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Re: Rosetta Dispatch Table

by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
on Nov 24, 2017 at 00:14 UTC ( #1204182=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Rosetta Dispatch Table

Since we seem to have strayed onto the topic of “interviews from the interviewer’s point of view ... which is quite refreshing, actually ... I think that we should begin by acknowledging that our profession is one of intense pressure.   But, the root-cause of that pressure is, I think, novel(!).   Please let me quickly explain.

I once read an e-book (I never saw it in print) called Managing the Mechanism, in which the author pointed out that “computer software is a machine automaton.”   That is the true nature of this thing that we are building, and by its very nature it is intrinsic(!) to the most-fundamental business processes of whatever business may right-now employ us.   We are creating “a robot that must somehow win the football game,” or crash-and-burn trying, while we are confined to the locker room, entirely unable to intervene.

Furthermore, I consider it entirely-safe to assert that “the actual task has never been ‘programming-language specific.’”   Not Perl, not PHP, not JOVIAL, not anything.   All of us use whatever is at hand to do what needs be done, and we do it every day using an endless series of technical compromises(!), not absolutes.   All of this we know.   I am preaching to the choir.

And so:   ENTER, STAGE LEFT: The Candidate

Well, IMHO, first of all, while it used to be that we were dealing with esoterica that no one else knew, today we are probably dealing with people who first encountered (say ...) Perl in fifth grade, if not kindergarten.   Also, it is impossible, I aver, to expect to find any candidate who off-the-curb already possesses exactly the technical milieu that “our team” possesses, “right here.”   If we are waiting to find any such person, IMHO we are “Waiting for Godot.”

Therefore, when interviewing, I try to look for three things in particular:

  1. Experience:   I’m sorry, but I cannot be running a school.
  2. Resourcefulness:   If you have never in your life encountered “the Perl language” before, I am not going to ipso facto hang-up the phone on you.   What else have you done?   How fast do you think that you can “come up to speed,” and, most(!) importantly, “are you, in fact, willing to Sign Up™ to do it long-before your 60-day probation period runs out?
  3. Political Street-Smarts Willingness(!):   What used to be called, “stick-to-it-iveness,” or simply, “professionalism.”   Can you, and will(!) you, adapt yourself to the conditions as they come, or will you “kick against the traces,” expect the business to conform to you, and disappear without-a-word when it doesn’t?   Will you continue to be “part of the team,” even when we seem to be eight-or-more points down going into the final inning?   And, will you continue thereafter to be part of the team, even if we lose?

I freely admit that some of these perspectives are shaped by my career-history of striving to turn-around projects that have sunk into “failure mode.”   Which, I readily admit, is (thank God ...) an edge-case.   I have encountered a lot of demoralized people along the way.   When I interview, I don’t want to create another one.

Even though I know that the candidate will encounter intense pressure on the my job, I also take for granted that “my job” is not this candidate’s first rodeo, nor will it be the last.   I am frankly most-interested in just how this person will conform him/herself to the team in which s/he will very-necessarily be situated.   Will (or will not) such a person “blend in?”   Six months hence, will this person ... first of all, still be here ... be an asset to the team, or a mistake (that I(!) just made ... today) ... ???

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Re^2: Rosetta Dispatch Table
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Nov 28, 2017 at 23:47 UTC
    • Experience: I’m sorry, but I cannot be running a school.
      • Quote—Although I take for granted that the candidate is conversant in the Perl ... language(s), I also know that I could teach it to the right candidate—unquote.
    • Resourcefulness...“are you, in fact, willing to Sign Up™ to do it long-before your 60-day probation period runs out?
      • Do you really-o, truly-o promise you won't let this office down before we have to eat something like $15K in hiring and onboarding expenses?
    • Political Street-Smarts Willingness(!): What used to be called, “stick-to-it-iveness,” .. even if we lose?
      • Ho-lee shit! Such naked tribalism. "Even if we lose?" Talent jumps ship precisely because it can. Why wouldn't it? And what does it say that you actively recruit for willing losers?
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