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25 February 2004 @ 08:43 am
Interviewing...  
I had a meeting with several people in my department yesterday. One point was made clear to me out of that meeting: My coworkers lack initiative, and do not use their brains much.

(The specific incident that pointed this out to me was that we were brainstorming about ways to make sure that my server stays up and stable. The person who is the nominal expert on maintaining the hardware came up with a solution that, while possibly addressing the problem (or at least shifting it out of anything that he would need to worry about), is blatently and completely unfeasible from a cost or business standpoint. (Spend over 100 grand to rewrite all the applications so that they can run against a database on a system that we are going to be replacing in about two years? Not likely.) When asked what other options he could recommend he replied that he had given his recommendation. Multiple different ways of pointing out that he wasn't going to get his recommendation, so what is his next option got absolutely no response.)

As I sat there in that meeting I reflected that that kind of not exploring your options thinking would just not have occured at most of my previous jobs. Bobby (my former boss and mentor) specifically screened for people who would use their brains, and when presented with a problem would explore all possibilities before making a recommendation on a solution.

So in thinking about getting a new job, it occurs to me that I want to screen potential employeers to find the ones who screen potential employees for positive brain use. But I'm at a loss as to what kinds of questions to ask to try and determine if the management is looking for people who will explore all solutions until the problem is addressed, or if they are just looking for mindless robots who will carry out whatever orders come down from on high. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
 
 
 
Max Kaehnslothman on February 25th, 2004 05:20 pm (UTC)
It’s hard to gauge directly; the best indicator is if everyone there already knows how to think. For my next job, I plan to ask questions of all the people I interview with to see if they know how to think. This will include coding questions for the programmers.