I really enjoy reading the posts at jobsblog at Microsoft. Not only is it good thought food if you ever need to interview for an engagement, but its also good if you need to get inside of the head of a recruiter to see what they do to sort the wheat from the chaff. I’ve occasionally done recruiting for people – but it seems to be getting harder.
Recently I have been working on a project with a client in a Technical Lead role while they chew through their first .NET lumps. To a certain extent consultants sometimes play the role of “Victor the Cleaner” from The Assassin (good movie – highly recommended) which is one way of saying once our job is done with get outta there. In this case it means that I am actively trying to help the client find my replacement – and that means interviews.
I’m hardly a professional interviewer so I struggle to find instruments which allow me to assess the suitability of a candidate for a position, its made doubly hard because as a consultant I’ve conditioned myself to work hard to get along with people, and in an interview this could give me a tactical disadvantage because if it all gets very chumy I may overlook possible problems with that person joining the team.
In this instance I am looking for a gun (saying that in the least egotistical way that I can) – someone who has extensive .NET experience to the point where when someone walks up to them with a problem they can usually point out the solution because “they have been there before”. They would have been using .NET for so long and be so involved in the community that I would probably know their name – or atleast be able to go to their blog and find out how they tick (subtle, yet important hint right there).
Because they are on a team with folks just learning .NET they need to know how to be pulled in two directions and spent the right amount of time with people to bootstrap them on their tasks without giving them make-work.
The two candidates that I have helped interview so far have been good – but not right for the Technical Lead role. One’s knowledge of .NET was quite good but I wasn’t convinced that they had the consultantive nature to help the team – although I would consider them for the team in another role. The second candidate had very strong consultantive skills but their .NET skills seemed to be fairly light on – comparitively speaking.
The truth is that in Australia I think there is a shortage of TECHNICAL LEADS (there are two words there people) because there are a large number of major projects sucking all the people we need.
Long post/rant – I’ll stop now.