System administration -- the Genghis Khan way

Pilot fish applies for a job as a sysadmin, and when the technical interview goes well he's called back for something called a "behavior interview."

"That was to see if I was a good fit for the corporate culture," says fish. "There were the two people from the first interview, two of my peers and a lady from HR. It went as expected, with 'what would you do if...' questions.

"The interview was scheduled to last 30 minutes, but at the 45-minute mark they said there was just one last question."

First, the group explains to fish that this question is to see how well he can think on his feet, so any answer will be acceptable.

Then the question: "If a horde of Mongols riding mutant tigers engaged a Roman legion armed with lightsabers in battle, who would win and why?"

Fish's first response: "Could you repeat that?" The interviewers laugh and then repeat the question.

Without hesitation, fish votes for the Mongols to win.

"They were surprised -- everyone else sided with the Romans," fish says. "They wanted to hear my reasoning."

In the first place, fish explains, mutant tigers are extremely rare. For the Mongols to collect enough of them to equip an entire horde would require some very high-level magic users.

Those high-level magic users could easily throw lightning-bolt spells at the Romans from a safe distance. Those alone would fry the Romans with their metal armor and shields. Add a few fireballs and a golem or two, and the Romans would be toast.

And if the Romans had only lightsabers, they wouldn't have any long-range weapons, so the Mongols could fry them from a half-mile away.

"That went on for another 15 minutes, and I was really getting into it," says fish. "They were stunned, and the lady from HR was speechless. Nobody had ever given that question such a detailed answer before. They asked if I was a gamer, and I told them I played Dungeons & Dragons while I was in college.

"I left the interview not knowing what to think -- but when I get home, my wife told that they called and offered me the job!"

Sharky's got an easier question: Will you please send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com? You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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