Let's talk about weird Interviews (part one of many)

In this post series I am going to reveal some experiences I had, without of course giving away any infomation about the companies I am referring to. I will describe some funny and interesting situations I had on my job search over the years as a ruby on rails developer. All of the stories are real.

Right now our field is really booming. We are in a meta-covid era with much money flying around and many people having them, are trying to invest them somehow. So, currently there is a tremendous amount of job demand, at least for ruby and ruby on rails developers.

Having said that, even if I am not actively looking and I am not a celebrity developer (most probably I am on the other side of less known developers) I am getting a new potential interview call every day.

Now I belong to the rare kind of developers which I think interviews are a good thing. Actually I like doing interviews, even though I am not particularly good at it, because you can see and learn many things.

First of all, it gives you a market inside and the technologies most of the current companies are looking. I am a freelancer and it is always good to know your options. Secondly, it keeps you fit and less rusty on the procedure. Thirdly, it is always good to talk to developers and see the interview process of a company, you can learn a lot. Talking to the company can be a first sign if it will be a good match, if you like the people, what they are asking and if it is relevant with what you know. Or maybe I passed a lot of time in a lockdown and I am missing talking to people.

Anyway, I will start describing some of my experience regarding interview processes I have passed in the past 10 years. I have a lot to write about this, I am a freelancer as of this writing as well, so I am sure I will write many parts. Let's begin.


Get paid with crypto

One of the funniest and weirdest interviews I ever had was with a company in Malta which was developing casino, card and similar gambling games with ruby and ruby on rails. All started nice and smooth, we did some chit-chat in the first interview with the HR, then we arranged a talk with the tech lead. The conversation with him begin by asking me as usual my background. After I finished a brief introduction of myself, instead of asking me something technical or something about how I work, he started by saying "I have a very important question" and in the next moment he asked "What is your favorite food". It was cool, we did some fun and laughs, it really broke the ice and I answered him. After that, we did some more common chatting for a minute and then he said "I have nothing else to ask you, I am good with what you said" (!!!).

Now, you maybe thinking I probably introduced myself impressively well but not at all. It was one of my first interviews after a while and I had a lot of stress, As I see it now with more experience, I messed up everything back then. I was feeling like they were very busy and desperate to hire a ruby on rails developer. It's not bad if a company is looking "desperately", but I think this one went really fast, they couldn't find because of the field or they have a big turnover for some other reasons.

We arranged a third interview with the recruiter to meet their CEO. Well, the strangest thing happened in the third interview when they offered me if I am ok to get paid in crypto and as they said "it isn't necessary to give them an invoice"... I am a big fan of cryptos and I don't have a problem to be paid with them (I don't know if I can, I may have to ask my accountant). But nevertheless I want to be legal, I want a contract and a normal procedure of issuing invoices. The company was already very strange, I didn't want to work in an environment which seemed like doing so many things in an illegal/gray area and without a contract.


Unpersonalized company

I got an interview call with a guy from India. It was regarding a really big company. We connected through zoom and he said that he has to record our call. I said ok and we started.

Now for start, it was really difficult to understand what he was saying. Later I understood that he could barely speak or read english! He had a paper in front of him where he was struggling to read the questions. There were also some easy technical questions in the paper, some of them needed some clarifications but it was obvious that he didn't understood a thing of what I was saying (and probably neither what he is saying / reading). It was a very awkard situation of me just answering what he was trying to read in a very bad accent from the paper and not getting any feedback or response. Just a person which automatically asking questions and couldn't understand a thing. Of course after the questions finished we couldn't do a proper chat. He couldn't answer any of my questions regarding the company as he didn't understand a thing. We finished somehow and after some days I got a technical invitation interview from the company. I decided to reject it as I felt like they haven't taken the whole procedure very professional.

I am aware of companies which have endless forms to complete, asking you many random questions and they are doing automatic sentiment analysis on what you are saying. I have seen funny ways to trick them but this one was in another level! It was like they hired someone from amazon Turk to do a basic screening. In general, if you want to find a talent, you need to put some effort in the hiring process. You can't just outsource it to another company and wish for the best.

That's it for now, I will soon continue with another part of interviews as it is enjoyable for me and I hope for you as well.