Re: [Upside] Lessons in survival

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Sun Jun 11 2000 - 19:10:06 PDT

Colin Coller wrote:

> On Sun, 11 Jun 2000, Linda wrote:
> > [Some tips for those currently hiring for their start-up company ;)
> [tangent]
> I wonder if there are any (serious) intelligence tests that would identify
> useful qualities in potential employees who don't necessarily have formal
> education or experience in certain areas...
> Colin

Sure, A) show some source you've written that is significant, B) solve
architecture, design, and programming problems on the spot, C) discuss
technical arcana with your opinions as to merits with explanation.

These and various other interactive methods along with written tech detail
tests are commonly used in the best interviews. Sometimes logic puzzles are
added, although I think this can be deceptively negative.

MS is famous for technical and logic puzzles. I prefer architecture and
design questions, programming details, and discussions of complex problem
solving they have performed. My most effective strategy is to simply ask for
a detailed description of the most complex problem and solution that they are
proud of. This is how I measure myself and I get a great idea of a person's
level of technical maturity this way. Interestingly, I think this can still
be useful even if the person you are interviewing is far beyond your level,
although that hasn't happened to me yet unfortunately. ;-) If I could find
developers better than myself who are on the market, I'd hire them in a
second. (I'm not That good, just have interviewed from a meager pool so

Of course all of this takes serious time from senior staff but there is no
other reliable measure. I have interviewed a LOT of people in the last few

For interviewing managers and team leads, different questions and topics need
to be used. I like to focus on how they would avoid many of the mistakes I've
seen and how to promote and allow individual growth and exploration while
managing projects.

Even more interesting are the techniques involved in interviewing a Company.
Few people seem to realize that this is important to avoid spending
significant time in an environment that is sub-par with your expectations.
Make a list of things you will not put up with and snub companies that cross
the line. Good examples: monitoring and filtering email and web usage,
disallowing encryption so they could monitor everything (been there), blocking
instant messaging and outside email access, control over one's workstation,
flex time, mostly lacking dress code, morale boosting (real, not cheesy),
educational and conference support, company payment for and personal ownership
of books and literature, etc.


-- - Revolutionary E-Business Communication Stephen D. Williams  Senior Consultant/Architect
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax  Jan2000

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Jun 11 2000 - 19:14:06 PDT