The challenges of hiring

This past few weeks we have been trying to interview and place a technical consultant for our project and it turned out to be quite a challenge. I had my share of unique experiences and here are some:

  • This guy claimed himself to be an architect and had about 5 years of experience. I start to wonder if folks understand what it takes to be an Architect (its a separate article unto itself)? And so, I start interviewing him and he is not even close to what he claims to be. He’s not a senior developer to begin with – asked him a question from his project as to why he took a certain approach among the options and he had no clue. And brought up the security model and he couldn’t even describe what was setup, much less why its done that way. Although he was better technically (all on a relative scale) than few others we interviewed, the mere fact that he over-sold himself turned out to be the worst mistake.

  • There was this lady we were interviewing over the telephone and this was for a support position. So, I asked her how she’d identify which groups a user belonged to using a DQL and she gave a pause – a long pause – literally 2 long minutes and we asked her if she couldn’t answer we could move on. And that’s it – the phone was disconnected. Now, come on – how unprofessional is that. We gave her the benefit of doubt and tried reaching her after about 10 mins and she was no where to be found.
  • The manager and our enterprise Architect interviewed one guy who turned out to be promising. I was scheduled to interview him the following day, but kept hitting his voice mail. We called our Vendor and explained the situation. And two days later we hear back from the vendor that this candidate disappeared from the face of the earth. He might have found a more attractive offer, but why doesn’t he just communicate the same – unless he literally disappeared 😉
  • For one of my previous projects we brought in a guy as a Documentum developer (our tech team didn’t get a chance to interview him, but he was hired – go figure!) and the first question he asked me was to know how long it would take to learn Documentum?
  • I was talking to a friend of mine about an interview he recently conducted and he told me that he did a telephone interview and the candidate was a great fit. He was immediately brought on board and they learned that he actually didn’t know enough. They were quite shocked as he was great when he was interviewed over the phone which they later found that the vendor let someone who’s technically savvy to take the telephone interview in his place – Isn’t this illegal?
  • We received this resume with no last name – I hate the one’s where they don’t want to disclose the last name. If you do not want to identify yourself, just don’t be in the market. Companies are spending valuable time trying to identify a potential member. In any event, the developer decided to give us his last name and we scheduled an interview. He resume talked about upgrade and I naturally asked him to explain how he executed. Weekend 1 – PROD data backed up. Tested upgrade using the backed up data during the week. Weekend 2 – perform in-place upgrade. I asked him what his roll-back plan was if the upgrade were to fail. He said, well he’ll restore the data he backed up – WHAT? How about the delta between the two weekends and his answer was, it will be lost? And worse, he argued back defending his stance. Now, come on which manager would possibly approve such an upgrade project. His strongest defense was that if the data needed to be saved, then he’d have to ask the users to not work for a week?!?!?

Its rather much productive to hire humble developers who are eager to learn than those who pretend to know all and cause heart-ache.

On the same note, I am not going to say that not all who interview qualify to interview as well. I attended an interview and the guy went into so many details syntactically that there would be no way to remember every little detail of it unless you are working on it very recently. I also encountered people who would ask questions right from the book and deem conceptual responses unacceptable. And frankly, I do not want to work with them.

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One Response to The challenges of hiring

  1. Anuarg Sharma says:

    Great, I also encountered some of these cases and guess it happens with everyone and everywhere.

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