Telling the truth at interviews for Java positions

Discussion in 'Java' started by lyallex, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. lyallex

    lyallex Guest

    Hi

    I know this is not about Java development but I couldn't think of a
    better place to post it. It certainly affects professional Java
    personel.

    I have just escaped from a rather unpleasent organization here in the
    UK. At both the interviews I attended I made it quite plain that I was
    after a senior Java developers position. I even made my position clear
    to the MD. At all times I was assured that the position I was applying
    for WAS a senior position and the salary appeared to reflect this.

    In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    senior. In fact such projects did not appear to exist in the
    organization full stop. I spent my time writing documentation and
    solving networking problems that the IT department appeared unable to
    fix themselves. I did make a few minor changes to a couple of
    applications but I guess this amounted to no more that 5% of my
    working time there.

    Fortunately I managed to get another job that will start in January.

    Now I do of course realise that in an organisation of whatever size it
    is often a requirement that everyone chip in in times of need. BUT
    that is a whole lot different to the situation I found myself in.

    Actually this is not the first time that this has happened to me.

    We are always told that we should never lie on our CVs.
    I have certainly never lied on mine.
    It appears however that employers can say whatever they like in
    interviews with no comeback at all. I have now wasted 4 and a half
    months of my life in a pointless exercise that has done nothing to
    advance my understanding of the language.

    I'd be most interested to hear if others have had similar experiences.

    Many thanks
    lyallex
    lyallex, Nov 23, 2004
    #1
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  2. lyallex

    dingo Guest

    at least you get payed well, if you got that senior salary !!



    "lyallex" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi
    >
    > I know this is not about Java development but I couldn't think of a
    > better place to post it. It certainly affects professional Java
    > personel.
    >
    > I have just escaped from a rather unpleasent organization here in the
    > UK. At both the interviews I attended I made it quite plain that I was
    > after a senior Java developers position. I even made my position clear
    > to the MD. At all times I was assured that the position I was applying
    > for WAS a senior position and the salary appeared to reflect this.
    >
    > In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    > recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    > senior. In fact such projects did not appear to exist in the
    > organization full stop. I spent my time writing documentation and
    > solving networking problems that the IT department appeared unable to
    > fix themselves. I did make a few minor changes to a couple of
    > applications but I guess this amounted to no more that 5% of my
    > working time there.
    >
    > Fortunately I managed to get another job that will start in January.
    >
    > Now I do of course realise that in an organisation of whatever size it
    > is often a requirement that everyone chip in in times of need. BUT
    > that is a whole lot different to the situation I found myself in.
    >
    > Actually this is not the first time that this has happened to me.
    >
    > We are always told that we should never lie on our CVs.
    > I have certainly never lied on mine.
    > It appears however that employers can say whatever they like in
    > interviews with no comeback at all. I have now wasted 4 and a half
    > months of my life in a pointless exercise that has done nothing to
    > advance my understanding of the language.
    >
    > I'd be most interested to hear if others have had similar experiences.
    >
    > Many thanks
    > lyallex
    >
    >
    dingo, Nov 23, 2004
    #2
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  3. lyallex

    Sudsy Guest

    lyallex wrote:
    <snip>
    > In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    > recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    > senior. In fact such projects did not appear to exist in the
    > organization full stop. I spent my time writing documentation and
    > solving networking problems that the IT department appeared unable to
    > fix themselves. I did make a few minor changes to a couple of
    > applications but I guess this amounted to no more that 5% of my
    > working time there.

    <snip>

    So what are you complaining about? Sound like a great job! My title
    at one contract position was "resident guru" and I was called upon
    to assist in any number of areas. It's challenging and fun. If you
    expected to "advance my understanding of the language" then why
    were you applying for a senior position? You should already know
    just about everything Java for such a role, no?
    So if this company wants a "renaissance man" and are paying the
    big bucks then send the contact information.

    --
    Java/J2EE/JSP/Struts/Tiles/C/UNIX consulting and remote development.
    Sudsy, Nov 23, 2004
    #3
  4. lyallex

    dingo Guest

    heheh e Sudsy i was first

    "Sudsy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > lyallex wrote:
    > <snip>
    > > In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    > > recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    > > senior. In fact such projects did not appear to exist in the
    > > organization full stop. I spent my time writing documentation and
    > > solving networking problems that the IT department appeared unable to
    > > fix themselves. I did make a few minor changes to a couple of
    > > applications but I guess this amounted to no more that 5% of my
    > > working time there.

    > <snip>
    >
    > So what are you complaining about? Sound like a great job! My title
    > at one contract position was "resident guru" and I was called upon
    > to assist in any number of areas. It's challenging and fun. If you
    > expected to "advance my understanding of the language" then why
    > were you applying for a senior position? You should already know
    > just about everything Java for such a role, no?
    > So if this company wants a "renaissance man" and are paying the
    > big bucks then send the contact information.
    >
    > --
    > Java/J2EE/JSP/Struts/Tiles/C/UNIX consulting and remote development.
    >
    dingo, Nov 23, 2004
    #4
  5. lyallex

    lyallex Guest

    On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 08:32:33 -0500, Sudsy <>
    wrote:

    Ah yes, the "I know everything about Java" routine.

    I've been using Java for getting on for 6 years now and in no way do I
    know it all ... sounds like you do though ... remarkable, you must be
    the only one on the planet who does.

    If you had any idea what you were talking about it would be obvious to
    you that it is impossible to know it all. Just look at Jakarta,
    there's enough there to keep you in full time employment just keeping
    up to date with new releases.

    A senior developer (or a developer at any level come to that) has a
    responsibility to themself and the company they are working for to
    retain familiarity with their chosen language, the only way you can do
    this is to use it daily.

    hmm, that must mean you know all about the latest J2SE and EJB
    releases and Swing and Jakarta and Struts and all the other millions
    of things Java out there

    Sorry, I don't believe you.

    There is more to life than money my friend. I have to enjoy going to
    work or I won't do it.

    the point I was making is that I was lied to in the interview. If you
    have had such an experience then I am interested to hear from you, if
    not, save your breath.

    Lyallex

    >lyallex wrote:
    ><snip>
    >> In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    >> recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    >> senior. In fact such projects did not appear to exist in the
    >> organization full stop. I spent my time writing documentation and
    >> solving networking problems that the IT department appeared unable to
    >> fix themselves. I did make a few minor changes to a couple of
    >> applications but I guess this amounted to no more that 5% of my
    >> working time there.

    ><snip>
    >
    >So what are you complaining about? Sound like a great job! My title
    >at one contract position was "resident guru" and I was called upon
    >to assist in any number of areas. It's challenging and fun. If you
    >expected to "advance my understanding of the language" then why
    >were you applying for a senior position? You should already know
    >just about everything Java for such a role, no?
    >So if this company wants a "renaissance man" and are paying the
    >big bucks then send the contact information.
    lyallex, Nov 23, 2004
    #5
  6. Andrew Thompson, Nov 23, 2004
    #6
  7. lyallex

    lyallex Guest

    >Can you learn the "in-line post with trimming" routine, then?
    ><http://www.physci.org/codes/javafaq.jsp#netiquette>


    Jeez, has everyone on this list taken grumpy pills.

    Happy now ?
    lyallex, Nov 23, 2004
    #7
  8. lyallex

    Ann Guest

    "lyallex" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >Can you learn the "in-line post with trimming" routine, then?
    > ><http://www.physci.org/codes/javafaq.jsp#netiquette>

    >
    > Jeez, has everyone on this list taken grumpy pills.
    >
    > Happy now ?


    If you were the boss at the new job how would you use
    a new 'hot shot'? At first you have to validage that
    said person is in fact a 'hot shot'. Can't risk putting
    the 'so called hot shot' on something that could take
    the company down.
    Ann, Nov 23, 2004
    #8
  9. lyallex

    Jean Lutrin Guest

    > I'd be most interested to hear if others have had
    > similar experiences.


    Hi there,

    Answer slightly off-c.l.j.p.-topic, but as you ask...

    I have a job right now (should be working btw, not
    posting to Usenet ;) but still took the time to go
    to an interview last week. The company was a small
    company (around 60 people), mostly employees and
    some freelance (I'm a freelance btw).

    We talked about Java... Then I mention that I know
    a few things about Un*x in general and Linux in
    particular (eg being able to setup a network, configuring
    the stateful firewalls on the various machine, to setup
    a CVS server in a chroot jail, to setup the development
    DB -- PostgreSql or Mysql, do some Un*x shell scripting,
    automate backup procedure over encrypted channels and
    quite some more). But I clearly precise that I'm not
    a Un*x admin at all, simply an enthusiast and that I'm
    looking for a job where I'll be doing primarly Java
    development.

    And the guy, the main "Java architect", says to me: "Hey,
    what if I say to you that we have two Unix admins, one of
    them is really bad and we consider firing him, would
    you be interested ?"

    :)

    At least they were very clear about it! (Btw, I went to the
    interview because a friend of mine told me they were looking
    for Java developers... but he had warned me that they were
    badly looking after a Unix admin so I wasn't *too* surprised
    to hear this. Still, it felt funny to go to a "Java interview"
    and to be asked if you're interested in a Unix admin job...)

    See you soon,

    Jean



    P.S: And no I didn't take the "Unix admin" (!) job neither
    the Java one, conditions were not better enough than what
    I have now for me to consider switching. Moreover, I highly
    respect skilled Unix admins, which I clearly don't consider
    myself to be.
    Jean Lutrin, Nov 23, 2004
    #9
  10. lyallex

    Chris Smith Guest

    lyallex <> wrote:
    > I have just escaped from a rather unpleasent organization here in the
    > UK. At both the interviews I attended I made it quite plain that I was
    > after a senior Java developers position. I even made my position clear
    > to the MD. At all times I was assured that the position I was applying
    > for WAS a senior position and the salary appeared to reflect this.
    >
    > In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    > recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    > senior.


    I wonder if you and your employer simply didn't agree on what "senior"
    really means. I don't really look at the world as being composed of
    "senior" work and "junior" work, so if I told you I wanted a senior
    developer, it would just mean that I didn't want to train someone up to
    a productive level on the job. It would not necessarily mean that I
    have inherently difficult tasks that I need someone to perform.

    > In fact such projects did not appear to exist in the
    > organization full stop.


    That seems to confirm my suspicion that you weren't lied to, but simply
    misunderstood the work that existed at the organization.

    --
    www.designacourse.com
    The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

    Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
    MindIQ Corporation
    Chris Smith, Nov 23, 2004
    #10
  11. lyallex

    lyallex Guest

    On 23 Nov 2004 09:02:42 -0800, (Jean Lutrin)
    wrote:

    >> I'd be most interested to hear if others have had
    >> similar experiences.

    >
    >Hi there,
    >
    >Answer slightly off-c.l.j.p.-topic, but as you ask...
    >
    >I have a job right now (should be working btw, not
    >posting to Usenet ;) but still took the time to go
    >to an interview last week. The company was a small
    >company (around 60 people), mostly employees and
    >some freelance (I'm a freelance btw).


    snip

    >And the guy, the main "Java architect", says to me: "Hey,
    >what if I say to you that we have two Unix admins, one of
    >them is really bad and we consider firing him, would
    >you be interested ?"


    Yes, it's all a bit strange really isn't it, you go for one job and
    they offer you another. Still at least they made it clear what they
    were offering you.

    Good luck and thanks for the reply.

    Cheers
    Lyallex
    lyallex, Nov 23, 2004
    #11
  12. lyallex

    Sudsy Guest

    lyallex wrote:
    <snip>
    > hmm, that must mean you know all about the latest J2SE and EJB
    > releases and Swing and Jakarta and Struts and all the other millions
    > of things Java out there
    >
    > Sorry, I don't believe you.


    Did you see my sig? I could elaborate but you might consider it "blowing
    my own horn".

    > There is more to life than money my friend. I have to enjoy going to
    > work or I won't do it.
    >
    > the point I was making is that I was lied to in the interview. If you
    > have had such an experience then I am interested to hear from you, if
    > not, save your breath.


    I was engaged to implement LDAP gateway in C. I ended up doing mostly
    Java and very little C. Did they lie to me? Not at all. Once they learned
    of my other skills they chose to partake of my experience.
    Sorry, but I still don't see what you're complaining about...

    --
    Java/J2EE/JSP/Struts/Tiles/C/UNIX consulting and remote development.
    Sudsy, Nov 23, 2004
    #12
  13. "Chris Smith" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > lyallex <> wrote:
    > > I have just escaped from a rather unpleasent organization here in the
    > > UK. At both the interviews I attended I made it quite plain that I was
    > > after a senior Java developers position. I even made my position clear
    > > to the MD. At all times I was assured that the position I was applying
    > > for WAS a senior position and the salary appeared to reflect this.
    > >
    > > In the four and a half months I endured this nightmare I did not
    > > recieve a single project that was anywhere near what I would call
    > > senior.

    <<snip>>
    > That seems to confirm my suspicion that you weren't lied to, but simply
    > misunderstood the work that existed at the organization.


    And I would add that it can work both ways. I was sent on a job once that
    was listed as a week's work for someone who knew Excel. When I got there the
    job involved entering data into a bunch of sheets for salesmen's reports.
    After doing one I saw that adding a macro to the template would automate the
    entry such that they could do it themselves much quicker. I asked if they
    would mind my doing that, they said okay, and I did. I finished the work the
    first day and left.
    The agency that sent me there was pissed because they were planning to bill
    the client for a week and I only put in one day. The job they advertised and
    hired for was simplier than the one they needed in this case.
    Moral dilemma: should I have simply done what they asked for and wasted a
    week? I would have made more money.
    Moral dilemma 2: should the OP simply have done the simplier work and taken
    the money, or leave and find work that deserved the level of pay for an
    expert?

    In the long run, the amount of money wasn't significant to me, but the
    pleasure of having done the best job I could was.
    --
    Gary
    Gary Labowitz, Nov 24, 2004
    #13
  14. lyallex

    Chris Uppal Guest

    Chris Smith wrote:

    > [...] so if I told you I wanted a senior
    > developer, it would just mean that I didn't want to train someone up to
    > a productive level on the job. It would not necessarily mean that I
    > have inherently difficult tasks that I need someone to perform.


    But would you think it fair not to make that clear at interview ? In
    particular wouldn't you want to ensure that /you/ understood what the candidate
    was expecting to get out of the job, and that you were in a position to supply
    it ?

    -- chris
    Chris Uppal, Nov 24, 2004
    #14
  15. lyallex

    Chris Smith Guest

    Chris Uppal <-THIS.org> wrote:
    > But would you think it fair not to make that clear at interview ? In
    > particular wouldn't you want to ensure that /you/ understood what the candidate
    > was expecting to get out of the job, and that you were in a position to supply
    > it ?


    When I interview candidates, I always try to ensure that they understand
    basically what kind of work they will be doing. That being the case,
    though, I wouldn't feel any specific need to be any more explicit simply
    because of having included the word "senior" in the job title. As I
    said, that would indicate things about the need for supervision and on-
    job training for the candidate to be productive, *not* about the type of
    work being performed.

    Then again, I also wouldn't perfectly know the type of work to be
    performed before hiring a senior developer. Generally speaking, I'd
    expect such a person to be capable of doing whatever is necessary to get
    their job done.

    --
    www.designacourse.com
    The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

    Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
    MindIQ Corporation
    Chris Smith, Nov 24, 2004
    #15
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