I'm interviewing someone today

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SporkySporky Frets: 12804
edited June 14 in Off Topic
At the pub. He's bringing examples of his design work, I'm taking him a dodgy schematic to critique. My boss, Stinky Doug, will be doing the money interview later if the chap passes the technical chat.

Are there any genuinely useful questions I should ask him beyond making sure he knows which end of an HDMI cable he shouldn't stick up his nose?

I am not, for reference, going to ask him whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. 
Be your own evil twin. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13155
    Strat or Les Paul.


    If the answer isn’t Strat or Les Paul then tell him to GTFO
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  • RiftAmpsRiftAmps Frets: 1141
    If he can plug a USB in on his first attempt he should get the job on the spot. It truly is the greatest idiot test.
    Rift Amplification
    Handwired Guitar Amplifiers
    Brackley, Northamptonshire
    www.riftamps.co.uk
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4032
    A sphincter says what?
    This is my rant thread, there are others like it, but this one is mine.
    Bet you're wondering if this is a flounce? Truth is I haven't decided yet.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13155
    A sphincter says what?
    Pardon?
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  • SchnozzSchnozz Frets: 448
    A sphincter says what?
    Haha - Reminds me of this...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcKPUaBbYaM
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  • quarkyquarky Frets: 2053
    I don't really like set questions, but the one I like to ask is "what gets you up in the morning?"

    Not in a weak bladder sense, but in a motivational sense...
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 17964
    “Are you nervous?”

    If ‘yes’ - say “Good”.

    if ‘no’ - say “Well you should be”.

    Guaranteed to get the best out of any candidate.... 
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2751
    find out if he plays a Tele
    if he does, cut the interview short and call the police
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • musteatbrainmusteatbrain Frets: 475
    I’ll chime in as it’s my profession.

    ask him why he wants the role, and how does he think it will help his own career.
    Blindingly obvious but unless there’s some development in it for him you won’t get the best out of him in the job.
    I see a good hire as one that has a natural curve of development in it. That way on the whole, people stay longer.
    you may aim at someone being 80% the finished article in year 1, delivering at 100% in year 2 and exceeding and stretching their role in year 3, ready for a move up.
    this builds longevity in to the role and means less recruitment and more time contributing overall vs if you hire someone with loads of skills but nothing to stretch them.
    that’s my generic advice for a corporate company to help get things right more often than not. I’d tailor that heavily if I knew more about the situation. 
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6822
    This probably isn’t news to you but FWIW...

    Lot of competency based interviewing these days. Essentially structuring the technical chat so you are asking relevant open questions ( ‘what approach would you take if a customer’s design request seemed impractical’ kinda thing) rather than him going ‘uhu’ in the right places. Thinking of typical scenarios he might have to face and getting him to explain how he would think about them and approach them. 

    For example a  few years ago I did some competency based interviews where I hadn’t written the questions and I felt they were too specific and biased toward internal candidates. However, the person who got the job was an external candidate who didn’t have hands on experience of everything but was, by far, the best at showing how she thought through and approached problems. She was wonderful in post. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 5989
    did you tell anyone where you were meeting me? I find that's always a good icebreaker (erm, it is possible I've misunderstood what an icebreaking question is). 

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • jonnyburgojonnyburgo Frets: 5817
    Say to him "You have really pretty eyes, you know a guy like you can go a long way if you do the right things". 
    "OUR TOSSPOT"
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  • NiteflyNitefly Frets: 1994

    It's not @Emp_Fab , is it?

    Grown most uncommonly fat!
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  • skunkwerxskunkwerx Frets: 936
    I had an interview recently where the fucking bellend opened with ’How would you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?’

    Apparently every sensible human based answer was wrong, and meant you were unfit for the job. 

    Turns out you had to tell them what they wanted to hear which was ‘I’d open the door and put it in’. 

    This shows you’ll do whatever they ask, because you can do anything regardless of if the tasks even fucking possible let alone plausible. 

    Are you fucking serious? 
    I’m glad I didnt get that job because I’m cool working down here on planet fucking Earth. 

    All for a nights and weekend retail job that ‘meets minimum wage’. 

    Fuck off. 



    Then get this!

     Earlier in the year after no less than 3 pissing online assessments, a skype call and a maths test,  I woke up early, put my big boy pants on and drove 54 miles to a holiday inn located south of bum fuck nowhere to pay £15.50 for all day parking for this ‘all day’ assessment, only to sit through a gloating pricks life history and a bunch of fake smiles to be kicked out at 10am after the first fucking ‘test’. 

    Know what the test was? 

    Jenga. 

    Motherfucking jenga. 

    How fuck face international recruitment  can judge my ability to sell vehicles on behalf of the actual employer based on my ability to play jenga, is so so far beyond me. 

     I’m now in my big boy pants in a suit and tie with the top buttons of my shirt undone and my belt half off, sat legs akimbo with my nike trainers on, on the kerb in the corner of a motel car park eating the cold chicken nuggets I brought with me for lunch whilst half smoking a roll up and attempting to work out my life and my way home, looking like a bag of smashed asshole at 10am all the while conjuring up new ways to tell my dad I wasnt good enough. 

    I’d love to turn up in these peoples homes on occasion, just so I could shit in locations that would leave them confused. 

    The only easy day, was yesterday...
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  • valevale Frets: 664
    edited June 14
    if you are looking for someone to make a long-term commitment (X yrs+) to your company, & in in which you intend to make a reciprocal commitment (training or wage increase increments), then that would be where i would focus my questions.

    tech side & subject knowledge you should be able to establish quickly (if you know what you want). it's generally either-or, wise owl or bullsh*tter.

    the basics, employment history, references (proof that they can cope with work life beyond a summer holiday job) should already be documented on a form with references for you to cross check outside of an interview.

    so weight the balance of interview questions towards trying to establish whether they;

    a) have a genuine interest in what your company is doing & intend to commit to it (for whatever your min X yrs threshold)
    b) want to use you as a stepping stone (training, reference, cv cachet) then run,
    c) are just after a get-me-by (to pay bills while they keep looking for something they really want).

    so dig into;

    commitment to location; family or friends network locally? what do they think of the area (intentions to move)? want to buy locally? (all these dependent on local accomodation factors, LDN different scene to hull).

    abiding & guiding motivations; why they want to work for your company & not self-employment? which areas of your company do they most/least want to move into? (where do you see yourself in x years thing). eg; if they have school age children that can be a great motivation to commit to a career. or schooling anbitions & catchments may hint that they intend to move as children progress.

    training ambitions? are they hungry to learn some new thing (software or tech)? or do they intend to stretch out the knowledge they have as long as poss before they are forced to learn more? what do you need or want them to learn? are they (really) up for it?

    when i used to interview students in education i really liked it. people are mostly quite interesting. everyone has a story & everyone has a reason. & even if they are not right for this job, you may like them & keep them in mind for another, you may learn something about yourself & motivations, or they may even successfully challenge your ideas about what you need in an employee.
    but for it to really work, you have to give too. otherwise you both end up in a bullsh*t stand off.

    happy interviewing.
    what she said.
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 12729
    edited June 14
    Nitefly said:

    It's not @Emp_Fab , is it?

    Hahaha.... no, 'tis not me.  I do however, think perhaps some questions on the treatment of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency could be good.   =)
    98% shouting at clouds and 2% laminate flooring
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12804
    I’ll chime in as it’s my profession.

    ask him why he wants the role, and how does he think it will help his own career.

    [snip]

    that’s my generic advice for a corporate company to help get things right more often than not. I’d tailor that heavily if I knew more about the situation. 
    Ta! :) I've snipped out the middle for brevity.

    Basically I am hiring an additional designer/technical sales type for the systems integrator where I am head of design; one of my team is moving on and I've wanted to expand anyways. This chap has a decent background, if a bit more on the manufacturer side than the integrator side, but another of my team came in from that side of the industry and is doing well.

    The job involves a mix; sometimes you go to see the customer (with or without their account manager) and get to talk through the project. Sometimes you just get a tender spec, which may or may not be any good, sometimes an existing customer wants x more of their standard room. We then put together a design - drawings, quote, written brief, and it either just gets sent or we go and present it.

    So it is a tricky role for which to find good people; they need to be technically excellent, but they also need to be confident in front of customers and able to very quickly judge the audience and present at the right level. Quite a lot of that can be learnt, of course.
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • djspecialistdjspecialist Frets: 353
    Hypothetical questions ("what would you do if ...") can be useful, but in most cases concrete ones ("tell me about a time when you ...") are more effective.

    I want to know about the capabilities the candidate has, and can demonstrate he / she has (to the extent that is possible in the artificial setting of an interview).  Those concrete situational questions are the best way of teasing that out in my experience - and can always be made hypothetical as you dig deeper ("OK, so you met the deadline; if instead you had missed it, what would you have done next?")
    Trading feedback
    FS: Nothing right now   |   WTB: Nothing right now
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12804
    This probably isn’t news to you but FWIW...

    Lot of competency based interviewing these days. Essentially structuring the technical chat so you are asking relevant open questions ( ‘what approach would you take if a customer’s design request seemed impractical’ kinda thing) rather than him going ‘uhu’ in the right places. Thinking of typical scenarios he might have to face and getting him to explain how he would think about them and approach them.
    Not entirely an unfamiliar concept, but still very welcome advice, thank you.

    If it was simply a question of evaluating his design knowledge/skills then that'd be a doddle - I have a straightforward set of questions that'd reveal in about five minutes what level he's at (also one of his qualifications tells me straight off that he's not a total beginner). Having some pointers on assessing him as a person is very useful, because if he's got the right stuff there I can get him trained on all the rest.

    Fer example, he last worked for one of the major manufacturers. One might surmise that his knowledge of products is therefore heavily skewed towards that manufacturer; this doesn't matter. Products change all the time in my industry, so he'd have to keep on learning about new boxes and standards one way or the other.
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12804
    vale said:

    happy interviewing.
    Ta - snipped the rest just so the thread doesn't turn into a massive quote-fest. Lots of fine suggestions.

    The training focus is interesting - two of my team hate classroom training, but are happy to stay up to date by talking to manufacturer technical reps whenever appropriate. The other two see classroom courses as a good way to pick up a lot of detail pretty quickly. They all do good work.

    Advancement is a tricky one; we're a fairly small company, so while there's plenty of personal progression in terms of ability to access training and so on, there isn't much of a promotion channel - unless I move on (or go up to Director level which is a way off if it happens at all) there isn't a "next" role in the company. We do have a good retention rate though - there are people who've been with the company over 15 years, and a good number who've done 10.

    Hypothetical questions ("what would you do if ...") can be useful, but in most cases concrete ones ("tell me about a time when you ...") are more effective.
    Duly noted - ta. :)
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • GassageGassage Frets: 19606
    Sporky said:
    At the pub. He's bringing examples of his design work, I'm taking him a dodgy schematic to critique. My boss, Stinky Doug, will be doing the money interview later if the chap passes the technical chat.

    Are there any genuinely useful questions I should ask him beyond making sure he knows which end of an HDMI cable he shouldn't stick up his nose?

    I am not, for reference, going to ask him whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. 
    All you need to know is here, in this handy guide.

    Do read it- bloody hilarious,


    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12804
    Gassage said:

    All you need to know is here, in this handy guide.

    Do read it- bloody hilarious,


    That's excellent - thankfully where I work is not like that at all (now). The former MD did like to ask people what animal they'd be, and got very flustered when I said "human being", and then explained why in some detail (including the ability to comprehend and answer the question, then regret being such a smart-arse about it).

    Then again, a few jobs ago the MD there would snoop around any interviewees' cars to see if they were owned or leased, how old they were, if they were clean and in good upkeep... then ask if they had a mortgage - he didn't like employing people who didn't need the money. We didn't get many independently wealthy applicants so that always seemed a redundant question.
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • GassageGassage Frets: 19606
    I just read this one on the train and was crying with laughter. He's a genius.


    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1114
    When he sits down give him a serious look and say, “Where’s my cup of tea?” 

    If if he goes and get you one, tell him he’s hired. If he makes it just how you like it, pat him on the back and say “good job” raising his self-esteem and planting the seed that he could be your right hand man.

    If on the other hand he preempts your test and brings you a cup of tea before the interview, screw up your face and say “well aren’t you a clever dick? Go on, get out of my office!”
    "Life is full of disappointments. And by disappointments I mean people" -- Kambri Crews
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  • BigMonkaBigMonka Frets: 1496
    Sporky said:

    The job involves a mix; sometimes you go to see the customer (with or without their account manager) and get to talk through the project. Sometimes you just get a tender spec, which may or may not be any good, sometimes an existing customer wants x more of their standard room. We then put together a design - drawings, quote, written brief, and it either just gets sent or we go and present it.

    So it is a tricky role for which to find good people; they need to be technically excellent, but they also need to be confident in front of customers and able to very quickly judge the audience and present at the right level. Quite a lot of that can be learnt, of course.
    Based on what you've said there how about taking someone else along to be a pseudo-customer so that when he's showing the design examples he's bringing you can see whether he can quickly work out how much technical understanding the customer has and then explain it at an appropriate level. Or just play really dumb to start with and keep asking really basic questions about the kit he's talking about (i.e. so what's one of those then? Why do I need that product, can't I just connect that one to that one directly? etc)
    Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman, in which case always be Batman.
    My boss told me "dress for the job you want, not the job you have"... now I'm sat in a disciplinary meeting dressed as Batman.
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12804
    BigMonka said:

    Based on what you've said there how about taking someone else along to be a pseudo-customer so that when he's showing the design examples he's bringing you can see whether he can quickly work out how much technical understanding the customer has and then explain it at an appropriate level.
    It's not in the office, but I could take Sprocket along to the pub - they like her. She's a bit smarter than the average customer but I think she'll be good at that.

    I can certainly get him to explain his design as if I am a consultant - ie I think I know a lot, but actually I'm wrong about most of it.
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 693
    skunkwerx said:


    Know what the test was? 

    Jenga. 

    Motherfucking jenga. 


    More of a Monopoly guy? ;)


    Ask the chap how his weekend was then ask him what he is passionate about outside of work.

    When i used to do interviews i would ask this sort of thing.. mind you it was entry level jobs i did but point is i wanted someone that would fit in and people could get along with and could hold a "small talk" type conversation. If you're going to be spending a significant amount of time with someone (i.e. in an office/work environment) you don't want someone with nothing to them..


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  • randellarandella Frets: 1740
    One question on which all of life hinges, not just a job interview:











    "Bigsby or Floyd Rose?"
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12804
    LuttiS said:

    When i used to do interviews i would ask this sort of thing.. mind you it was entry level jobs i did but point is i wanted someone that would fit in and people could get along with and could hold a "small talk" type conversation. If you're going to be spending a significant amount of time with someone (i.e. in an office/work environment) you don't want someone with nothing to them..


    We're typically only in the office once a week; I don't really care if they're not a sparkling socialite as long as they can communicate effectively with customers and so on, and given that my team's work requires a fair level of concentration a chatterbox is a very bad thing!
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • DiscoStuDiscoStu Frets: 2772
    I ask this simple question midway at every interview:

    "What's half of 59?"

    It's a curveball from the standard questions, tests their basic maths and their ability to cope with unusual situations. 90% of people get the answer wrong, then when I ask them to try again I observe how flustered they get/don't get. A lot of people get it even more wrong the second time around.

    It's not quantum physics, it's a very simple sum yet it can throw some candidates off the rest of their interview.
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