|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
Interview with a Programmerby notsoevil (Pilgrim)
|on Jan 04, 2002 at 05:59 UTC||Need Help??|
No, this isn't the beginning of a bad Anne Rice novel about undead Perl Programmers (but that would be great, right?!).
Recently, my company had to fire a programmer (my replacement since I've 'moved up the ladder' so to speak) because he wasn't living up to his reputation. This was because he sold himself up during our interviews.
Interview Q: "I see you have worked with Perl. How long and how comfortable are you with it?" Interview A: "Two Years. I'm not an expert but I'm not a novice either. I've written CGI scripts for just about every site in my resume."
Reality Q (after hired and noticing some problems): "Uh, what do you mean 'what is a hash'?" Reality A: "Is that a kinda variable? I'll have to email Matt Wright about that .."
Interview Q: "What about databases? Are you familiar with db connectivity? MySQL? PostgreSQL? Do you know SQL" Interview A: "Yes. MySQL. And I am not an expert with SQL, but I am familiar with it"
Reality: He knew OF THE EXISTENCE of MySQL, but had not actually worked with it. SQL .. that's an acronym right?
I have more examples, but I'll spare everyone. You can see a pattern right? See the "not expert, not novice" misdirection going on?
I am posting this to ask (didn't seem appropriate for SOPW though), how have you grilled/quizzed/tested/interviewed a potential hire without insulting his/her intelligence or ego in the process.
"Of course I know what use strict is DAMMIT! What, am I an idiot?!?"
Or, if you have been the subject of a good interview that accomplished better screening of your skills, how did that go?