Tuesday, August 18, 2009

indian personality disorder: at the interview

today i had to interview a shocking example of IPD.

the setup: a certain mrs. rao, who is married to a certain mr. rao who also works at my company, is looking for a job. reason given: she worked overseas for 4 years and now she's working in her husband's department (he's a VP) and they are fighting. something must be done to save the marriage.

the approach: mrs. rao approaches my boss, and he discusses there may be a position open for her in my group. my boss shares with me later that she wants a job in marketing or HR or something and she's at the same title as i am right now but as long as she thinks there's potential to be promoted eventually she's ok. also, that we should really hire mrs. rao because she comes to us fully funded. (i guess we avoid divorce court?)

the discussion: i call mrs. rao. our discussion proceeds as a who's who of IPD behavior. i've listed it sequentially because it was just that perfect.

#1 wierd telephone manners: she picks up the phone and acts confused and says her battery is dying and can she call me back. then she hangs up without saying goodbye and calls back on the other line.

#2 need to be placated that she won't be in IT: apparently there's an entire group of indians who react violently to being in IT. i suppose it was inevitable really with all the offshoring going on. it's just funny. the IT workers have been at it for less than 20 years but those poor street sweepers have been at it for generations with no hope of relief! i explained her what i could about my job function but she clearly didn't get it because her first response was to ensure I didn't do program management, which is what she does in IT. had she actually understood the job function, she would have gotten it. i don't do anything remotely IT!

#3 no sales skills: upon being asked (since she began the discussion with the assumption that she was deciding if the job was right for her), she explained her current job, which is called delivery manager. it sounds like a glorified clipboard person, just making sure everyone has what they need to continue to deliver. she didn't know any of the products she had delivered (there were too many to count). she didn't speak with passion about anything. didn't really explain her background or qualifications. though she did explain that she was free headcount and that i probably didn't have any and implied she was my only option.

#4 playing hard to get with no basis: upon giving me her pitch (free labor, i have no choice) she explained i'd still need to convince her supervisor to let her go

#5 trying to outdo one's fellow indians: she then said my boss told her i was "in succession planning" and that eventually she could take over some of my job duties. (i.e. step aside so i can be promoted into a job that is not IT, that i know nothing about)

#6 unappreciative of who's helping them: she then proceeded to belittle my boss (who is going out of his way to help her) saying he was some random person she met who she didn't think could help her but then she realized he was in marketing and how she wanted to be in marketing and therefore he could help her.


Lilac - Like The Flower said...

My goodness. It's like a presumptive close with an indecisive person. it's like bad dating. It's everything that's wrong with interviewing today.

That old childish adage comes to mind... If you assume, you make and ass of u and me.

Capt. BS said...

Whoa, the ASS/U/ME thing was in one of my dreams last night.

So yes, this woman is an exemplary IPD case study. This kind of behavior always recalls to mind the numerous IPD-affected developers who interrupt discussions on software blogs / message boards (such as my post on IE Mobile's file-upload limitations) to try to find an answer (usually to something trivial) that they themselves are too lazy to discover for themselves.

For example, consider this typical response that one might receive after posting a code sample:

hello, i use ur codes but it not work. i create connectionstringbuilder but it gives me error. plz hlp, send me correct codes, URGENT!!!!!!

Here we have:
(1) A one-word greeting ("hello") intended to announce that the author is hijacking the discussion to serve their own purposes.

(2) A suggestion that the author's comment is relevant to the discussion at hand ("i use ur codes, but it not work") and that the author has made an attempt to apply their discussion to their own efforts, but that it has failed for some unepsecified reason. Usually, none of these things are true.

(3) The author attempts to further bolster their claims of relevance by describing an additional element of their code, chosen at random ("i create connectionstringbuilder but it gives me error"). This additional element typically has nothing to do with your code, nor does it even vaguely pertain to the relevant domain of discourse.

(4) The author utilizes a half-assed, usually vowell-less emotional appeal ("plz hlp") that suggests that s/he is entitled to a response by virtue of the fact that your codes "not work" (in spite of your graciousness in posting them in the first place).

(5) Since the author possesses no critical reasoning / problem-solving skills, s/he issues a demand for the "correct codes" and, through the gratuitous use of exclamation points and capital letters (which are present at no other point in the reply), suggests that dire consequences will befall them (and therefore you, via karma) should you not respond immediately.

Priya said...

i will say that today i also spoke to the best example of non-IPD. an indian who was nice, kind polite and honest. of course not as interesting to blog about, but they *do exist*

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

Of course! or we wouldn't like you!