I was interviewing for a software engineering position, but one of the interviews was... off. The primary interviewer in one was:
- Not prepared (didn't seem to have questions prepared)
- Having a hard time asking even a trivial question clearly
- I like to think, with my SE experience, I'm good at pulling the "core question" from someone. But it took a long time for me to to find out from changing requirements/explanations that he wanted me to implement the "for" part of a relatively basic for loop)
- During the interview, I thought of Stack Exchange questions where there is an initial question followed by 10 comments asking clarification. That's exactly what it felt like. Voted to close: unclear what you're asking.
Never in that interview did a meaningful technical subject come up. I never had an opportunity to talk about any core development subjects (algorithms, data structures, version control, design patterns, testing methodology, etc).
Now normally I wouldn't care, but I ended up getting rejected explicitly because I apparently didn't communicate technical depth or programming/development experience to the interviewer. I am largely self taught, which means I do not have the "easy" (however invalid it might be) metric of a computer science degree, etc.
In my opinion the primary cause of this was the interviewer and the interview process did not ask questions which allowed me to demonstrate or even explain this. There was no coding exercise required as part of the process, either.
I am not sure what I could have done to guide the process. It feels like my main option would have been to interrupt with something like, "can we talk about a subject which allows me to display my technical expertise?" or "can I explain my software background [since you aren't asking about it]?" I didn't have time really summarize this either at the end since we ran to time.
What are more constructive ways to approach this situation?