A long time ago (in previous employment-lives), but in this very galaxy, I blogged about The Quiz that we used when someone made the mistake of promoting me to hiring manager and we needed a way to reasonably judge the capacity of job applicants. It worked very well at narrowing down a huge candidate pool to the kind of rock stars that we were looking for.
- Interview & Hiring Practices: The Quiz
- Building Bridges to Nowhere
- The Quiz Lives!
- It’s been real and it’s been fun… Now here’s The Quiz.
The most fun that I’ve had as a candidate taking similar “tests” prior to an interview was with Blizzard this past year. Although their “test” wasn’t a real job task/scenario like The Quiz, the coding puzzles were interesting. (For the record, I didn’t get the job. I think admitting that I did not play World of Warcraft had something to do with it. Heh.)
Antonio talks about a very similar process that he went through recently when hiring interns for the DB2 team @ IBM. Although he had it easy, since he only got 100 resumes to wade through. (I still have nightmares sometimes about wading through the zillions of probably-not-qualified resumes that were spewed out by Monster.com another other job sites whenever we made the mistake of posting an open position there. I think I’ll restrict posting my future open positions to headhunters and TheLadders.com.)
The coding assignment was a huge asset in determining people’s real abilities. Some of the nicest assignments came from those with academically weaker performances. You could clearly see who the hackers and potential future computer science professors were. Without the assignment, the selection process would have been much harder, so I’m glad that it was something we required the applicants to do.
That echoes my experiences as a hiring manager, too. Some of the best coders that I ever hired had degrees in biology, law, physics and political science. Go figure. That is one thing that I truly admire about the Microsoft hiring process, too. Typically @ Microsoft, it doesn’t matter what your educational background is or how you acquired your technical skill, so long as you can demonstrate it. Under pressure.
For those of you future applicants to Glacier Peak. You have been warned. Expect to be able to demonstrate your skill. Under pressure. On The Quiz!