Friday, Friday (La la... la la la...)
You sort of have to read that with The Mamas and Papas in mind.
I’m so glad that it’s Friday. This week has been total hell and I’m pretty pleased that it’s around eight hours until it’s all over. I’ve got a stack of DVDs sitting on my coffee table at home that have been calling to me, and I think I will sit my fat ass down on the couch and soak up a little of that.
This weekend is looking to be pretty busy. On Saturday Jenn and I are going to go play Laser Tag with our friends Jason and Tracy. Sunday we’re going to see Shanghai Knights with my friend Torin. I’m still considering going to that William Gibson book signing downtown, but if I’m in the same mood then as I am now, I’ll skip it in favor of taking a break.
I have to interview an intern candidate today. I have interviewed job applicants before, but it’s been a while, so I thought about the questions I wanted to ask. We’re doing sort of a “panel” interview, where the whole team will interview the person at the same time. What I want to avoid are those questions like “Please describe to me a time where you demonstrated problem solving skills.” That’s not even really a question, is it? Anyway, those sorts of questions are so utterly uncreative and intimidating that it’s hard to think that anyone could give a realistic, decent answer. With questions like that, the entire thing is skewed so the person will respond the way they think you want them to respond.
Instead, I like to go a more creative route. I’ll ask the standard “What interests you about the position?” style questions, but I like to see the person’s problem solving skills. The two questions I’ve settled on are: “Why are manhole covers round?” and “How would you determine the number of tires sold in the US last year?”
The manhole cover question actually has an answer. If they know, fine. If not, you get to see them think about why that might be. The tire question is something I stole from my old boss; it’s good to see (and hear) the process the person would go through to figure something like that out so that you can get a little insight into the way they would work in a problem solving situation.
I thought about asking more brain-teaser-oriented questions, but looking up brain teasers online yielded mostly math-related questions. I’m not here to test the candidate’s math skills; I just want to see their problem solving process.
If I’m up to it, I may go through this mathematical proof that one of my college professors showed us that proves 0 = 1. There’s an error in it, and the trick is to see if the person was paying attention and can find where the error lies. It might be a little beyond just a high school level math course, though (I can’t remember what sort of math they teach in high school… has it been too long for me?), so I will probably leave that in my bag of tricks for some later time.