I’m been clipping some interesting posts over the past few weeks, regarding interviewing techniques and hiring technical people. Rothman’s aptly named blog is always good for an insightful article at least once a week – some of the recent postings of note
- A good technical person should always be intellectually curious about how things work. This translates into wanting (demanding!) to understand “the stack”, as I call it – the technology pieces from the top (ex. PHP in my web page) to the bottom (ex. my Apache server), and all of the pieces in between. Note how I use the word “my”; a good tech develops a sense of ownership, wants
- For the Hiring Manager: Don’t underestimate the power of a good job description. Sure, the idea of “marketing the job” may sound like you are puffing it up to be something it’s not, but that’s not where the value is. A well-written description, plus a well thought-out discussion of the opportunity during the interview, will be critical in identifying the right candidate. They need to see themselves in the description, and you need to see the light of understanding in their eyes.
- For the Candidate: This interviewing your manager stuff is interesting; I don’t think enough people realize that the hiring manager is typically not a full-time hiring manager, and would rather be managing than hiring. Sure, you can ask the probing questions about how they drive projects and stuff like that – but if you want to rise above the crowds, go into the interview with me and solve
Simply put; demonstrate your ability to the hiring manager by doing the job – in the interview! Solve this person’s problem – or at least demonstrate that you empathize and understand the challenges – and you have specific, actionable ideas that will help! You need to figure out what is important for that industry, that company, that functional area – that hiring manager.
Note: this should be very easy if we’re talking about an internal hire; a transfer or promotional opportunity for you! If you think about it, this is where it’s even more important to talk about your knowledge of the problem space, and your ideas for how to address issues and /or make things better. In fact, any worthwhile hiring manager should expect as much out of an internal applicant.