Mike’s Dump

June 26, 2005

RE: Looking for Clues about Culture in the Hiring Process

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikesdump @ 4:20 am

I was reading this post this morning and it got me thinking about my the hiring processes of my first IT job and my current job.
My first interview for a full time position in IT was horrible. I was brought past the reception area to the “board room”. The vacumm cleaner was sitting in the corner (I don’t think they had used it in a while). There were about four book shelves each half full but for some reason there were books and loose paper spread out on the floor. The table looked like something stolen from a fastfood resturant. The photocopier was also in this room. You’d think for being a “board room” with all of this stuff in it it would have to be a fairly big room but it probably about 12′ x 12′. When I tried to sit down I had to squeeze into my chair.
With the length of the interview that I had we could have stayed standing. The questions that I remember:

  1. Where did you go to school?
  2. Do you know dBase? (no)
  3. Do you know Visual Fox Pro? (no)
  4. Do you know how to write SQL statements? (yes)
  5. But you don’t know dBase, eh? (umm, still no)

“Ok I think I got all that I need. I’m going to do a few more interviews and I’ll get back to you”
So after that interview I figured nothing would come of it and I wasn’t too worried because I had a contract position that I was working on at the time. Two weeks later I got a call and he wanted me to start the next day. The catch of course was he wanted me to almost work for free ($10/hour). I figured it was a full time position and the contract was going to be ending fairly soon so why not.
Thinking back on this now, enough of this organization was revealed during the hiring process that it would send a developer with any kind of experience running for the hills. I just wanted to get some experience so I took the job. I’m really glad I did too because my vacuuming and trash removal skills were pretty week before I got that job (I’m sure my wife appreciates my experiences there).
At my current job I have had the opportunity to participate in the interview process (with my manager and another team lead). What I think is great about our interviews is they are a pretty accurate representation of our culture. My manager probably for about two-thirds of the year is in shorts and sandals. Our most important question that we ask most interviewees is “do you drink beer”. We do manage to ask some technical questions and find out a little more about them other than the beer question. The interviews, I think, are a lot like the way we do are work, we get the job done but still make time for fun.

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