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nakatago
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Postby nakatago » Sun, 07 Jul 2013 7:33 pm

PNGMK wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:One of my former managers would give projects to people who he was on the fence about. Say someone who got a good referral but bombed the interview, since some just do interview poorly even if they'd be a great fit.

As you may guess, almost no one would ever do it. Rather simple (if you're in the field) stuff too. Like, "read this paper, and do what they did" and give someone a week. It make take a good three to four hours of work if you really had no clue what the paper was about, but if you could figure it out, he'd hire you. I believe he was told he couldn't do that anymore though, as it was of uncertain legality in California.


I've hired dozens of engineers. I always have them respond (by email) to a single page written test with 20 odd questions from all spheres of engineering. I don't care if they google every bloody answer - what I'm trying to do is see the quality of their written responses to every day situations we face as well as some examples of their math and engineering capabilities and their ability to research in areas outside their general realm of knowledge. Guess which one they stuff up most?:

"Round off to 4 significant digits the number 38.136234"

Understanding the significance of numbers and precision of measurement is a key requirement for anyone moving into the instrumentation field.


38.14

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 07 Jul 2013 8:46 pm

nakatago wrote:
PNGMK wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:One of my former managers would give projects to people who he was on the fence about. Say someone who got a good referral but bombed the interview, since some just do interview poorly even if they'd be a great fit.

As you may guess, almost no one would ever do it. Rather simple (if you're in the field) stuff too. Like, "read this paper, and do what they did" and give someone a week. It make take a good three to four hours of work if you really had no clue what the paper was about, but if you could figure it out, he'd hire you. I believe he was told he couldn't do that anymore though, as it was of uncertain legality in California.


I've hired dozens of engineers. I always have them respond (by email) to a single page written test with 20 odd questions from all spheres of engineering. I don't care if they google every bloody answer - what I'm trying to do is see the quality of their written responses to every day situations we face as well as some examples of their math and engineering capabilities and their ability to research in areas outside their general realm of knowledge. Guess which one they stuff up most?:

"Round off to 4 significant digits the number 38.136234"

Understanding the significance of numbers and precision of measurement is a key requirement for anyone moving into the instrumentation field.


38.14


Most answered 38.1362

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Postby AngMoG » Mon, 08 Jul 2013 11:01 am

The question nobody has asked (that I can see) is whether the questions were at all related to the job you were applying for. If not, then you are probably better off not having gottent hat job...

Good luck in your search!

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Postby morenangpinay » Mon, 08 Jul 2013 11:06 am

i had an interview once where we were grouped into 2 and each side was assigned a position for a debate on a topic..the topic was Would a high salary for government officials stop them from being corrupt. i was assigned on the no side so even if i didn't agree with it i had to defend it. but it seemed like the interviewer was preferring the other side even if i had a rebuttal for each points they raised

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Postby the lynx » Mon, 08 Jul 2013 11:13 am

But personally, would you guys REALLY do like what the interviewer in WD40 and Max's stories did? Asking those smart aleck questions on interviewees who probably needs those jobs very badly.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 08 Jul 2013 11:47 am

the lynx wrote:But personally, would you guys REALLY do like what the interviewer in WD40 and Max's stories did? Asking those smart aleck questions on interviewees who probably needs those jobs very badly.


YES!!!! and double YES!!! The people I hired wanted S$240,000 per year for the work they were going to perform. I expect only the best. How else to separate the wheat from the chaff? I'm sorry, Lynx, but I truly don't give a shit if they need the job. I truly do give a shit if they can perform.

I judge that WD40 ran into an opportunity for which he was unprepared. Reality is perception, and your value to other people is that which you can convince them. Lynx, I placed people that earned upwards of S$1500 per DAY... the value was obviously in the eye of the client.

WD40 himself said that the job was good... and I believe it was. This is actually an opportunity for WD40 to make a fundamental paradigm shift... to quit trying to be hired as an employee into some predefined position, and to start being hired as a "solution"... and the ever overworked, "value add".

Every job candidate should be prepared to answer how they contribute more than the cost of their salaries... and as those salaries go up, the answer is necessarily more complex. The questions that were asked of WD40 were intended to hunt out exactly that... what is his value?

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 09 Jul 2013 4:00 pm

the lynx wrote:But personally, would you guys REALLY do like what the interviewer in WD40 and Max's stories did? Asking those smart aleck questions on interviewees who probably needs those jobs very badly.

Yes. I am sorry but if this someone needs it so badly why (s)he does not apply for the position she will be able to handle? I don't know any (unbiased) details so hard to say as of the WD40's story (please don't take it personally) but having a few candidates to chose from, his performance would put him behind them. For me this is always the whole package. You check knowledge, other things and you listen how the candidate responds to various questions. I normally don't go into any puzzles but I verify more or less directly what is included to the CV. Non-standard questions give a lot of useful information less about the professional part, more on the other abilities of the candidate.

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 09 Jul 2013 10:15 pm

the lynx wrote:But personally, would you guys REALLY do like what the interviewer in WD40 and Max's stories did? Asking those smart aleck questions on interviewees who probably needs those jobs very badly.


I agree with SE and x9200. It's not the interviewer's (or employer's) responsibility to provide a job to someone because that person needs it. It should go to the person most qualified.

I'll also add that I don't think wd40's interviewer did anything smart alecky at all. If anything, he is a good interviewer who recognizes that rote memorization isn't nearly as important as one's ability to solve a problem. I've dealt with plenty of contractors we hire (I'll let the audience guess from where!) that showed up with all kinds of 'test results' showing their aptitude for whatever language they were coding in, write code involving network connectivity, but are 100% unable to tell me what a tcp three-way handshake is, or even what it is if they don't understand how it works. This may sound like mumbo jumbo to most, but I guarantee those of you who did get that are sending me PMs to ask where they can find these people so they can slap them.

Max's interviewer on the other hand sounds like a total douche.

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 8:43 am

PNGMK wrote:
nakatago wrote:
PNGMK wrote:I've hired dozens of engineers. I always have them respond (by email) to a single page written test with 20 odd questions from all spheres of engineering. I don't care if they google every bloody answer - what I'm trying to do is see the quality of their written responses to every day situations we face as well as some examples of their math and engineering capabilities and their ability to research in areas outside their general realm of knowledge. Guess which one they stuff up most?:

"Round off to 4 significant digits the number 38.136234"

Understanding the significance of numbers and precision of measurement is a key requirement for anyone moving into the instrumentation field.


38.14


Most answered 38.1362

I don't want to start another bashing session on local education but people really have this sort of problems and even more basic. A student material/bio sciences, 3rd or 4th year, my question: do you need a thermostat for carrying out a process in a boiling liquid? She didn't know and I explained. I asked next why boiling liquid maintain roughly the same temperature. She did not know that neither. Isn't this stuff supposed to be learned in primary? At least she did admit she didn't know.

Many local candidates give this sort of answer you really don't know whether they try to answer or insult you. Typical example: the candidate explains some details of the project he worked on before. I ask one detailed question like, why did you use this particular thing, and then he starts almost from the start explaining everything about the project. I stop him and ask again, and he starts again the same (at least they are consequent).

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 9:03 am

Robo speak? Rote answers just like the rote learning that produced their degrees. This is the problem with local graduates. My favourite local engineers, regardless of discipline? Local Poly graduates who then went to a three year degree course in either UK, US or Aus (with credit for their poly diploma). These guys know how it is supposed to work and they also know how to make it work (engineer with technical expertise to go with it). Second favourite local engineer? Engineers (again any discipline) who has managed to complete an overseas contract of two years or more with a western MNC. Locally trained in local university with local experience? Don't want to even talk to 'em.

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Postby nutnut » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:20 am

zzm9980 wrote:
the lynx wrote:But personally, would you guys REALLY do like what the interviewer in WD40 and Max's stories did? Asking those smart aleck questions on interviewees who probably needs those jobs very badly.


I agree with SE and x9200. It's not the interviewer's (or employer's) responsibility to provide a job to someone because that person needs it. It should go to the person most qualified.

I'll also add that I don't think wd40's interviewer did anything smart alecky at all. If anything, he is a good interviewer who recognizes that rote memorization isn't nearly as important as one's ability to solve a problem. I've dealt with plenty of contractors we hire (I'll let the audience guess from where!) that showed up with all kinds of 'test results' showing their aptitude for whatever language they were coding in, write code involving network connectivity, but are 100% unable to tell me what a tcp three-way handshake is, or even what it is if they don't understand how it works. This may sound like mumbo jumbo to most, but I guarantee those of you who did get that are sending me PMs to ask where they can find these people so they can slap them.

Max's interviewer on the other hand sounds like a total douche.


I agree with all of this, you need to test these people with aptitude, I insist on asking the candidate to use the STAR process to answer my questions, but also I expect them to have an analytical mind, asking them questions that show they think on their feet and look for answers to questions, things that they could not possibly answer with the information I give them but show how they would best approach it in a few ways.

One of my favourite questions is how do you get a standard football into a matchbox? There is no "correct" answer to this, I am looking for good analytical answers to this, the question could basically be anything. An answer like "Open the matchbox, put in the football, close the matchbox" is as valid as "reconstruct the cardboard of the matchbox to 1/10th thickness of current and make into a 10 times larger box then deflate the football and place into the new box. I have had people answer about constructing a frame with matches and using them to melt the ball and all kinds.

The "riddle" of lighting the match before everything else it likely to be incorrect now anyway, since most gas devices have an electronic lighting filament, sounds like a douche indeed!
nutnut

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Postby Max Headroom » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:07 pm

^ This.

Damn, that's what I should 've said.

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Postby Girl_Next_Door » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:53 pm

When I was hiring my intern/junior staff, I actually posed them this scenario:
- You are working in the regional office. During lunch time, everyone is out for lunch except you and the phone rings. Someone from country ABC called, completely freaked out saying, a customer has come to the branch with a gun, asking for the name of the person who wanted to exit his relationship. You recalled being in the email loop of an exit strategy for a customer due to some negative publicity. What would you do? Do you give the name of the decision maker, and why?

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 1:16 pm

x9200 wrote: I ask one detailed question like, why did you use this particular thing, and then he starts almost from the start explaining everything about the project. I stop him and ask again, and he starts again the same (at least they are consequent).


I get this all of the time, not just in interviews, since I have to do technical design and architecture reviews of projects before they can be approved. It isn't limited to people I've met in Singapore. I've seen it in the US also, but admittedly less so.

Anyway, my personal assumption is this is just the person doesn't understand your question. Subconsciously (or not), they instead just relay off every detailed piece of information they know on the topic at hand, hoping it either satisfies your query or you get confused and keep quiet to save face. If it's related to a work project, I stop them flat out and clearly explain that they're not answering what I asked, and repeat what I need to know. I'll just progressively simplify my question (and get more curt) until they understand. If it is a candidate I'm interviewing, I'll gently re-ask. If it continues to happen more than a few times they fail my interview for lack of communication skills.

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Postby nakatago » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 3:45 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
x9200 wrote: I ask one detailed question like, why did you use this particular thing, and then he starts almost from the start explaining everything about the project. I stop him and ask again, and he starts again the same (at least they are consequent).


I get this all of the time, not just in interviews, since I have to do technical design and architecture reviews of projects before they can be approved. It isn't limited to people I've met in Singapore. I've seen it in the US also, but admittedly less so.

Anyway, my personal assumption is this is just the person doesn't understand your question. Subconsciously (or not), they instead just relay off every detailed piece of information they know on the topic at hand, hoping it either satisfies your query or you get confused and keep quiet to save face. If it's related to a work project, I stop them flat out and clearly explain that they're not answering what I asked, and repeat what I need to know. I'll just progressively simplify my question (and get more curt) until they understand. If it is a candidate I'm interviewing, I'll gently re-ask. If it continues to happen more than a few times they fail my interview for lack of communication skills.


Heck it doesn't have to be in an interview. Just asking for a clarification at work gets you a long-winded non-answer.


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