தகவல் தொழில்நுட்பம்: நானாவித ஜந்துக்கள், அவற்றைத் தடுத்தாட்கொள்ளும் முறைகள்

09/03/2013

எச்சரிக்கை: இந்தப் பதிவைப் படிப்பதற்கு, உங்களுக்கு ஒரு சுக்குக்கும் தகவல் தொழில்நுட்பம் பற்றித் தெரிய வேண்டிய அவசியமே இல்லை. ஏனென்றால் நம்முடைய இளைய தகவல்(!) தொழில்நுட்பப்(!!) பொறியாளர்களில்(!!!), 98% பேருக்கும் இதனைப் பற்றி ஒரு இழவும் தெரியாது. (என் கணக்கில், மிச்சமுள்ள அந்த சுமார் 2% உண்மையான தகவல் தொழில்நுட்பப் பொறியாளர்களால் தான் இந்தியாவின் இந்த ஐடி குண்டு சட்டியில் குதிரை ஓட்டிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள்! அமெரிக்காவில் இது 25% இருக்கலாமோ என்ன இழவோ!)

IT Interviews: Species and Strategies…

Version information:

I had posted this stuff on the USENET (sci and scik, I think, am not sure) – some 16-18 years ago. Am reproducing the stuff for your edification. One day, I hope to win an ignoble prize for this highly original dissertation. (I feel that there is no need to change the content, even after these many years, as the pathetic state of affairs continues…  *sigh!*)

Okay, here goes…

In this post, I am chronicling my close encounters with the species called Programmerus Mediocritus of the genus called Ignoramus Indicus. To start with, I’ve listed out a few characteristics of a few prominent strains… Please note that serious offense IS thus MEANT at this horde of dingbat programmers for whom I have very little respect…

Of course, exceptions are there (for example, I have interviewed more than 200 guys over the last one year, and may be found about 6 guys to my satisfaction; mind you, I’m NOT a computer guru either) but then, they once again end up proving the general principle.

There are many strains of this species which are currently available, not to ignore the fact that some amount of cross (crass?) fertilization is possible; however, the author is waiting to complete his 1000th interview so that he can give a more exhaustive (meaning, exasperated / exhausted ) listing…

Meantime fellas, please go trough the following character sketches / strains and stay tuned (Note that, as for as possible (subject to my advancing senility) I have tried to retain the original flavours)…

Dhananjaya Pissicus Missicus

This strain ALWAYS has the buzzwords MIS (Management Information System) or PIS (Personal/Personnel Information System) in its resume, at least thrice per page and claims to have done all kinds of wonderful stuff.

However, when you want to delve deeper into the world of PIS and MIS, obviously this wunderkind says the project was not HIS – that is, not his. You start HISsing at this strain but it completely MISses the point and you realize quite lately that something is aMISs…

Precaution: Please visit the loo just before the interview so that midway through the interview you don’t get *that* urge to purge

Subramaniam Accentus Conventus

This strain generally is native to places south of Tirupathi beyond which it wouldn’t have generally ventured out at all; but, due to certain crass-cultural influences like STAR-TV, it picks up some very heavy accent in English – That the accent will keep dynamically and wildly fluctuating between Kumbakonam and Houston is well known; to elucidate further, the strain will perform simple harmonic oscillationish voice-overs between biratharr to bzhothezh with the arithmetic mean being brother.

This strain diverts your attention from the substance of communication to the deciphering of a medley of accents – so, it will be better to keep this strain away; however, it will fill you with wonderment – you wonder, how on earth it developed this accent…

Precaution: Please listen to the “Voice of America” and “Kumbakonam AIR station” and “Radio Burkina Faso” the day before the interview; it does help.

Subbulakshmana Computeritis

A typical strain of this completes its B.Tech and Possible M.Tech in CS or in EE or in EC in one of the 134,567, 8910.11 (AND still growing & groaning)  Engineering (!) Colleges(!!) in Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhrapradesh; it has a very healthy attitude of ‘distrusting the obvious’ and this attitude comes out nicely in the interviews; for example, for a simple question on ‘garbage collection’ it will say that “this(!) algorithm(!!) is used to clean objects from the hard disk, after the machine is switched off.” While you look at its creativity and wonder what’s happening, it will brandish its gilt-edged certificates and make you gasp.

Precautions: You should have a clear, receptive mind to listen to good natured banter and forget ALL about Computer Science.

Gurupadappa rAPeTECHus NIITus

A normal specimen belonging to this strain has ALL the buzzwords (totaling to a minimum of 2.5 MB) in his resume and claims to have certifications of low, medium and advanced curricula from all the combuter goaching insdidudes; it is advisable for you to go through such resumes once a while to get to know what the current buzz words are…

This specimen lets out a torrent of related buzz words for ANY of your questions and any further question will give you an additional torrent.

You can keep on recursively buzzwording without getting anywhere near any known-territory and without going anywhere near the *dangerous* areas of knowledge…

Precaution: A good pair of earplugs will be in order.

Gundujohn Despovus

This strain is bothered only about going to US of A, that too TODAY; and has all statistics about the dreamland in its fingertips… It views ONLY Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey shows and knows the comparative figures of apartment rental rates in all counties in California AND the price of MTR Sambar powder in the east, middle and west coasts…

It keeps on converting the cost of anything, be it magazines or dahi-vadas, to dollars incessantly… To any question on C++, it will give you the cost of the VC++ tool with prompt conversion to Indian Rupees.

Precaution: You should positively restrain yourself from converting over to this strain.

Muthuswamy Murugan Apologeticus

This strain starts the interview by apologizing for coming late and continues with apologizing for knowing that C++ is not a memory capsule, apologizing for pontificating that (C++) – (++) = C, apologizing for coming from a villagish background, apologizing for getting through the B.Tech exams after only 13 years of sheer toil and so on…

Finally, you start apologizing for not being in a position to take him and THEN, it starts crying while at the same time apologizing for crying; your colleagues give you cold dirty stares for making such a grownup species cry and YOU start apologizing to everyone…

Precautions: One should carry some heavy turkish towels, for the purposes of wiping after the interview, the pools and puddles of tears spread across the table and floor. Some rudimental knowledge of swimming does help to enable you to cross the troubled waters.

Ammini Nervousness

This strain does not talk at all; for the first ten minutes, it will be very busy adjusting the specs, twiddling the sleeve buttons, repositioning the duppatta, fiddling with the handbag, refolding the hand-kerchief, hunting for a pen, looking at the watch, leafing through the certificates, giving you all the time some very heavy soulful and pitiable gaze…

So, finally, just to reduce the tension, you ask the strain how the weather is in Bangalore AND it says “Hmm, ahmm, no, er, what, me, erm, NO, ME, mE, I mean, we are, hmmmm, basically, C++, Kerala, inheritance, eeekks, Sorry, OOPS, polypropyl alcohol, ooops, polymorphism…” AND, you are totally lost…

All questions sharply begin and bluntly end like this… All the time the nervousness of the strain keeps exponentially increasing and at a particular point of time you start twiddling YOUR bloody thumb.

Precaution: Please take care to bandage YOUR thumb so that you don’t get thumbstruck later… There is no ready thumb rule to gauge this species, sorry.

Satish Kulkarnius Gasseous

This strain does not believe in one/two words and HAS to use ‘I did that’ or ‘I did this’ at least once in every sentence; it massively enjoys gassing and comes up with answers (for very techie question) on the fly (not that fly silly)  and so lets out as a matter of routine, at least 3 litres of gas per sentence, so much so that, a mere switching-on at some nearby electrical panel board at the time of the interview, could result in mighty blasts.

Precautions: Please switch on the fan, light etc., BEFORE the interview begins; and wear a gas mask, just in case, lest the noxious fumes get into your lungs.

Gundaala Ramarao Graphicus

This strain, after introducing itself, asks for a notepad; then, it starts lecturing to you giving you all kinds of kinky diagrams and stuff, without even allowing you to breath. Any doubts raised by you will result in the scribbling away to glory of more and more of diagrams – of blocks, circles, rectangles, arrow-marks – and in ten minutes flat your notepad ends up getting devoured by this papyrusvore.

If you ever commit the mistake of asking what, say, this DONKEY means, then it says ‘Distributed Object Nintendo Key Encryption Ydiom’ and very thoroughly flummoxes you.

While you desperately want to run for your dear life, to top it all, this strain uses some very domain specific abbreviations like CAT, RAT, LION etc all with their OWN information technology sounding mater-copulating abbreviations to boot.

Precautions: Please don’t have a stock of papers / notepads within a radius of 500 metres from the interview site.

Appalaswamy Nonstop Nonsensicus

This strain tends to be very communicative but the process forked by it happens to assume topmost priority and it does not allow other threads to run at all, including that of yours… When the strain talks like “Yeah, what you say is true, but, not without considering the fact that, it may not really be impossible for the operator to operate upon the operand, it may still be possible to a minimum possible maximum extent that the operands cannot be operated upon by the operator…” While you are bloody busy trying to understand the contrapositives and decipher what the hell is going on, the strain launches another valiant offensive on you…

Precautions: Take another guy, preferably junior to you on the interview panel; run to the toilet, clutching your abdomen to escape the onslaught and have the *other* guy interview panel suffer this strain…

Maulvicus IIScus PhDus

This sub species considers itself to be a `technokraut’ having obtained a doctorate on compassionate grounds from the hollowed halls of IISc in a very short span of 250 years of slog.

Typically older than the others, it has had more time to practice the IIScian technique of acting as if every other person it meets is a nincompoop — offense, they say, is the best form of defense.

Its answers will be as content-free as the other strains, only the delivery will have verve and polish and will be close to art.

This strain is interested only in technical leadership roles. It will not have done any work on any real computer in its life. It will talk about crushing the ego of its juniors in order to make them accept its commands.

Precautions: A degree from one of the *hollowed* IITs is useful in bouncing back this strain’s subtle innuendo that it knows more than you. Other strategies are to keep staring at its pot belly and smiling faintly whenever it quivers.

Hurryharan VeriBusicus

This strain starts off with the interview by looking at its watch very attentively and says it does not have much time, in spite of it being very much interested in taking the interview…

You then start off the regular session by asking it about its family background or some such thing; THEN you realize that it is part of an extended family of only 2, 57, 389 members, still counting, each of whom, the strain wishes to describe in detail… You chip in at the description of the aunt of the nephew of the niece of the strain, twice removed and ask what a virtual function is… THEN the strain says the it has something urgent to do and would it please be allowed to get out NOW…

Then, you thank the strain for spending its valuable time with you and ask it as to what it has to do SO urgently…. AND it starts of staying that it has to go to Jayanagar 4th Block to do this, JP Nagar – to do that, MG Road – to do this, Richmond circle – to do that, ad nauseam…

You get a feeling that, if this strain does not consider the interview to be very important, then, probably it is a good(!) programmer and all… Sadly, you realize that (if you have taken the unfortunate decision of recruiting it) it was simply trying hard to escape the techie questions after all…

Precaution: It will be better to jettison the strain at the first go itself…

Ahem… One can go on and on, but it is very stressful to write about these strains, so I might as well stop here; further, it is time for me to do some more quick interviewing – so fellas, please wish me good luck. 8-)!

Lessons of this write-up:

* If you are unfortunate enough to be in a position to interview guys incessantly, blackmail your employer to shift you to some other assignment / role…

* If you are queasy about blackmailing others, call in sick at the very last moment.

* If not, wear a face mask with a programmeresque stupid grin or better still a burka – you can casually snore away to glory behind these contraptions.

* Get hold of a loyal junior bakra, who has to depend on you (remember? performance reprisals!) to go up the corporate ladder, and make him suffer through the process/interviews.

* If all these strategies do not work-out, for godssake don’t select instances of the above strains; horror of all horrors, may be, you‘ll have to work with them.

(The idea and the description of the “Maulvicus IIScus PhDus” have been contributed by my dear pal Joseph Koshy).

Postscript:

Gawd! – these programmers (including myself) always get on my nerves… However, coming to think of it, don’t these jokers also provide helluva lot of fun ?
The story of the fellow-interviewers and the walk-in melas are not all that different either – but then, they have to wait for some other time… ;-)

[Journal entry: 6th June, 2002]

ஒரு தொழில்நுட்ப நேர்காணல் (1995)

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3 Responses to “தகவல் தொழில்நுட்பம்: நானாவித ஜந்துக்கள், அவற்றைத் தடுத்தாட்கொள்ளும் முறைகள்”

  1. LVISS Says:

    Simply superb –I am a regular reader of your blog —

  2. Sridhar Says:

    I chose to outsource the interview to the HR guy by giving three sets of questions documented at http://justexperience.blogspot.in/2010/01/interview-questions.html. After 6 months and hundreds of candidates hired one who left the org after a few weeks to work (?) for one of the top 5 IT companies.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Only I have read articles about, How to face interviews and all relating about it. But only through your blog I know the real situation what is wrong with our system. I understood the problem only through the warning at the opening of this page given in our mother tongue. I tried to write in Tamil but not able to do so with the settings.


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