Crazy idea from a recruiter

Sasha Pachev sasha at
Mon Mar 25 16:30:17 MDT 2013


My thoughts on this. I have not done a whole lot of
interviewing/screening candidates, but I've done some. I found myself
never wanting to read the resume at all. Resume does not have to
compile, it does not have to execute. Somebody good with a word
processor and resume language is not necessarily good with code, in
fact often quite the opposite - certain talents just have a hard time
getting along in the same person sometimes. I wanted to see the code,
I wanted to see what kind of problem solver they were. I did not care
if they learned it in school, at a job, at home, or if an angel from
heaven revealed it to them. So here is what I did.

When somebody applied, without reading the resume at all I would
e-mail him an open book programming challenge and see what came out of
him. I wanted to see his language of choice for particular problems,
how he dealt with situations when he lacked some specific skills, his
technical creativity, and a quality that I would describe as
compactness of thinking. If people in charge of our government
finances possessed that quality we would experience probably at least
a 70% decrease in taxes across the board. When the response came back,
and it was worth reading, I would then read the resume and try to
correlate it with his response to get some context but my
recommendation for hire was still primarily based on his actual
problem solving.

My thinking is that a good looking resume is important for a strong UI
position(HTML/JavaScript/CSS/Graphic design). For a back end/systems
guy, if you see a good looking one that is too good, I would be
suspicious. The analogy is that if I am trying to pick a potential
world-class marathoner from a group of guys based on how fast they ran
100 meters, I would focus on the range from 11.3 to 12.7. Somebody who
runs 10.7 likely lacks the slow twitch fibers to be able to run 5:00
pace for 26 miles no matter the training. Somebody who runs 13.5 is
likely not lacking in slow twitch fibers, but he probably has enough
structural/biomechanical defects that would prevent him from ever
making 5:00 pace sufficiently comfortable. For this type of purpose
you want something in the middle. But if you are looking for a
sprinter, the faster of course the better.

Sasha Pachev

Fast Running Blog.
Run. Blog. Improve. Repeat.

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