Well, SOMEBODY needs to work on interview skills

This IT pilot fish has been laid off and is in the thick of his job hunt when he comes across a posting from a small engineering firm that's looking for a software developer.

"The company's location was about 100 miles away, beyond my commuting range," says fish. "But it was a small firm, 20 to 30 people, in a beautiful area with lots of lakes and resorts -- and where IT jobs were rare.

"My skills and experience matched their requirements well, so I thought, 'Why not? Nothing to lose' and submitted my resume."

A week later, fish gets a call from a woman who identifies herself as the HR person -- as well as receptionist and general administrative assistant -- for the firm. She tells fish they'd like to do a phone interview, and they settle on Wednesday at 2 p.m. as the time.

She also explains that the manager who calls will interview fish about his experience and background, so he should have his resume handy.

Wednesday at 2 p.m. fish is waiting by the phone. He's still waiting at 2:10. And at 2:20. At 2:30 he calls the HR woman, who says she'll look into it.

"About 10 minutes later she called and said, 'I'm sorry, that was supposed to be Thursday at 2, not Wednesday,'" fish says. "Good thing it didn't get mixed up the other way around, I thought. Would hate to have missed the call or not be prepared."

Thursday at 2 p.m. the phone does ring -- but fish can barely hear the interviewing manager, who explains that he's between flights at a big airport.

But despite a bad connection and the background din of flight announcements and other terminal noise, the manager immediately begins grilling fish with very technical questions.

Great, fish thinks, here I am, caught flat-footed and unprepared for a technical interview. And though he does his best, he knows his answers aren't exactly stellar -- and it doesn't help that at one point the beeping from a passing skycap cart is so loud he can't hear either side of the conversation.

"At the end of the interview he thanked me and said they would be contacting me," says fish. "I pretty much knew the answer. I sent the obligatory thank-you note, and called the HR woman a few days later to get an update. She said she would follow up and call me back.

"She never did, and I never heard from them again. To this day I wonder if they ever did find a developer."

Sharky's happy to skip the interview -- just send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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