Interviewing General Nonsense | My Life 05 MAR 2009

TouchWorkCool, so I’ve just come through two days of interviewing for the opening that I mentioned earlier this week and I must say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process, having never conducted any interviews before in my life!

It was a three man job with Rory handling some of the general questioning and then Dave and I slowly but surely taking over before leading it into a full-on technical quiz involving the whiteboard and a pen, a bit of HTML, database design, SQL, PHP, and a little sprinkle of theoretical and technical knowledge just for fun.

Keeping in mind that the interview is for a junior development position, the questions weren’t particularly stressful or difficult for that matter, but I like to think that it gave us a good understanding as the the applicant’s current level of ability and at the same time allowed us to quickly weed out the guys who pretty much only look good on paper. Also, it allowed us to gauge just how well a potential applicant would be able to work under us, a good thing when you consider that he will literally be working for us and doing all the odd coding jobs that we simply don’t have the time for.

As it stands, it looks like we’ve found our man for the job, and surprisingly enough he is actually a good couple of years older than me, which should make mentoring him a little tricky (not for Dave though considering that he currently holds the ‘gray man’ spot on the team! :P). The bloke’s demeanor and general nature fits in nicely with the current office atmosphere and funnily enough, he also happened to be the ONLY candidate in which all three of us gave a thumbs up.

All that said and done though, his technical ability isn’t all that great at the moment, or rather isn’t quite where I would have liked it to be, meaning that I’d better learn some patience fast and quickly drop on my teacher’s hat.

And if you know me at all, then you that this is most definitely easier said than done!

One thing I don’t however get are the applicants that replied, came in for an interview and ended up not possessing any of the skills that the advert had specifically asked for! If you want to do web developing then surely you at least need to be able to actually do some coding when asked to? Or at least be able to write some simple HTML on the board? (And using Dreamweaver for the answer just doesn’t count!)

Some of the guys that came in looked good on paper, but when it came to crunch time, that’s all it was – some big words on a piece of paper. So a waste of our time (but not so much theirs because at least they got some interview experience out of it I guess) and a waste of our koki pen ink, but at least I got to enjoy the experience of telling them no, they’re pretty much the weakest link.

What a fun job Ms. Fiona Coyne has, I’m sure of it! :)

(And this hopefully Karl, will explain why I STILL haven’t tackled the lengthy blog post that will be Wayne and Candice’s wedding report. It’s coming, I promise…)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.