Being the oul fart I am (am 34 next week) and having been in this industry for the past thirteen years I've found myself being in the position of intervewing people for jobs with a team I either lead or am a member of. It goes with the job, I don't mind it too much as I tend to work for small companies where the interview process is fairly informal.
However this has a double edge sword as sometimes I get asked for references (this has happened a few times in the last few months). I am not that much of a fan of this part but you do your bit. I value pretty much everyone I have ever worked with, even the assholes have their good sides and no matter what I would never give a bad reference to anyone unless they were really bad. At the same time I don't blow sunshine up their asses.
I had to give a reference to someone last week and I had a rather annoying experience over the phone with the idiot that was asking me questions. I didn't want to blow the persons chance of getting the job so I said nothing over the phone so am passively aggressively calling that person a wanker on my blog that gets about seven hits a year... I am a real man ;)
Anyway the whole conversation went like this:
Wanker: "So you would recommend xxxxxx for this role then?" Me: "Without a doubt, I always found xxxxxx to be very helpful and trust worthy" [after being very complimentry about them] Wanker: "That's good, thanks for your time" Me: "Not a problem, want to know anything else sure just give me a ring" Wanker: "Will do.... well there is one thing.. I was just wondering their degree isn't really related to computers, did you find this a problem?" Me: "I didn't even know they had a degree to be honest but that is interesting." Wanker: "What?" Me: "I didn't know that" Wanker: "You employed this person, didn't you?" Me: [noticing that this person just got arsey] "No, I was a member of that team and was just in the interview" Wanker: "Semantics" Me: "If you say so" Wanker: "Are you sure you are in a position to give xxxxx a reference?" Me: "Well you are more than welcome to look on my linkedin if there is any doubt" Wanker: "I just don't understand how you could be in a position to vet an employee and not care about their educational background" Me: "As I stated I was a member of that team, not the employer and after someone has x amount of experince their degree is irrelevant. I tend to go on the merits of the person not a bit of paper that says they can pass exams. Even now a CV isn't all that important to me as if I really want to know someone I'll look up their stuff on github that holds way more weight with me"
The conversation really pissed me off. I ended up having to defend myself. It is a bit of a hot subject with me though. Probably because I myself don't have a degree and am a bit embarrassed by it. So far in the thirteen years I've been working I have walked out of two interviews regarding it. All big mutli national companies as well. I can't help it. If I get that question directed at me on an interview I have a stock answer. Usually it comes from someone that has watched too many episodes of the apprentice and thinks they have to be the 'bad cop'. I interviewed for NYSE a while back and got this directed at me:
Interviewer: "You don't have a degree I see?" Me: "No I don't." Interviewer: "That's a bit of a failure isn't it?" Me: [stock answer] "Not really. I never went for a degree so I couldn't 'fail' at it. I went to a dot com company on my lunch break when I worked for the Abbey National as a data inputter and said I would be a trainee programmer for 9k a year on a three month probation period. Learnt more in those three months than I ever thought possible and worked my ass off and got offered a full time position two months in. And you can see my salary expectation now, so I think that's a better judge of my abilites than a bit of paper that says I can pass exams."
I then told them I had no interest in working for them. Walking out of an interview isn't something I normally do but that narrow minded view just makes me want to bang my head against the wall. There was a certain way to ask the question without being a prick and he failed.. as did the asshole noted above.