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Asking for Interview Questions Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:06 PM


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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (4/18/2013)
Eric M Russell (4/18/2013)

I was serious about the "employment at-will" contract, if that's an option in your country or state. It can include provisions for things like severance pay or temporary insurance based on the duration the employment lasted.
The remark about the candidate getting dumped on the curb if they don't measure up; that's not something which should be stated directly, however, the implication should be understood by the candidate. There are some professions, like factory / mine workers, or even school teachers or city employees, where limited unionization and government regulation makes sense, but certainly not Information Technology.


I'll play along, what's "doesn't measure up"? It's the same issue we have with evaluating skills. If someone says they know mirroring, but they make a mistake in configuring, is that not measuring up? If they need to look in BOL to get syntax or make sure they understand something, is that?

It's very easy to say we know when someone "doesn't measure up", but in reality there's a ton of opinion and subjectivity here.

Personally I'd prefer people sign a short term contract, say a one 4 week contract, with the option on either side to renew/not renew after three weeks.

You're right, "not measuring up" is too vague. What I'm really talking about here are candidates who misrepresent themselves in a substantial way (lied about university degree, job history, etc.), or if it is discovered that they can't fullfill the basic requirements of the position they were hired for.
Even an employee who has been on the job for more than a year may at some point not live up to expectations about availability, continuing education, or just how they perform when under pressure. An IT guy who can't perform under pressure is next to useless, even if he's smart. Sometimes how a person performs as part of a new team is drastically different from how they performed in past when working solo or remotely. It's difficult to guage how adaptable a person is when interviewing. However, if an employee is working "at-will", then there is a powerful motivation there to be adapable to a wide range of expectations going forward. It's also a motivation for the employer too. We've all heard stories about IT shops that went bust because the most talented staff members got fed up with management, etc. and walked out the door and into the door of another company.
That type of dynamic "at-will" culture can actually be a good thing for the industry... on balance. Of course it doesn't work for the benefit of everyone.
Post #1444132
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:10 PM


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It is one thing to ask for questions. It is an entirely different thing to ask for the answers to those questions.

Getting an idea of questions to be asked isn't too terribly bad because it helps to understand what might be asked.




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Post #1444136
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:35 PM
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WayneS (4/18/2013)
Personally, I'm not opposed to folks asking for questions. Steve mentioned lots of good reasons for them.

What I am opposed to is providing the answers to said questions. If you need to know these answers, look them up for yourself. And I think that this is what most people on this site are really opposed to.


+1

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Post #1444141
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:48 PM


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This request would not have bothered me in the least, I just wouldn't have given them to the person and just calmly told them to go do their own legwork.. I would not have gotten pissed off by it though. That's silly. Like my grandmother used to say so eloquently and calmly: "You can ask all you want..."

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1444148
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 3:30 PM
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Eric M Russell (4/18/2013)
An IT guy who can't perform under pressure is next to useless, even if he's smart.

I have to admit, I don't like to work under pressure. What sort of situations would you consider to be a "pressure" generating duty?
Post #1444174
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 3:44 PM
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patrickmcginnis59 10839 (4/18/2013)
Eric M Russell (4/18/2013)
An IT guy who can't perform under pressure is next to useless, even if he's smart.

I have to admit, I don't like to work under pressure. What sort of situations would you consider to be a "pressure" generating duty?


I can't imagine working like that. Pressure is a daily occurrence where I work, and always has been. Sometimes it is excessive, usually due to senior management going too long without adapting to new realities. Some days I have multiple "critical" systems go down at the same time. Some days everything works. The first is becomming more common as I keep getting more responsibilities, I can't recall the second type lately.

If I had no pressure I wouldn't know what to work on. The days would drag by. Ahhh, the horror!


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Post #1444178
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 5:09 PM
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re: the PB&J question.

I would *love* that question! I've been thinking about how much fun I would have with it and all of the things I could say. It would be the perfect way to demonstrate my development process and show my personality, including sense of humor.

OK, now I'm seriously craving PB&J.

(Thanks for sharing that question. I got a kick out of it.)
Post #1444192
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 6:19 PM


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patrickmcginnis59 10839 (4/18/2013)
Eric M Russell (4/18/2013)
An IT guy who can't perform under pressure is next to useless, even if he's smart.

I have to admit, I don't like to work under pressure. What sort of situations would you consider to be a "pressure" generating duty?


I don't mind pressure situations, where something must be done quickly with lots of people asking/watching. However some people don't handle those well. I'm not sure I'd classify them as useless. They wouldn't be good in those situations, but if those aren't a daily occurrence, or they don't require everyone's help, there are plenty of uses for people that don't work well under pressure.

I would agree that someone that lies about their schooling, projects, or something specific should be let go. However I think those situations are few and far between. Often someone exaggerates their contribution. Trying to pin that down specifically can be hard, since exaggeration is a subjective thing.







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Post #1444199
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 7:06 PM
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Interviews are just a second rate way of evaluating someone for a job, even well thought out interviews combined with tests arent that great. And there are so many sites where you can find sample interview questions and answers that it really is moot.

The answer is formal professional standards, combined with formal mentored training/internships along the same lines as the medical profession. Then when you see that an applicant has reached the standard you know for sure that they have reached a certain level of competence. This will never happen in IT though because it would dramatically raise the price of IT employees. So I guess we will just have to make do
Post #1444203
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:45 PM
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (4/18/2013)
patrickmcginnis59 10839 (4/18/2013)
Eric M Russell (4/18/2013)
An IT guy who can't perform under pressure is next to useless, even if he's smart.

I have to admit, I don't like to work under pressure. What sort of situations would you consider to be a "pressure" generating duty?


I don't mind pressure situations, where something must be done quickly with lots of people asking/watching.
Lol I've never felt that to be a pressure situation. That could be a normal day teaching computer programming by definition!

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