back to article BOFH: HR's gold mine gambit – they get the gold and we get the shaft

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So the Boss has quit and we have to replace him. I suggested a piece of office furniture might achieve the same purpose – and not eat all the biscuits – but the Director would still like to fill the position. So the PFY and I are looking through a veritable mountain of CVs and cover …

  1. Berny Stapleton

    Brilliant...

    "I hardly think it was necessary to open the stairwell door," HR notes dryly.

    "Really?" the PFY says. "I think he was doing quite well – and he did say he enjoyed a challenge."

    5 minutes later and I'm still laughing.... Brilliant!

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Brilliant...

      Well, he was hoping to take a step forward in his career....

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant...

        He was probably hoping for a step up though. Technically the stairwell door that was opened could have been going up, but I somehow doubt it given the people involved.

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant...

          He should just be glad that they didn't decide to give his career a lift!

          1. bpfh Silver badge

            Re: Brilliant...

            That can still happen. When one comes down on him after falling down the empty shaft...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant...

      I'd never previously realised the BOFH's stairwells had doors. A lot of time must have been wasted by having to open them.

      1. EvilDrSmith

        Re: Brilliant...

        I'm sure all the BOFH's stairwells have doors, but I suspect that not all of them have stairs.

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Brilliant...

        They have doors, just no handles on the other side to allow readmittance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brilliant...

          You joke, but I've worked in offices where the stairwell doors had no handles and you could only exit a floor unless you managed to encounter a (strictly forbidden) wedged open door.

          Done for security as the ground floor door was a fire door that lead onto a public road.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Brilliant...

            "Done for security as the ground floor door was a fire door that lead onto a public road."

            That sounds a bit over the top. Fire doors such as this are usually emergency exits and should only open from the inside. They normally have a door open sensor linked back to security too so unauthorised use to let someone in, assuming you jave some "naughty" staff, can be detected.

    3. HammerOn1024

      Re: Brilliant...

      How did Monty Python miss this as a skit?

    4. Danny 5

      Re: Brilliant...

      They had me at "You mean were the head of Direct Marketing?"

  2. Maverick
    Happy

    "If you woke up in a shallow grave in a forestry setting with a lump on your head, would you tell anyone? Asking for a friend."

    best to make candidate aware of the company exit process eh? :)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Waking up? Surely things are done more efficiently than that.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        It depends. Maybe being put in a shallow grave in a forestry setting is just a gentle warning for a more minor offense?

        For a given value of "gentle" of course

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Depth of grave correlates to severity of offence?

          1. bpfh Silver badge

            Along with...

            The presence of absence of carpet and the quantity of quicklime...

          2. MrDamage Silver badge

            It's more whether or not the BoFH of PFY have provided you with a roll of carpet to keep warm.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Gentle warning"?

          Since when did either of those two words have meaning within the BOFH sphere of operation?

    2. bertkaye

      server farm in the dark forest

      Candidate: 'Tis but a scratch!'

      Arthur: chops off other arm

      Candidate: "You coward! Have at you!"

      Arthur: $ rm -Candidate

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unicycle test

    I did have a colleague who could have passed a unicycle test without difficulty. Indeed it was something of a party piece. It didn't save him from the P45 but did actually prove to be an opportunity in his subsequent career portfolio.

    A.C., obviously.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Unicycle test

      Your friend is Boris Johnson and I claim my £5...

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Unicycle test

      At a previous employer, three of us were apparently in the dangerous corner: one paraglider, one diver, one unicyclist.

      1. An ominous cow herd

        Re: Unicycle test

        I'm a keen diver, downhill MTB racer and skier - may I be in the dangerous corner on my own?

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: Unicycle test

          I'll join you. When you start Kite Buggy Jumping the question is not 'Will I get hurt?' it is 'When will I get hurt?'

          The one thing you learn is that Mother Nature IS a bitch that is just out to kill you in interesting ways!

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Unicycle test

            You're not meant to give her idea's.

        2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

          Re: Unicycle test

          I'll see your diver, downhill MTB racer and skier and raise you to.......

          An IT support engineer.

        3. David Hicklin

          Re: Unicycle test

          Add in Horse Riding - sitting on something that had a brain of its own can get quite exciting

        4. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Unicycle test

          Your skiing and downhill MTB racing always end in a lake?

        5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Unicycle test

          SCUBA diver or cliff diver?

    3. swm Silver badge

      Re: Unicycle test

      In our neighborhood many years ago a lot of the girls had unicycles. It was fun watching two girls with a boy between them holding hands as the girls tried to teach the boy how to ride a unicycle.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Unicycle test

      "prove to be an opportunity in his subsequent career portfolio."

      He described himself as a trick-cyclist and ended up in psychiatry?

    5. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Unicycle test

      I know one chap who seemed dead set on going for a constructive dismissal claim... I think his crowning glory was when he asked the boss for four months sabbatical leave in order to go on a juggling tour of the balkan states.

  4. phuzz Silver badge
    Gimp

    Favourite CPU socket?

    For me it would have to be Socket 754, as used by AMD's first ground-breaking Athlon 64 CPUs. Fine pin pitch, the perfectly proportioned hole in the middle, and a very satisfying mechanical clamping when you lower the lever, just brilliant.

    Never been a fan of LGA sockets :(

    1. GlenP Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Favourite CPU socket?

      Wouldn't know - it's a hardware problem! :)

      Seriously, anything but the 40-pin DIL sockets of the early systems.

      1. KarMann
        Devil

        Re: Favourite CPU socket?

        Anything? Even Slot 1? Or does that just not count by virtue of not being a proper socket?

        1. Glen 1
          Angel

          Re: Favourite CPU socket?

          Surely the correct answer is socket 7/super 7?

          Lasted for years.

          1. LogicGate

            Re: Favourite CPU socket?

            Nope, the correct answer is "no socket at all"

            Solder the CPU to the mainboard,

            slot the mainboard into a matching milled aluminum frame, and apply a thick layer of conformal coating / potting.

            Ensure that all components are properly specced and avoid tall components.

            Install the Mainboard vertically, so that g-induced forces will not flex the board, and use a sealed enclosure with a proper gore-tex membrane.

            The device will continue to work even in a shallow grave long after the local wildlife has made off with your bones.

            1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
              Unhappy

              UPGRADABLE CPUs

              Please recall the point of socketed CPUs was to allow drop-in upgrades. That doesn't work when, as happens these days, each new family of CPUs requires its own, unique socket and support chips, and hence, a new motherboard.

          2. bpfh Silver badge

            Re: Favourite CPU socket?

            The follow on socket A wasn't too bad, taking a whole slew of AMD processors from 650mhz to 1.7 gig. I must have ran 3 cpu upgrades on the same box when I was young and thin, without having to think about dumping the lot and rebuilding a whole new system...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Favourite CPU socket?

              I've not upgraded in a long times, and this last decade or so, upgrades have been so far apart I've needed the faster CPU but also a new motherboard and new RAM. Back in the day, faster CPUs commonly went in the same socket on the same board and you just changed some jumpers to match the new required clockspeed, often for two or three sequential upgrades, before needing a new motherboard, let alone new RAM.

              I get the sense that AMD outlasted Intel in terms of how many times you could upgrade a CPU before needing a new and different motherboard with a new and different socket, as well as new RAM. Maybe because the AMD model didn't rely on selling motherboards as an income stream. Intel, of course, have sold motherboards for a long time, so having every new iteration require a new socket helped that bottom line more than it did AMD. Am I being cynical?

              1. Peter2 Silver badge

                Re: Favourite CPU socket?

                Yes, but that's a positive career trait. ;)

        2. quxinot

          Re: Favourite CPU socket?

          Slot 1 (and the physically idential slot A), and Slot 2 were only really useful for dirty jokes.

          Socket A was clearly the nicest of the ZIF types, though. :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Favourite CPU socket?

        That's your least favorite? I think the DIP-40 was the best processor socket in history! Bent pin? No problem, just bend it back with your fingers. Broken pin? A bit of stiff wire and solder and you're good to go. None of this fragile surface mount crap, thru holes everywhere! No PCB? No problem! Just wrap wire around the pins. Best of all most of those chips are still good today! Maybe a few caps need to be replaced, but somebody with a soldering iron and basic soldering skills can fix it.

        1. TheFifth

          Re: Favourite CPU socket?

          Exactly what I was going to say. Give me a 40 pin DIP and a Z80 any day. :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Favourite CPU socket?

            Z80????? Luxury!!!

            We had Intel 8080's

            1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

              Re: Favourite CPU socket?

              6802.

              Flat address space.

              For PDP-11 fans, the 68k

          2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

            Re: Favourite CPU socket?

            Z80 uber alles.

          3. herman Silver badge

            Re: Favourite CPU socket?

            It is only real electronics if it uses a vacuum tube. https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-11-greatest-vacuum-tubes-youve-never-heard-of

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Favourite CPU socket?

              "It is only real electronics if it uses a vacuum tube."

              Funny you should mention that. I picked up a brand new set of 4 6V6GTA's at a thrift store today. $4 for all. I'm contemplating a bulk purchase of the Edison recorded wax cylinders they have at $4ea. I forgot to ask about the price on the metal soprano clarinet, but I'm not sure if I want to spend the time rebuilding it.

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: Favourite CPU socket?

                I've always been suspicious of metal woodwind.

                Something about it seems ... wrong.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Favourite CPU socket?

                  Or, in the case of James Galway's flutes, expensive.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Favourite CPU socket?

                "metal soprano clarinet"

                Soprano sax?

            2. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Favourite CPU socket?

              With nixies (pandicon!), pixies, E1Ts or nimo's for data output.

          4. Herby

            Re: Favourite CPU socket?

            Sorry M6800's are the way to go!

            Then there was the 64 pin M68000 (1 inch centers!).

            1. Zack Mollusc

              Re: Favourite CPU socket?

              Old kit was big and clunky, but 1 inch centres seems a little eccessive.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Favourite CPU socket?

        It depends on which sort. If you used a decent one (turned-pin?) that used a circular piece of metal then it was fine.

        If on the other hand it was one of these (disclaimer - lunchtime and just picked the first one that matched)

        https://www.modellingelectronics.co.uk/products/dil-ic-sockets/

        they were bad when the contacts got a bit bent and didn't make contact - and you had to remove the IC to visually check the pins

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Favourite CPU socket?

          And "thermal creep". Probably one of the most common fixes on a failed PC back then was pushing all the socketed chips firmly back in their sockets. And there might well be 36 DIL chips in sockets if the motherboard was fully loaded with an ENTIRE ONE MEGABYTE or RAM!!! Possibly many more on an ISA card if there was an EMS or EMM RAM expansion card in it. Or RAM on a SCSI card.

    2. deadlockvictim

      Re: Favourite CPU socket?

      You can't beat ZIF sockets for ease of upgrade.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Favourite CPU socket?

      It's a hard question to answer... I can tell you there's a very long list of my LEAST favourite types of "processor socket" - top of which is that one Dell uses for some of its daughter boards that seems to rely on a couple of aligning "punches" about 0.2mm away from the contact pins, that mates blind using the force of a lever press mounted on some very, very flimsy punched steel razor blade-like vertical risers. Costs around £700 a pop and it's only after you fit it that you realise the dip switches that you need to set to enable the CPU1 riser are located under the metalwork of the component you've just added, meaning that you have to unmount it again in order to flip them, which inevitably results in the punches crushing the edge of the socket and ruining both the daughter board and the £2400 motherboard.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    ah, the HR other shoe scenario

    Interview all you like, we already have a candidate! We just wanted you to feel like you're part of the process! Damn HR!

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: ah, the HR other shoe scenario

      We just wanted you to feel like you're part of the process

      Especially galling when you have no interest in the process and think it's a complete waste of time.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: ah, the HR other shoe scenario

      Dangerous to involve the BOfH in any sort of "process", as there's a strong possibility that he might take the word "process" a bit too literally, and assume you are talking about some sort of industrial process, possibly one involving a meat grinder.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: ah, the HR other shoe scenario

        Or some sort of a vat of acid, not the kind the hippies like either...

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: ah, the HR other shoe scenario

          Or, possibly a WHOLE vat of the type hippies do like. I can imagine the BOfH having a go at some home-brew IPCRESS on a troublesome manager.

        2. bpfh Silver badge

          Re: ah, the HR other shoe scenario

          I think "trippy" can have several connotations too. Especially when the stairway door is open and the fire ax is missing from its "break in case of emergency" box...

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: ah, the HR other shoe scenario

        For graduates of Bovine University.

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Coffee/keyboard

    Stonkingly good episode

    Some absolutely beautifully crafted detail

    " – including a bloke with a cassette tape library of birdcall recordings."

    or

    "... his 12 years in the holistic hemp oil industry not helping him much with that question."

    Genius, sheers genius

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Stonkingly good episode

      To be fair, it's probably just real life™ that has served Simon such candidates up.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Stonkingly good episode

        Sorting through a pile of resumes submitted to our computer shop, the one I remember to this day read, "Seeking air-conditioned employment."

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Stonkingly good episode

          There will be a story behind that.

        2. Totally not a Cylon Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Stonkingly good episode

          Hmmm, sounds like they were involved when a 'Major Pharmaceutical company' rolled out XP.....

          Porta cabins in the car park in summer!

          Paris because bikinis would have been appropriate office wear!

  7. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    And again

    Quote

    ""Perhaps we could ask some questions that would be directly related to the role?" one of the HR blokes suggests.

    "Sure, sure," I say. "If you woke up in a shallow grave in a forestry setting with a lump on your head, would you tell anyone? Asking for a friend."

    And thus died another keyboard.

    But I think sadly our beloved(and feared) BOFH has made a great mistake involving himself with the HR dept(also known as the department of people who were useless at everything else so they're giving this a go)

    We all know HR is just a good way for senior manglement to deflect blame for whatever PHB they've hired now on the basis of a CV and a interview consisting of doing trick dancing.

    Unless..... and unless our BOFH has a cunning(and evil) plan for HR to fail....... watch this space.....

    1. Coastal cutie

      Re: And again

      Knowing how the BOFH's mind works, I suspect there is a very cunning and very evil plan underlying this, probably involving amongst other things, emails thought to be deleted and footage (with audio) from carefully placed cameras in the HR offices. All the better to capture naughty goings on by HR staff, exploiting their power to fire and hire.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: And again

        Don't forget the recording from last week. That means he has HR where he wants them. A shame the boss couldn't come to some kind of arrangement with him after that episode. Maybe once you've got the dirt on HR who needs the boss?

  8. Dark Eagle

    Out of all these...

    I would have hired that x-baker. At least he made some effort with real pies.

    1. Vulch

      Re: Out of all these...

      Would probably know which side his bread was buttered as well...

      1. l8gravely
        Headmaster

        Re: Out of all these...

        He probably kneaded the job the most too...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Out of all these...

          He should make plenty of dough out of it.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Out of all these...

            He could definitely FILL the role...

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Out of all these...

              Certainly he's of the upper crust of the candidates.

              Baked offerings would ensure prompt 100% attendence.

              1. DJO Silver badge

                Re: Out of all these...

                Baked offerings would ensure prompt 100% attendence.

                That rather depends on the reason for him no longer being employed as a baker.

                1. Ken Shabby
                  Flame

                  Re: Out of all these...

                  Perhaps he was going against the grain and his business ended up toast.

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                    Coat

                    Re: Out of all these...

                    On the other hand, he may rise to the occasion and prove his worth, unless he;s a crusty old geezer in which he can baguette off. Oh crumbs, I've done it now! Yeast, that's my white coat, thanks.

    2. WanderingHaggis

      Re: Out of all these...

      Argh all these half-baked comments leaves me feeling raw.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did go for an interview years ago for a hardware repair job. He picked up a PC main board that had IBM (quick Google search to refresh memory) MCA (Micro Channel Architecture) slots on it and asked "What type is it?" I said that I didn't know, and he patronisingly said that it was MCA.

    I said that I knew it was MCA, but he asked what Type, as I knew that MCA came with Type 1, Type 2 sockets....

    Didn't get the job

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Excellent eppysode, and will get even better with age, like a good wine.

  11. ColinPa Silver badge

    He's very quiet

    I remember we had a graduate doing a year with us. He was outstanding - but very quiet.

    After his year with us we all thought our company should hire him - and he would go far. A few weeks later my manager called me in and said the graduate didn't get through the HR interview, did we still want him - I said yes!

    My manager escalated HR who came back and said "he was very quiet", and didn't have the social skills they thought every one should have. We replied that Einstein was a bit quiet - eventually HR approved him.

    Some one in a different company said that HR pre vetted candidates and wanted people who ticked all of the boxes in their template. This meant that all of the technically brilliant people who may lack some of the social skills were excluded, and so they got technically average people (which my friend turned down as not being good enough)

    1. Caver_Dave

      Re: He's very quiet

      I had a friend who wrote a job spec based on my CV. His manager turned me down on the basis that he couldn't find me on LinkedIn - nothing to do with my abiities!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He's very quiet

        You can't find me on LinkedIn either. Given that my work is privacy it rather proves the point :).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's very quiet

      I accidentally got hold of the rejected CVs for the IT mnager role, and the third one had 'this is the one' so thickly oozing out from between the lines that I had to know why HR gave that a no. Apparently this person "would not fit into the culture".

      We got him back in and he got the job there and then. Even stayed there for 6 years.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: He's very quiet

        "I accidentally got hold of the rejected CVs"

        Good work!

      2. ske1fr

        Re: He's very quiet

        That kind of culture should be treated with an organisational antibiotic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He's very quiet

          But quite common. "Team player", "a good fit" all are keywords that far too often actually mean "introverts or anyone even slightly on the spectrum need not apply".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He's very quiet

            'Round 'Ere they are code for: "We are only hiring some flunked-out relatives of ours but we still have to advertise the position and perform an objective recruiting process".

  12. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    https://27bslash6.com/interviews.html

    1. Ozan

      At work, no one knows how many kids I have or who I am married to. That is the advice I gave to the youngsters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Huh, I worked with you for how many years and I didn't know you had a wife. "

        "And my wife doesn't know I have a job. I like to keep my personal and professional life separate."

        1. Flightmode

          Go watch Severance. The basic premise is basically this scenario, but replace "wife" with "other self".

          I've got two episodes left of season one, and it's one of the weirdest (in a good way) shows I've seen.

      2. Martin M

        Clearly you didn’t have a three year old during lockdown. *Many* unscheduled appearances during meetings!

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Indeed not.

          Like Michael Jackson[0] I prefer at least twelve year olds, and restrict those to outside office hours.

          [0] No, the other one.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Don't most places like to have contact details for next-of-kin in case you meet an unfortunate accident at work? Like riding a unicycle down the stairwell, or falling from a 5th story window that was accidentally left open?

    2. herman Silver badge

      Have you ever considered growing your own cabbage? - Pity I haven’t seen these interview questions years ago. It would have been very handy.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      This is a website that could cost me a lot of time....

      Thanks.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        I'm rather past the "could" part already. What a find, right before the weekend..

        :)

  13. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Great...

    Thanks - now I've got that song in my head...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyqe8n-pbqQ

    Shame about the former boss. He seemed almost awake enough to know to keep his head down and run in a zig-zag pattern.

  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    Unfortunately the baker brought cookies for everyone and they triggered every food related allergy ever.

  15. earl grey
    Pint

    thank you

    cheers

  16. Luiz Abdala
    Coat

    I'm quite partial to the AM4 socket...

    ...but that´s me.

    I'm agnostic to enterprise sockets, but thanks for asking!

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