We have once again started the process of expanding our team at my workplace. We always bring new employees in as a contractor first, and if things work out, the contractor is usually offered a full time position.
Our interview process is fairly hard. First, all recruiters are provided with 10 questions, of which each candidate must answer 8 out of 10.These are all basic CCNA level questions.
Next, we schedule a phone screening, where we ask more specific questions that are broken up into different areas. Layer 2, Layer 3, OSPF, and QOS are all on tap for this portion of the interview process. If we feel that the person was able to answer enough questions correctly without frantically searching for answers to recite back to us on the internet, we move them onto the third phase.
In the third phase, the person comes into our offices, and we provide them with equipment and instructions. They have 2.5 hours to configure a router, switch, and an AP per our instructions and answer a few questions based on those configurations. Once they have completed the configuration, we move into a Q&A portion of the interview, where we ask off the wall questions, mixed with troubleshooting scenarios of increasing complexity.
Every person who has ever left an interview felt well abused. If they paid attention, they know their weaknesses, and could use it to start a personal improvement plan. We in-turn, have a solid read on each candidates abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and whether they would make a good addition to the team.
This process is long and arduous; the last time we went through this process, we started the interview process on almost 60 people before we found three we liked.
I can’t knock our process though. In-fact, our team is so strong that I have turned down multiple offers at other positions, which payed more, simply because I like my teammates in my current role.
It seems that every time I consider taking a different role, I get pulled into interviewing more candidates, and am reminded what it is like out there in the rest of the world. Case-in-point, here is an email excerpt from a potential job candidate:
What did I say about scheduling issues earlier in one of your calls. All day long not a single trouble call comes in. 5 minutes before the time for the phone interview I get a call and 3 tickets logged into our dell kace service desk. Figured since I was finally done withe the remote assistance calls working from my terminal I would drop you a line while I am on the phone with one of the users that is having problems at the entire locationlocations that is having a problem that I am trying to get through to them it is sunding like a provider problem to let me let them go and get a hold of the provider. Always love a network that uses back up internet connections that are all from the same cable provider(comcast) so come off the same pole and think that it is a gfood redundancy feature. Not the one I am working with but we have one service center location that has all 3 retail branches of our company and instead of getting an upgrade on the connection type with 3 static ips for the way they like to do things but really makes no sense what so ever they have 3 cable modems all coming off the same pole so that they can supposedly have a better more stable connection makes me have nightmares about wasted money and the stupidity of the outside consultants that engineered this network.
After speaking to you prior to the interview time and you mentioning questions about switch configurations I will kinda admit you got me thinking it has been almost 10 years since I have programmed a true cisco switch do little netgear knock offs almost weekly and switches had always been my weak point give me a router or a pix device and I could make it sing but even on those I am rusty. Put me in a lab environment and it would be just like riding a bicycle but just giving me verbal questions I would be stumbling all over myself. Which looking at things makes me belive that this wouldn’t be the right position for me until I get back into the game and work away some of this rust.
If you don’t feel sick after reading that email, then a part of your soul is dead already.