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Unfair interviews

1 Jan

Sometime ago I interviewed for a big and well known MNC … I thought that the discussions went pretty well but after a few days got a callback but this time for a different group, that is, restart of the process 😦  .  After some days another call and same story.  “The last discussion went pretty well but unfortunately we could not hire you since we got an internal candidate.  It is our company policy to give priority to internal candidates.”

After a few such good interviews but bad experiences I asked the HR representative for a frank opinion about whether I had a fair shot at the job or was I making up for numbers ( do they have a target of ‘n’ interviewees per position) .   The answer was an expected ” we have fair hiring practices ” etc.  But I didn’t get anymore calls.

Why do people do such things?   Why force a candidate to take a day off to interview when you know beforehand that you are fulfilling some shortsighted HR policy.

 

 

What the Indian Software Czars think about their employees.

12 Jan

N.R.Narayana Murthy – the god father of Infosys has in recently requested for a smaller airport near Electronic City since the current airport at Devanahalli is very far from Electronic City and the commute is killing. He has earlier also made statements like “… imagine if somebody who lives in Jayanagar wants to take a flight …”. He is concerned about his people’s troubles in taking a flight – commendable. The Infosys campus is out of the city at Electronic City and people from all over the city commute upto 2 hrs one way to reach office. The commute to office is daily, and the commute to airport is occasional, even for the most frequent travelers. Why does Mr.NRN need a huge campus outside the city with a golf course, swimming pool, etc., when his slaves employees who travel for looong hours every day don’t even have a realistic chance of using these facilities. Why doesn’t he have tall skyscrapers in the middle of the city with reasonable access to all parts on Bangalore – ofcourse this may not have golf course … but the rank and file won’t care. Is Infosys in the real estate business or software business? NRN simply does’nt care about the commuting owes, low quality of life, inability to have even a half an hour of quality time with family on a average week days, etc., all problems of his long commuting employees. Azim Premji – (almost) owner of Wipro in an interview in the late ‘90s announced that some taxes should waived on corporate because the said companies when they operate out of Bangalore employ sooo many engineers and all the engineers pay income tax. At that time I am guessing that the average engineers salary at Wipro was about Rs.20,000/- and they would take home about 15-18 thousand after tax. And since most of Wipro’s income was Premji’s a waiver on tax on Wipro would mostly mean that Premji, being the de facto owner, got a tax waiver. So in essence he was campaigning for his employees who earned a measly twenty thousand should pay tax and he should not when he makes about twenty thousand thousand!!! All your employees love you too.

Bug parity

11 Jan

7-spot Ladybird Beetle

One of my ex-colleagues recently told me that he was working on bug parity.  It turns out that bug parity has a meaning is the software world.  You have a system that has some bugs.  The customer has written a lot of scripts or wrapper software that takes into account the said bugs.  Now if the bugs are fixed then the customer written code will no longer work because the bugs are absent.  So, in order to sell new equipment to the customer the vendor will work towards re-introducing the bugs so that the customer does not have to tweak his code!!!

Did somebody say that life is stranger than fiction?

Free work!

2 Dec

I was asked by a certain interviewer to write a “tool”.  This exercise was to check my coding/design skills as an interviewee.  This is par for the course for senior programming jobs.  But the shocker came when the interviewer said “in our day to day work, we use many such tools that are written by interviewees; what I mean to say is that I need a production quality tool”.  Duh!  Is it even legal?  What about morals?  ethics??  Needless to say that my interest in the job nosedived with that statement and I decided that it is not my cup of tea to work for such a team.

Would you do this if you are the interviewer?  What about if you are the interviewee?  Let me know – leave a comment below.

Related article : http://www.askamanager.org/2012/10/employer-asked-me-to-produce-free-work-as-part-of-hiring-process.html

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I am currently looking for a change of employment and have many war stories.  This is one of them.

Sachin Tendulkar Retires …

17 Nov

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Yesterday, Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket Retired. He saluted the pitch which provided him with almost everything, most importantly money / food / fame, for the past 24 years.  Now he has the well earned luxury of doing whatever he wants to do, watch-the-paint-dry, watch-his-children-grow, cook, commentate, whateverelse.

But for the rest of us who are the same age the question is will we ever be able to afford retirement.  Even the so called well paid “techies” or “software engineers” – can we ever retire?  Or will we be the followers of the poster boy of working for ever Amitabh Bachchan?  Even if we are willing to work will we have the jobs considering there is a rising number of senior (i.e., age 40+) engineers being forced into retirement.  They do not get jobs may be because their skills are now outdated and the employer is unwilling to invest in retraining them; may be they have become set in their ways and need mentoring to break the mould; may be they are willing to take lower-lever or lesser-paying positions but none are being offered to them … These are the ones who have nobody to champion their cause – no trade unions, no politicians, nobody!

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There is also the insecurity of the savings corpus being insufficient considering the ever rising inflation, longevity and health care costs.  This is the curse of India’s GenX.

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