As you saw in my previous post, my new company is hiring developers. Well, we found one so far. Amazingly, that developer has a similar background to me and my boss. Hopefully that will make for a easier fit.
But, that’s not the point of this entry.
In creating an interview process, my boss and I had a couple of discussions about how to approach it. We’ve both had people who interviewed great but they fell apart when they actually started developing. I had read a blog entry about someone who’s company actually gave the candidate a very simple problem, a computer with a development environment, a time limit, and let them write a program to solve the problem. I *LOVED* that idea. One interview I had gone on about a year ago did a similar thing, but they went pretty elaborate where one had to set up a web page, do the database connection, and do a bit with several parts of the framework. I personally didn’t want to have to set up that environment for someone, so I convinced my boss to do the simpler problem. He agreed, so I wrote something up.
Now, in writing up the problem, I wanted to present one little twist. I put an impossible condition into problem. Why? Because I wanted to see how the candidate would react. In fact, I think the company I did MY interview for did the same thing. They had a faulty database setup. What I threw out was simpler. But, it was a flaw in the requirements, not something that would stop someone from coding.
I learned something interesting with this test. My expectation was that the candidate would see the issue and ASK A QUESTION! That is my #1 pet peeve. If one does not understand something, they need to ask questions. I’ve never been upset with someone who honestly doesn’t understand something. I *DO* get upset when people don’t at least TRY to figure things out. It is a very fine line to walk. There is a point where one must be able to discover answers for themselves. BUT, in our business world, clarification is important, as what the customer asks for is not always what they say. It’s far too easy to get into the ‘only do the requirements’ mentality that most big company development seems to have. When things don’t make sense, it’s best to stop and try to make them make sense, else you’re wasting time.
Speaking of wasting time, it seems that’s what I’m doing. Time to crash. More stuff later!