Thursday, July 31, 2008

Passing Your Own Interview

I am trying to hire a new Project Manager to work for me.  I have several people in the interview loop ranging from Developers to Product Managers.  One of the developers I have on the loop is notoriously difficult.  He is a very bright guy and often comes up with very difficult questions.  I told him his purpose in the interview is to judge the technical competence of the Project Managers.  While I don't need the project managers to code, I do need them to be able to talk competently to all sorts of people, and having a good technical background is key.  The question, which I don't really want to type out, was a logic based question that any person, with no knowledge of programming, can get but it does test your ability to reason and explain your reasoning.

The feedback he gave on a few candidates he has seen has been mostly poor.  Few if any of the candidates have been given a thumbs up because nobody has really answered his questions adequately.  Curious, and maybe a little crazy, I asked him to give me the same questions.  The theory being that assuming I can do my job correctly, if I can't answer the question then perhaps it isn't really a fair question to be asking.  Of course, I'm setting myself up becasue if I can't answer the question, the question may in fact be fine, but I'm just not good enough to do the job of the person beneath me.  Kind of a losing proposition.  But hey, I'm not really afraid of my limitations, and I am pretty sure my job is secure.

Lucky for me I got the question right.  Not only did I get the question right, but I answered the difficult follow up question that he told me almost nobody gets, not even the best candidates.  So I felt a little bit proud of myself for that. Good thing to know I can pass an interview loop of someone who would be below me.  :) Of course this poses another dilemma.  Just because I answered it doesn't make it a good question.  It doesn't mean that you can't do the job adequately just because you can't answer it.  But perhaps I should bring a few more candidates in just to see if someone really can pass this seemingly tough interview, and then judge how strong of a candidate the person really is in comparison.


  1. Thanks, not sure if I should be congratulated for passing a test that I should be able to easily. Kind of a no-win situation for me.

  2. [...] Some were rather lukewarm on the candidate.  Some of this is no doubt due to the fact that some people on the interview loop can be quite hard to get a passing mark. However, I am one of those people who believe you have to make your own judgments about these [...]

  3. That's hilarious. What if you didn't get the questions right?