So the interview was a disappointment for me. I was hoping it would be a more obvious fit, but I didn’t end up feeling that way. It started with the interviewer being a few minutes late, and then when his video camera came on it gave me an incredible view of his chin. That was my first impression: this man hasn’t thought to angle his camera sensibly. It’s just… I don’t know. Maybe I’m putting too much importance on this, but it suggested he didn’t care how he was coming across to me.

He also asked some woolly questions like “what is your main strength?” which I just found awkward and weird for a software development interview, and actually made me feel he didn’t know what he was doing and didn’t know what else to say.

Overall I came away feeling that it was just a job rather than a job that I particularly wanted. I already have a job, so… I know I’ve talked about money a lot, but I have more money than I know what to do with anyway. I wouldn’t move just for money.

I was completely drained at the end of it. I had a headache for the rest of the day. It wasn’t great.

The next stage, if there is one, is that they will want me to do a “take home programming test” which involves implementing a ‘simple’ piece of software for them so they can see what I can do. I have always avoided hiring processes that involve this kind of thing in the past, because it’s just working for free and even as part of an interview process I struggle to convince myself it’s a good use of energy versus putting out another application. I think the problem for me is this: An interview is a mutual thing. The company puts in their time and you put in yours. A take-home piece of work is not. The time required on my part is vastly higher than the time invested by the company. If the company seems reluctant to invest their time, what message does that send to me? If you’re a high prestige tech firm then you can get away with this kind of thing, but if you’re not, then you’re just de-prioritising yourself on your candidate’s list of possibilities, which means that the people you’re left with are the ones who didn’t have better options elsewhere.

If and when they send me the full details of this I will review it based on how much effort I think it will be, but if it looks like more than about 90 minutes then I’m out.

Interview thoughts

I’ve been preparing for my interview on Tuesday a little bit. Probably as much as I can. I’m feeling kind of nervous about it, but I shouldn’t be. The stakes are low. I’m not in a rush to leave this job, it’s just more of a medium term aim. It also looks superficially like a good match, because the tech stack they use is similar to what I used in my previous job, and they do healthcare software which I used to do in my previous job too. And that opens up a good talking point for me: I want this job because I want to feel like I’m working on something that helps people, as well as wanting to work with modern tech.

Also, in the past, often when I have not been offered a job, it has turned out for the best.

Last summer I interviewed at a place that was essentially a huge landlord for the hospitality industry (the job was developing the software they used to manage their customers/tenants). Between the phone and on site interview, it became public that they were being taken over by a much larger company. So that was a bit of a concern, because I suspected that the department I was interviewing for would probably be phased out in favour of the parent company’s. And then, 9 months later, we had a pandemic that has largely shut down the hospitality industry. That was a pretty good company to not work for.

Then there was the one from 9 years ago. I interviewed at an online retailer (that I’d never heard of). They were a very new company, and a few months later a lot of complaints started appearing online about them. Then newspapers started running stories about them… they went out of business a couple of years later. Which would be bad enough, but I later learnt the person who interviewed me had spent the past few years before setting up the company in prison for sexually abusing a child. Hmmm. That was also a pretty good job to not be offered.

I think this is just a first stage interview and there’ll likely be another stage if they want to go further. But anyway, it’s a bit weird to think that in a week or two I might have a new job. Or I might not. We’ll see.