Interview this!

By John Kador, InfoWorld |  Career

Brown also looks for a positive, mature, and realistic attitude in the applicant's
responses. "If someone responds with a negative attitude or a 'victim' mind-set, that's
a good indicator they will probably repeat the behaviors that created the problems
before," he says.

Brown, Warner, and Burke weren't afraid to go on record with their interview
arsenal. But not everyone wanted to be as publicly candid as the recruiters and hiring
managers quoted above were. Following are questions and responses submitted by
recruiters on the condition that they not be identified.


InfoWorld: How do you best measure user satisfaction with IT?

Ideal response: "Since the end-user always defines satisfaction, I would, together
with the users, develop service-oriented metrics aligned with business
requirements."

Inferior response: "I would conduct a survey of end-users."

Hiring managers say that service is not an after-the-fact business: It must start
with the users. Satisfaction is impossible if end-users do not participate in
establishing baseline metrics and service agreements.


InfoWorld: How do you distinguish a good program from a bad one?

Ideal response: "On the most basic level, a good program meets the user's
articulated and unarticulated requirements. A good program is also intuitive and well
documented."

Inferior response: "A good program is well structured, has an effective GUI, makes
good use of XML [or another technology du jour], and has elegant middleware."

Recruiters and managers using this question also want to hire candidates who put
the user first. Candidates who respond with terms such as GUI or XML are technicians;
they might be skilled technically, but they do not understand the big picture.


InfoWorld: Why are you looking for another job?

Ideal response: "After five successful years with my [current] previous employer, I
am ready for new challenges, more customer contact, additional training, etc."

Inferior responses: "I can't stand my supervisor or co-workers, I want to reduce my
commute, I need more money."

Nothing turns off hiring managers more than a candidate with a negative attitude.
Satisfied, productive employees give positive reasons for instigating a job search.


InfoWorld: On what occasions are you tempted to lie?

Ideal response: "Like most people, I suppose I'm tempted to lie when I have messed
up. But I resist the temptation and tell the truth because it's in the customer's best
interest that my team understand exactly what happened so others may learn from my
mistake."

Inferior response: "I never lie."

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