Targeted Selection for Programming Jobs


I recently went for an interview for a programming job.  I had prepared all the necessary answers such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What have you done recently that was cool?”.  I was looking forward to getting all technical with those that were to interview me.

A few minutes into the interview I got the feeling that 2 of the 3 there were technical (the 3rd was a manager but I’m not sure if he was technical in a previous lifetime).

Then came the questions:  “What have you done recently that provided excellence customer service?”, or “How did you react in this situation?”.

I am a PROGRAMMER.  I code for a living and I actually really enjoy it – have been doing so for more than 20 years now.  This was a bit of an eye opener for me.  They could’ve given me a SQL statement and told me to optimize it, debug some code or design (on paper) a screen layout with standards.  Or ask me what sort of programming standards I’ve used.

I could see that some of them seemed to want to get techie, but had to stick to the list.  I was just dying to get my hands dirty and talk techie, but it was not to be.  My guess is the interview would have gone on a lot longer than 60 minutes had we been given the opportunity to really discuss things.

I don’t know what the psychology is behind “target selection”.  What happened to the days of “Can you code?” and “Write me a screen”?

So, what do you think?  Is there a place for targeted selection in programming jobs?  Should it be a combination of TS and hard core techie?  I’d like to hear what you have to say.

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2 thoughts on “Targeted Selection for Programming Jobs

  1. Pingback: » When Tech Innovation Has a Social Mission

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