Hiring the Best

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When you’re looking for people, whether they are contractors or staff, you need to go through some sort of interview process to see if they fit.  I’m not talking about whether or not they fit inside the uniform (position) that you have for them, but whether or not they fit in both the team and the organization as a whole.  You want to hire the best, but the best person that fits.

And that, my friend, is more difficult than it might seem.

If you have a technical position you can ask them all sorts of technical questions, but that merely answers the question of what they know.  But that doesn’t answer the question of how well they fit.  For that you need different questions, questions that look behind the facade and that bring to light the foundation of the person.

In the article 20 questions DevOps job candidates should be prepared to answer, the author Catherine Louis goes through the hiring process that many companies use and how it can be tweaked to create a better fit for both you and the talent that you are trying to hire.  She even goes on to list the 20 questions.  I won’t go through them all, but I will highlight a couple of them that I find to be particularly meaningful.

What are you passionate about?  To me this is the key question, the one that sets the stage for the rest of the interview.  If the person is passionate about the outdoors and the jobs you have available are all in 4×4 cubicles, the person is not going to be happy.  If the person is passionate about working with clients, but the job is pretty much solo with little to no interaction, they’re probably not going to be happy.  Anyway, you see where I am going.  Digging out their passions, their loves, what gets them excited, allows you to determine whether or not that person meshes with the rest of the team, the organization and the position you have available.  If the passions don’t align they may be the best at what they do, but will anyone be happy?

What work interactions are you are most proud of? Why? I absolutely love this question.  When I read it the first thing that came to mind was the fact that the team I work with is not afraid to ask me any question.  They may not like the answer, or I may not have the answer, but they’re not afraid to ask.  To me, those are the interactions I am most proud of and value the most.

And then there is the question that throws people for a loop.  No it’s not “If you were a tree what sort of tree would you be?” (my youngest daughter says a willow tree) or, if you’re geeky, “If you were a computer language what language would you be?”.  It is simple in nature and yet complex in it’s answer.

If you were hiring me, what questions would you ask me?  There are so many potential answers, each one allowing you to peek into the mind of the person in front of you.  Do they ask questions about personality?  Work environments?  Hobbies?  Each question show something about what is important to that person.  And, to be honest, if the questions are standard boiler-plate questions then that gives you a little glimpse as well.

I encourage you to read the questions, answer them for yourself, and see if you would hire you.

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