Now, I don't have any formal programming experience. Not none... I mean I took pascal in high school, a matlab course in college, and CS101 (C++) at the local community college, ... and I did a little bit of test automation in perl for QA work. No "make a shipping product" experience, and less formal training than a Sophmore CS major.
So I put that upfront in the cover letter, "hey, gimme a shot, I can always do other sysadmin/qa work if you can let me doodle on the little stuff". So he sends along a programming test. Nothing outstanding. Q1: Do basic inheritance, make a form, populate a ListView, create random numbers. Q2: create multiple collections, use threads to populate the collections, populate the ListView based on collection interactions.
Took maybe 90 mins (and probably 60 of those were browsing msdn for ListViews and IEnumerators since I'd never touched them before). And they didn't believe me.
Oh, I mean they weren't all like "bull%$#@ no way you made that stuff!" but the politically correct "we're suprised how good the code was for someone without formal training..." sort of line. So now I have to justify how I know elementary threading techniques and braindead inheritance.
Better backing up a good test than a poor resume I guess. Still rather infuriating that once I do get a test, experience issues still plague me.