A couple thoughts for the conversation 'grist mill' if you will.
Stuff I never Needed
I have started using the dBASE alternative, FoxBase some 30 years back. While I have not used the latest version of the product recently, when I have it comes back relatively quickly. Even now then there are functions and features I would consider myself unaware of. The reason is that I have never had a need to use them. Perhaps some functions like SIN() or COS() never were needed. It was certainly a surprise to me that so few knew about GETDATE() but candidly, not having been immersed in T-SQL recently, I had to take a quick peek to remember. Maybe that's age (an increasingly useful excuse 😉) or the way my mind processes and stores information.
I do not like in-person interviews at all. I tend to 'lock up.' It wasn't until I took an online Meyers-Briggs self-analysis that I discovered this sort of approach didn't look to be the best way someone like me would normally approach and resolve thorny technical issues. That is, the typical interview venue, for me at least, is an extra hurdle. I understand that under pressure we need to not 'lock up' and, interestingly enough, I do not, except during the interview. I do not tie my assessment of others to on-the-spot answers primarily because I understand that this stuff can be complex. Given that I prefer proper and precise answers I am always thinking I will run out of time and that a correct answer often does not fit into "soundbite thinking." I'd prefer a setting more like real life.
What Was That Again?
I can remember my driver's license, from another state 30 years ago. A0954063, for what it's worth. And, my phone number from when I was 5 years old 544-1972, my neighbor's, 544-1793 (there's the hook, right?) and my late aunt & uncles from 40 years back; 846-1402. I struggle terribly with names. They take longer to settle in. I mention this because I am paid to resolve issues which in turn should simplify some process which also, in turn, ought to demonstrate, in a very measurable fashion that my time and the whole of the entire correlated expense of reaching a suitable end will satisfy the one concern of management; ROI. An arbitrary example would be; Doug takes $5,000 start-to-finish 'X'. Over the next year, we will realize $6,500 in savings and $3,500 in additional projected revenue. That makes the chore a $5,000 net to the company.
I don't care to remember every little bit and I am not, at least in my own thinking, 'better' or 'worse' should I remember some approach. Now, this is within reasonable limits naturally but I do see this often the basis of one's corporate social standing and is even weaponized as others climb the ladder to what? I want to figure things out and write code. I can find answers, and better at that, already available and freely licensed by those more generous.
I would want to see some coding samples though. Or an over-the-weekend type test perhaps?
It was the Woman Lord
Those who provide any kind of training whatsoever will, in my opinion, always be trailing edge rather than leading edge. Why? They are reacting and attempting to be the best or first to get in front at the earliest possible moment. This is great and these folks provide fabulous resources but it does raise, for me, a question. If the company is wanting to keep current and competitive, which does require knowing the latest and greatest trends, how can this not lead to a sort of perpetual looking for, finding and more often than not realizing that candidate 'Y', who did, in fact, know the proper buzzwords and the automated recruiter filtering engines fished out, be a total dud? It's always someone else's fault so the manager's blame the agency or the hire and the recruiting firm, after discussing the issue with the hire (because they really want to place them elsewhere) decide that it was the manager.
It always seems to be someone else's fault and when you stand up and take responsibility you may well be blamed for the decisions of others. I prefer to take personal responsibility and value my character over employment. I can do this financially now but I've done it before when not so. I am nothing special as I think everyone should do this but that is not the world we live in.
The Real Issue?
So, does the candidate demonstrate good character? If they honestly state that they don't know something rather than try and bluff, I prefer this to the alternative.
Given the above and the other valid concerns, discarding the moaning and groaning about how difficult it all is, and unfair, and a royal pain in the *** to deal with politics and agendas and so forth, what are the best suggestions on how to meet and overcome them? I have a few which include making sure to take time off (like I am doing now) to ensure there is balance in life, catching up on technical skills, cleaning out the garage 🙂 and all of the rest.
What sort of approach would be the best way to bring someone on and get them in synch with the company, the standards, the goals, culture and all of the rest?