[Courses] Running A Business- Starting a Company

Kai MacTane kmactane at GothPunk.com
Sat Aug 31 03:17:10 EST 2002

At 8/31/02 02:05 AM , James wrote:

>You really need to be very careful when choosing staff: first, it's MUCH
>harder to get rid of bad staff once hired, and secondly a bad employee
>will reflect on the company. I hope someone will be able to post useful
>interview/recruiting tips to "weed out" problem applicants??

Damn. I *wish* I still had this document around... a few years back, I was 
employed as a sysadmin at a company that needed to hire some more 
sysadmins. They wisely asked some of us to interview potential candidates 
for the job. Sure, it took some time out of our already-busy schedules, but 
we were the people best qualified to assess the technical credentials of 
the applicants. (Heck, quite honestly, we were the *only* people in the 
company that could accurately do so.)

After getting in a few people whose résumés looked good, but who seemed in 
interviews to be hiding a basic lack of understanding of Unix, we decided 
to come up with a set of questions to ask incoming interviewees. They 
started off pretty easy, things any Unix sysadmin should be able to answer 
-- "What are the standard Unix runlevels, and what do they mean? How do you 
change the default runlevel on a system?", or " -- and ranged on up to 
specific problems we'd actually seen in the real word, with the questions 
being things like "What steps would you take to diagnose and solve this 

We wrote these all up in an RTF document, and for a while after leaving the 
company, I hung onto the thing. Unfortunately, it got purged some time when 
I was clearing out disk space.

The number of times I've wanted to refer to it since then tells me I made a 
big mistake in getting rid of it.

If I had the time, I'd see if I could reconstruct it. As it is, I'll see if 
I can come with a set of questions to ask sysadmins, and another to ask 
programmers. Questions to ask DBAs and so on, I can't really do.

                                                 --Kai MacTane
"The seasons don't fear the reaper,
  Nor do the wind, the sun and the rain.
  We can be like they are."
                                                 --Blue Öyster Cult,
                                                  "Don't Fear the Reaper"

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