Re: "Gaming" interviews (was Future Trends in Technical Writing)

Subject: Re: "Gaming" interviews (was Future Trends in Technical Writing)
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 12:13:27 -0800

James Barrow wrote:

Gene Kim-Eng wrote:

<snip> Posted accounts of the hiring processes at companies like Microsoft
and Amazon sound more like the initiaion rites for Skull and Bones, and
conversations with some of the people who actually make it through
sometimes remind me of airport encounters I had in the 80's with people in
orange robes.

Okay, this reminded me of an interview I once had. Let me see if I can do
this briefly.
Once the door was closed it was like being in a room with three Badgers and
an open wound.

The bald man leaned forward, eyes wide, and screamed "WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT

I wonder where they got this particular interview methodology? Did he then scream "I CAN'T HEAR YOU"?

As my testicles jumped up and made friends with my spleen, I reached for my
Pepsi and spilled it all over my resume.

HAW HAW! :-) This cinematic touch harks back to silent slapstick. Hmm, could stage direction notes be a future form of technical writing?

I looked at the other two men for
help, or at least a cattle prod. They were both sneering. One of them left
the room to get a towel. The bald man continued, a little more subdued this

"When you worked at ABC Company it says that you used a widget! What kind
of widget was it!? Did YOU actually use the widget, or did someone have to
help you [sneer]!?"

Perfect! You had them in the palm of your hand. They're curious, they're hungry--now is the perfect time to branch to your portfolio and pull out the "YCBHBABT" poster. Using the silent technique, make a "V" with your index and middle finger, touch the V to your eyes, and then move it to the first line of the poster where it says, "You Could Be Hit By a Bus Tomorrow."

Before they can catch their breath, go back into the portfolio, but pause thoughtfully, and look back over you shoulder at the interviewer as if you've just had an idea. Show him your best impression of his sneer. Then pull out your killer sample: A full page advertisement for BOTOX. Look at the three of them, each in turn, and lead them silently through the title words "Forget your lines." Then read aloud the small print where it says "Multiple applications may be necessary where entire facial tics or expressions are unwanted. No warranty expressed or implied."

Don't forget to check your shoelaces are tied while you pack up your stuff. If you sense dangerous vibes, get going. Close doors behind you. Otherwise, shoot out your arm and check your wristwatch, then offer to answer any questions.

This went on for about 30 minutes. Once the interview was over, all of them
reverted to a civilized tone and even smiled, like Linda Blair after Father
Merrin performed the exorcism. It was like nothing unusual had happened.

When the 'cool guy' showed me out, I asked him about the 'bald guy's'
behavior. His reply was too funny: "Oh, him? Yeah, he takes his job very
seriously. We like that here.

Given so many books catering to the job seeker market, I wonder if there isn't a place for a book of collected experiences of job seekers? Something sort of along the lines of the "No S***, There I Was..." book of traveler tales?


Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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RE: "Gaming" interviews (was Future Trends in Technical Writing): From: James Barrow

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