10 questions for Layer 7 Technologies CTO Scott Morrison

By , IDG News Service |  

The things I always look for are the things that are interesting that you've done outside of your job. I don't necessarily mean hobbies and things like that. I mean things that are related to the job that aren't the things you had to do. Everyone has a resume full of skills and things they've achieved that are part of the job. I find that very run of the mill, it's formulaic.

I look for things you don't have to do that make you a little more interesting, that make you rise above the pack. Tell me about the patent you've worked on, the papers you've published, tell me about the open-source project you've worked on, tell me about how you've gone in and done some volunteer work that you're particularly proud of. I want to know about the things that you didn't have to do.

It's astonishing how you have to draw people out on what they haven't put in their resume, but with most people, it's there.

The thing I really look for is this the most influential thing this person is doing, is that fundamental passion there and can we harness that. Is that going to help me achieve my goals in a department. That's what I always look for, is that sort of passion that you can see in their eyes.

7. What are some of your favorite interview questions or techniques to elicit information to determine whether a candidate will be successful at your company? What sort of answers send up red flags for you and make you think a job candidate wouldn't be a good fit?

I always like to ask them to tell me about failure. Resumes and interviews are always about success, so I like to turn it upside down a bit and talk about areas where people have failed. That's hard for people, but at the same time it can tell me a tremendous amount about self-analysis and what they learned from failure.

There's nobody out there who hasn't had failure. In some cases you get people who haven't really thought it through -- there isn't the sort of detailed analysis about where it came from and how you can avoid that and what you learned. It's a very simple thing and you see it in interview books, but at the same time it takes people back. You can always get a good sense of the people who have a level of self-understanding and self-knowledge and, more important, self-reflection.

The red flag for me is the people who brush it off, who say, "I haven't really failed anywhere" or "I failed and it totally wasn't my fault." They haven't internalized it and the red flag in the end is a lack of self-awareness.

8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other chief technology positions?

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