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Interview: Bringing sample models. Good/Bad?

I have an interview soon and I'm contemplating whether or not to bring some sample models I have produced for non-confidential projects I have done on the side (not tied to any employer but myself). The position is for either systems or DB architecture . . . I have done both but would prefer the systems side . . .

What are you thoughts on this?

Steve
Friday, April 16, 2004

It hink it's a good idea: not only do you get to show what you can do, but also you'll find out pretty quickly whether or not your design philosophy will fit there.  Unless you desperately need this job (in which case, you should *not* do this and play it safe answering interviewer's questions instead), it's a good way to get a sense of what the job there would be like.

Trump Dump
Friday, April 16, 2004

> Unless you desperately need this job (in which case, you should *not* do this and play it safe answering interviewer's questions instead),


Why is that considered to be safe play?
Last time that i got layed off, they sent us to a job hunting course, now one of the main thing they taught us was to stress your competive advantages - to stand out of the crowd of resumes.

Michael Moser
Friday, April 16, 2004

Because if you use good design practices that they don't like you could hurt your chances, while if you're just talking with the interviewer you can stay light on your feet and be who they need you to be.

Of course, working in a shop like that would be painful, but that's why the caveat was "if you really need the job"

Philo

Philo
Friday, April 16, 2004

If you were the one hiring would you like the candidates to bring along examples of their work? Presenting yourself goes better with examples and it shows sincere enthousiasm for the area you have to work in.

Does it help? That all depends on the quality. Show mediocre stuff and you're out quicker. Show good relevant stuff and it will greatly improve your chances. Especially, if you can talk with future collegues. Remember, when talking about your work, you are the expert.

The only time I ever had an interview, fresh out of the military service and university, I brought along short presentations of my previous projects and everybody loved it. Afterwards they told me that I was talking an awful lot, but they hired me out of dozens of other, more experienced, candidates anyway.

Jan Derk
Friday, April 16, 2004

By the way, theer's one huge problem with bringing samples - potential lawsuits. If the work you bring is work you did while salaried at your last job, it's not yours to show. More to the point, you open your potential employer up to legal action if your old employer finds out they got a look at internal code.

An extreme example - you work for Id software, leave and go to work for Big Consulting Corp. Big Consulting Corp is about halfway done with their new 3-d business rendering engine when you haul out "here's some work I did on the rendering engine for Doom 3"

Interview over, you don't get the job, you get fired by Id, and both companies hate you.

Now OP circumvented this issue by specifically mentioning that his samples were personal. But how does the employer know that?

Another point - how does the employer know it's your work? "Well, I can quiz him on it" Fine - but you can do that without the code in front of you. :)

I put a lot of thought into this during interviews over the years (both sides of the table), and I'm pretty convinced it simply doesn't provide anything a good interviewer can't get without code.

Philo

Philo
Friday, April 16, 2004

> What are you thoughts on this?

Personally, if I'm interviewing you it's because based on your resume I already want to hire you. A chief thing I'm trying to do in an interview is to discover whether you were telling the truth in your resume, by quizzing you on-the-spot. Seeing a portfolio wouldn't help me do that (because it might have been written by someone else). But I'm sure I don't speak for all employers in saying this, and it's possible that my views on this have changed since I last interviewed people.

Christopher Wells
Friday, April 16, 2004

But I indicated the models are my own and not an employer's . . . still a bad idea to bring it?

Steve
Friday, April 16, 2004

I've had interviewer's that have required it, and I have to say I don't think it really had any bearing on any decission.  They didn't really even look at it.  I've also known someone who got a job at MS because of code samples.  He didn't have a CS background and learned to program at community college.  All aside, he went in there, showed them what he knew w/ visual examples, and he got the job (largely because of the samples).  I do have to agree with Philo though for the most part.  I think that most of the time, they don't add anything to the interview but a possible legal mess.

Elephant
Friday, April 16, 2004

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