July 21, 2003

Programmer? Please fill out this application

I am amazed by the strangeness in the world of programmers. For one, regardless of how many degrees, certifications, or years of experience someone has, it is still deemed acceptable to give them a thorough technical exam before hiring them (in addition to multiple interviews).

Although they serve a purpose, they lack consistency and are often insulting to the applicant by being either too focused on today's latest and greatest technology (Tell me how you would port our software to a 3G phone) or by being overly simple (How do you connect to a database?). More often then not, the interviewee is tested in technical areas he will not use in the job, just to see how expansive his knowledge is. However, one thing most fail to test is the person's problem solving and intelligence. This leads to the common mistake of hiring idiots who had the forsight to study the correct material before-hand.

I've been on both sides of oral and written examinations, and I always find myself wondering the same question:
What if all industries were like this?

We can ask doctors to describe the symptoms of endemic Typhus before switching hospitals.

Stock Broker? Great! Let's review some series 7 questions every time you change boiler rooms!

Accountant? Perhaps you'd like to detail the NY tax-deductions for low-emissions vehicles before we bring you in as our corporate CPA....

I can never figure out if this would be a good idea or a bad idea... [15:10]  [ ]