Niall’s virtual diary archives – Monday 21st July 2014

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Monday 21st July 2014: 10.54am. Link shared:

Job going with my current employer: There is an interesting story about that format of job advert actually (i.e. one where you are asked to send a list of URLs pointing to evidence to a series of questions about your history in open source, nothing else requested) - I originally pushed that idea whilst at BlackBerry as a way of fully automating via scripts the early stages of recruitment, and thus saving an enormous amount of otherwise wasted engineering time in filtering out the 80% of total time wasters and preventing HR from filtering out some of the really good candidates with unconventional backgrounds. Given the obvious huge potential productivity increase you would have seen, all the individuals I pitched to were enthusiastic, and individually went out of their way to progress the idea. Just the HR time spent checking people's resumes for fabrications alone was a major saver (a lot of candidates lie substantially on their resumes, they don't realise all the major corporations employ PI firms to verify your resume before they hire you).

But here is where it became interesting, and it was one of the first things which made me begin to realise what had gone wrong with BlackBerry: the better and more valuable the idea - or as the BlackBerry org saw it, the weirder and "less how it's currently done" the idea - the less the organisational culture knew how to cope. (Very) incremental ideas had a route to follow for approval or disapproval and then potential actualisation, while non-incremental ideas basically got lost in a morass of well wishers none of whom had the power nor responsibility to make anything happen. Thus you get an organisation fundamentally incapable of non-incremental innovation, and well you can see the outcomes from that.

Is a list of URLs as your job application surely rather impersonal? Well, the way I look at it is we ask for links to mailing list posts etc so we can tell plenty about you personally from those, far more than some standard preamble you've written. I'm also happy with links to blog posts on technical matters - so, if +Bartosz Milewski applied for that position and linked to some of his blog posts on C++ - even though I disagree with some of them - I'd be plenty happy with that.

Is the job specification too demanding? Possibly, especially in light of the hourly rate on offer. However the mandatory requirements section is extremely minimal, though in fact not one of the candidates who have already applied has met the mandatory requirements and their application will therefore be ignored.

#boostcpp  #c++ #opensource  

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