Just Lost Job - Coping/Job Hunting Advice Needed


When I do one on one coaching of people on interviewing, one of the things we talk about is what do you do when you get an unprofessional, incompetent interviewer. Sorry to hear your wife got one of those. Sometimes it is indeed just one idiot in a good company, but often it’s a red flag.


I’m sorry about your wife’s experience but (and I realize it’s not much consolation, esp if interviews are scarce for her) if the company interviews like that, did she really want to work there?


In other job-seeking news, I spent a bit of November and December looking for a new job. One of the companies at which I interviewed asked me to do a “take home project” - essentially setting up a simple web server (front and back end) including writing testing for both the front and back sides. After thinking about it a few days, I eventually told them I would not be doing that.

My thoughts/research into the idea led me to some interesting places relating to interview programming tests (including whiteboarding). Before anyone gets in a tizzy, I’m not talking about short technical exercises/tests you do AT an interview. I’m talking about whiteboard exercises during an interview and about take-home projects that companies sometimes ask you to do on your own time.

For instance:

(interesting to note a sustained counter-argument in the topic from Jonathan Blow).

I also did a bit of research into whether programming tasks are a good idea, and ended up with these links (which I sent to my prospective employer when I told him I wasn’t going to do his task).

Needless to say, the prospective employer said I wasn’t a good fit. Also, I ended up at another place (and during that interview, I had to do 4 or 5 short programming exercises on a laptop, but no whiteboarding and no take home assignments).


My wife had this happen to her a few times. She is an senior HR manager so she wasn’t asked to write code off course. She was tasked with writing presentations describing how she will tackle HR issues, implement processes etc.
Now this happened more then once - she spent a few days researching the company, reading relevant material and writing detailed plans, only to be told later that the job was frozen, or that the role didn’t really include such responsibilities and that she is over-qualified. Essentially she started to feel like an unpaid consultant, and decided she won’t do these sort of things anymore.

In my company, we do give candidates short tasks but they are expected to be done in 15-20 minutes while they are over at our offices, and we’re really interested in their reasoning and the knowledge they use to solve the task rather then getting a ‘proper’ solution. I would never dream of setting up tasks to be completed at home.


This is interesting. I do programmer hiring and interviews here, and we always do 1 or more whiteboard questions. We’ve been using the same questions for a long time, I think they’re too easy, so lately I’ve been thinking about mixing it up. Sounds like you guys don’t like that. But, I’ve had people who interviewed great then literally could not reverse a string on the whiteboard. I think the coding challenges are valuable and necessary.

Also, @Gordon_Cameron (and anyone else looking for work), we’re hiring. We’re in the Boston area but if you’re super awesome you can work remotely too.


Thanks for the heads up! As it happens, I am super-awesome!


If you’re interested in working in Boston, PM me a link to your resume and I’ll take a look or read over the job postings and send me questions. We need project managers and digital strategists too, not just developers.

You worked at Yahoo so I figure there’s some carry-over of skill set there. I, too, work on the Internet.


In a surprising turn of events, they did come back to my wife. The local hiring manager wanted her enough to override headquarters.
Unfortunately it still fell through because they have zero tolerance for flexible hours expecting employees to work 9 to 5. That means that school runs would all fall on me, so my wife had to decline :(


So, the last 2 weeks I have been getting very negative vibes from my boss. I recently got some difficult clients that have been sucking up my time and falling behind. My boss has been reassigning my work (although not my clients) to newer ployees that need to he training and been keeping very close tabs on my work. I feel like as soon as the work is wrapped up, I will be having a talk about my future. Now, I have 2 small kids and 2 hours of driving each day, so getting a new job would be preferred, especially since recently they denied my request to work from home twice a week (which several employees do already). I have reached out to past references, and updated one of resumes, but living in South Central PA, there aren’t exactly a lot of jobs in my field (401(k) pension administration.

So, any advice or encouragement would be appreciated during this time period.


It’s easier to find a job when you already have one. Start looking now. The commute alone would have been enough for me to find a new job a lot earlier than you’re doing. My god, 4 hours a day?


Sorry, 2 hours a day.


A few openings in my world (compilers, debuggers, graphics and other such low level developer tools things) that some folks here might find interesting:



Man, yeah, I agree with Tman, this ship seems like it’s sinking. Time to find a new one. :/


Already in the process, but in my specific field, it means working in the Baltimore Area. One of my prior employers transitioned to an adjacent field, and offered to talk to me about it. Unfortunately, she is in the Philadelphia area, otherwise I would have loved to apply with her office.


Alternative, the college I graduated from is nearby, and they have an interesting opening as a Major Gift Officer. I only have some experience in that field, but I was active at my College in all kinds of clubs and positions.


What’s that?


I’ve found spending the $150 or so on a professional resume writing service to be a very worthwhile investment.

Also, having a solid LinkedIn profile and network, and using it to connect with recruiters is a massive, massive help.


Can confirm, LinkedIn has been shockingly relevant in having people call me.


They have a free month, so I will try that today.

A major Gift office is probably calling donors. Hopefully not cold calling, since it’s a brand new position.

Anyways, thanks for all the advise.


In addition to starting the new job search, I would advise you to start examining your budget and see where you can cut back (at least temporarily). If you do get hit with an unexpected layoff you want to be in as good financial shape as possible; you don’t want to be in such bad financial shape that you feel compelled to take the first opening you see, even if it’s a bad fit.