EppsNet Archive: Interviews



As I arrived for an interview today, the hiring manager asked me, “Did you have any trouble finding the place?” As it happens, I did not have any trouble finding the place and said so. I had printed out a map from one of the numerous online map sites and the building was right where it was supposed to be. But even if I had had trouble finding it, my answer would have been the same. “Some people have trouble finding it,” he told me. Interesting. As an IT person, I consider myself a problem-solver — actually, I could make a case that any person in any job is hired as a problem solver — so I wouldn’t start out an interview by admitting that I got lost on my way over. “Don’t hire anyone who can’t find the building,” I said. Read more →

Be Prepared, but Don’t Overdo It


Since I’m currently unemployed, my friend GL asked me to write something about the job interview process. The problem is, there’s already so much written about the job interview process, it’s hard to think of anything to add. Which brings me to my point: It’s easy to overprepare for interviews. For example, we have a book here that my wife bought called Best Answers to the 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions. Two problems: Who has time to prepare answers for 201 interview questions? What if the interviewer asks a question that’s not on the list? Where is your God now? But wait! It gets worse! If you go to Amazon and look up this book, you’ll find a list of similar titles like More Best Answers to the 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions The 250 Job Interview Questions You’ll Most Likely Be Asked 301 Smart Answers to Tough… Read more →

If the Shoe Fits


I hobbled into a job interview today like a man whose shoes were too small for his feet. No, wait, let me back up a little bit . . . I can never find anything around the house because people keep moving my stuff. Why everyone can’t keep their hands to themselves, I don’t know, but I don’t even try to keep track of things anymore. I just look for something in the last place I put it, and when it’s not there, I ask someone. “Don’t ask me. I didn’t touch it.” So I look some more and it always turns out that my camera is in my son’s room, or my keys are in my wife’s purse, or the important document is in the trash, and everyone still maintains that they have no idea how it got there. Living with people is a mixed blessing, I’ll tell you.… Read more →

Interview FAQ: How Do You Motivate People?


In 1960, Douglas MacGregor of the MIT Sloan School of Management developed two theories of workplace motivation, Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X assumptions People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives. People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition. People seek security above all else. Theory Y assumptions Work is as natural as rest or play. People will exercise self-control and self-direction in the pursuit of organizational objectives. Commitment to objectives is a function of rewards associated with their achievement. People usually accept and often seek responsibility. Imagination, ingenuity and creativity are widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population. The intellectual potential of the average person is only partly utilized. I come down strongly in favor… Read more →

Brain Teaser


This was posed to me in an interview. I don’t know if there’s a “right” answer, or whether it’s just intended to probe the thinking process of the applicant. You have 50 white marbles, 50 black marbles and two bags. Your task is to arrange the marbles in the bags so as to maximize the probability that a person making a blind selection from one of the bags will select a black marble. Read more →

Talking to Recruiters


The Programmer has been out of work for more than two months now . . . A recruiter called me the other day, and in the course of our conversation, he asked me which “business requirements methods” I’ve used. I said, “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that.” After a pause, he said, “I’m not really sure what it means either. I’m kind of new at this.” “Well, go ahead and read the next question, then . . .” Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

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