How do you do....it? Thread, Interviewing potential new staff in Technical; Hi everyone,
I am interviewing potential new staff soon and I am wondering how do you all go about it ...
23rd June 2010, 08:57 PM #1
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Interviewing potential new staff
I am interviewing potential new staff soon and I am wondering how do you all go about it ? I am thinking a chat and a discussion with regards to the job requirements and there experience etc as you would with another position.
I am wondering if a practical test is suitable and if so what level of difficulty I should aim for. I understand that I should be testing relevant skills for the position but I also am very keen to find some one that has an passion for IT and wants to develop a career in computing in the long term as I feel they will be more self motivated to learn without needing to be spoon fed all information, I do see that this will take some time for them to be able to do this so its underlying personality traits I am trying to identify rather than just technical ability.
The role is as a first line support officer
If anyone has any suggestion they would be very welcome, thanks
23rd June 2010, 09:11 PM #2
When we interviewed for first line support we set up a role play, having them deal with a technically incompetent member of staff on the telephone (played perfectly by our ICT co-ordinator). The ability to deal patiently with a difficult user is probably the hardest thing about first line support - the technical stuff can all be learnt, but knowing how to keep your cool, and when to pass a caller onto second line, and admit you don't know the answer, that's down to someone's personality.
23rd June 2010, 09:19 PM #3
In my last place I used to recruit techy's based on having an informal chat with all of the candidates to get a feel for their general character in a group setting, provided a theory based technical test (which is secondary to the interview), and a formal interview where you can get to grips with their interpersonal and non techy skills.
Hasn't let me down yet
23rd June 2010, 09:25 PM #4
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interesting, I was thinking about interviewing them individually so they they did not feel under peer pressure and it prevents me from having to think up question for each of them !
23rd June 2010, 09:37 PM #5
Oh yes, interview them individually.
I meant that previously we made a morning of it, having them all turn up for 8:30am, have an introduction from a member of senior team (normally my boss) and myself, followed by a tour of the college and then an informal chat with me and them in the staff room over coffee and nattering away. I then dished out the techy tests and started interviewing so whilst not being interviewed you could be doing the test or chatting amongst themselves and by the end of it you get a good mixed feel for the people.
Of course it depends very much on the type of role you are seeking to appoint for.
23rd June 2010, 09:37 PM #6
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yeah I was going to explain to them that the practical test is not something to worry about and that its just designed to allow us to assess where there skills lie.
23rd June 2010, 09:41 PM #7
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We are a very small team and I really need someone that is self motivated and able to not just diagnose issues and report back to us but also able to troubleshoot them and Google and read up so they are able to resolve them rather than jut escalate them up the chain. I understand that this could take them time to skill up to a level where they can do this but I plan to assist them and develop them as much as I can, I just need to get someone with the potential......I guess thats what we all want really !
23rd June 2010, 10:11 PM #8
23rd June 2010, 10:25 PM #9
As @clareq; says, the role play type thing is brilliant for judging personality. I know this is horribly stereotyping, but it's likely that most of your candidates will be men and some of them will be poor at dealing with women who have technical problems so if you can make your role player a woman it's good to find out what they really think of users :-) In the past, we've done the phone call with someone who can't print (and that's all the candidate is told - getting them to ask the questions to diagnose the fault is good) or can't get on the internet (again, that's all they say - the fault could actually be that they can't get a particular page on the intranet!)
Do have formal interviews with fixed questions - if nothing else it will help if someone tries to allege you were unfair; you can say that they were all treated the same.
Set practical questions which they're unlikely to know the answer to but should be able to google (eg "DFS replication has stopped working on one server; the error message says .....")
If you've got some spare machines, set up a virtual domain (just one workstation and server) and ask them to do something (make a user account, log on to the machine using it, deploy an MSI package using group policy) - you can give them hints and they've got the whole internet. Watch what they're doing - as you say, you want someone who knows how to find things out and get things done and watching them deal with something unfamiliar is really helpful.
23rd June 2010, 10:34 PM #10
My main recommendation is not a technical one: Do the CWDC Online Safer recruitment Course: Safer recruitment in education - e-learning | CWDC
It's FREE, takes about 4 hours and you can stop and start it as you need. the certificate lasts for 5 years. I did it a few months ago and never thought I'd end up using its content so much. It's been very useful.
Definitely one to add to the list.
Last edited by elsiegee40; 24th June 2010 at 09:43 AM.
Thanks to elsiegee40 from:
soapyfish (23rd June 2010)
23rd June 2010, 11:03 PM #11
Previously (when in a school) I break it down into 5 areas.
1) Individual tour of the school to try to impart how the school works, some of the school ethos, some real world facts and seeing how comfortable they are just wandering round corridors and into rooms. I usually drop in key facts, projects we have done which they may make reference to in their formal interview (allows them to play to their strengths).
2) Written test ... I have in the past done a many question test covering a wide variety of areas but asked them to only answer the 3 questions which most reflect their strengths. It gives the formal panel something as an ice breaker as well as another chance to sell themselves. I usually put the instruction at the top of "READ THE WHOLE PAPER FIRST AND FOLLOW ANY INSTRUCTIONS" and after the last question "NOW ANSWER THE 3 QUESTIONS MOST RELEVANT TO YOUR SKILLS". It is a nasty trick ... but also a real eye opener.
3) Short technical test. Do they understand windows? DCHP and IP Addressing? Cables plugged in? Some very basic A+ stuff and more looking for common sense. No tricks ... all real world issues that can be solved simply.
4) Panel of students - they set the questions.
There is also time to eat lunch with the other members of the team, meet key members of staff, have a chance to share war stories as a group (very important ... the first one to mention the 4 Yorkshire men sketch gets a bonus prize of some of my chocolate!)
5) formal interview.
Constant 2 way conversation is the key, something very beneficial when apply safer recruitment procedures.
3 Thanks to GrumbleDook:
john (24th June 2010), kmount (24th June 2010), soapyfish (23rd June 2010)
24th June 2010, 07:45 AM #12
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
Be about right with you in our county, I wonder where I picked up some of this stuff ...
24th June 2010, 09:00 AM #13
Please be careful not to fall foul of the employment laws - if you take someone on with some 'prefered' skills rather than essential, you must be ready to defend your case in other ways - if someone is qualified for the post and they do not get the job they can cause a lot of trouble if you favoured someone else purely because they had a skill which wasnt deemed necessary for the position
*agee with Grumbledook except for the panel of students - dont see how they could understand the job at all and it is fairly irrelevant unless there is to be a lot of interaction with said students (the rest of your interview system will soon let you know if they can communicate or not)
Last edited by witch; 24th June 2010 at 09:02 AM.
Thanks to witch from:
soapyfish (24th June 2010)
24th June 2010, 10:18 AM #14
It's not the questions that are important, it's how they interact with the kids / what the kids think / feedback.
Originally Posted by witch
Here, candidates are shown around by the Head Boy and Girl (so responsible kids) and we ask them afterwards what they thought of each candidate, what the candidate asked, how interested they seemed and how the tour went etc. This isn't a pass/fail test, but it's very much taken into consideration when determining "fit".
Last edited by pete; 24th June 2010 at 10:20 AM.
24th June 2010, 12:03 PM #15
GD's plan is pretty much exactly what we do at this school and what is done at the school where I'm governor.
For teachers, the observer has a chat with the class members after the lesson to find out their views. For non-teaching/senior appointments, a small panel of students is assembled to interview candidates as a group.
The last panel that reported back impressed me greatly as they had determined in 20 minutes pretty much exactly what we had found out during the course of the day!
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