It has been about 15 years since this happened. This would have been around 2006.

An acquaintance from school had been able to land me an interview at his company, which I was really grateful for. I wished it had turned out better. This was not a software company, but it was a large corporation. I believe the job title was for some junior level full time software engineering role.

I had 4 interview sessions.

  • A board interview, with several members of the senior engineers I’d be working with.
  • Product/Project manager.
  • The VP of the department.
  • The middle manager I’d be a direct report to.

Two interesting things of note from the first three interviews.

  • The Project manager asked me what my greatest weakness was. I don’t like this question as an interviewer or interviewee. So I answered with a joke and said I drank way too much coffee, which is true. She responds by telling me she drinks a pot of coffee before she leaves the house. Then gets two venti coffees from starbucks and drinks those on the way into work. Then she makes at least one more pot while at work. I didn’t know how to respond.
  • The first three interviews all drew to a close with the interviewer(s) saying they’d recommend hiring me, and instead of continuing the interview, they just started telling me about the company! The VP even pulled out an org chart and started telling me about future career paths.

I was feeling pretty good by the time I got to the middle manager’s section of the interview process, a process that had lasted the majority of the day. The middle manager here was different. Instead of asking technical questions he would ask long and rambling questions, and when I asked for clarification he challenged me for forgetting parts of his questions. Why should he have to keep repeating himself? As he was talking, he’d start pushing objects on his desk toward me, without any real reason for doing so. I later read this was pathological behavior. Finally he ended the interview by telling me I was the worst interview he ever had and told me I could rectify the situation if I wrote a paper explaining how to give a better interview.

Well I spent the better part of a month feeling awful about myself. However, at least I did have the wherewithal not to write that paper. In retrospect, I think I dodged a bullet back then.