Interview Trigger Warnings

“Some of the worst gigs I’ve had the warning signs were there in the interview”

Some companies have bad environments for developers and some have developer environments that may work for some people but not others. As an interviewee you need to be paying attention during an interview for signs that the business may not be the right place for you. This also shows alertness in the interview.

“Going into a bad job scenario is essentially setting yourself up to fail.”

Be on the lookout for red flags or indications the company is not the place for you. Build up a repertoire of useful questions to ask to learn about a particular environment and make sure that your expectations of the job line up with those of the company potentially hiring you.

Episode Breakdown

22:05 Indications of Weird Business Structures

“If the interviewer is not your boss, do they know who is? If not, why not?”

Is the interviewer aware of what you’ll actually be doing? This may or may not be bad, as a lot of places screen with HR first, but it does tell you a lot about what’s going on. Can the person interviewing you describe their clients?

28:18 Indications of Burnout Inducing Conditions

“Work Hard; Play Hard” typically means “Upper Management plays hard. Everyone else works hard”. The foosball table anti-pattern indicates disruptive noise level and gimmicky employee onboarding.

33:44 Indications of High Turnover

“Who are you replacing? Is it because the team is growing?”

Very quick hiring can sometimes be a sign of rapid growth in a new startup. In an established company, it sometimes just means that they are really on the ball, but if the rest of what you are seeing doesn’t fit either of those, it could be that they are desperate due to losing a lot of people in a short amount of time, or a constant high employee turnover rate.

Use the restroom when you come in. Toilet paper quality seems to be the first thing companies cut. You can also find indications elsewhere (like in the general state of the building), but that’s an easy one.

37:13 Indications of Yak-Shaving or Cowboy Coding

“Go to Google Images and look up a Yak, imagine shaving that with a Moch-3 razor.”

Too much process about things that don’t matter tells you that they have too many personelle or that higher ups are trying to control things from the top down. Look out for other signs of micromanaging.

Does the person interviewing you talk about how complex some part of the system is? Is that reasonable or is it possible that things are that way because they overdesign? Did they mention anything about how old and crufty the system is? You should explore why.

40:34 Indications of Lack of Interest

Assuming you are being interviewed by developers/management rather than being screened by HR, are the questions you are being asked at all creative, or are they on the first page of google search results for interview questions?

Do they ask stupid interview questions like “what’s your greatest weakness?”. This is also an opportunity to shift the conversation into something that helps build rapport, so it’s not all bad.

An interviewer that is distracted or leaves during the interview indicates that you are a low priority.

47:16 Indications of “Shadiness”

“Do they ask you questions that are illegal to ask during an interview?”

Watch for obvious sexual harassment-type red flags, including those not directed at you.

If the place is a bit dirty and broken-down looking and they say they write software for banks, lawyers, or some other expensive clientele it can indicate they either do not have clients yet or are an outsourcer.

IoTease: Project

Home VPN with a Raspberry Pi

The tutorial walks you through setting up the PiVPN a Raspberry Pi version of OpenVPN. This is a great way to play around with networking and setting up a VPN on a system that isn’t expensive. The process is fairly simple as PiVPN has an installer to set itself up for you based on your configuration.

Hardware

  • Raspberry Pi 2B or 3
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Keyboard, mouse, and screen

Tricks of the Trade

The sound of unreasonable trust is a death rattle. There’s a lot of places you can trust people such as social interactions. However, if you enter business relationship or are in a position where you are exposed you need to be wary. Sometimes it is safe to trust people but you need to consider how the situation could sour. This also applies to security when programming. Think about the downside risks when you are in a position where you have to trust other people.

Editor’s Notes:

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply