|Do you know where your variables are?|
Interview Counterattack: "Show me a project-plan"by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
|on Apr 16, 2008 at 00:26 UTC||Need Help??|
As we all know, job-interviews are a process roughly comparable to, say, self-flagellation. You wear the suit and tie that you just bought, answer all sorts of oddball questions by people who are invariably wearing polo-shirts with the company logo stitched on the pocket), and try to smile. Until the final question: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Cowabunga! Yes, you do!
Now, you might think that you just talked yourself out of a job, but trust me: if you did, then it's a job you didn't want to begin with, and you may as well know that right away so you can keep looking.
A company that can answer those questions in the affirmative, or at least provide a good solid explanation without the slightest bit of affront, is the kind of shop that you want to work for. Whereas a company that shows even the slightest hint of disorganization is not. As you may expect, there are a great many more of the latter than the former...
At least in this profession. Mind you, anyone who is in the business of doing anything else ... building houses, for example ... has a rigorous process for planning and estimating and tracking contract-progress. (Cities and major-contractors require so much planning and organization that it is often the case that companies have several staff members dedicated to that effort.) Programming shops too-often are just plain slipshod. It shows in their work, and it shows in their faces.
Study the “shop.” Find any excuse that you can think of to get a brief glance at the workplaces without the interviewer in tow. Disheveled cubicles that show any sign whatsoever of “long-term habitation” (I actually spied a sleeping-bag under a desk once...) are not where you want to hang your hat.
“A company like that” ... fails. And it doesn't just fail once; it fails over and over again, at every thing it does.
If you find yourself in such a hole, look for ways to inject organization and planning into the process any way that you can. Start by organizing yourself. Keep a diary and a time-log. Turn off the e-mail and check it only at 9, 12:30, and 4. Get a calendar scribble-pad for your desk and actually scribble. With practice it will begin to become habit, and sometimes habits spread (in a good way) to other people around you. But if they don't... feed the monster, roll the dice. And next time around, ask those “awkward” questions!