I simply expressed my opinion and experiences with them. If I came off sounding arrogant or cocky, then it's partially my fault perhaps, but to misread my statements entirely as a cocky know-it-all is to make untrue assumptions about me. Trust me, I don't like people who claim they know it all and I certainly don't want to be thought of as one.

PG123
PG123

I have no idea if this guy was your interviewer or not, but I agree with his post. While reading your post I was thinking that the REAL reason they didn't hire you is probably that you come across as though you believe that you are more intelligent than any person that you could possibly encounter in any given situation. This is a common personality trait in IT, however there are many of us who don't enjoy working with those who have it. If you came across to me that way in an interview, I wouldn't hire you either, but I would tell the headhunter the real reason.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Are you referring to me in your statement? Was it you who interviewed me?

q.4
q.4

...what kind of patient you are. With an immediate & extended family packed with MD's ("healers") we are just SO glad that the healthcare profession is in your past. Indeed the heat in the kitchen has done Darwin's work. (Unsure why you would have to "...deal with the spectre of malpractise(sic) every day.")

royhayward
royhayward

Thank you for understanding. Some people, and many who have posted here, take interviews personally. I used to think that was because they had never been in the interviewer seat, but I have learned that I am wrong. An interview is a performance. Not a deception. Showing up to work each day is also a performance. I didn't intend my post to advocate bad interviewer behavior. This was obviously a test to see how people performed. In my current job the interview contained a couple of questions that required me to code on a white board in front of an audience. And then accept criticism and comments on the code I produced. No one was cruel, but they wanted to see if I could code without the help of Google, and if I could explain/defend my code, and accept improvement suggestions. Some people don't do well in that situation. And since that proves that they would have difficulty in our real life environment, they normally don't come back from that if they bomb it. One thing that is bad is when interview techniques screen for people that are too much like the majority. This type of mental inbreeding can kill the innovativeness of a company. Even though you think you may want a clone of your current developers, you really want people that have new ideas and outlooks that will add more dimension to your team.

minda
minda

...between testing someone in a simulation of an actual work experience and treating someone badly in the hopes that they want the job so much they will accept any sort of behavior whatsoever. I'm surprised your "designated jerk" test led to someone leaving the company--that sounds like an extreme reaction, especially if the candidates were clued in to the nature of the test after it was over. But either way, you had a legitimate need to see how the candidates would react under that kind of pressure, and your test (while it may have been fun) was not motivated by cruelty. The same can't be said for Leee's jerk interviewer, and the follow-up emails she got prove, in my opinion, that walking away was the wisest thing to do. Minda Zetlin The Geek Gap www.geekgap.com

royhayward
royhayward

But there were a few, two guys in particular, that came out of those sessions very angry. One complained to HR, the other left the company. I regret that result. But most may have been frustrated and angry right after the experience, but they got over it when they realized that they were not alone in washing out. I have had many other experiences interviewing others and interviewing for jobs. (sometimes these don't seem that different.) I feel I am a pretty good judge of people, and I have never been disappointed with people that I have hired. I'm also sure that I have missed people that had the potential to be super stars, but that is just the way it goes.

Tig2
Tig2

I don't think it was cruel. I've worked service. It's a tough job that everyone thinks they can do. Not so. I did well because I was an ER nurse. I got used to people thinking that they were the only human on the planet while their fear buttons were being pushed. I have had to explain to new mothers why we weren't prioritising their newborns diaper rash when we were full up with heart attacks, strokes, stabbings, and gun shot wounds. And I had to do so in a way that made sense to them. People on front line support have it no easier. I wish in many ways that someone cared enough to put me through my paces so that I would at least have known what to expect. They didn't. I'm not a nurse any longer because I couldn't deal with the spectre of malpractise every day. But I can tell you, I tend to be the patient that every nurse wants to deal with. The extra step that you took likely weeded out the people that would not have been successful in that role. And they were the better for it.

Absolutely
Absolutely

You could simply tell the qualified new hires before they get on the phones that management is reasonable in dealings with support techs who have the bad luck of fielding a call from an unreasonable caller. Then techs with knowledge of the product won't "lose it, freak out, or quit." Or you can keep on pretending that making unreasonable callers with clinical emotional problems happy is a reasonable expectation to have of your call center. Whatever, it's your department, or company, to run into the ground as you see fit.

royhayward
royhayward

The primary qualification for these jobs was knowledge of the product. And anyone with this knowledge would be fine if they only received calls from patient, cooperative, happy customers. Sadly, much of the time, customers are calling support long after their patience and happiness has moved on. Every user calling support will not be a jerk, and every class will not have a jerk of my caliber. But when that call or class happens, we don't want to have a person that will lose it, freak out, our quit. We are investing in this person with training, and time. Hours and hours before they ever get to earn it back for us. So we needed to know if they were going to be able to do the hard parts, not just the easy parts of the job.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Even in phone support, the primary qualification is knowledge of the subject matter. Dealing with unreasonable customers should not be "normal" at any company. If it is, the helpdesk is not the problem.

norin.radd
norin.radd

This tactic is the worst to attracted fresh young talents. They are repelled from such an approach.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

1) The guy was a jerk for not being there. 2) Arg, the HR drones can be the worst...some aren't bad, but man...that's beyond typical when dealing with HR.

royhayward
royhayward

But if they had, they would have earned major point in the interview.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The Jerk you can at least us humor and make the rest of the class laugh at him, but when it comes to The Clueless, yikes. Not only can you not poke fun, but a lot of times you feel down right sorry for them. What happens a lot to me, is managers just fill the classes with people that simply need end user training (which I typically don't teach). The Clueless are in this sys admin flavored class and just can't keep up, nor should they have to. Frustrating for all.

kdavis
kdavis

A good, confident trainer would probably recognize the ploy immediately. Teachers often are trained in similar role playing situations. You have to recognize how to deal with the troublemaker without losing your cool and still manage to conduct your class. I would have assigned Mr. Jerk to help Mr. Clueless. It would be good to use humor to diffuse Mr. Jerk's comments and creativity to help Mr. Clueless. If I were observing someone in this situation I would want to see how well they kept their cool. Even if they did not perform perfectly, being able to handle a situation like that is important. The situation described is pretty authentic. In one situation, I had to have a student removed because he refused to cooperate and continued to disrupt the class. Another time I had a woman so clueless she should never have been in the class to begin with. With 20 people in the class, there was little chance to give each person individual attention. The best I could do was to keep my cool and my sense of humor and deal with the problem maker by contacting his manager.

q.4
q.4

You are kidding, right? Please tell us...so we can all be in on the joke.

royhayward
royhayward

Actually I think that there would be some HR issues in using these interview to "meet women"

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Just like the 65 year old balding geezer with a single braided pony tail in the back who goes out and buys himself a luxury sportscar in a pathetic attempt to meet women. He is using the car to make up for the fact that he is a loser and can't find a date if he were the last man on earth.