Employment interviews at most companies consist of filling out an application, participating in a two to three hour interview, and then going home.
Rumor has it that some companies may even offer employment.
For the most part, the interview process has been pretty well honed, and with some exceptions, is more or less fair.
The easiest interview I have had - and most people will have - is for their first job.
It consists of submitting an application, and then accepting an offer for minimum wage.
The hardest interview, albeit still quite fair, was with the United States Marine Corps.
It consisted of approximately an entire file cabinet of papers, and required no less than ten thousand signatures.
The darn thing took two days to start, and, ten years later, I'm not sure is really over.
But technical interviews are a completely different case.
First, they require at least three separate interviews; each scheduled long enough to require you to take time off of your current job.
Second, I think Jim Crow was not quite as discriminatory.
Third, they are conducted in the most unprofessional manner allowable.
If you haven't had the displeasure of a technical interview, but really want it, then apply for any high tech job, and one will quickly ensue.
The process begins with a simple phone screen.
At this point, you are lulled into confidence with a rather personable description of the work place, products and services, and the team members; every high tech employee is part of a 'team'.
It's not the same sort of team as a sports team, or a team in the sense that all work is teamwork, but more like an anagram for 'at me', as in "look at me" and "all praise should be directed at me".
The first real signs of trouble appear during the one-hour technical interview.
Ultimately, there is only one way to pass the technical interview, and that is to fully understand the warped personality of the interviewer.
Not only do you need to know the technical topic inside and out, you must be able to anticipate the manner in which the interviewer understands each topic.
In most cases, the interviewer does not have the slightest clue what they are talking about.
To make matters worse, they think they were put on this planet to lead a revolution using only the specific technologies in question.
Such arrogance is bread in part by the fact that they work for a high tech company, and specifically, they are employed at the company you are applying for.
You, obviously, do not work there, and in their eyes, are not qualified.
The only way to pass the one hour technical interview is to either have such an understanding of all topics discussed that you may as well have invented the technology, or you can think and speak in the same warped logic as the interviewer.
Case in point: In one such an interview, Wiff Dooner spent three quarters of the interview asking me to describe something I was intimately familiar with.
In the last quarter, he started moving into areas I was admittedly less familiar with.
Eventually, I was stymied by a question on something completely unrelated to the position, but whose answer was only a reference question.
However, since the question and position were computer related, Wiff must have thought the single reference question was relevant, because I was later told the interview went very poorly.
The interesting part of my experience with Wiff is that prior to the interview, I was told that Wiff was 'concerned' I was not well-suited for the position because I had spent some time working with unrelated technologies.
So, ability really had less to do with passing the technical interview, if I may be so bold, as did Wiff simply feeling threatened by my presence.
Additional phone screens may follow, but that is only if the hiring manager is a sadistic PhD-holder.
After the one hour technical interview comes the all day interview.
This procession includes a ten-minute meeting with human resources, followed by an entire day of more technical interviews that were designed to test the limits of your knowledge.
Except, if you miss anything, you won't get hired.
To make matters worse, most of the topics have nothing to do with the position, but the interviewer's area of expertise.
One such interview was with Klulis.
Claptrap Klulis worked at a very large software company, and had been involved with technologies that had not been made public.
However, since he had spent time learning these technologies, he assumed that everyone else should know them as well.
Needless to say, the only way to pass an interview with Klulis was to say nothing at all, because he was completely right.
He was so right that if you even mentioned your name, he would tell you just how wrong you were, and back that up with the fact that he had been working with this new technology for the last six months.
After meeting with Klulis, other technical interviews followed, which included all of those questions designed to test critical thinking skills.
The questions aren't realistic, of course.
They usually start with "You're with a customer," and end with "so please draw me a diagram for a perpetual motion machine."
Just once, I'd really appreciate a realistic question, however crass.
"Your daughter was involved in some red-light instant messaging when you walked in on her.
In a parental rage, you whipped together an over-achieving proxy server, connected all other computers to it, and now your home network is like the Gulag.
What was the message group she was visiting, and what was her screen name?"
Eventually, I did work for one of those huge high tech companies, and when I had the chance to perform interviews, I asked the applicant what they liked to do, how well they knew the material, and did they really want to do the job they were applying for.
Sometimes they could answer these questions, and other times they weren't prepared for such candor and simply said they really didn't like doing it.
Of course, it didn't matter, because unless they were part of club, one of the interviewers would always be dissatisfied with the answer to what the hexadecimal value was of the average hair color of everyone who had walked past the door during the interview.