back to article Sure, check through my background records… but why are you looking at my record collection?

We all have something to hide. But as I hinted last week, probably the worst way to keep it hidden is by uploading a video of it to social media. Young people entering the job market for the first time are warned to fillet their social media history as best they can. It's not just a matter of covering up a one-off display of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peter Gabriel

    I could never hear the lyrics for some of his stuff properly. Is it Sainsbury girls? Or Stainesbury Girls? Or is it Sainsbury girls that get stains? Sigh. It was all a very long time ago and I never met that type of girl anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Peter Gabriel

      Wasn't 'Stainsby Girls' by Chris Rea?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Peter Gabriel

        Well, I think you've made that commentard's day there. Along with the incessant rain, incipient storms and everything else that's going wrong at the moment.

    2. TomPhan

      Re: Peter Gabriel

      Part of Solsbury Hill is him saving "you're playing the record backwards" reversed.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Peter Gabriel

      I could never hear the lyrics for some of his stuff properly

      It's Peter Gabriel - his lyrics weren't meant to make sense.. Certainly not in the Genesis era[1] and immediately afterwards..

      (In the interests of full disclosure - Genesis were, and mostly still are, my favourite band[2] and the first, second, third and fourth records I bought were by them. When PG left I think it was good for both him and them.)

      [1] For evidence I present the song "It" from Lamb lies down on Broadway". 35 years later I *still* don't know what it's about..

      [2] And I stll can't listen to "Follow yu, follow me" without vomiting. It's the worst song they ever did. Boring, boring, boring. Best album is probably "Wind and Wuthering". Then Steve Hackett left and the musical direction changed pretty drastically. Still made damn fne music though.

  2. Caver_Dave
    Flame

    And if you don't do social media?

    6 or 7 years ago a respected ex-colleague wrote a job requirement that was effectively a copy of the headlines of my CV and made sure that I was on the distribution list of possible candidates. I dutifully applied after a quick chat with him regarding what was actually required. And then all went quiet, until I heard from someone else I know that they had got the job.

    Being a nosey bugger and wanting to know what I had done wrong in the application, I rang the company boss who had conducted the selection. His answer was that as I had no social media presence he couldn't work out what sort of character I was and therefore I was dropped immediately. He got a good idea of my character as then (to his credit) he received a 5 minute description as to why his lazy assumptions were so wrong and then he apologised profusely.

    Still wouldn't work for him though!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And if you don't do social media?

      Yep. I know what you mean. (anti)Social Media? Thanks but no thanks. I'll pass. Can't be bovvered to waste my time with the thing. I'd rather watch paint dry than you very much.

      I went for a job interview in 2018 and this was brought up. I sort of replied much like the above. I didn't get the job. At the end of 2018, I found out that the manager who had interviewed me was let go for spending all his time at work using the various social media platforms instead of working.

      They actually offered me his job but declined even though it was more money and everything, I'm not a manager. Never have been, never want to be and I still don't do Social Media.

      YMMV naturally.

      1. Greybearded old scrote
        Trollface

        Re: And if you don't do social media?

        So no posting comments on any satirical news sites then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And if you don't do social media?

          Posting on ElReg as AC doesn't count....

          You don't even get internet points if you're AC....

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: And if you don't do social media?

      You're right, of course, but I treat social media presence in the same way as an AmEx card. That is, you don't need one, or even need to use it, but simply having one in your name does wonders for your credit rating.

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: credit rating

        Do you mean "credit rating"? I sincerely hope any loan applications I might make in the future are not turned down because I don't have a Facebook account.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: credit rating

          I intended "credit rating" to be understood in both literal and allusiory meanings for charge cards and social media respectively. Hope this is clearer now.

          1. Captain Hogwash

            Re: credit rating

            Much. Thank you.

          2. Ogi

            Re: credit rating

            > I intended "credit rating" to be understood in both literal and allusiory meanings for charge cards and social media respectively. Hope this is clearer now.

            You mean a credit rating, that is social? Where have I heard that before....

            Not sure that is the path I want us to be on, but I doubt the opinions of us peasants get paid much attention to by the powers that be. At least the Chinese are up front and honest about it.

            I too have no social media, which means I must have a very low rating, but I am fine with that.

            If a company rejects me due to lack of social media they can use to dig into my private life, then I dodged a bullet. I would not want to work for such companies.

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: credit rating

          > Do you mean "credit rating"? I sincerely hope any loan applications I might make in the future are not turned down because I don't have a Facebook account.

          This is EXACTLY what will happen. It is in fact happening right now, just not quite across the entire board. All those fintechs and banks boasting about their enhanced algorithms etc --> majority of them are just plugging in socmeeja.

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: And if you don't do social media?

        Le Dabbs> That is, you don't need one,

        If you travel a fair bit and like having ridiculously inappropriate hire cars, for not-a-lot-of-money, it has its uses ...

      3. james_smith Silver badge

        Re: And if you don't do social media?

        Don't know if it's still true, but having a landline phone number used to improve your credit rating as well. This was when almost everyone I knew already used mobile phones exclusively for personal calls.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: And if you don't do social media?

          That's because it's a cross reference to your address, which a mobile phone number doesn't do.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: And if you don't do social media?

      And I wouldn't work for 'em either. Their loss, not mine.

      (My anti-social media footprint is probably somewhat smaller than yours.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And if you don't do social media?

        It's amazing how many silver and gold badges around here don't think they do social media...

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: And if you don't do social media?

          You consider this social?

          1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: And if you don't do social media?

            It's social. Demented and sad, but social.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: And if you don't do social media?

          I don't do social media either...

          I got my gold badger the honest way... Blackmail.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: And if you don't do social media?

            Simon?

          2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: And if you don't do social media?

            So who do I have to get the dirt on to get mine?

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: And if you don't do social media?

              So who do I have to get the dirt on to get mine?

              Rupert Murdoch, you'll get the first diamond (or platinum) badge as token of gratitude.

          3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: And if you don't do social media?

            An El Reg Gold Badge is one nugget the gold obsessed Trump will never get

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: And if you don't do social media?

              Trump Derangement Syndrome is actually becoming MORE deranged with time.

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: And if you don't do social media?

      Same here no social media presence. Just accounts on various online forums. Like this one. And Digital Spy (only ever posting to General and Advice). Oh and Golfwrx.

      My intention is never to attend another job interview so I don't much care anyway :)

      1. Adelio

        Re: And if you don't do social media?

        Well I do have a twitter account, only used it once about 6 years ago because that was the only way to get some software support.

        Facebook, Humm. Yup I have one, promptly turned off as much of the tracking it as i could, probably look at it a couple of times a year. Not sure the last time i actually posted something on it though?

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Oh $deity, retirement means...

    I never have to apply for another job.

    The old codgers club accept absolutely everyone.

    No social media? No problem.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Oh $deity, retirement means...

      One of the best things is when the bank keeps trying to get me to bank online via an android app that has more ventilation than a supermarket trolley, I just tell them I am a pensioner, don't use apps and don't even know how to go on Faecebook or Ballsupp.

      I get proper attention from a human member of the bank staff.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Oh $deity, retirement means...

      Splitter! I'm with the Old Farts club.

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    What's around the back, Gary Glitter?

    Sounds rather like a version of What's the time, Mr Wolf? that would warrant the attention of Social Services.

    The only physical records I have these days are the ones I keep with the wind-up gramophone in anticipation of the apocalypse. Some of the song titles of a bygone era would not get past a modern employer's equal opportunities policy.

    Perhaps that's why I don't get job offers any more either?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could have been worse, I was old enough to know better:

    https://images.eil.com/large_image/GARY%5FGLITTER_DANCE%2BME%2BUP-40830.jpg

    Anon, because I do now have some shame.

  6. macjules Silver badge

    Contractor Testing

    In your language of choice create a script that tests a range from 1 to 100. If the number is divisible by 3 replace the number with 'Fizz'. If the number is divisible by 5 replace the number with 'Buzz'. If the number is divisible by 3 and by 5 replace the number with 'FizzBuzz'. Otherwise return the number.

    This should take about 5 minutes to complete. You would be very surprised by the numbers of "coders" who can not do this, especially PHP developers.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Contractor Testing

      Too vague. Is this meant to be a function that returns a value, should it return an array, if so how should the result be output? In my book it is bad practice to return a string when an integer is expected, how do you want that handled?

      I would probably spend five minutes getting the requirements absolutely clear.

      But that's from experience, which seemingly counts for nothing these days.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Contractor Testing

        Congratulations for spotting the trap, the job's yours.

        We don't want programmers who make assumptions when given a spec with vague paramenters.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Contractor Testing

        > Too vague. Is this meant to be a function that returns a value, should it return an array, if so how should the result be output? In my book it is bad practice to return a string when an integer is expected, how do you want that handled?

        I think the most obvious and therefore first question to ask is: they're all divisble by 3 and 5 so no script required. Or did you mean integer divisible?

        1. Adelio

          Re: Contractor Testing

          Writing proper specs. How quaint. In my recent experience people are given stories (5 words or less!) and told to write the dammed thing. After all who needs to design anything when you can just keep re-writing it untill it does something. (anything really), who cares of it does what the user neeeds?

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Contractor Testing

            Writing proper specs. How quaint.

            Last weekend I was priveliged to witness a rant by my developer nephew about the crapness of agile.. He has an especial hatred for the absurdity that is "minimum viable product"..

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Contractor Testing

              Yes, Agile (the current incarnation of the endless rebadging of prototyping (AND of the actual waterfall model, interestingly -- if you read the chap's actual paper, he categorically BANS what his work was immediately seized upon as authority for) ) is per its "creators" absolutely NOT intended to imply binning specs, but rather to speed their coding-implementation.

              Similar to waterfall though, the New Church has taken one small part of it out of context and extrapolated it, turning it into something very different.

              Standard human pattern, interestingly. e.g., Buddha insisted that NO scriptures ever be kept, then a hundred or so years later, the Chinese send Tripitaka into his homeland to triumphantly restore the scriptures they had "lost". (The Asian branch of Buddhism also insists no one goes to nirvana except priests. So do what they tell you.)

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Contractor Testing

        Not just vague, but incorrect, at least according to the versions I've seen. Numbers divisible by 15 are divisible by 3 and 5 as well, so if the specifications are actually followed, then for 15, 30, ... the output would be "Fizz Buzz FizzBuzz", as all three conditions are satisfied.

        I don't expect to ever interview again for a development position (no reason to leave this one), and if I did I doubt I'd entertain any job where they wanted me to complete some sort of programming test; but if I'd ever seen this one, I'd suggest they ask me to fix the specification first.

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Contractor Testing

      > This should take about 5 minutes to complete.

      I'm not sure I can make my script run that slowly.

      1. Anne-Lise Pasch

        Re: Contractor Testing

        > I'm not sure I can make my script run that slowly.

        Switch to PHP :)

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Contractor Testing

      The FizzBuzz test is so hackneyed that it's more a test of the person who uses it than the interviewee. Whenever I've been asked to do it I've concluded that I'm being interviewed by a bunch of amateurs, and this has generally proved to be true on the occasions when I've taken the job.

      There is a tiny subtlety: sloppy solutions tend to do one unnecessary division.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Contractor Testing

        Assuming you are testing for integer divisibility (as one poster above correctly stated), the number of division operations I'd be using would be zero. I'd use the modulo operator.

        That, or state that my language of choice is one of my own invention. Lets call it splooge. Splooge has one valid operation, which is the keyword splug. When parsing this keyword, the output is to list the integers from 1 to 100, except for those exactly divisible by 3, or 5, for which it outputs "fizz", "buzz", or "fizzbuzz" accordingly. My program is as follows:

        splug

        Technically correct - the best sort of correct.

        An important part of software development is knowing the correct tool for the job, and doing things in the best way possibly, after taking into account factors such as required performance, maintainability, and so on.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Contractor Testing

          "knowing the correct tool for the job"

          Yeah , not pulling a non existant magic tool out of your ass.

          Interviewer: "So , you want to be project manager? How would you plan a million dollar IT procurement project to migrate 5 different international sites from Windows to Linux?"

          You: "oh , well id have a multi step plan thus:

          1) make a plan

          2) do the plan"

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Contractor Testing

            Yeah , not pulling a non existant magic tool out of your ass.

            Yeah, or doing a simple web search and finding such a "language" exists before displaying your ignorance of a well-known solution to a commonly set problem...

            Like this one

            To answer your obvious straw-man analogy; if it was common practice in job interviews to ask about the kind of migration project plan you mention, then you can bet your bottom dollar that there would also be a well documented complete, well thought out way of doing it on the internet. My solution to the problem would be to start with that, and not make some bollocks up myself...

          2. $till$kint

            Re: Contractor Testing

            Ah, but how would you plan for your plan? And where are the workshops?

          3. Colin Bull 1

            Re: Contractor Testing

            You: "oh , well id have a multi step plan thus:

            1) make a plan

            2) do the plan"

            and in the real world

            3) Lessons learned

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Contractor Testing

              and in the real world

              3) Lessons learned

              And let's not not forget:

              4) Make sure the bodies are well hidden.

              1. Toni the terrible

                Re: Contractor Testing

                You can't hide the bodies; from a Man Walking His Dog

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: splug

          I know where you're coming from on this. Problem for a lot of coders is not so much the writing of it, but the maintenance of it.

          If I were on the interview panel my thought would be to ask what changes would be involved in not having 3 and 5, but 3, 7 and 11 instead. Testing to see if the interviewee has experience of re-using and extending code.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: splug

            not having 3 and 5, but 3, 7 and 11

            Oh, I'm so smart, I'll cut meself one day! I'd already writed my function to perform the test on a stored input array, so it doesn't know or care how many numbers are used or what they are.

            And it still took me 3 minutes, most of which was typing (hunt & peck FTW)

            Seems like the longer you're in this game, the more your brain interprets the original "ambiguous direction" into a coherent requirement!

        3. whitepines Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Contractor Testing

          the number of division operations I'd be using would be zero. I'd use the modulo operator.

          In your code, sure, no pesky high level division operators, but you do know using the modulo operator does (normally) instruct the ALU to do a standard division and throw away the bits you're not interested in? The only exceptions I'm aware of are on embedded-class special purpose devices where saving power / transistors may be more important than overall speed.

          Icon for obvious reasons.

        4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Contractor Testing

          And the operation I used would indeed be modulo. Sloppy nomenclature, but I'd always viewed as an integer division returning the remainder, rather than the dividend.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Contractor Testing

            Of course you can do it with no division operations, with a sieve. That could be implemented with a single pass over an array, or with three passes over it, or progressively without an array at all if you want to avoid the O(N) storage.

    4. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Contractor Testing

      Unfortunately you have failed the test. The correct answer is "This should take about Buzz minutes to complete.".

      The 1st time I encountered this "test", I remarked that all it tested was knowledge of the modulus operator. The 2nd time, I remarked that all it tested was knowledge of the answer to the FizzBuzz test that everybody else uses and anyone who's seen it once knows the answer to.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Contractor Testing

        It would take me absolutely ages to do that.

        Mainly finding & choosing amusing sound files for each result.

        Icon - Knows a thing or two about Bzzzzzzzz'ing conditions.

    5. John Miles
      Joke

      Re: FizzBuzz

      They are looking for something like FizzBuzz Enterprise Edition

    6. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Contractor Testing

      This should take about 5 minutes to complete. You would be very surprised by the numbers of "coders" who can not do this, especially PHP developers.

      I'm frankly horrified by how many "coders" we interview who simply cannot write a basic program in 45 minutes. The test we use isn't FizzBuzz but has a similar order of complexity.

      I've long been a fan of some sort of regulatory body to ensure people trading as coders can, well, code.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Contractor Testing

        > I'm frankly horrified by how many "coders" we interview who simply cannot write a basic program in 45 minutes. The test we use isn't FizzBuzz but has a similar order of complexity.

        Yes. The point of fizzbuzz is not this-that-or-the-other tech.choice -- it's whether or not the person can analyse&structure things logically. If you teach programming, you'll have your jaw on the floor at just how few human beings can think logically -- a necessary precondition for coding usefully in novel situations.

        Amongst coders, many many nowadays are just typists.

        Interesting addition:- a surprising number of people who can "pass" fizzbuzz are also precisely the type of person you don't want programming for you. Because they are merely trained repeaters of thoughtpatterns with a long list of "seen before" patterns, rather than actually being able to think through problems. One useful characteristic of this type of person is how fast they resort to copying other people/solutions.

        The sheer amount of damage I've seen caused in large by this additional subset, hiding behind apparent tech.skill, makes my stomach hurt.

  7. jake Silver badge

    I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

    ... over my mid-to-late '70s punk collection ... but frankly, I don't give a fuck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

      Nice try, but we all know that the record you *really* want to keep secret is "The Birdie Song" by The Tweets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

        Even worse, Spitting Image "The Chicken Song"

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          Thanks. I'll now be humming it for weeks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

            You could try humming "The Floral Dance" instead :-)

            1. Greybearded old scrote
              Megaphone

              Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

              "Ace of Spades," Motorhead

              Kills all know earworms. DEAD!

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

                Gina G provides the best earworm bleach.

                You only need just a little bit...

              2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

                Kills all know earworms. DEAD!

                With one exception, the infamous master piece of Henry Mancini.

                1. Trilkhai

                  Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

                  That's not his masterpiece, the original film's version was. ;-)

              3. james_smith Silver badge

                Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

                My go-to ear worm killer is Hamburger Lady byThrobbing Gristle.

                1. Alistair Dabbs

                  Re: I'll now be humming it for weeks.

                  Up voted for Thribbing Gristle reference.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

            That's not the worst earworm you could have. I've had the tune of "My Sharona" going through my head all morning, with the alternative lyrics, "My Corona"...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          I checked my records recently and discovered that my copy of Astral Weeks is now worth about a thousand quid! I was stunned, prior to that I thought my copy of "Octopus" was the highest.

          It's worth checking your records.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

            Wow.

            My dad has an original copy of Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (mono vinyl). Apparently that's for sale on eBay for £850, and his copy of Electric Ladyland is worth £400.

            I know whose record collection I'll be nabbing when he goes, before the siblings see it...

            1. TomPhan

              Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

              Father in law died, sister in law took his collection of rare jazz albums and sold it in a market before I could stop her. Any one of them was worth more than she got for all of them.

              1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

                Not in the same league as rare jazz albums, but I went through a phase of buying complete sheets of mint stamps and plate blocks on ebay some years ago. One seller had a load of complete GB decimal sheets for sale, saying that they could be used for regular postage as they were still valid#. I bought a few sheets from him and had cause to contact him about one of them. In course of conversation he said his father in law had collected them over the years and he'd inherited them when he died. Having no use for them he approached a couple of local dealers who told him - without even looking at them - that they were worth more as postage than they were in philatelic value. So this is what he was doing. During this disposal period he had a negative from someone who was told that they were fake, and that they couldn't be used for postage because the "colours were all wrong". Turns out that father-in-law had rather astutely been collecting sheets that had errors in them - missed colours and poor registration on the "traffic lights". The normal problem with "errors" is convincing the buyer that one stamp in isolation hadn't been bleached or left out in the sun. Having the whole sheet intact is the best proof you can get that a colour had been missed, or had dried up during printing. The sheets I bought from him weren't in that league, but the cylinder numbers were of scarcer varieties.

                # With current values of postage, there might be difficulty finding space to put the addressee's address on the envelope.

        3. OssianScotland Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          Damn you, Sir (or Madam, springer spaniel or whatever else you are this week)

          I will now have that song going round and round my head until replaced with "You've never met a nice South African"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

            Which IIRC is on the B side

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

            "until replaced with "You've never met a nice South African""

            Huh. It's a small world.

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

            Was that the one with the line "Yoiu've never put a better bit of Botha on your knife"? I remember falling about laughing at that on first broadcast on the show.

            For those not around at the time, it was stolen from the popular Country Life butter adverts which had a series of folk music/morris dancing adverts with the strapline "You've never put a better bit of butter on your knife"

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          Yeah, but The Chicken Song is at least justified in that it was a *parody* of godawful holiday songs (most obviously of "Agadoo" by Black Lace...)

          Also, I liked it when I was ten and everyone at school knew the lyrics. :-)

      2. Franco Silver badge

        Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

        Apologies in advance for this one.

        A former colleague was rather fond of using wireshark as a deus ex machina. In fact his favourite phrase was "just wireshark the fuck out of it."

        Sadly, whilst he was wiresharking the fuck out of it he would also sing wireshark instead of baby shark.

      3. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

        "The Birdie Song" by The Tweets.

        This reminds me of an anecdote from one of the two guys in Black Lace. He said that they were offered the Birdie Song, to which they could add their own English lyrics, but they turned it down because, obviously, it was so bloody awful. Sure enough, it then became a massively successful hit across Europe, with a different band in each country doing their own version in local language lyrics; only in the UK was it released as an instrumental.

        Black Lace were so pissed off with themselves for missing out on making an easy fortune from such an audio turd, they wrote Agadoo. Prior to this, the band was known for weak pop-folk songs. After Agadoo, they went full retard and did very well out of it.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          I really, REALLY hope that story isn't apocryphal.

        2. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          I just had a moment of extreme cognitive dissonance at the idea of Black Lace turning down a song because it wasn't good enough!

      4. jake Silver badge

        Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

        ""The Birdie Song" by The Tweets."

        Having never heard of this, I DDGed it. It would appear that my little corner of the world somehow missed out on this piece of culture. Thankfully.

        (Or perhaps that bit of my brain suicided to protect the rest?)

        1. james_smith Silver badge

          Re: I suppose they'd raise an eyebrow or two ...

          I once saw the mighty Type O Negative, and they had the Birdie Song on a loop for half an hour before coming on stage.

  8. big_D Silver badge

    No tests...

    I've had 1 aptitude test, for my first job application at an insurance company in the late 80s. I failed.

    It didn't stop me getting a job a week later at a defence contractor and nuclear processing plant builder. Those traffic lights at the end of the street? Yep, no aptitude test to administer the systems running those :-P

    I've had several jobs over the years, but it was always just an interview, a talk and a handshake. Given the current landscape, that will probably be via Skype and the handshake will be of the electronic protocol variety going forward.

  9. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Strangest job interview technique

    After a couple hours of normal interview technique I went into this one-on-one in a quiet room with a guy speaking in a monotone saying adjectives and nouns, and I had to say the very first word that came to mind. I guess they wanted to test my mental health.

    Any idea how hard it is to not say "clam" when "bearded" is spoken when you're nervous, irritated, and trying to game an idiotic test?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Strangest job interview technique

      The appropriate response to that has to be "Mornington Crescent".

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Strangest job interview technique

        I think if you read the specification more carefully you'll find the correct answer is just "Mornington".

        1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

          Re: Strangest job interview technique

          Mornington... I'm a Yank and had to look that up. Excellent word / end state for a game. Thanks!

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

    What ? Why ? It's a great comedy ! If you don't laugh, what on Earth are you going to do ?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

      It's a film made by and starring an alleged, on-the-run child rapist.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Ah. Well obviously then. What a shame.

      2. james_smith Silver badge

        Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

        No "alleged" about it. He skipped the US after pleading guilty but before sentencing.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

        "It's a film made by and starring an alleged, on-the-run child rapist."

        Does anyone know the "rules" for this sort of thing? Someone famous is "naughty" but has created "art" such as music, films, TV shows etc. When do we decide that the "art" is outweighed by the offense and ban it? How hard do we have to look to see if any of the "art" might reference the "crimes" and maybe just ban those bits from broadcast/streaming/downloading/sale?

        Will everything Harvey Weinstein was involved with now "disappear"? He's got 325 (Executive) Producer credits on IMDB, including some big name blockbuster stuff. Do we need to avoid the Lord Of The Rings trilogy now?

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

          it is not exactly a new discussion. I am not sure if the Norwegians have decided how to deal with Knut Hamsun, and José Saramago was I think a fairly unreconstructed communist.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

          The rules appear to be that if it's posh art then you overlook it. Such as Eric Gill, whose sculptures adorn Broadcasting House (and whose fonts may even be on your PC!)

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

          Some form of this question has been debated, often hotly, since at least the time of the Sophists and their critics (Plato, Aristophanes, etc). That was about 2400 years ago, and we don't seem to have reached a consensus yet.

          You could read any of the vast corpus of arguments on the matter, or you could make your own decision.

          Personally, I don't think any simplistic, deontological principle is particularly useful in complex matters, including this one; but as a rule of thumb, I don't believe any good is achieved by refusing to experience art or other intellectual products solely due to the ethical failings of their creators. Willful ignorance is not a good-in-itself.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

            we don't seem to have reached a consensus yet

            Ditto for the results of 'experiments' conducted by Mengele and his ilk (both the Japanese and the Soviets had their own versions and we don't exactly have clean hands either).

            Should they be kept in the annals of modern medicine despite their source or should te be rejected? My vote is for the former, if only as a memorial to the sufferings of the victims.

          2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

            Hear hear.

            Deontological ethics is the bane of mankind. The mindset affects much more than tiny questions like this.

        4. genghis_uk

          Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

          If it is confusing in Film, Music is even worse...

          Gary Glitter - Bad

          Pretty much any rock star of the 60's/70's OK (despite strings of underage groupies)

          Unless they are also a DJ or presenter in the 70's in which case bad (so that's Rolf out then)

          Michael Jackson - Bad... sorry, OK for some reason

          Rock and Roll stars - OK even Jerry Lee Lewis! (and Elvis was with Pricilla when she was 14)

          Basically, it seems that anything goes unless the tabloids and/or twitter decide otherwise

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

            Pretty much any rock star of the 60's/70's

            On the first Genesis tour of the US, the record company hired private investigators to follow this (then unknown) British 'rock' band.

            Report was summed up as "two operatives have died of boredom and another is going to join them..". I'm sure there are prog rock types who do lots of illegal things but I suspect it's mostly in the direction of psycoactive substances (cf Roy Wood).

        5. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: "you can no longer laugh at Dance of the Vampires" ?

          @John: Virtually everyone who has created something that you or someone else wants to watch, look at, read, or listen to has done something that you or someone else thinks is wrong. Murder, rape, assault, under-age sex, child abuse, bestiality, homosexuality, heterosexuality, adultery, bigamy, monogamy, political views, religious views, drugs, alcohol, misogyny, misandry, cruelty, forgiveness, road traffic offences, tax offences - they are just the ones I can think of amongst the people who have created things I like. I work on the principle that all artists seem to be flawed in some way. Their work is not the person, but the work would not be what it was without that person and their lived experiences. There are a few people, mainly authors, who I will not directly support (I buy their books second-hand), but, in general, I still watch the good stuff Polanski made, I read Heinlein's works regularly, and I specifically bought Rolf Harris and Michael Jackson CDs after the allegations began (I already have Gary Glitter records in my collection from when I were a lad). I'll still watch films produced by Weinstein as long as I like them (not LOTR, though <shudder>)

          That's my rule - hope it helps!

  11. cosymart
    Holmes

    Buzz Words

    Getting through interviews is a bit like the advice given to me by an examiner for business studies. You need lots of ticks (not the ones found in the fields). Just download your brain on to the exam paper, the examiner is looking for key words and each one gets a tick the more key words the higher the mark. The HR droid doesn't have a clue about the work but they have a list of key words (job spec) supplied by the dept looking for the minion. Get loads of key word out and Robert is your uncle :-)

  12. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    How to tell you work for idiots

    My former firm once had a posted requirement for >10 years of C# experience. Only six years after C# spec was published. Yet many people applied and got hired. Police call that "a clue."

  13. GlenP Silver badge

    Coding test

    I used to wonder how some drop-file jockey from Human Resources at a big software company would evaluate an applicant's programming skills

    I genuinely had this at a software company, the test was to decode and explain an SQL script. IIRC it was a bulk change on VAT rates or something similar.

    Apparently "Accounts have screwed up again" was not the correct answer, I was expected to describe each step of the script.

    I didn't get the job and to be honest wasn't bothered.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Coding test

      Anyone without an ounce of programming skill can get through an interview coding test, by arriving five minutes early and googling "20 most asked C/C++/C#/Java/Python interview questions".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Coding test

        How are you going to go ogle something after arriving at your interview?

        I don't know about anybody else, but in my case if you even glance at your phone[0] after stepping in the door, I'll terminate the interview and introduce your cv/resume to the circular file/bit bucket. You're not in my place of business to play with your telephone, you're there to interview for a job.

        [0] One exception: If you tell me in advance your .sig other is very close to going into labo(u)r ... and even then I'll mark you down for not having a dedicated pager for that purpose.

  14. scaley

    Human League

    went to a quiz night and one of the musical intro's was "Being Boiled", having bought the single many moons ago too

    I was the only one to get that question right.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Human League

      I assume its still the only hit single about sericulture

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Human League

        Blind revenge on a blameless victim.

  15. Chris King Silver badge

    Drug Test

    "Some 49 per cent are checking whether you've tested for drug and alcohol abuse. Perhaps that's not so surprising: this is the IT industry after all."

    If you come back clean, do they offer you some to make sure you can cope ?

  16. s. pam
    Megaphone

    Alistairdon't forget...

    The Usenet Archive, where even the oldest of us on the 'Net could possibly be hung for past public statements!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Alistairdon't forget...

      Old Usenet is no longer an issue, thanks to the gookids fucking up the irreplaceable DejaNews archive.

      Hoinestly, the twats are worth HOW much? And they can't even properly handle a simple text archive? The mind absolutely boggles ...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Alistairdon't forget...

      "The Usenet Archive, where even the oldest of us on the 'Net could possibly be hung for past public statements!"

      You posted with your real name?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Alistairdon't forget...

        "You posted with your real name?"

        On the completely unsecure and unsecurable Internet at large (including Usenet)? Never. Not once in almost half a century. What kind of idiot would do such a thing?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Alistairdon't forget...

          What kind of idiot would do such a thing?

          *Cough*Me*Cough*

          In my defence, I was young and foolish. I'm somewhat older now.

  17. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Coat

    As four scruffy looking guys once told me

    "Everybody's got something to hide, 'cept for me and my monkey"

    // White Album on a USB stick. Gotta keep up with the times

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: As four scruffy looking guys once told me

      / White Album on a USB stick

      My car-music USB stick has music from pretty much 1930 to 2020..

  18. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Coding Tests

    I can't resist the opportunity to enumerate some of the things I hate about coding tests:

    • Tests that show you fragments of code that explore obscure corner-cases, often with misleading formatting, and ask what happens.
    • A problem presented as a business requirement where you spend 24 hours coding up a robust solution, only to be told it's "over-complicated". They wanted a 10-minute version
    • Tests where you have to write out code by hand. I lost the skill of legible writing about 20 years ago, and I've got used to being able to edit stuff as I go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coding Tests

      A company I worked for back in the 80's was looking for a programmer so they placed an advert in the paper and had all the applicants in for a day of coding practice - none of them were very good, they wrote large buggy programs but the girl cleaning the office in the evening saw what was going on and asked to apply. They gave her the details of the test and she came in the next day, handed in her nice compact code together with a boat load of test routines that demonstrated that her code worked.

      She got the job and ended up writing all the networking and operating system code for the next product - she'd graduated in Russia but had always been turned down when applying for a job in the UK prior to this so she was just cleaning offices.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Coding Tests

      My brother went for a job, in the late 90s I think. At a listed company. And was told his CV had to be hand written. Turned out they employed a graphologist to spout bollocks about what your handwriting said about your suitability for the job.

      I was subjected to one of those stupid and completely non-scientific multiple choice personalilty tests at a previous company. Applying for the job I was already fucking doing, as I'd taken over temporarily for the previous person who'd left.

      My boss didn't appreciate when I pointed out that not only was this unscientific bollocks, but we'd also cancelled our contract with the people who provided the software - and therefore had nobody qualified to understand the results - apart from the very basic bollocks that the computer program spat out. You had to pay for an ongoing contract to get said bullshit "professionally interpreted".

      They were going to give me the job anyway, as they'd already appointed someone over my head, who'd left after about 2 months, and I was now the only person in the company with any knowledge of what was going on. Oh, and I'd been working there for 2 years - so surely my boss should have had a small idea of my personality by that point?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Coding Tests

        "My brother went for a job, in the late 90s I think. At a listed company. And was told his CV had to be hand written. Turned out they employed a graphologist to spout bollocks about what your handwriting said about your suitability for the job."

        The interview is also your chance to evaluate the company.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Coding Tests

          The interview is also your chance to evaluate the company.

          As there is only one reason for requesting hand written (graphology), the chance of evaluating the company is already in the job ad and the company failed.

          I once wrote typed to such a company stating I fulfilled all requirements but wasn't going to apply as I didn't wish to work for a company using such unscientific methods. I didn't expect to hear anything back as I hadn't provided a return address, but a month latter that same job ad appeared again, surprisingly without the requirement for a hand written letter. I still didn't apply as I had a better job by that time.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Coding Tests

        I was subjected to one of those stupid and completely non-scientific multiple choice personalilty tests

        I've done those (at various places) they seem predicated on asking the same question in multiple different ways to try and catch you out.

        Which doesn't work if you are pretty intelligent and also have a lot of years experience playing tabletop RPGs. We used to amuse ourselves by doing them multiple times and trying to be in a differentcategory each time.

    3. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Coding Tests

      All answers to coding tests should be "google it on stackoverflow"

      Anything else and it is obvious the person has no experience in the software world

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Coding Tests

        To see how to do it badly with no consideration for security, and possibly with the wrong results?

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Coding Tests

          Well you know what they say - "If you can't be a good example, at least be a dire warning..."

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Coding Tests

          "Look it up on StackOverflow, then read all the documentation and specifications relevant to the solutions provided there, figure out what's wrong with each of them, and then implement a correct one."

  19. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    Technically doesn't a semi-colon only go halfway up your arse?

  20. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Oh Children!

    I was just thinking of Chef today! Dabsy get out of my head...

  21. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    It's not just a matter of covering up a one-off display of xenophobia or boorish masculine behaviour:

    Unless you are looking for a job in government of course. If so it is the 1st thing that Mr Cummings will be looking for in the ideal candidate

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Didn't harm the current incumbent in No. 10 on his way there

  22. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Where do I see myself in five years' time? On parole with a bit of luck

    I wish I could upvote you a trillion times over for that one.

    Forget a mere pint, here, have the keys to the brewery! XD

  23. PhilTheGeek
    Coat

    SMS in capitals

    First SMS wasn't sent until December 1992 and wasn't in all capitals. How on earth, in 1992, could you have been in the 5% who knew how to send one, let alone one that wasn't in capitals? And where were you sending them from? UK didn't get the capability until sometime in 1993 when BT Cellnet deployed the infrastructure.

  24. TomPhan

    Gary Glitter

    Isn't that the album where the hole for the spindle goes right through the image on the label in a most inappropriate place?

  25. earl grey Silver badge
    Devil

    stupid tests

    When i was that supervisor in the computer room (many moons ago), the company "changed the standards" by which they allowed potential candidates into various programming jobs and a friend and i were required to do a new test in a "pseudo assembler" language. We both passed, but it pissed us off enough that we made a sample test for the computer attendants to use and so many of them passed that the wanker brigade dropped the test entirely.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: stupid tests

      required to do a new test in a "pseudo assembler"

      My first (proper) job we had to do that in an aptitude test. My wifeand I both passed easily and went on to the interview stage. She aced that because she didn't really care about getting the job and so was relaxed. I failedthe interview (I was really nervous and the person asking the questions had a really strong Swiss accent and I kept having to ask him to repeat the question..).

      They phoned up and offered my wife the job. When she discoveredthat they were not going to offer me the job she told them that she wasn't prepared to work there unless I also got a job there. We both started there 3 weeks later..

      I'm entirely happy to have got tha job as the result of my wife pulling some strings!

      (As it was, I left after 6 years - she stayed there until they closed the UK hosting and programming centre about 5 years later)

  26. Blackjack

    You could pay a new Computer selling those records...

    Really records have become really expensive.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: You could pay a new Computer selling those records...

      I wonder if a blue vinyl issue of the Mr Blue Sky singe is worth enough for a new PC?

      I suspect a yellow vinyl single of The Dickies doing a punk Banana Splits theme song will be unlikely to result in me upgrading my mouse.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: You could pay a new Computer selling those records...

        The ELO disk is worth between trash and about $50 if both the disk and sleeve are mint. The Dickies about the same. Condition is everything ... if your four year old played it on her "barbie" portable 45 player, it's trash. Also, was it a US release? UK? Japan? Oz? Makes a difference. Likewise the actual colo(u)r, large or small center hole, special promos (inner liner?), material and thickness of the pressing, etc.

        Yours are probably in the $5 range if they are playable. If they are in what you consider excellent condition and you can get a couple collectors into a bidding war, you might see $20 each. Forget the high-end price for most vinyl unless it's still in its original cellophane wrapper and has been in temperature and humidity controlled professional storage since the year dot.

        Now, if you can find the original Banana Vac I rather suspect that a collector would be willing to part with a couple thousand for it ...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: You could pay a new Computer selling those records...

          LOL, Thanks, I certainly wasn't building my hopes of an early retirement on the value of either :-)

  27. jfm

    "Some 49 per cent are checking whether you've tested for drug and alcohol abuse."

    Saw this years ago on Usenet:

    "First time I've gotten a programming job that required a drug test. I was worried they were going to say "you don't have enough LSD in your system to do Unix programming". -- Paul Tomblin in a.s.r

  28. WereWoof

    Even better:- Disco Duck . . . . . .

  29. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "age of 13 and in 1978"

    Well - who knew? Herr Dabbsy is the same age as me.

    But probably in better condition. It ain't the age, it's the mileage. Or the storing conditions...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020