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Amazing inferences

 
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I was discussing the other day with one of my fiends who works as a Project leader in W.... I mean a big, reputed Indian company - he is supposed to become PM very soon.

He was discussing one of the team members he hired - 12-14 months after hiring , this guy has been found as rather incompetent on various projects. He comes from one of the reputed engineering colleges and this friend of mine did interview him and recommended this guy to be hired to HR. He said - "Since he was not good in communication, I thought must be good technically! This is how it is!!! Generally people with strong communication skill are poor technically" -- anyway, he was just trying to tell me how "stable" his company was and how they don't throw anyone out - even as poor performer as this guy is.

Though I didn't react much, what did disturb me was the way he concluded things. I have always thought goood communication skill to be an integral part of any professional and so is ability to learn qucikly. Given his position & authority that comes with it - I didn't expect him to have such strong (and stupid IMHO) prejudices. I know this friend's background, history and can undersatnd where he is coming from & reasons for his prejudices. But his skewed logic doesn't justify his decisions. Esp. with more responsible positions the people selected should be more open minded, objective & non-judemental - esp when they are going to make decisions about real people and not programming.

I have seen people with personal prejudices based on whatver they have experinced & interpreted within their ambit of expereince. But when it comes to professional decisions - I think one should keep away personal biases and IBs as far as possible. We used to have sessions on how to conduct interview & select a person and there are several nice artciles on this by Joel (joelonsoftware.com) as well. Shouldn't it be part of mentoring process when a person is going to take up bigger roles??

Just got me thinking.....I guess lot more importance & thought should be given when you hire people. Simply believing that your PMs & PLs would know all about it seems too naive to me to put it mildly. Also relying on few external labels sounds too superficial....

Why can't we define more meticulouly how to assess an interviwee and trust our ability to assess a person rather than just quickly checking few labels & making decsions? That's one reason I have always admired companies having good written test & thorough interview process for junior level programmers -- and interviewers should be trained to conduct interviews professionally. Otherwise irrespeective of the brand equity of the company, whole hiring process becomes flawed; which could have several cascading effects.

Felt like sharing....

- Manish
 
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Yep ! I have seen cases where people who dont know about a particular technology interviewing someone with 5 or 6 years experience in that domain. I find the interview processes to be pretty bad in general. People should put prejudices aside when then conduct interviews
 
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You had me right up until the part about having a test.

I guess for some guy fresh out of college it wouldn't hurt to test on the basics, but most technical tests I've seen are so contrived as to be worthless from anything that might be practical.

That said, a good interview should discuss past projects, or advanced assignments for recent grads, to see how they discuss the technology, if they really understand it, and to get an impression of how they approach problems or tasks. Unfortunately, to have that conversation there must be someone present how also understands the technology. I've had some interviews that were completely with the non-technical side of the business and they never go well. If I can actually talk to an actual technologist then I usually get much better results. Or at least interview with non-technical people who don't insist on asking questions that they really don't understand the answers to.

I think that is also one hell of a fallacy to assume that if a person is not good in {X} then they will be good in {Y}. I've run into far too many people that just weren't good at anything. I've also met people who were good at communication and technology, there is nothing about these skills that are mutually exclusive.
 
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I have been interviewed for 2 different contracts by people looking to bring in Java and they don't have any experience with Java. In both instances they didn't attempt to question my Java knowledge. Instead they talked to me about the sort of projects I had done with Java, how long I had been working with Java, etc.

It would have been a waste of their time and mine for them to try to ask me Java related questions. What is someone like that supposed to do, I'm not sure. But in both cases I'd like to think they picked the best candidate because they asked for me

I've never taken an actual test before for a job. I've answered countless questions on tech interviews - some good, some bad, some qualified to understand the question and answer, some not.
 
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