The ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Interviewing"

From our friends at TheLadders. Read about interview “don’ts” from the folks that witnessed the “Seven Deadly Sins” personified by interview candidates. Actually some of the stories are from the candidate’s perspective. My favorite one so far, though more of a recommendation than a story:

“Do not come to an interview with homemade barrets, made out of ping-pong balls, in your hair!”

You can’t make this stuff up and don’t doubt it’s the truth. When you work in the staffing industry, you meet a lot of characters.

Comments (6)

  1. Gabe says:

    You should probably clarify that not all of Microsoft is like this.

    I can’t imagine a developer not getting a job because she wore a homemade barret to the interview. I wore shorts and a T-shirt with a leather jacket to interview as an SDE many years ago, and got a job in Windows NT. As a matter of fact, we would often laugh to ourselves when seeing a poor interviewee walking around in a suit with a dev who was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. It was funny because the guys in suits pretty much never got the job.

    And one of the stories was from a guy who didn’t want to hire volunteer firemen because they admitted in the interview that they might have to leave at any time to put out a fire! Can you imagine what would happen if somebody wouldn’t hire married women because at any time they could become pregnant and demand a month off? I bet that same guy wouldn’t hire someone with kidney failure because at any time they may need to drop what they’re doing to get a kidney transplant. They probably won’t hire military reservists either.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Gabe-it isn’t a Microsoft site. So not intended to be instructional around the interview situation here. Though I have to say that I still don’t think a dev here should wear a barette made out of ping pong balls. It would definitely be distracting to interview someone with ping pong balls on their head.

    Also, have to mention that I support marketing and finance and people should definitely NOT show up in a t-shirt and shorts to an interview for marketing and finance positions. European casual is fine (I just learned what that means recently), but no jeans/shprts/t-shirts.

    The volunteer fireman one was silly. I suspect he was implying that the person was not actually a fireman, but it just makes the interviewer looks ridiculous to post that.

    Hey-that site is open for anybody to post…it’s interesting to read whether some of the opinions are justified or not.

    But again, I jujst want to reinforce, no ping pong balls on your head if you are interviewing…ever!

  3. km says:

    I can’t imagine that people at MS wouldn’t get hired because they are wearing a suit, seems like an incredible waste of an opportunity to hire a qualified person. There are some very talented people out there who still believe it’s ONLY appropriate to wear a suit to an interview, it seems short sighted to disqualify a person based on being dressed properly, even if it is different than what someone would wear at MS. I recruit for a tech company myself and it’s very casual, but we’d never disparrage a candidate for looking professionally. It’s bad business and a lost opportunity and if that is the attitude at MS, there are some managers in need of retraining.

    Interview dress can also vary regionally. In Portland or Seattle professional casual might be apropriate for an interview, but it certainly isn’t in New York or Washington DC or most of the world for that matter.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    KM-I don’t think that people at MS think that way. It’s not used to determine whether someone is qualified. I think what Gabe was saying is that it’s not necessary (I kind of feel sorry for myself when I have to wear a suit). You may have read more into his comments than what is there. He wasn’t saying they didn’t get the job BECAUSE they were wearing suits. I suspect that people who research a company before they interview there have a higher likelihood of wearing clothing to the interview that fits the cultural norm of the company. So I can certainly understand how statistically, the people that did less research would be less likely to get the position.

    But I do have to say that if someone showed up to a marketing or finance interview wearing jeans or shorts, which doesn’t match expectations here, the interviewers could perceive that the candidate is not taking the interview seriously. We cannot deny the importance of making a good impression.

  5. Gabe says:

    I think the proper advice is to dress apporpriately for the job. A job in finance would likely have different requirements than a job in software development. If I were a lawyer, I would never show up to a job interview without a suit because that’s what the job requires.

    I suspect that the developer recruits who showed up for interviews in suits were the ones who thought that’s what they needed in order to get the job. Since wearing a suit does not qualify one for a developer job at MS, most of those recruits did not qualify. It is pretty rare for a person to be both a good developer and a snappy dresser, although I understand that Raymond Chen ( excels in both those categories.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hmm, I kind of agree with you Gabe, though I have to admit that I usually wear jeans but I would not recommend wearing jeans if you were to be interviewing for my team. I guess my recommendation would be to wear whatever puts you in interview mode and if you err do so on the side of being slightly more formal than less so (as a sign of respect and seriouslness about the interview). I like seeing interviewees looking all professional and all I’m thinking in my head is "Go get em! Ace the interview!". I know…I’m a dork.