Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Believe I Can Add Value.ppt

What to say at the job interview:

I Believe I Can Add Value.ppt

I believe I can add value to this narrative.
Outcomes is what I am all about.
To maximize momentum going forward:
My overlay is positively focussed.

An evolution and a revolution,
Synthesis and synergy, best practice,
Inspiring and achieving co-fulfillment,
Insightful oversight of the transition.

The underpinnings: urgent re-appraisal,
Stakeholders to negotiate consensus;
Compliant with the overarching framework,
Conciliating conflicts and constraints.

Within the broad environmental context,
Responsiveness within a range of interests,
Initiate utility assessment,
A strategically potentiating nexus.

Enhance emancipationist expression,
Nurturing concordant innovation,
Discriminating reinterpretation,
Enabling and empowering transactions.

A re-evaluation of the mindset,
A shift in paradigm, a cold reboot,
Explanatory and normative reduction,
Restructuring, repurposing, results.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Antidiscrimination Policy

Don't worry about your ability,
You can do you what you like about sex,
So you suffer diminished motility,
So we're all of us more or less wrecks.

Your color, your race? Immaterial
Your DNA? That's your affair.
A virus? Diseases bacterial?
When or where you were born? We don't care.

You don't speak, read or write in the lingo,
Your fashion sense? Far from the norm,
Your manners are those of a dingo,
We'd hate you to have to conform.

Your crazy religious alignment?
Your political orientation?
Your recent escape from confinement?
We do not practice dis-crimination.

We're committed to fair opportunity,
There is no one forbidden to join,
It's a heterogeneous community,
We don't screen you, we just flip a coin.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

So why did you leave your last job?
Look, that whole thing was a total misunderstanding.
What whole thing?
I just saw the link and clicked on it, you know? I was totally looking up job-related information and the one time I click on an off-topic link the boss is looking over my shoulder. That woman was like a vampire. She'd just appear out of nowhere.
What link?
I'm looking for data on RTLS, you know, Real Time Location Systems, to clarify a work-related issue, and there's an article about an application in a hospital, you know, hospital equipment, they track it and they don't have to rent so many infusion pumps or defibrillators, like they save thousands. It's totally boring but really important. Anyway this is some journal with a list of the articles in the panel on the side and one of them is about treating children with dwarfism, best and worst strategies, and you know, I'm intrigued. If I was treating a dwarf, specially a child, I wouldn't want to do the wrong thing. So I click on it.
Your boss fired you for that?
Well, no, I was looking at this article and it makes me think how little I know about dwarfs. You know Gimli and Gloin, I've read about them but what do I actually know about them? Small but doughty, that's all. I'm almost feeling guilty because there's this whole forgotten minority and I feel like I need to know right then and there. And that's what the Internet is for, like this whole enabling technology, the greatest revolution in information since Gutenberg, maybe bigger, you know?
Well, sure.
So I just searched for dwarfs.
You searched for dwarfs.
And you know what I'm going to say, you wouldn't believe how much dwarf porn there is out there. And you think what could there possibly be in this stuff that would interest anybody? What do they see in it? It's like a whole field of psychology, of anthropology, where we don't have the answers, you know? There's so little we truly understand about ourselves.
Yes, I see.
So I clicked on one of the links.
And that's when the boss shows up.
Could have happened to anybody.
Fine. Well, do you have any questions for us?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Experience Required

What's your game, eh? You say you want this job?
Well, yes, I...
And you say you have experience?
Yes, considerable experience, years,...
Well why, in heaven's' name, would you want the job if you have so much experience?
Well, it's what I know, it's...
Bloody horrible job.
To some, perhaps...
No one wants this job. advertised it.
Well, of course, we advertised it, we need it done. Horrible as it is. But I think you'll agree that there's something pretty bloody suspicious going on when you turn up, out of the blue, claiming you've done it before and you want to do it again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Schrodinger's Candidate

Like the cat, you're either alive or dead until someone opens the box. There's that brief period after the interview, when, if it you haven't been escorted out by security, you don't really know. A happy period, but a tense one. Life holds possibility, some of it bad. The phone rings and your heart rate rises even higher than it usually does. It's actually a kind of relief when it turns out to be a relative just wanting to borrow money. Or wanting the money back that you borrowed.

Quantum physics has more to offer on the interview process, however. Central to the job interview is the point that the observer affects the outcome of the experiment. No interview question can be asked without adding to the experience of the interviewee. Just sitting in the interview space, looking at the interviewers, has changed the interviewee.

Consider what this means if the interviewer asks the candidate a question that surprises and shocks. What is this experiment observing? The character of the candidate, or the character of the interviewer?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Interview Questions

There's a species of interview question that is all too prevalent. The question makes no sense as a question, but it is intended to bring out interesting revelations from the candidate.

What do you love about Quality Assurance?

Where do you see yourself in two years?

What was your worst team experience?

It's obvious enough on the surface that these questions are potentially a trap.

You can't very well say "Nothing", "Elsewhere", or "I refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate me" to these questions.

One approach might be to reinterpret as one or more other questions, and explicitly answer those.
"What do I find interesting and challenging about Quality Assurance? Well, this... and that..."


"Am I committed to my work? Do I feel strongly about doing a good job? Yes, I do..."

You can simply assume that they do not want to know what you find erotic about Quality Assurance. You could be wrong.

Another approach is to keep a straight face and pretend it was a sensible question which you are answering at face value. This is similar to the reinterpretation approach but you keep it a secret how you are reinterpreting the question.

In either case, you work out the question you think they want answered, and try to give them the answer they want.

The first approach is more honorable. You are not keeping any secrets, and you are open about what you believe you are discussing.

But while you might be able to save yourself some honour by wriggling out of pretending to answer the original question, asking it carries implications about the corporate culture, which you eventually have to face.

The first and most obvious implication is that they are not straightforward. They are not asking the question to which they want the answer. There are further implications to this: they do not trust you to answer a straightforward question. They prefer to work by manipulation than by a direct appeal.

There is an implied irreverence for language. Love is an important word, used for special reasons. This is a casual usage. Using it in this context subverts it. There are Orwellian undertones here.

There is an implication that they expect you to be passionate about your work. Love being a word used by consenting adults in private, there is an implication that your work is expected to be of at least equal importance to your private life.

It isn't possible to guess what all the implications are and which implications, if any, are intended. When people move away from direct communication, it's not easy to know what they are talking about. You can ask them, or you can take the question as an invitation to perform. Asking the question shifts the interview away from open communication towards a performance or a sparring match. The interviewer is holding a hoop for the candidate to jump through.

There's a sly cleverness about whoever invented these questions, but those using them secondhand can't even claim creativity.

Asking this kind of interview question creates a bad impression of the corporate culture and of the interviewer. If a company cares about this impression, it might be a good idea to remove these from the agenda.

If you encounter this kind of question, try not to be swamped by implications. Specifying a reinterpreted question and answering that may be the most straightforward response. Show your working. The question has muddied the waters. It's up to you to clarify them. You don't want them to lose track of what question you think you are answering.