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The job market right now is very slumpy. It is natural for the employer to be picky.
I am in Virginia, USA. We hired a few people recently. We made our decision right after we walked out the job candidates. Whenever we found some candiates are good, we decide to hire him/her immediately. Our job references are usually done within two days. Actually, our job references are kind of formalities. The reason is that we believe our own judgements on the job candidates.
The company you coped with is too burearatic and stupid. Not all the companies do things like them.
By the way, do not give up in any case. Let me tell you a true story. I have not posted my notes here for a long time because I have been very very busy. The project of our company was outsourced to a big consultant company before I came in. We found that it is not doing well. We have decided to take it back and develop it in-house. The big company losted the contract so it laid off some programmers. One female Indian programmer called us and asked us if we can hire her, We walked her in and gave her an interview. The first question I asked her is: "Do you think you guys have done a great job at XXX company? " Her answer is: " I am not at the position to take responsibity for the whole system, but I can say I have done a perfect job in the subsystem I worked on." I am not satisfied with her answer ( I have the previlige to be picky at our job candidates). I overwhelmed her with a series of questions and some Java quizs. As the interview was ended, she has completely lost her confidence. However, I decided to hire her as a contractor right after she left our company. The reason is simple: We need her expertise. I destroyed her confidence in the interview because I need to show her that she needs to follow my instructions after she joins my team. This is the life. We just play the game according to some rules. The most important thing is we should never lose our hope. You don't know when the opportunities will cater to you. The indian lady is a typical example. She got the offer from a person who bashed her so hard.
For those who never show off and who cannot tolerate other's showing off, please throw stones at me.
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