March 3, 2003

Regret To Inform You

I got a letter today from TD Bank Financial Group. The letter was dated February 25, 2003. It stated that although my qualifications are "impressive", they are unable to proceed further with my application for a programmer position.

Confused, I searched my computer for any documents pertaining to this position. It turns out this letter is in response to a job posting I applied to through the university on November 28. Why it took them almost three months to the day let me know I didn't get the job, I'll never know. But I do know it's unprofessional at the very least. Not that it matters anymore.

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February 11, 2003

There's A Rainbow In Toronto

My job interview yesterday went well enough. The company wanted someone with strong .NET skills, which is hard to find in a new graduate. The interview didn't have any coding questions, so my advice didn't really apply. But I did get a chance to spend some quality time downtown on Yonge Street, the world's longest street.

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February 10, 2003


Ever since my co-op job at Microsoft, I have been getting several emails a month asking for interview advice from would-be Microsoft interviewees. As much as I do appreciate getting email, I hate repeating myself. So before you email me asking for advice about an upcoming technical interview, check out Chris' Interview Advice.

I am so confident in my advice, that I will use it myself in a job interview I have this afternoon.

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January 24, 2003

Sweet Home Chicago

The interview at Microsoft went really well, quite the contrast to my last interview. There were five one-hour technical interviews, two with Exchange, and three with the .NET CLR.

I think I aced the Exchange interviews, as well as the last CLR one. The other two are a toss up. I didn't crash and burn, but I didn't ace them either. All the interviewers asked hard questions, but I feel my preparation paid off. I should hear back from them with the results just in time for my birthday.

Thanks for all the emails of encouragement I received. It's nice to know complete strangers are pulling for me.

The flight to Seattle was uneventful (with a customary stop in Chicago). Coming home was another story. My flight to Chicago was delayed, so they put me on an earlier flight. That flight got to O'Hare late, so I missed my connecting flight to Toronto, and had to go on standby for the next one. My luggage however wasn't, so it's in Chicago as I write this. I trust the good people at Air Canada will deliver it back to me sometime tonight. I don't like being without my toothbrush for too long.

Then to top it all off, they showed the same in-flight movie twice. And it wasn't even a good movie. It was Sweet Home Alabama, starring a skeletal Reese Witherspoon, who is a home-town girl who has to choose between her childhood love, and the big-city rich guy. Guess which one she picks.

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January 20, 2003

Wish Me Luck

Ok, I'm off to get interviewed. Expect a brief recap on Friday. I don't know if I'll detail the entire interview again, I just may want to sweep another crushing defeat under the rug. You understand.

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January 17, 2003


I've just been informed by Ian (and thankfully not a would-be employer) that my online résumé was out of date. This has been corrected, and now recruiters have no excuse not to flood my inbox with job offers.

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January 11, 2003

Eninggers Have More Fun

Does a company actually expect to hire people when they advertise their job opening as "APPLICATION ENINGGERING" [sic]? Yes, that's how they spelled it. It looks like a cross between engineering and a racial slur.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off taking Eninggering instead of Computer Science...

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January 7, 2003

Here We Go Again

Got The Email today. On January 22, I'm going back to Redmond, Washington, USA for (yet another) interview with Microsoft. If I don't get the job this time, I'm starting my own damn software company.

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November 21, 2002

It's Time

Well, I'm off. I'll be arriving in Seattle around 9:00pm PST tonight, and hopefully will be getting together with some old co-workers to raid the hotel mini-bar. Tomorrow at noon, I'll be proving my worth to the largest software company in the world. I'll be coming home Saturday night, either feeling great, unsure, or like I should have cast myself out of the plane somewhere over the American Mid-West. Assuming the NDR I'll be signing allows it, I'll post a recap of the interview here for your reading pleasure.

Unless, of course, there's a Chris-shaped hole in some Minnesota farmer's corn-field.

Since I'll be gone for a few days, you'll have to get your blog fix elsewhere. If you're sick of my regular links, try Yada (site down). Anyone who wants to be my protégé can't be all that bad.

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November 20, 2002

When Bill Comes A-Callin'...

Worried that I wouldn't get a flight in time, I emailed my contact at Microsoft Recruiting and explained the situation. A few hours later I got a phone call from Redmond. Apparently the online form I had filled out somehow didn't make it through (insert "M$ sux, h4x0rs rule!" comment here). I resubmitted and am now scheduled to fly Toronto-Seattle non-stop on Thursday. Out of the four times I flew to and from the West, this will be the first flight that won't be stopping off at O'Hare airport in Chicago. I will be coming back Saturday night (after a brief 35-minute stop at, you guessed it, O'Hare).

I knew this would all work out in the end, didn't you?

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November 19, 2002

The Pressure Is On

I'm starting to get stressed now. I have a Japanese quiz tomorrow I spent the afternoon studying for, which means less time to study for my upcoming interview. Funny thing about that interview... I still haven't received any travel arrangements. I would really hate to miss the interview for a reason as stupid as they didn't fly me over there.

I'm checking my email compulsively every 5 minutes, but I'm always disappointed by either an empty inbox or ads to enlarge certain body parts.

Next on the list of interview study material: data structures and algorithms. Words like B-Tree, Quicksort, Dynamic Programming and Boolean all sound familiar, but if they ever came up in an interview I think I'd freeze up.

Another funny thing is that they want a list of references. The problem I have is that all my previous employers:

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November 18, 2002

Interview, When?

Still no word on when I'm flying to Seattle. I've already packed my suitcase, just in case I only get 2 hours notice.

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November 17, 2002

Microsoft Preparation: Day 3

Today will be spent surfing the web for interview questions. I did the same for my my co-op interview and it really paid off. If I'm lucky, they won't be asking any stupid MindTrap questions with contrived answers involving a guy standing on a block of ice to hang himself.

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November 16, 2002

Microsoft Preparation: Day 2

Today I'll be going over my old database notes, since I don't remember a damn thing about SQL. I think I'll also review some of the finer points of C++ because interviewers love asking tricky C++ questions. I always get a chill down my spine when an interview opens with "If you have a virtual method..."

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November 15, 2002

Microsoft Preparation: Day 1

I've decided to kick off the studying with a thorough review of two of Microsoft's new technologies: C# and .NET. There's a delicate balance between being too cool to spend Friday night reading last year's textbooks, and being nerdy enough to spend it programming.

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November 14, 2002

Should I Complain?

I got "The Email". The interview is on. One slight problem: it's set for Friday November 22nd. I know I really shouldn't complain that I have an interview, but it's just that it now conflicts with a Japanese quiz, an English workshop, and Ang's family's early Christmas get-together (which I have been missing the past couple of years due to being out of the country).

D'oh, I was hoping for an interview after exams so I could actually prepare for it... now, it looks like I'll have to cram like I've never crammed before.

I know I shouldn't complain.. what with other Waterloo grads who are so desperate for interviews they would open-mouth kiss their own dog if it meant a foot in the door.

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November 13, 2002

Ten Percent, Eight Months Later

I guess I won't be dropping off a resume at RIM anytime soon. When they interviewed me for a Co-op job 8 months ago, the interviewer was proud to tell me that RIM was one of the only tech companies not only not laying people off, but hiring. A lot can change in 8 months.

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November 5, 2002

Interview On Hold

I learned that my Microsoft interview won't be happening in November after all. I guess it will have to be nestled somewhere after my last exam, and before Christmas.

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October 29, 2002


A little bit of good news: My manager from Microsoft wants to interview me on Nov 16. I'm just waiting for the green light from HR before booking my flight to Seattle.

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October 25, 2002

Sour Grapes

I got a "Thanks For Applying" postcard from Qualcomm today. Why they picked the slowest manner possible to inform me is beyond me. You'd think they'd heard of email. That's ok, I didn't want to live in San Jose anyway.

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October 1, 2002

Latest Word

The latest word from my prospective employer is that they got the ok to hire more people for January. Just waiting for that final ok to say the full-time interview and all-expense paid trip to Seattle is on...

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September 25, 2002

Career Fair

Today was Waterloo's Career Fair. Dozens of companies came to Waterloo to entice new grads and co-op students. I was among the enticed. Although I have a recommendation for hire from Microsoft, that is not a job offer, nor a guarantee for an interview. So instead of waiting by the phone all day, I decided to share my resume with some local, and some not-so-local companies.

I walked out of there with a sour taste in my mouth from some companies (no, I won't list them here), and good impressions of others. I also walked away with countless brochures and a bag full o' loot. I got:

It was weird. Upon inspecting my resume, some people were impressed that I had worked at Microsoft. Others were amazed that I had worked in Japan. Still others refused to take my resume, and insisted I apply online. Yeah, that's why I came here, so I could be told in person to visit your website.

I was under the impression that the job fair was like a mini-pre-interview. You hand them your resume, they ask you some questions, you ask some questions, they take notes and you both walk away knowing a little more about each other and whether or not a job together would be mutually beneficial. Some companies were under that impression too. Most weren't.

You tell me, what company would you rather work for:
Company A: "Let me tell you about our company... Do you have a resume I can have?"
Company B: "All our information is online. Don't give me your resume, I'll just lose it."

Remember, as an applicant, I'm interviewing your company too.

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April 13, 2002

Flight Info

I got my flight info: I'm leaving Toronto Airport at 1:15pm on Saturday April 27. I will have to switch planes at the ever-lovely Ohare Airport in Chicago before reaching Seattle.

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February 13, 2002


I had an interview with RIM today. First we had to meet for a group info session at 9:30am. When I arrived, the receptionist at RIM emailed the interviewer and told me to take a seat. I wondered why it wouldn't be quicker just to phone her desk. 10 minutes later the receptionist got a reply. Our interviewer was stuck on the 401 and would be here shortly. Ok well, that explains the email, since all employees have a Blackberry. Then I imagined the interviewer sitting behind the wheel, typing an email on the tiny Blackberry keyboard. I don't know how many of you have ever used one of these things, they're really hard to use with only one hand. That's probably what caused the accident on the 401 that held her up...

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February 11, 2002


I had my two interviews today. The first was with Microsoft for the Software Development Engineer in Test position. I felt it went well. My weekend of preparing (at the expense of my homework) paid off. For all you nerds out there, you can read all about the technical interview tomorrow (hey, I'm not going to post the interview questions until after MS is done giving interviews at Waterloo!)

My other interview was with Longview Solutions for a Software Developer position. They're a company that "make software for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of Global 2000 companies". They said the magic words to me during the intverview: They don't just want a co-op student, they want to train a future employee. What a coincidence! I'm a co-op student who's looking for a company to hire me as a full-time employee after I graduate.

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February 10, 2002

What Tomorrow May Bring

Went to the Microsoft info session at Ground Zero 6:30 today. Yes, it's Sunday. Anyway, there was a little intro as to what life in Redmond would be like, some Q&A and some pop and greasy food. I asked how we could best prepare for the interview and the response was something along the lines of "Relax. If you don't have what it takes already, there's nothing you can do in the next 12 hours to get it". Swell.

Tomorrow's the big day. Two interviews... Microsoft and Longview Solutions. Wish me luck.

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