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What are the red flags to look out for during an interview?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

What are some red flags about the environment or company you should look out for during an interview? Things that make you say, “this doesn't feel right”?

Sean Allen: My number one thing is arrogance. And we all kind of deal with that here in programming. You know, some developers just think they are… I don't know. I'm trying to say this in a nice way without cursing and all that stuff. You know the developers I'm talking about – they just think they're better than everyone, their way of doing things is right, and if it's an environment like that, I don't want any part of it.

My thing is, so, if the technology lines up with like what I said, like we talked about earlier the architecture and all that stuff, and it doesn't necessarily have to be what I prefer working in, like I haven't done functional, but if I really want to learn functional, and I like the team, and I like the product, yeah. That's not a deal breaker at all.

“I always say this, these people you work with, you spend more time with them than you do your family. Like you're there eight, 10 hours a day, if you don't like them, and I don't want to make it sound like it's a popularity contest, but that does have to play a huge factor.”

But I would say it's more personalities than actual technologies. I always say this, these people you work with, you spend more time with them than you do your family. Like you're there eight, 10 hours a day, if you don't like them, and I don't want to make it sound like it's a popularity contest, but that does have to play a huge factor. So mine are all personality-based.

Paul Hudson: So if someone's speaking to you, and they're doing all the talking, or not listening to your answers, or ignoring you, what are you thinking? It's hard to tell, isn't it, because you haven't got a lot of time with them.

Sean Allen: Well, no. I mean I can tell, and this happened with Google. Like I walked in, and they didn't ask any questions about me, it was like, alright. You could tell that I was like interrupting their day and they didn't want to be there. Like that was the vibe I got, you know what I mean? They didn't ask about me or why I wanted to work there, or get to know me. They're like, alright, here's the problem, we're going to do this, go ahead and do it up on whiteboard, and then we would talk through it, and they'd be like, alright, cool. And they would leave. You could tell I was interview number 783 for them and they didn't care at all, you know?

“Dismissive surely is one of the worst things you want to see in an interview. If they don't want to be there, that's just bad.”

So that, again, after that Google interview, I was like, “I don't even want to work for these big companies,” and that's what led me to go indie. So yes, they're just, it's almost like dismissive. And I almost don't want to blame them, because like I said they probably do three interviews a day and it does take away from their work. I kind of get where they're coming from, and they may not be interviewing for their specific team, so they could care less. So like I kind of understand it, but I just don't think, it didn't give me a good impression. Like I said, it completely drove me away from even thinking about going there.

Paul Hudson: Dismissive surely is one of the worst things you want to see in an interview. If they don't want to be there, that's just bad. In your opinion, would contributing to a big open source project make your resume stand out more compared to others?

Sean Allen: I believe so. I mean, I don't have any personal experience in this, so I can't vouch for it firsthand, but I would believe so. Like if I was trying to interview a candidate and bring them onto the team, and I saw they have some significant contributions, not just fixing a typo in the read me, right, they have some significant contributions to a well known large project, yeah, that would be very impressive.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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