Friday, June 4, 2010

My interview experiences - 2

Another of my not so great interview experiences I am sharing with you. This time, it was CSS Chennai. As usual it was on a Saturday, some kind scheduled walk in. I was on time at the venue and after completing the initial formalities we (few of us who have come for the interview) were taken to another floor. Luckily this time around there was not much of a waiting.

I was called for my round of interview. Once the pleasantries were exchanged, the first question asked was what’s your current Cost To Company (CTC)? In other words the guy asked me what is your current salary? I thought the guy must be some HR guy doing some initial screening. As soon as I told him my salary, bang came another question, which company is paying this much salary? It was not a question out of surprise but a sarcastic one. The expression on his face was how the hell this guy can get such a salary? Ok, I asked him is there a problem in me getting the said salary? He got the point that I was irritated with his sarcastic question.

After the not so great start, the guy started asking technical questions. Wow wow wowww, what’s happening? This was the feeling I was having, the reason being that this guy, first asks me about my salary, which gave me an impression that he was someone from the HR department. Now the same guy is asking technical questions. I just regained control over my wow feeling and started answering the technical questions. The attitude of the guy was so bad, arrogant and what not. Most probably, he got pissed by our not so great start. Anyways, I kept answering his questions. And finally the questions stopped and the guy takes his mobile and does some punching of numbers (from his facial expression you can make out he is just showing off that he is doing some great calculation, but in reality he is doing nothing). After few seconds of pressing numbers in his mobile he shows me a figure something like this “x*xx” and says this is the max salary we can give to you. I asked him what does the star stands for? He said its a decimal point. Now I couldn’t control myself from laughing but somehow I controlled myself. What the heck man, from the expression he gave and punching of numbers he was doing on his mobile, I thought the guy was doing some serious calculation on his mobile calculator but what he showed me was three numbers separated by “*”.  That means he faking and he can become a good actor.

Now I have a basic question here, from the interaction I had with this guy, I think he may be a technical guy, some developer or stuff like that. Now my question is how on earth does a company like CSS allows its developer to decide what salary a candidate should get. Isn’t it the job of the HR to negotiate salary terms and condition? This guy doesn’t stop there, he advices me that companies that follow CMMI process or MNC will not be able to pay more than the figure he has shown me. Hmm, that’ a great advice from a fellow techie, not to apply in big companies. Anyway I was frustrated to the core after hearing all these so called great advice. Finally he asked whether I would like to go for the offer which is below my current salary? What is this happening? A developer is asking me whether I would be comfortable with the figure he showed me. Now I was totally annoyed by the way CSS is giving free hand to developers to bargain with other developers. If I am not wrong all IT companies have this policy where each and every individual should treat his salary details as confidential and employees are not supposed to share salary details with others. I wonder whether CSS has this clause.

To add injury to the insult, when I said I am not interested in going down below my current salary the guy just flashed my resume at me, literally throwing at me. Damn man, its my resume and it has some great info on what I am and I would expect more professionalism on the part of this guy to treat resume with respect. On my way back the HR came running to me and informed me that the developer to whom I had a discussion was not the right person to talk about salary. As you are getting paid above what a normal developer in CSS is getting, he needs client’ approval and he will fix a client call for me. Hey man what is happening, if the developer is not the right person then why on earth you are giving free hand to a developer to bargain salary terms? This bargaining is happening with the HR’ knowledge, how ridiculous? Can you believe this?

As there were other candidates sitting in the hall I asked the HR to come out for a discussion. I briefed him on how the interview went on and how arrogant the guy seemed. The HR tried convincing me by saying that the guy talks like that. If the guy talks like that you need to inform him that the way he talks or interviews candidates is not sending right signal on how interviews are conducted in CSS. The company’ image is at stake man. People who come for interview will say that CSS interview was conducted like this and like that. At the end of the day the company’ image is spoiled and not the guy who interviewed.


The interview process nowadays has become just a mockery. Its not one off instance where these kind of things happen. I had discussed the same with some of my friends as well. They also don’t have anything good to say. They have their own stories to narrate and since I couldn’t validate it I am not putting them here. But from what I have gone it seems what they are talking about are real facts.

Very few companies give importance the way interviews are conducted, and they are least bothered to review their interview process. According to me interview is an art and people should be trained to improve their interviewing skills. Frequent review should be conducted and improvement should be suggested. HR should make it a practice to sit along with the interviewer once in a while and see how the interviewer conducts the interview and if there are scopes for improvement then suggest the same. Take feedback from the interviewee and if negative feedbacks do come don’t give lame excuses like “the guy talks like that and blah blah”. The top management should make sure that the HR team is active are not mute spectators. They are bunch of powerful people who are now becoming mute spectators without knowing their actual importance and power. So come on guys (HR guys), buckle up and show what you are capable of and don’t let others thing that you are a bunch of dumb guys.

One more thing to note here is that if you are giving free hand to a developer to bargain on salary and other terms then it could thus happen that the developer wouldn’t like anyone to get salary more than what he gets and could reject or discourage candidates. Or the extreme could be that he will apply to the companies which pay good salary by knowing the company details. So in anyways the HR team is at a great loss.