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Thinking Upside Down
Open-book Interviews with Googling as a Skill
by Andy Dent
October 31, 2007
Summary
Would you hire a programmer who insisted on working things out or using APIs solely from memory? If we expect people to be able to quickly research things on the web as part of the programming, why not include that in interviews? Is search efficiency a skill that should be on your resume?

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Joel suggests requiring a programming test in an interview as point 11 of his 12 point Joel Test.

If you're doing that, it would be more realistic nowadays to also give someone web access and see how they go about researching APIs or problems.

Having recently interviewed candidates for a range of developer positions, one of the questions the panel agreed on was a variant of how do you solve a problem. We also agreed that part of the discussion should indicate a willingness to go look on the net for answers.

We interviewed some very good candidates. I've also recently had a few interviews where I was on the other side of the table. This made me think about just what skills we don't regard as skills because they are taken for granted - everybody does them.

Just because we expect everybody to do something doesn't mean they are automatically good at it - should we look for this and, furthermore, should we try to improve how existing employees use this skill?

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About the Blogger

Andy is a free-lance developer in C++, REALbasic, Python, AJAX and other XML technologies. He works out of Perth, Western Australia for a local and international clients on cross-platform projects with a focus on usability for naive and infrequent users. Included in his range of interests are generative solutions, software usability and small-team software processes. He still bleeds six colors, even though Apple stopped, and uses migration projects from legacy Mac OS to justify the hardware collection.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2007 Andy Dent. All rights reserved.

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