On 6/5/07, CHubas [email protected] wrote:
I really liked Rick’s ideas
about what a Job Interview shall be, it is also for you to decide if
you want to work for the guys across the table.
There are from jobs to jobs, but when one has to sell his own soul to
the devil, at least has to impress him a little.
Sorry if you’re in the position of selling your soul, but if you are,
I’d suggest that you might not understand the particular devil you’re
trying to impress and do the opposite.
Last night, our local Agile meetup group had a talk by Ken Auer of
Role Model Software. He said some things which seem relevant to this
First, he said that he wasn’t looking for ‘clever’ people when he
forms teams, he looks for people with a commitment to delivering
software and satisfying the client/customer. Too many programmers get
carried away with being clever and miss the goal, wasting resources
along the way.
He told of a time some years ago when a new guy who’d been there a few
months called him over to show off what he’d been working on. He had
spent a week writing a binary search for a list being used in the
application. Ken asked why he’d done that, and he said because linear
search is slow. Ken then asked him how many elements were typically
in the list, and after thinking about it a few minutes the guy said
that he figured that there might be as many as TWENTY-FIVE! To top it
off, this was a Smalltalk project, and he’d been applying the C-level
knowledge he’d gained in his undergraduate data structures class,
duplicating things which were already implemented in the Smalltalk
Personally I’m on the same wavelength as Ken. Better to have someone
with the basics, the right attitude towards the goals, and the
willingness and ability to help the team learn what’s needed when
Now this isn’t to say that there are devils out there who would be
impressed, a lot of hiring managers aren’t programmers themselves and
are easily impressed (or maybe I should say conned). I don’t know how
many of those guys I’ve run into over my career who say “I’m not
technical” with a certain amount of pride in their tone, and even more
who thought they were technical and either never knew what that meant
or had forgotten it. Just between us, it seems to me that this whole
idea of using fizz buzz to screen applicants probably came from the
fevered mind of one of these latter types.
Another thing Ken said that specifications on the whole are 15%
complete and 7% accurate. This is one of the main things which make
agile project management valuable. The specs WILL change, so be
prepared to change as you go. Build a little, find out where it’s
wrong or where putting it in front of the user changes the perception
of the requirements, fix it, set the new short term goal and move on.
It’s interesting that the late recognition that the spec is ambiguous
shows this even at such a micro scale.
Personally, being retired with some pension, I can choose which jobs I
want to work on, so I can try to find devil’s with a compatible
perspective. What I look for are projects where I can first be
valuable and deliver whats needed as it’s discovered, and second
educate myself along the way.
If you hear of any such projects, drop me a line off-forum.
My blog on Ruby