Here Joe had proven he was a solid developer, passing all peer and manager interviews with flying colors. Yet, one improbable question sunk his hopes. That just doesnt make sense and everyones valuable time was wasted.
You know what else doesnt make sense? Asking a software developer candidate to deliver a presentation. Granted, some developers do just fine at a white board, even in front of a big audience. And if the job requirements include the ability to present, then this is a reasonable request.
But if you are simply trying to determine if someone can write code, then how they solve a problem in front of a group of people doesnt seem appropriate.
As an example, I can share the story of another friend of mine who works for a placement agency that places developers. Her firm had a candidate go through multiple interviews that culminated in a required presentation to a group. The candidates presentation went very well with a lot of back slapping afterward.
Yet when the recruiter followed up she was told her client would not be extending an offer. She was told that her candidate had looked at notes during the presentation and that didnt exude enough confidence that the position requires.
Right. Should have left the notes at home. Are you kidding me?!?!
Finally, my least favorite question that I was ever personally asked has to be What were you like in high school?
I wanted to say, What on earth does that have to do with me writing code? But instead it led me down a rambling path of explaining why I quit the drum line in my senior year. My interviewer just stared at me disapprovingly. Obviously if I quit the band, then I would not be a reliable developer (as an adult no less).
When it comes down to it, you have to be prepared for anything in an interview and react as calmly and smartly as possible.
And if you happen to be offered a cocktail during your interview? Well, thats your call. Id venture a guess that Facebook no longer requires intoxication during their interviews.
Id like to hear some of your experiences. What are some of the worst questions you were ever asked? Would any question actually cause you to turn down an offer or even walk out of an interview?
ALSO SEE: Where's Your Coding Happy Place?
AND ONE MORE: IT and Developer Salary Levels: Staffers vs. Superstars