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Honesty during Interview

be honest

From my experience, from both employee/interviewee side and interviewer side. There were some common “dis-honesty” statements from employer/HR.

Recently, My colleague and I were interviewing a candidate. His question was whether there were a lot of legacy codes, and my colleague was giving a direct answer like there were no old code base. (Which was not true for most of teams, in the end I was adding that to show the honesty to the candidates). This article was inspired by this experience and my previous interview experience.

The 3 Big “Lies”

These are 3 lies I got in my software engineer career. The HR/Interviewer does not really be responsible for what they said in interview/discussion.

  • It is OK to pick either Windows or Mac for your work laptop.
  • We don’t have legacy codes.
  • Our work culture is a relaxing culture, everyone works together and helps each other.

Mac/Windows

It is not a big issue for most of employees, no engineers will deny a really good job offer for using an OS they do not like.

I have experienced that HR gave a wrong statement about this. They said/promised it was free to pick any of them, when the position started, it surprised me, I was forced to use Windows.

Legacy Codes

Like mentioned in the top. Legacy codes are very common with a company starting with a bad practice. It is OK to have legacy code, the key point here is not to hide it, either inside or to candidates.

  • Tell candidates, so they can prepare for it
  • Not be surprised so easy for them find it out and solve it

Legacy codes problems can be solved through re-factoring or re-write, some services could be solved through re-platform easily. In most of time, no engineers will deny a good offer with legacy codes, but they need the transparency and respect.

Relaxing Culture

In Company X, a HR told me they had a very relaxing culture. Everyone worked in a relaxing way and helped each other. One month later I was found it was totally a lie. The culture in the team, it was fully under micro-control management from the team lead, which no-one there could be really relaxed.

Work Place Diversity

I believe as a SaaS product software engineer, one key is to delivery better user experience/features to customers through technology, so I am ok in either relaxing culture or busy culture, but not micro-management. A wrong statement about work culture, it might make an engineer go to a wrong company or a wrong team, and the company will lose a good engieer.

How to solve it, and how to figure it out from an interviewee side

1. Talk to employees

  • Find the employees of the employers on Linkedin.
  • Connect them and start with a quick chat or an offline coffee.

2. Ask more

For example for OS, Windows or Mac, ask more following questions, such as

  • What language do we use? (Probably you already know it from ther Job Description) => What version of language(Java/DotNet/Python/JS) do we use?
    • For example, old version of DotNet does not work on Mac well

Why Interviewers Should be Honest?

work together
  • A wrong/dis-honest discussion will disappoint employees, because they will find out in the end.
  • Even you are an interviewers at that moment, you were still just an employee, you might leave and apply another job in the future, think about when it happen to you.
  • A dis-honest behavior is not a good thing in your career or your life.

In sum

The honesty is the key to find whether the candidate suitable for the position, vice versa.

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