Arrogant amateur interview questions in IT

I was just cogitating on some of the rather crappy interview questions I’ve been asked. More to the point its the stock questions where there is a very high level answer that you can give, but you realise that the interview actually knows little or nothing about the question or the purpose of the answer.

Here are a couple of examples,

What is the difference between a value type and a reference type.

That’s a staple of software engineering.

Or.

What is a cidr range in AWS VPC.

That ones for Amazon Web Services Network administration.

I nearly just got caught in the trap of answering them, but the point of this is to show that stock questions at an interview just means that there is really no substance to what your being asked and that the asker doesn’t really know what they are looking for because they don’t know what to ask.

Actually I could answer, A waste of my time because it has no bearing on the day to day work, really no bearing and if the hiring manager thinks it has then he really doesn’t know what to do.

One of the junior developers in my new job, tried something similar with me mainly because he wanted to establish a pecking order of some kind (I see this often in poor/failing teams). A pretence that he knows more and thus doesn’t have to listen to me. Well, I did a bit of a casual takedown on him, turned the question back on him and then pointed out places where it is being used without even looking at the code base. Sadly its called experience not arrogance. Something that many places get confused about.

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One thought on “Arrogant amateur interview questions in IT

  1. I have done a lot of interviews. Some questions like this establish experience rather than skill. They don’t count for much other than to let me know some value to use for experience level when assessing skill. It’s also true that a lot of interviews are full of bs questions because they don’t know what they are looking for or talking about. I also present code for a short program and ask them to debug it so that it gives a specific result. Knowledge of standards is important in assessing basic experience vs. detailed experience. The question ‘do you know what RFC stands for or what it is used for?’ is one of those bullshit questions that tells a lot from the answer. You can write a lot of FTP related code but if you don’t know what an RFC is your depth of knowledge is not at designer level. It’s a way, if used right, to determine who is just talking about knowing something and who actually has information on hand that is usually only known by those that do know something.

    I went to an interview where they wanted me to code with pencil and paper… that’s like asking a salt water fish to breathe in fresh water. I was stunned and stumped by this. Such tactics are self defeating. Stupid questions on the other hand can bear more fruit.

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