Are you overlooking a star IT performer in your hiring process?

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Its easy to identify bad candidates in interviews. Its also easy to identify good candidates. It’s even easier to find GREAT candidates (because they stand out and differentiate themselves).

What’s really hard, however, is to identify people on the edges — the REALLY bad candidates and the REALLY amazing candidates.

It’s really hard to identify the REALLY bad candidates because these guys aren’t the ones with no confidence, broken communication and rudimentary skills — these are the types who speak smoothly, seem *just* overconfident enough and poke fun at ineffieciency…. but are just downright evil. These are the types who flip around to steal code, blackmail employers, etc etc etc.

Fortunately, structured behavorial interviewing is being put in place in leading companies to filter these guys out.

The question is — what’s so hard about finding AMAZING people?

Picture this semi-hypothetical scenario where I’m a Super-coder who walks in for an interview (Hey! As long as we’re imagining, right?)

Tech Lead: Hmm… so you’re smart huh?

Me: Err… I guess so.

Tech Lead: So tell me… can you save to the local filesystem using Javascript?

Me: Yes!

Tech Lead (after the interview, to his boss): Well, that guy isn’t strong technically. I asked him if it was possible to access the filesystem using javascript and he said yes, when everyone knows that just cannot happen.

Boss: What! Well then dont hire this guy!

Me (much later, upon hearing about this conversation): Ummm… actually… you really can!? Its an innovative approach that I’d come up with last month.

Moral of this story? Well there could be many, such as:

1- If you have a Dumb Team Lead + Dumb Boss then God have mercy on you.

2- Just because your team lead thinks something can’t happen, it doesnt make it right.

3- Just because Google Search says something cannot happen, it doesn’t make it right. (or more simply, just because you cannot find a solution in Google Search, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist).

Number 3’s the most important one — as I wrote before coders are becoming more and more dependent on Google for intelligence, and thus becoming less and less like engineers.

[Side Rant: Making solutions is what they taught you in engineering college, dammit! Wake up and stop Googling for answers!]

Still, these scenarios happen. So if you were a busy startup CEO whose team lead was interviewing — how’d you make sure you aren’t missing the best candidates?

What would form the Best-Practices-of-Hiring-for-IT-Companies-in-Pakistan handbook? Qazi, Jawwad, Faraz, Ali, others, care to comment?

Engineers reading this: Is it possible to access the filesystem through Javascript?

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9 Comments

  • “Making solutions is what they taught you in engineering college, dammit” which engineering college is pakistan does that bro? from the best to the worst, all i see is doing what the teacher knows to get the grades, and innovative approach is shot to hell even before it gets off the ground!

  • and as for the the engineering question.. it could be if u manipulate security issues, javascript works in a sandbox and if someone has a way of getting out of it (digital certs or plain ol client side installation) then yea, you could access it.

  • Adnan Siddiqi


    Engineers reading this: Is it possible to access the filesystem through Javascript?

    yep, you can do it by using FireFox APIs

    BTW, a good post.

  • Mansoor is right about that grades thing

    When will we come out of this dream world or ours?

    In the real game one thing that is missing in our institutes….Failure…

  • I think the team lead himself messed up at that interview. By asking such a question he did not accomplish the basics of technical evaluation.

    He should be asking problem solving questions to see how the candidate tackles the problem. Finding a solution is secondary.

    Also, after having talked to many recent grads from Pakistani universities I have come to the conclusion that some of them who are really smart don’t even know their potential since they have been busy in “getting grades” rather than learning.. but if poked correctly they have a lot to offer.

  • the thing is those new grads learn about their actual potential after a long time, And for that i would blame teachers. We don’t have formal mentor services, so teacher should be doing this while they teach them all those theories and formulas.

    Career Counseling and helping someone know+find his actual worth is a must in today’s world…

  • Billish, then by gosh push everyone you know to attend our special Career Counseling session being held in Islamabad this Saturday :)

  • Osama
    I am on it :)

  • Majid Farid

    First 5 min of Interview.

    Manager/Interviewer/CEO needs to have the skill to identify the “spark” in the candidate. If the spark is there they guy/gal will become a good assets for you. You can mentor him in the right direction, if you are honest you will mentor him in areas where he/she can maximize her/her potential as opposite to what the business demands :) .

    Lastly you need to make sure you feed him/her enough of challenges to get the spark going.

    Friend of mine went to Cisco for interview in US they asked him out of the blue how tall is Empire state building. imagine putting an IT geek a question like that..the answer they got from him was ” I don’t know..but lets do this lets say empire state building has 80 floor, each floor is X feet high. 80xX=length of the tower, you have a formula now “…they saw the spark in the kido he has been with Cisco for 12 years….

    /Majid

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