Tim Van Wassenhove

Passionate geek, interested in Technology. Proud father of two

06 Dec 2005

How (not) to apply for a job?

Today i was part of a jury looking for a junior programmer. Most of them had an extensive list with programming languages on their curriculum vitae, eg: html, xml, css, … Ok, there are people out there that consider writing markup language is programming too.

Most of them mentionned they had some experiences with Perl. My first question was: What are the kind of problems you would solve with Perl? In which areas does it seem to be right tool? A couple of them told me that they had written a proxy server or used it on linux. Fine, but i would have expected at least one to tell me that Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language) seems to be the right tool for text manipulation…

Most people added experience with virtually every Microsoft Operating System on their list with skills. Most of them also mentionned experience with Linux. When i asked them about differences between Windows and Linux i didn’t get any answers. They could have at least said that Perl on windows can be a PITA 😀 I got the feeling they have booted something like Ubuntu a couple of times and consider that as experience.

I don’t think that knowing an API by heart is really required, so i asked them the following: What is recursion? Can you mention a couple of advantages and or disadvantages? How do you solve the problems that arise with recursion? You should have seen their faces turn white 😛 Most of them knew that it’s a function that calls itself, and only one mentionned that it can lead to a stack overflow… Too bad that noone provided any tips for solving them more efficient or mentionned Wilhelm Ackerman.

I was a bit surprised by the poor answers on recursion so i decided not to ask them what a semaphore or a mutex are…

My Advise: If you mention any skills make sure they are actually skills… And if you are interested in a maintenance job, stay at home and don’t waste our valuable time. We’ll get back to you. Goodbye.