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Re^5: Rosetta Dispatch Table

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop)
on Nov 23, 2017 at 02:36 UTC ( #1204098=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^4: Rosetta Dispatch Table
in thread Rosetta Dispatch Table

Anyone in any field from music to engineering to sports to medicine who cannot perform on demand is not a professional.

Early in my interviewing career, I had a reputation for being "intimidating" and was advised to dial it back a notch. I may have over-reacted and gone too far the other way. :)

In my youth, I played sport at an elite level and earned an unfortunate reputation as a "choker" under pressure -- several sessions with a Sports Psychologist made a huge difference and I was eventually able to shake the "choker" tag and perform well under intense pressure. Though I have no experience in entertainment, I imagine musicians similarly experience intense nerves before stepping onto the stage. Ditto for Surgeons; if they make a mistake their patient dies -- maybe they get used to it, I don't know, though my sister-in-law nurse claims they're all on beta blockers.

I'm not convinced though that the average computer programmer needs to be able withstand that sort of pressure, at least I've never experienced it at work ... though I'm told Yahoo was a pressure-cooker of a workplace a few years back. :)

Anyway, thanks for the heads up, maybe I need to readjust my interviewing technique, again, this time putting the applicant under a bit more pressure. BTW, I heard an anecdote that during interviews at Microsoft, the interviewers sometimes "staged" a ferocious argument in order to test how the candidate reacted to extreme pressure and conflict. :)

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Re^6: Rosetta Dispatch Table [OT]
by davies (Prior) on Nov 23, 2017 at 10:41 UTC

    "I imagine musicians similarly experience intense nerves before stepping onto the stage" - it depends. There's a saying among musicians. "The amateur practices until he can get it right. The professional practices until he can't get it wrong". Music is written to be achievable and a pro who knows and loves the piece is rarely nervous. Usually, they are showoffs relishing a chance to entertain an audience that wants them to succeed. Even so, some are nervous. I can't find the anecdote immediately, but I understand that Fyodor Chaliapin was a bundle of nerves before performances.

    Contrast that with sport, where there is another team trying to make you fail and some proportion of the audience wanting exactly the same thing. Even then, nervousness is individual. Keith Miller famously dismissed the idea of there being pressure in test cricket with the words "Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse". Of course, in his era, a day's Ashes cricket was always followed by an evening drinking with old pals like Compton & Edrich. Apologies to those whose geography makes this incomprehensible.

    Regards,

    John Davies

    Update 2018-05-23: At least one musician reports feeling no nerves on at least one big occasion: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5761181/Teenage-cello-prodigy-played-royal-wedding-reveals-WASNT-nervous.html

    Update 2018-08-09: I was chatting to a professional musician today (we'd both have preferred to be watching cricket, but after 6 weeks of perfect weather, we had non-stop rain) and I asked him specifically abouut nerves. He said (a) that everyone is different, (b) that the young are less likely to be nervous than the old and (c) that most (not all) musicians are very nervous before a performance, but not once the music starts. He said that a certain level of nerves is desirable, as the feeling "here we go again" would lead to a boring performance.

      Keith Miller famously dismissed the idea of there being pressure in test cricket with the words "Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse"
      Yes, and WW2 fighter pilot Keith Miller's famous quote notwithstanding, test cricket brings psychological pressure to a new level, with the quirky extra pressure of sledging and -- if you are unfortunate enough to be playing against England (as we suffered today) -- the intolerable additional pressure of listening all day to the Barmy Army singing vulgar songs about your wife! :)

      Update: During WW2, Miller apparently flew pathfinder bomber mosquitos (Perry's bio of Miller (ISBN 9781845131562) says "pathfinder bomber" (p. 95)). Thanks davies.

Re^6: Rosetta Dispatch Table
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Nov 23, 2017 at 03:15 UTC

    Ha! Soooooo many doctors—I know plenty of them and nurses too—have the most unhealthy habits.

    I don't insist on bug free white-boarding of advanced algorithms in an interview. I muffed a technical execution point myself in my last interview on a simple question but I was able to know I was wrong without prompting and cite the exact document which would straighten me out and allow me to turn the broken pseudo-code into production code. Got the job. Google interviews are legendary for being technically difficult and a couple days long. Your M$FT story sounds believable, if dangerous from a legal standpoint. My best friend is at M$FT today and he was a VP at Yahoo back in the day. Flushed his fortune. Amazing how it comes and goes. I quit Amazon over stress and flushed my own more minor fortune in the act.

    Anyway, I think you can probe for correct, on some level, answers in an interview without making it a pressure cooker. I also think pressure might be appropriate depending on the office and its culture and that you can perceive talent and conscientious attitude where knowledge is currently lacking. You're a much more brilliant hacker than I am, incidentally, so I don't presume to advise on those grounds at all. :P

Re^6: Rosetta Dispatch Table
by stonecolddevin (Parson) on Nov 24, 2017 at 17:41 UTC

    BTW, I heard an anecdote that during interviews at Microsoft, the interviewers sometimes "staged" a ferocious argument in order to test how the candidate reacted to extreme pressure and conflict. :)

    I've heard this about Amazon too. I really, really despise this idea. This isn't the SEALs or Delta Force, you're going into an interview stressed as hell, worried about how you're going to perform technically and then some dick gets in your face trying to piss you off? I'm probably not going to react very well to that, and it's going to throw me off for the rest of the interview.

    Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax, you're god damn right I'm living in the fucking past

      I doubt it's true except in perhaps a rogue department. That stuff did happen sometimes. HR would never let a practice like that fly formally though. Amazon's HR is ruthlessly strict about curtailing legal risk.

      I've been gone for most of the company's life at this point but I sat on several hiring committees and changed jobs sometimes as often as every six months so was interviewer as often as interviewed and a staged office fight never happened in front of me. Though I can also see it as being an excuse to cover a real fight, which did happen in front of me more than once. "Oh, no, the VP and product manager don't really hate each other... The office is... fun, really! Low stress. Work life balance... It was a test! Yeah, that's the ticket."

        Did not even consider the legal aspect of this honestly. I feel like giving them a question you know they don't know the answer to or would have to lie to answer is a better judge of what causing a stressful interaction would provoke.

        Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax, you're god damn right I'm living in the fucking past

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