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What to look for in an employer


What to look for in an employer

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GSquared
GSquared
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The main thing I look for is the same thing I do when I'm either side of a job interview. I do what's called a "two-minute psychometry". It simply consists of communicating with the person while taking on various personality traits. When you get strong, fast agreement, that's the person's base-personality. Run like heck from the destructive ones, pick the positive ones. Hasn't failed me yet.

Takes a few hours to learn properly, and some practice to get good at, but it's easy, it's accurate enough, and it works.

Even a "failing" company, with the right leadership, can pull out of disasters. Can be worth the chance to join a company that very well might showing signs of stress, if the leadership has the traits that can deal well with that kind of thing. Even a prosperous company that's currently doing well can be killed horribly by leadership with the wrong traits. So I pay more attention to who I'm dealing with than any other single factor.

- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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"Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon
jbnv
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I too would like to know the significance of the flagpole and the fish tank. "There are, of course, the classic general danger signs such as a fish-tank in the foyer, and a flagpole outside. Either, evidently, is a classic sign of a company in its terminal stages." Evident to whom? Are you being serious or facetious?

My guesses: If a company has a flagpole, then I would check the flag. In good condition: good sign. In bad condition: probably a bad sign. Bare pole during working hours (especially if it has a light aimed at the top): probably a bad sign. A fish tank without fish in plain sight is probably a bad sign unless someone is cleaning it. An active fish tank contributes to the ambiance, so I would wonder what purpose it serves. And at any rate, a live fish tank means that company resources are being used on things that are not absolutely essential to the business.

Jay Bienvenu | http://bienv.com | http://twitter.com/jbnv
jolly sql
jolly sql
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I look for a place with a nine or above on the Joel Test. I will even ask the manager for their Joel test score or ask if I can help them get it there.

Definitely two monitors or more per developer. Great windows and ventilation. Fish tanks in foyers are generally good for Feng Shui (Chinese art of design). The catch is they must be clean and colorful so that they can bring good energy to a place which will help the people feel good and the business will generally benefit.
Freddie-304292
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I know it sounds minor, but good cycling facilities is a big one for me nowadays. It's become my main form of exercise and I wouldn't want to give it up for a job just because there were no showers and no where to leave my bike.

Don't get the issue with the flagpoles and fishtanks. Don't see much in the way of Flagpoles in the UK, but I've worked places with Fishtanks before and they've not gone out of business.
TravisDBA
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Freddie-304292 (7/23/2012)
I know it sounds minor, but good cycling facilities is a big one for me nowadays. It's become my main form of exercise and I wouldn't want to give it up for a job just because there were no showers and no where to leave my bike.

Don't get the issue with the flagpoles and fishtanks. Don't see much in the way of Flagpoles in the UK, but I've worked places with Fishtanks before and they've not gone out of business.



I totally understand the need to exercise, but please remember, you are not being paid to ride a bike at work. That should be at most a secondary consideration. :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
Freddie-304292
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TravisDBA (7/23/2012)
Freddie-304292 (7/23/2012)
I know it sounds minor, but good cycling facilities is a big one for me nowadays. It's become my main form of exercise and I wouldn't want to give it up for a job just because there were no showers and no where to leave my bike.

Don't get the issue with the flagpoles and fishtanks. Don't see much in the way of Flagpoles in the UK, but I've worked places with Fishtanks before and they've not gone out of business.



I totally understand the need to exercise, but please remember, you are not being paid to ride a bike at work. That should be at most a secondary consideration. :-D
:-D
James Stover
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I always try to find out if I am filling a new position or one that someone has vacated. That 's the initial fork in the road for me.

I also agree with the common courtesy items like "Did you find us OK?" or "Would you like some water?". If the interviewer hasn't even grasped the basics of politeness, then beware the sociopath.


James Stover, McDBA

jbnv
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James Stover (7/24/2012)
I always try to find out if I am filling a new position or one that someone has vacated. That 's the initial fork in the road for me.

Which leads to other forks. If vacated, was that person fired or did they resign, and why? (A good person could be fired because of office politics. A good person could resign from a good company because of personal reasons that have nothing to do with the state of the company. Etc.)

Jay Bienvenu | http://bienv.com | http://twitter.com/jbnv
TravisDBA
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jbnv (7/24/2012)
James Stover (7/24/2012)
I always try to find out if I am filling a new position or one that someone has vacated. That 's the initial fork in the road for me.

Which leads to other forks. If vacated, was that person fired or did they resign, and why? (A good person could be fired because of office politics. A good person could resign from a good company because of personal reasons that have nothing to do with the state of the company. Etc.)


And... if any of that was really the case they probably would not tell you real reason(s) anyway. :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
Tom Thomson
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Quite a nice editorial. I guess I agree with most of it - although I agree even more with the comment Gus posted on Monday.

The flagpole idea is interesting. From that I should be able to deduce, for example, that the USMC is in decline, which would so much surprise me that I don't believe the flagpole bit. And then fish tanks. On Gower Street and Lisle Street in London a fish tank tends to be a sign of a thriving business (albeit perhaps not one which employs a DBA). :-P Just another two well known indicators of decline that are actually nothing of the sort. ;-)

On the whole, I am more interested in how the people seem to be in interviews; any firm which has such a formal interview process that there is no way to assess the personalities of their people handling the interviews is a definite no for me. I prefer it if the interviewers are interested in approaches to doing things, rather than technical stuff that can be picked up from a reference book - maybe that's because I believe in learning new things, not in repeating old things (with one exception: learning new things is an old thing which I have often repeated). In fact I want to work with people who are willing to learn new things, take on problems that they have no idea how to solve until they've done some work, as well as having great technical competence an expertise.

Tom

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