How to conduct interviews

There is no one way to conduct the interviews, but I have come across many people dealing with potential job opportunities. The linked blog post deals with a software engineer (specifically “DevOps”) but the ideas are universal.

Wasting Time in Tech Interviews | Benjamistan

On my side, it’s rather soul-destroying how disorganised most companies I’ve interviewed with have been lately. Whilst they’re generally unsatisfying and a waste of time, I’m not so vainglorious as to say my lack of success has been entirely the fault of others. My attitude towards technical interviews sucks. I’m terrible at them. I hate them. I’m just as likely to bow out of the application process as you are to reject me.

Here’s something I agree with:

I’ve created a lot of resources online to show my skillset and put them all on my CV, but you haven’t read them. I get it. There’s a lot to do, and perusing someone’s blog or Github profile for clues is long.

I have written several blog posts, dealt and interacted with people of varied streams but most people looking for a senior role, expect someone as a conformist. Someone who can tick the “academic goals” akin to the opportunities afforded to them. I was once asked a very general HR question about leadership, and I committed the original sin of being conformal. I wasn’t selected for obvious reasons (they couldn’t find any suitable candidate), but appearing before a panel has its own downsides. One of the panellists was outright rude!

The key takeaway is that I have signalled my presence through organised thoughts (writing this blog consistently), exploring mechanisms to broadcast, automate most of my online existence, and understanding the process of collating/directing data and forming idea chains to drive a complex project forward. I have faced more failures than anyone else I know, and in hindsight, it is good for my personal and professional growth. Yet, users form an opinion on CV, which is just a document, at the end of it.

On a personal note, I had the fortune to direct a patient for management of complex oligometastatic clinical conditions. The patient’s husband was a practising doctor, and he could appreciate my data-laden arguments about pursuing specific clinical action. The patient did well, and I realized how my clinical actions can help someone when backed with specific inputs. I won’t list in my CV. Or how I learned the art of getting my work done through a complex admixture of praise and criticism and have consistent outcomes. Or how I write long-forms by using these specific blog posts to understand the complex interplay of economics, policy, ethics or other factors that determine outcome. I can’t list in my CV my efficiency matrix goals and how I can dedicate specific blocks of time without distractions. I can’t list in my CV about my personal habits, which are dedicated to knowledge curation and assimilation, and fill up a specific intellectual vacuum. My CV doesn’t list my specific motivation goals, either.

If you choose to assess an individual in your biased framework, you’d only get monkeys. I’d end with what the linked blog author mentions:

If you want better candidates filling roles, you must stop being lazy and relying on Leetcode or lazy CV parsing. Check the candidate’s portfolio. Pose realistic questions. Try to ensure your technical interviews reflect the fundamental nature of the job.

emphasis mine

Choosing the right candidate for the role requires gumption and understanding. It should set up a course correction on internal reflection and the importance you accord to it. The interview I appeared for happened almost a year back; though it has stuck with me for lifelong learning.

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