An interviewee decided to end the interview in the middle of it because he felt insulted by the level of some of the questions that had been asked. would you hire him?

Some background:

What happened was this person was recommended to us as super genius software developer, but he was not a computer science graduate. In order to assess his skill level, we decided to ask questions from basic to advanced level to see where he would fit in with us. He felt insulted by the basic question and decided not to complete and left yelling. I'm wondering that is there any excuse for anyone to behave like that?

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    No I will not hire him because I didn't interview him. You did. Will you hire him? – rath Jan 2 at 16:07
  • Are you asking if the company is likely to hire him, or are you asking if the company should hire him? – mhwombat Jan 2 at 16:11
  • We didn't hire him in our team. What happened is he was recommended to us as super genius software developer, but he was not a computer science graduate, so we decided to ask questions from basic to advanced level to see where he will fit us. He felt insulted by the basic question and decided not to complete and yelling. I'm wondering that is there any excuse for him to behave like that? – Yasser Sinjab Jan 2 at 16:16
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    "Would you hire him?" doesn't make sense as a question. The interview didn't complete, how could you possibly make a decision? Also, even if you decided you wanted him, he apparently doesn't want you - so why would it matter? – dwizum Jan 2 at 16:48
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    What I'm trying to say is in our area is common to gave more value to XP instead of graduation. – LMaker Jan 2 at 19:08

No. Such a person is far too thin skinned to hire.

What if the person gets offended by a customer? What if the person gets offended by my boss and I'm the one that hired him? How would my boss feel if this person walks out because he doesn't like something the CEO says?

Nope, wouldn't risk it.

No matter how good a person is at the job, if they cannot get along with the team, or take offense to questions, they will not work out and any "genius" that they contribute will be far-offset by the fact that they simply will not be able to fit in with the company.

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    You are in effect making a hiring decision based on information handed to you by another party who failed to run the interview. – maksimov Jan 2 at 17:39
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    I always believe in team. I don't mind if someone has ego. But keep it healthy. Keep the team and work environment healthy. – Yasser Sinjab Jan 2 at 17:40
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    @maksimov er, no. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jan 2 at 17:40
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    As a developer, I can tell you this person would be a terrible fit for any team. Being able to interact with other people on a basic level is the first test of a job interview. He failed that one right away. – Seano666 Jan 2 at 17:57
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    @Seano666 I'm an allegedly "great" programmer. Part of my current job was to train up a consultant we hired to assist me. He was not up to the job when he first started. I didn't shout at him, I didn't call him incompetent because he didn't know what I did, I brought him up to speed because we are a TEAM. I agree with you entirely. Oh, and welcome to TWP – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jan 2 at 18:02

You are in the right to cut an interview in the middle of it if it is especially bad. That being said, that's basically telling the interviewers you are no longer interested in the position.

I would be actually concerned if I were to receive an offer after walking out an interview. Are they desperate enough to extend an offer to a candidate that did not even finish the interview?

  • Defining and interview is bad is subjective. What makes an interview bad? – Yasser Sinjab Jan 2 at 16:08
  • It can be anything that the interviewee considers offensively bad. There is no objective definition of a "bad" interview, can be anything from the candidate realizing the company misrepresented themselves to something more dramatic like being yelled at. – Victor S Jan 2 at 16:09
  • I agree with you that this is what we call a bad interview. But considering asking basic ABC programming questions is insulting and this is a bad interview I feel this is an issue. – Yasser Sinjab Jan 2 at 16:34
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    If I were a senior candidate, I could possibly, maybe, see that as a sign of the company not knowing what they wanted from me if they were asking about trivial stuff. I would not go into a yelling match or walk out though. But again, the candidate was offended enough to walk out. It's their problem, not yours. – Victor S Jan 2 at 16:40
  • If the interviewee is insulted and walks out, that makes it a bad interview. – gnasher729 Jan 2 at 16:53

Differences in opinion on "trivial" details of a job can often lead to conflict or disputes over more complicated matters, so it makes sense to cover the basics in an interview and ensure compatibility.

Plus, starting with "easy" questions allows you to evaluate the candidate's communication, thoughtfulness, and overall fit for your team, with no pressure on the actual content of the response. "How do they frame up their answer?" is just as important as "what is the content of their answer?" in many jobs. So - again - it's perfectly legitimate to start with the basics.

A candidate becoming "insulted" during an interview and walking out seems like a clear sign that they are a bad fit culturally for your workplace. Moreso, because you (apparently) weren't able to get to the more advanced questions, you were presumably left without being able to fully evaluate the candidates skills. This leaves us with a very clear answer to your question of, "would you hire him?" of "no".

Further - in a comment you mention that another company hired him and that company considers him a great programmer. To be honest, I don't see how that holds any weight - firstly, I'm guessing you don't have a solid idea on what their criteria are for "a great programmer." secondly, as alluded to above, even in programming jobs, cultural/team fit, communication, and general approach to challenges (like being asked "insulting" questions in an interview) are often just as important as actual skill.

Finally - since the candidate walked out of your interview I don't see what the real value of this question is. It seems clear that they are rejecting you regardless of what you think about them. I don't think there's any precedent for an employer to offer a job to someone who walked out of an interview.

  • Yep, a "great programmer" is one who provides an overall great benefit to the company. An egotistical hotshot is not a great programmer. That kind usually sew dissent. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jan 2 at 17:30
  • The company hired him because of shortage of devops developers in the local market. Secondly it is was a startup that got funded with huge amount of money which made them grows exponentially and hires tens of employees. – Yasser Sinjab Jan 2 at 17:37

You are asking the wrong question. It’s not “do we hire him”, it’s “does he hire us”. Your company failed the interview. He’s not accepting the job.

And what made you ask him basic questions when he came most highly recommended? CS degree means nothing compared to actual experience, so your interviewer blew it.

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    If the interviewer ask a question, no matter how basic it is, you should answer it. How do we know his resume is not fake. We respect his actual experience. But in this time of copy-paste development you need to test his knowledge, analytical skills, etc. A question was to him: "You added in the CV that you worked with Tensorflow and you know machine learning. What is gradient descent? How do you solve overfitting?" He doesn't know either of them. – Yasser Sinjab Jan 2 at 16:58
  • @YasserSinjab From the Gradient descent Wiki page, I do not think your question is at basic level. Unless the interviewee had gone thru some real experience or formal education, I think he/she would not be able to answer. – scaaahu Jan 5 at 6:04
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    @scaaahu Yes I slightly agree. We started with the easy questions and then increase the difficulty. But I still consider this question is very trivial if you are a machine learning engineer. In his resume he claimed he built and trained a model and deploy it to production using tensorflow. I asked him this question just to get if he really knows what he actually did. Or just copy paste getting started solution from Google documentations which is full of "helpful" resources. see this as an example github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/cloudml-samples/tree/master/… – Yasser Sinjab Jan 5 at 14:24
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    @YasserSinjab You never mentioned the interviewee's education. Did he/she have bachelor degree in STEM fields? I asked this because I'd like to know if he/she has the necessary background to understand the math behind gradient descent. If he does have math background, it is conceivable he felt insulted because the math is at undergrad level. If he never received formal math education, I suspect he was trying to cover up his incompetence of math knowledge. – scaaahu Jan 5 at 14:39
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    @YasserSinjab: I would agree that question is basic even if you just dabble in ML (provided "dabble" means you study what it is rather than grab a pre-made example and pretend you solved something). In addition, I have never met a Data Scientist or developer who knew something like that and would not delight in explaining it. Declaring it as "too trivial" and having a fit about it is very extreme - something odd is going on. From the question and these comments I think you dodged a bullet on this hire. – Neil Slater Jan 11 at 19:48

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