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7 <title>How To Interview And Hire Dave (A Step-By-Step Guide)</title>
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14 <p align="center"><b><font size="5">How To Interview And Hire Dave (A
15 Step-By-Step Guide)</font></b></p>
16 <hr>
17 <p><b><u>Bookmarks (To This Page)</u></b></p>
18 <ul>
19 <li><a href="#introduction" target="_self">Introduction</a></li>
20 <li><a href="#marry_supermodel" target="_self">What It Takes To Marry A
21 Supermodel</a></li>
22 <li><a href="#req_interviews" target="_self">My Requirements For Interviews</a></li>
23 <li><a href="#step_by_step" target="_self">The Step By Step Hiring Process</a></li>
24 </ul>
25 <hr>
26 <p><b><u><a name="introduction"></a>Introduction</u></b></p>
28 <p>The interview and hiring process is flawed, especially when it
29 comes to evaluating and hiring top performers.&nbsp; I do not participate in the process without some restrictions.&nbsp;
30 Most of the restrictions come about in reaction to specific abuses I've encountered by
31 employers.</p>
33 <hr>
34 <p><b><u><a name="marry_supermodel"></a>What It Takes To Marry A Supermodel</u></b></p>
36 <p>There is no employer in existence that can keep up with me.&nbsp; I've made
37 original contributions to number theory and real-time analysis; and I have <i> mastered</i> small embedded software development.&nbsp; I've made a career out
38 of innovation and out of solving difficult problems that have plagued embedded
39 control work for decades.&nbsp; I've turned down
40 interviews with <a href="http://www.ibm.com" target="_blank">IBM</a>, <a href="http://www.hp.com" target="_blank">Hewlett-Packard</a>,
41 <a href="http://www.cisco.com" target="_blank">Cisco</a>, and others; for the
42 simple reason that they failed to impress me during an initial phone contact.&nbsp; It is
43 the same game in any organization--defective supervisors and managers
44 who make administrative and technical messes and then saddle engineers with
45 their own negligence; all the while not learning from mistakes and not taking
46 responsibility for their actions.&nbsp; I've not yet encountered an organization that
47 develops embedded software that can even meet the most basic of
48 goals--administrative neatness.&nbsp; All prospective employers are guilty until
49 proven innocent.</p>
51 <p>The typical interview is a mixture of two elements:</p>
53 <ol>
54 <li>Tedious technical questions from interviewers who are not technically
55 mature enough to parse a competent reply.</li>
56 <li>Questions designed to gauge how well I would adapt to mediocrity.</li>
57 </ol>
58 <p>Life is too short for <i>either</i> element, but (2) is particularly
59 annoying.&nbsp; (2) usually comes from supervisors and managers, and it is the
60 same old old set of <i>give us more time</i> attempted deceptions.&nbsp; My
61 message to the individuals who are posing questions in category (2) above is
62 simple:&nbsp; <i>Why don't you spend 1-2 extra hours per day trying to <b>change</b>
63 the situations you warn interview candidates about?</i>&nbsp; My personal
64 interview process is designed to weed out those employers who are not truly
65 interested in performing or competing.</p>
67 <p>I define the following numerical ranking of employers:</p>
69 <div align="center">
70 <center>
71 <table border="0" width="60%">
72 <tr>
73 <td width="21%" align="center"><b>+1 (Positive)</b></td>
74 <td width="7%"> </td>
75 <td width="151%"> An employer who can teach me new skills or give me new insight.</td>
76 </tr>
77 <tr>
78 <td width="21%" align="center"><b>0 (Neutral)</b></td>
79 <td width="7%"> </td>
80 <td width="151%"> An employer that&nbsp;cannot teach me new skills or give
81 me new insight, but will not interfere with my productivity or my
82 ability to contribute to the organization.</td>
83 </tr>
84 <tr>
85 <td width="21%" align="center"><b>-1 (Negative)</b></td>
86 <td width="7%"></td>
87 <td width="151%">An employer that will interfere with my productivity or my
88 ability to contribute to the organization.</td>
89 </tr>
90 </table>
91 </center>
92 </div>
93 <p>No existing organization is <b>+1</b> on the scale above.&nbsp; I make
94 this statement because I'm truly visionary and no employer to date has been able
95 to keep up.</p>
96 <p>It is not appropriate for me to think about an employer in terms of
97 self-actualization or what I might learn on the job, <i>because no employer has
98 anything to teach me</i>.&nbsp; The most I can hope for from an employer is an
99 environment where my performance is not diluted.&nbsp;</p>
100 <p>I rate work environments nearly exclusively on how profoundly the employer
101 will limit my productivity and my ability to make a competitive contribution to
102 the organization.&nbsp; <b>The way to marry a supermodel (me) is to convince me
103 that you can provide an environment free of performance obstacles.</b></p>
104 <hr>
105 <p><b><u><a name="req_interviews"></a>My Requirements For Interviews And The
106 Hire Process</u></b></p>
108 <p>I've found through experience that employers are capable of a lot of unproductive
109 behavior at interviews.</p>
111 <p>The most common difficulty I encounter at interviews is that <i>the
112 interviewer is not technically mature enough to interview me or to understand my
113 responses to questions</i>.&nbsp; Typically, interviewers will pose questions
114 reflecting a lack of insight into the nature of problems or will pose reasonable
115 questions but not be technically mature enough to understand my responses.&nbsp;
116 I've not yet found a completely effective way to avoid the effects of a gap in
117 technical maturity which is too large.</p>
119 <p>My interview requirements, which come directly from unproductive behaviors by employers, are enumerated below.</p>
121 <div align="center">
122 <center>
123 <table border="2" width="100%">
124 <tr>
125 <td width="50%"><b><u>Requirement</u></b></td>
126 <td width="50%"><b><u>Potential Undesirable Behavior</u></b></td>
127 </tr>
128 <tr>
129 <td width="50%"><b>All items representing significant interview expense (airfare, rental
130 car, hotels, copies of books or papers, etc.) must be purchased in advance by the prospective
131 employer or I must be reimbursed in advance.</b></td>
132 <td width="50%">I've encountered employers where it was difficult to
133 obtain reimbursement.&nbsp; I choose not to take the risk that sooner or
134 later, I will encounter an employer where it is <i>impossible</i> to
135 obtain reimbursement.</td>
136 </tr>
137 <tr>
138 <td width="50%"><b>A hiring decision must be made based on only one day of
139 interviews (there will be no second round of interviews).</b></td>
140 <td width="50%">I've had employers ask me in for interviews when they had
141 already decided to hire another candidate but &quot;<i>just wanted to be sure</i>&quot;
142 (this is like asking another girl out on the day before your
143 wedding).&nbsp; I've also quite often had employers fail to disclose in
144 advance the number of interviews required, leading to a situation where
145 I keep receiving phone calls with the message of &quot;<i>... there is one
146 more person who'd like to meet you before we make a decision</i>&quot;.&nbsp;
147 Restricting the interview process to one event prevents abuse by the
148 employer.&nbsp;</td>
149 </tr>
150 <tr>
151 <td width="50%"><b>Interviews in total may not span more than 4 hours.</b></td>
152 <td width="50%">I've been through interviews that lasted the entire
153 day.&nbsp; Typically, each interviewer had a 1-hour slot, and would ask pretty much the same questions as every other interviewer.&nbsp;
154 This is unproductive.&nbsp; In general, the maximum number of
155 individuals that reasonably have a need to meet me are:
156 <ul>
157 <li>A representative from HR.</li>
158 <li>My potential colleagues.</li>
159 <li>My potential boss.</li>
160 <li>My potential boss' boss.</li>
161 </ul>
162 <p>That can all be squeezed into 4 hours or less.&nbsp; The easiest way
163 to do this is to combine the interviews of all potential colleagues or
164 combine the interviews in other ways.</td>
165 </tr>
166 <tr>
167 <td width="50%"><b>Interviews must not include lunch.</b></td>
168 <td width="50%">I do not believe that a lunch with a candidate has any
169 value in evaluating the candidate's fit with a particular job or a
170 particular company.</td>
171 </tr>
172 <tr>
173 <td width="50%"><b>Reference checks must be made <i>after</i> a decision
174 to hire.</b></td>
175 <td width="50%">I've had problems in the past with recruiters and
176 prospective employers wasting a lot of my references' time by checking
177 references too early in the hire process.&nbsp; Some reference checks
178 have been quite invasive (20+ minutes of questions).
179 <p>For this reason I require that reference checks be the absolute <i>last</i>
180 step in the process.
181 <p>I would also add that reference checks have a limited value in
182 evaluating top performers such as me.&nbsp; Some employers in the past
183 have placed undue emphasis on the opinions of previous
184 supervisors.&nbsp; Since all supervisors I've encountered in the past
185 are substandard performers, the opinions they would give are
186 predictable.&nbsp; One could expect statements like &quot;<i>He couldn't
187 accept mediocrity</i>&quot; or &quot;<i>He was uncontrollable</i>&quot;.&nbsp;
188 The true meaning of those statements is &quot;<i>He was not satisfied
189 with my performance, and in some cases discussed it with me frankly and
190 asked me to work a bit harder</i>&quot;.&nbsp; The opinions of past
191 supervisors are meaningless.</td>
192 </tr>
193 </table>
194 </center>
195 </div>
197 <hr>
198 <p><b><u><a name="step_by_step"></a>The Step By Step Hiring Process</u></b></p>
199 <p>The steps below, in the order listed below, are required of prospective
200 employers.&nbsp; Many employers are unwilling to follow the steps below, and
201 have even described me as arrogant or unemployable.&nbsp; What can I say?&nbsp;
202 Not everybody gets to marry a supermodel!</p>
203 <div align="center">
204 <center>
205 <table border="2" width="100%">
206 <tr>
207 <td width="11%" align="center"><b><u>Step Number</u></b></td>
208 <td width="44%"><b><u>Step</u></b></td>
209 <td width="45%"><b><u>Detailed Description Or Rationale</u></b></td>
210 </tr>
211 <tr>
212 <td width="11%" align="center">1</td>
213 <td width="44%">The recruiter or prospective employer must e-mail or FAX
214 me a job description.</td>
215 <td width="45%">I do not go to interviews or proceed further into the
216 process unless I understand what I would be expected to do on the job.</td>
217 </tr>
218 <tr>
219 <td width="11%" align="center">2</td>
220 <td width="44%">I must be assigned a liaison with the prospective employer
221 (typically an engineering manager or an HR representative), and I must
222 be provided with contact information (phone number and e-mail
223 address).&nbsp; All subsequent contact (travel arrangements, interview
224 arrangements, questions, etc.) must occur through this liaison.</td>
225 <td width="45%">I've found from experience that dealing exclusively with
226 recruiters leads to information filtering problems.&nbsp; I deal with
227 employers directly.</td>
228 </tr>
229 <tr>
230 <td width="11%" align="center">3</td>
231 <td width="44%">I must be advised of the job title, and it must be
232 acceptable.</td>
233 <td width="45%">Any job offered must be as a senior engineer, a technical
234 specialist, or above.&nbsp; I had to turn down one job in the past
235 because the job title was not acceptable.</td>
236 </tr>
237 <tr>
238 <td width="11%" align="center">4</td>
239 <td width="44%">I must agree with the prospective employer on the salary
240 range.</td>
241 <td width="45%">In the past, I had to turn down one job because the
242 recruiter had indicated one salary range but the employer had in mind
243 another (with apparently no communication between them).</td>
244 </tr>
245 <tr>
246 <td width="11%" align="center">5</td>
247 <td width="44%">I must obtain permission to maintain a *nix server within
248 the company (usually, near my desk).</td>
249 <td width="45%">I have a unique mechanism for storing information and
250 collaborating with bosses and colleagues.&nbsp; I maintain all my
251 project notes and other materials (I've gone nearly paperless) on a *nix
252 server which I administer, and this is also the mechanism I use to share
253 information with bosses and colleagues.&nbsp; The server normally
254 includes a search engine.&nbsp; Usually, permission involves only a
255 short conversation or e-mail exchange with the company's IT
256 manager.&nbsp; I don't work in environments where I am not allowed to
257 maintain a server, because it impedes my ability to organize and share
258 information.</td>
259 </tr>
260 <tr>
261 <td width="11%" align="center">6</td>
262 <td width="44%">The prospective employer must complete my online software
263 maturity questionnaire and e-mail me the results.</td>
264 <td width="45%">I'm interested in the technical maturity and desire to
265 compete of the prospective employer.&nbsp; A low score on the
266 questionnaire does not necessarily mean that I would exclude a
267 prospective employer from consideration; but it means there would need
268 to be a very persuasive pitch from the prospective employer to convince
269 me that the employer really wants to reform.</td>
270 </tr>
271 <tr>
272 <td width="11%" align="center">7</td>
273 <td width="44%">The prospective employer must e-mail me the organization's
274 coding standards document for analysis.</td>
275 <td width="45%">I've found that coding standards documents (or the lack
276 thereof) are the single best indicator of an employer's level of
277 technical maturity.&nbsp; I examine these documents in advance.</td>
278 </tr>
279 <tr>
280 <td width="11%" align="center">8</td>
281 <td width="44%">I will make a decision about whether to move forward.</td>
282 <td width="45%">For the vast majority of employers, I choose not to pursue
283 the opportunity.&nbsp; Usually, the process stops at this step.&nbsp;
284 The normal reason I choose not to pursue the opportunity is that the
285 employer has failed to convince me that they desire to compete.</td>
286 </tr>
287 <tr>
288 <td width="11%" align="center">9</td>
289 <td width="44%">Interviews.</td>
290 <td width="45%">Please see my <a href="#req_interviews" target="_self">requirements
291 for interviews</a>, above.</td>
292 </tr>
293 <tr>
294 <td width="11%" align="center">10</td>
295 <td width="44%">A verbal commitment to hire, subject to reference and/or
296 background checks.</td>
297 <td width="45%">If the employer wishes to hire me, they must offer a
298 non-binding statement of intent to hire (a casual e-mail is acceptable),
299 subject to reference checks and background checks.&nbsp; (This allows me
300 to avoid burdening my references unless there is true intent to hire.)</td>
301 </tr>
302 <tr>
303 <td width="11%" align="center">11</td>
304 <td width="44%">Reference checks, background checks, drug tests, etc.</td>
305 <td width="45%">Only at this point in the process will I provide
306 references.</td>
307 </tr>
308 <tr>
309 <td width="11%" align="center">12</td>
310 <td width="44%">Decision by prospective employer about whether to hire.</td>
311 <td width="45%">The employer must make the final decision about whether to
312 extend an offer.</td>
313 </tr>
314 <tr>
315 <td width="11%" align="center">13</td>
316 <td width="44%">Letter of offer.</td>
317 <td width="45%">The employer may extend a written offer.</td>
318 </tr>
319 <tr>
320 <td width="11%" align="center">14</td>
321 <td width="44%">Decision by me about whether to accept the offer.</td>
322 <td width="45%">I will make a decision about whether to accept the offer.</td>
323 </tr>
324 </table>
325 </center>
326 </div>
328 <hr>
329 <p align="center" style="margin-top: -2; margin-bottom: -1"><font size="1">Sound
330 credit:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.rleeermey.com" target="_blank">R. Lee Ermey</a>.<br>
331 This
332 web page is maintained by <a href="mailto:dtashley@users.sourceforge.net">David
333 T. Ashley</a>.<br>$Header: /cvsroot/esrg/sfesrg/esrgweba/htdocs/authindiv/dtashley/hiring_dave/index.html,v 1.5 2003/05/11 07:11:27 dtashley Exp $</font></p>
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