Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Clear Customer Interviews

This was highly inspired by "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Talking To Women".

New nerds are being hired in the company and every body had to pass through the guillotine called "Customer Interview". As a foreword to the article, it consists of typical (read stupid) questions asked by your one and only (prospective) god...THE CUSTOMER. The true answers that you would want to give, the ones from the bottom of you heart, the ones which you would swear by your dearest (or dumbest) brain you've been using all these years and the answers which you MUST & SHOULD articulate even though you are conscious that every word falling out of your mouth is a glorified and a fluent lie.

I'm not claiming that this guide will confirm your position that the customer interview is going to fetch you, neither I'm assuring you that your customer will be impressed big time offering you a job in his company. This obviously will give a fair idea to newbies on what to talk and what NOT to talk.

If you're unlucky to have a foreign customer with the weirdest English accent, my suggestion is to have your delivery manager whose ears would have got seasoned to the stupidest English on earth. Atleast he can clarify that the customer is not asking you to "elope" but asking you to "dial up" or he is not asking you to "sink" but "think". And as long as its not tele-conference, it would be great if you're accompanied by an experienced nerd to scribble stuff on board, if the interviewer gets technical.

The interview

Customer(C): What were you involved in before you start the new assignment?

What you want to say (WYWTS):
  • I've been wasting all my years trying to do something useful, but all I did was crap.
  • I just finished my education.
  • I've been involved in pot, crack, alcohol abuse, eve teasing and whole lot of other interesting projects.
What you must say (WYMS):
  • I was developing the Ultra thin, high definition, high density modular memory chips for 4.5 generation of cellular system supporting Hybrid - ARQ, involving HSDPA/HSUPA technologies which supports high mobility consuming zero battery with the ability of streaming MPEG-4 quality video at the highest data rate ever supported in the market!!!
  • (If you're a newbie) I was involved in the development of project funded by three biggies, Microsoft, Redhat and Apple. I have developed a version of Linux that can run within windows running within macos-x. We were successful in finishing the project in record time. But the demo was kind of screwed up, because of the usual thing that happens with windows.

C: Are you aware of our mission?

  • Your mission is to save money, we are the cheap labors helping in accomplishing your mission.
  • What? Do you guys have mission?
  • Who cares?
  • Yeah I understand your mission completely. It feels great to know that we are working towards stabilizing your product and do the testing and maintenance as per the SLA. I'm wholeheartedly supportive of this endeavor.
C: What do you think of the procedures we are following to achieve our mission are effective?

  • What a shitty procedure, I would finish the testing in one day and use the next 4 days to fill time sheets, status reports, hourly reports, hardware reports, test report, meeting minutes and a bunch of other absolutely useless activities.
  • Do you think I give a damn to all your procedures, give me work and money, I'll finish both by end of week.
  • Oh yeah!!! Absolutely!!! I have never seen such effective quality measures during my previous experience. Especially the kind of reports you have, ensure in every way that the practices are well followed.
C: What is the motivation for you to take up this work?

  • Who says I'm motivated, its just that I don't have anything better to do I'm working here.
  • I don't care about any damn motivation, I'm getting money, I can do whole lotta crap.
  • I get a chance to see foreign country, I get chance to travel, I get money, I get beer, I get chicks, what more do I need in life?
  • Oh!!! Do I need to be motivated to do your work?
  • Well, never heard of that word before, could you explain in more detail.
  • You ain't kidding, are ya?
  • I get to work on such cutting edge technologies in this project, that is what I was dreaming about and I've got it. What more do I need?
  • The reputation of your product in the market has driven me towards this project. I'm glad that I'm getting a chance to work on this.
C: Where would you like to see yourself five years from now?

  • In the Presidential suite, Four Seasons, Las Vegas.
  • Why on earth would you want to know that?
  • If I had such foresightedness, do you think I was taking this interview?
  • I don't know which pub I'm gonna hit this evening, and you're talking about 5 years!!!
  • I'm gonna finish my masters and preferably my MBA and still be striving hard for the benefit of this organization and in particular this project which I'm gonna start working on.
  • I would like to see myself as a team lead, working for the project which you're gonna offer.
C: What languages are you familiar with?

  • Azarbaijani, Fijian, Bosnian, Inuktitut and a bit of English
  • English only
  • Why do you care what I speak?
  • What language should I know to work in your project?
  • Well I'm good at C, C++, Java, .Net. I'm am also familiar with older languages with Cobol, Fortran, Pascal, Ada and stuff like that. Other skills include PL/SQL, Database administration, Microsoft office and others.
C: I heard you've been getting trained for past few weeks, what have you been learning?

  • I've been yawning and dowsing all my time in training.
  • Training sucked, too much math, I stopped giving a shit.
  • Donno what exactly it was, but trainer was using terms like wireless, cellular quite frequently.
  • I've learnt wireless technology basics, the basics of protocol stack and many other interesting things like DSP, Modulation, GSM, GPRS, CDMA, EDGE, 3G and WiMax.

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