Category: Work

Alternative ways for interviewing candidates

Working hard in the officeNowadays almost all the companies use standard methods for interviewing candidates. They still use some common techniques like tiers of technical tests to find the perfect person… who can have an incredible CV and outstanding skills. But later he could be a complete fool, or he doesn’t fit in the company atmosphere. During my University days I saw people getting better results (than me) in the “Nets” subject, without really knowing what is an IP address! And while working in different places, I’ve seen the same: people without really good tech skills being really good coworkers (trying to learn every single day, trying to create a nice office mood…), and people with impressive knowledge avoiding to share it, or being incredibly selfish. What I’m trying to say is that maybe it’s good to do some filtering regarding technical skills, but later you must focus on testing the person, and not in testing the professional.

Example 1: Last.fm could be a dream place for working. Specially if you love music, web and charts. Yesterday I was looking at their job offers and it was nice to find as a requirement: “with something that passes for music taste ;). Brilliant!!

Example 2: Some weeks ago my manager was interviewing some candidates for an “HTML layout specialist” position. I suggested him to ask them “are you lazy?”, and they should answer “yes” because “the lazy programmers get the things done quickly, and try to do the things in a neat way, to finish quickly”. Of course it was somewhat of a joke. But he got the hidden idea. And finally we hired a chemist, with some experience in HTML Strict mode and mad as a hatter, instead of a telecommunications guy with an overfull CV (mostly filled with glossy titles) and having bad manners during the interview. Eventually, he fits perfectly in our department, so it was a good decision.


Internet Spanish day

Today is the Internet day in Spain (but I’m not sure if it’s also in other countries). The Government has organized some events in Madrid (yes, in the Real World™), showing no idea of what Internet is. A Spanish newspaper was asking “Can you live without internet (in Spanish)?”… interesting question.

Internet for me is an incredible collection of knowledge. This is mostly good… for example, I discovered my first hobby (the game of Go) thanks to it. And I’ve met with a lot of new people (mostly clever people).

But sometimes it can be bad. I constantly see so in my professional world (web developing) where I met a lot of people who “blindy follows internet recipes”. Let’s explain this. I’m lucky of having an University background in Computer Science. But some people don’t have a background, and use Internet as a “consulting thing” to find information about the problem that they are working on. They usually arrive at a page with a recipe to sort out the problem, like “drop down menus made easy” or “install a CVS server in 30 seconds”. Next they blindy follow the recipe. And maybe it’s not a correct method to use… they see the tree, but don’t see/understand the woods. The worst part is that they have the unreal perception of being good professionals!!

I mean… it’s good having all this incredible amount of knowledge. But sometimes you need a background (real studies, books, and such things) to completely understand the recipes. For example, I play piano and flute, and have some ideas about reading a music score; I even compose sometimes, short songs. But I clearly know that I’m not a good musician.

“The cobbler should stick to his last”
(I’m sorry, I used internet to find this phrase, and I’m not a phrasist professional)


Finishing interesting webs

In the first part of January I have been closing some projects:

In my current job I’m working in the new website of Buff, a catalan company which sells headwear. We have been publishing modules of this website for 2 months. And now it’s almost finished. One of the most interesting pages it has is the catalog section. It was like a scroll-research for me. I started programming a lot of different methods of scrolling in Javascript, and later I was watching people using the page (like an UI test or usability session), discovering the most natural way to let the user navigate thru the images. Finally I cut out the unuseful methods, leaving a fluid page.

In my spare time, since the last summer, I’ve been working on the new website of the Spanish Go Association. It’s nothing special what the public can see. But there is a CMS made with AJAX that allow the administrator to click and directly edit (“edit in place”). It was funny to discover the surprise of the people in the association comittee: “it’s deadly easy”, “great job”, “it’s going to help our work a lot”, etc :-) Anyway I have to refinish some details of the public website. When you are a perfectionist you cannot stop improving your creations, what a problem!


A bad day

Yesterday was one of those days where it’s better to not wake up. Maybe the whole week was bad!

At the office the bosses were complaining about everything (from timetable to holidays to our time to have lunch) . They are making a lot of changes, and it seems this company is not going to have a nice and friendly ambience anymore. They are growing and maybe they want to be more productive, but it’s a wrong idea to tell the workers to work hard and more hours (and of course to make them angry). It’s not the way to obtain the best from the workers.

At home the washing machine pass away. Yesterday the main cilinder went out of axis and a big oil stain appeared on the ground. So I have to look for another one.

I’m fed up this week. I want to stop the train and jump out on to the grass. Where is the stop-handle?