We’ve all been there: no job, no prospects, nothing but lots of time to eat Cheetos in our underwear while we play video games. (Not Cheetos that have been stored in our underwear. That’s disgusting.) We’ve all felt the excitement of getting a job interview only to be verbally and emotionally abused by the IT manager as they “test” your ability to perform the duties of the job they are hiring for.
A few years ago, I was in this situation. I was interviewing for an IT support position with a chain of time share resorts. It was a group interview with the president of the company, the head of human resources, and the IT manager. As was expected, I was asked a series of questions regarding how I would handle a certain situation. I would give my answer and immediately the IT manager would tell me that I was wrong and that I needed to try again. Eventually I would run out of ideas and then they would tell me the correct answer. Probably 90% of the time, the correct response was my first response. As you might imagine, after 20 minutes, I was pretty irritated by this. When the time came for me to do actual hands-on “testing”, I got up and walked out. How was I to know what these people were looking for in an employee when the correct answer was always wrong? No, I didn’t get the job.
This morning I came across this article over on Slashdot. The author is basically asking why IT professionals are tested during the interview process when other professions aren’t.
My wife works as a nurse. I know that she didn’t have to take a test to prove that she is a good nurse; it was just assumed based on her credentials. I have multiple certifications and a university degree in IT. Why is it that when I go for an interview, I have to prove that I know what I’m doing? Shouldn’t my credentials or work history be sufficient? It’s not like I have people’s lives in my hands like nurses or doctors do.
I have a theory about this that I want to run by you. Employers know that IT geeks can take them down. The testing is just a way of seeing what kind of control a company can exert over its IT staff before it’s “too much.” If the geek balks at the testing because it’s an obvious waste of time, the employer won’t hire them because they could pose future “problems”. What do you think? Am I completely wrong?