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Re: On Interviewing and Interview Questions

by radiantmatrix (Parson)
on Aug 26, 2005 at 19:53 UTC ( #487013=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to On Interviewing and Interview Questions

I've been on both ends of interviews of this type for a long time (ah, contracting). I was asked a question once that I liked so much I started asking it:

  • What's one thing you're proud of accomplishing in the past year?
  • This helps answer the second question: I have interviewed people that were proud of so much they had done (and rightly so) that they had trouble picking something. That is a good sign. I've also had people who had trouble thinking of an accomplishment in the past year -- that's a bad sign.

    Other than that, the interview questions I like best (that aren't covered in the OP):

    1. Why do you want to do this type of work? (I don't care why they picked my company, but why do they want to develop this type of software/whatever?)
    2. How do you resolve disputes over design? style? (Best answer to date: "I get a copy of the other's .perltidy.rc and run it before I check my work back in." -- good pragmatic approach.)
    3. What editor do you prefer? Why? (There's no wrong answer, but the why gives insight into thought processes and problem-solving. Most interesting answer to the 'why' so far: "because all of the preferences defaulted to the exact choices I'd have made: I figured I'd be well off to use an editor written by a guy who thinks like me.")
    4. (If applicable) What do you know about the product you'll be working on? What's its biggest flaw, in your opinion?
    5. What would you do if someone with authority asked you to do something you considered unethical?

    IMO, these give an insight into how the person deals with tough situations, how much they cared to research the job, and if they are capable of adapting and problem-solving. If they are smart, productive, and adaptable, they are usually a shoe-in.

    <-radiant.matrix->
    Larry Wall is Yoda: there is no try{} (ok, except in Perl6; way to ruin a joke, Larry! ;P)
    The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
    "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law
    • Comment on Re: On Interviewing and Interview Questions

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    Re^2: On Interviewing and Interview Questions
    by Tanktalus (Canon) on Aug 26, 2005 at 20:01 UTC
      What's one thing you're proud of accomplishing in the past year?

      "Not strangling the living **** out of marketing, product management, and others who have been obviously promoted past their competencies. Why do you think I'm looking for another job?"

      (Hmmm ... maybe I should be posting this anonymously.)

      Translation: there can be valid reasons not to have accomplished anything in the past year. Yes, it can be a red flag, but it has to be taken in context and may not actually be a bad thing. But that's why interviewing is an artform still, and not a science. :-)

        I take your point. However, I didn't say "professional accomplishments." I've hired a guy who answered "I bought my first house", as well as one who said "it may not seem like much, but I managed to finish Moby Dick".

        See, what I'm interested in is twofold: first, whether the candidate actually gets things done; but, more importantly, that the candidate actually realizes their own accomplishments and feels pride in them. I'd imagine it's pretty rare for people to really have accomplished nothing in the past 12 months -- but it's very common for people to think they've accomplished nothing.

        <-radiant.matrix->
        Larry Wall is Yoda: there is no try{} (ok, except in Perl6; way to ruin a joke, Larry! ;P)
        The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
        "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law
        A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
    Re^2: On Interviewing and Interview Questions
    by DrHyde (Prior) on Sep 06, 2005 at 10:36 UTC
      What's one thing you're proud of accomplishing in the past year?

      I realised that yes, there are some books which should be burned.

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