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The Dreadful Interview

Created: August 10, 2017

Everyone hates job interviews.

Except for maybe those weird interviewers that use the interview to show off how smart they are, job interviews are never fun for the interviewee nor the interviewer.

Several years ago, I was a Development Manager for a NetSuite solutions provider, overseeing 7 developers on my team and looking to add an 8th. We went through dozens of candidates, but one in particular still stands out.

The resume, delivered to us by a recruiting agency, stated the candidate had "5 years of JavaScript experience" and that "the candidate rated self an 8 out of 10 on JavaScript expertise" - very impressive compared to most of the candidates we received at the time.

The candidate showed up on time, dressed professionally, hair just a little unkempt, but I was wearing a t-shirt and cargo shirts, so I was in no position to judge appearances.

Based on the trembling voice and visible sweating and shaking, it was clear from the beginning the candidate was nervous - very nervous. That's not uncommon, so I started with some small talk and "tell me about yourself" questions.

This did not help.

The candidate was so nervous, even telling me about their own life, that even I started to get uncomfortable, for no justifiable reason. it's your story - so why are you so nervous telling it?

Finally I needed to push the interview into more technical questioning. I always started with a very straight-forward JavaScript question (write a function that accepts two inputs and adds them together) that should be no problem for "an 8 out of 10" in JavaScript.

As soon as I asked the candidate to write this either on the whiteboard or their laptop, the candidate thanked me for my time, apologized for wasting it, stood up, and walked out of the interview.

After this, we decided to 1) fire the recruiting agency and 2) completely overhaul our entire screening and interview process to avoid such complete wastes of time for everyone. We then used that new process to successfully grow our team from 7 to 17 developers. To this day I continue to use the experience to help companies develop sound, effective hiring and onboarding processes for NetSuite developers.

That's a long story to lead me to today's question about hiring or being hired:

If you have hired or are currently hiring NetSuite developers, then what was that process like? What were the best and worst parts of finding and vetting those candidates? How have those hires worked out?

If you were hired as a NetSuite developer or administrator, then what was that process like? What were the best and worst parts of the job search? What were the interviews like? How do you like your new position?