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Questions to Johana

Arjun Shastry
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Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 1874
1)Some companies overemphasize on candidates's GPA from 10th grade till education.Do you think its the good approach?
2)Startups,medium sized ,big IT companies have their different recruiting stratigies.Many companies in all above categories get success,failure,survive depending on what they offer to society .If they get success,does it always mean that they recruited best people?If some company fails,does it means they should change their hiring startegy?
Thanks
Arjun


MH
Johanna Rothman
author
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Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 72
    
    6
Originally posted by Arjun Shastry:
1)Some companies overemphasize on candidates's GPA from 10th grade till education.Do you think its the good approach?
2)Startups,medium sized ,big IT companies have their different recruiting stratigies.Many companies in all above categories get success,failure,survive depending on what they offer to society .If they get success,does it always mean that they recruited best people?If some company fails,does it means they should change their hiring startegy?
Thanks
Arjun


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Johanna Rothman
author
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Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 72
    
    6
I don't see why companies look at GPAs. Success in school is actually not a predictor of success on the job, and not-so-hot grades are not a predictor of lack of success on the job. The problem is that most people don't know how to interview new college grads.

If you're a new grad and your grades aren't so hot (as mine were :-), you can offer these things:
- discuss how you contributed to a project, preferably a commercial project
- discuss what you learned from school that you can apply to the job

If you don't have commercial experience, get some open source experience and then get some references. When I was first looking for a job, I had experience helping others as a TA, and on some commercial projects. I contrasted my school experience with my commercial experience, and found it easy to land a job. My potential employers liked the fact that I knew the difference between a project for school and a commercial product.

As for your other question, does hiring success correlate with commercial success? Nope. Commercial success also depends on knowing the strategy you want to achieve, and being able to define the tactics and deliver the product that meets that strategy. Hiring people who can do that helps :-) But it also helps if you're in market where there's money to be made. Commercial success depends on having the right people, but it also depends on timing and a little luck.

If the company fails, it's too late to change their hiring strategy for this company, but the same people, if they learn what they did wrong, may do better the next time.

Johanna
Linda Pan
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Joined: Sep 24, 2001
Posts: 96
Johanna what is your take on techies who did not come from the traditional computer science or computer information systems degrees, etc. and the hiring or perception of what they bring to an organization if they did not have the traditional degrees? Starting out in the field and also for those who have been in the field say 5 years?

(From the question above I took to reading about the GPAs to assume that a potential candidate came from a traditional computer science background.) To be honest aren't there a large pool of techies in the field who have had various backgrounds?
[ February 16, 2005: Message edited by: Linda Pan ]
Johanna Rothman
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Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 72
    
    6
Linda, lots of folks start off in other places and end up in some form of technology. The problem is that their grades still don't mean anything -- but a lot of other aspects of their work and their personality mean a lot. How driven they are to complete a task or a project, how they've used technology, what they're willing to do, their interpersonal skills, all that means a lot.

Once people have been in the field for a few years, they've probably learned a bunch of functional skills, and may even have substantial solution-space domain expertise. They're quite valuable then. I differentiate among the various technical skills: functional skills (the work involved that reflects the job title), domain expertise (what people know/can learn about the product), tools/technology skills (which tend to be job-specific), and industry expertise. I count non-technical skills differently, and that's where people who started out in other fields can reall shine. It all depends on the job to be done.

Johanna
Linda Pan
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Joined: Sep 24, 2001
Posts: 96
Johanna, is the book mostly about hiring managers to hire technical people? Is there mention of project managers/business analysts as well? Some companies have business analyst positions which generally require some years of technical experience and their job really is to manage projects between business operations and the IT dept who will actually create the product for them. Other companies have other job titles, I guess generically they are considered 'project managers'.
Johanna Rothman
author
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Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 72
    
    6
Linda,

In the book I cover developers, testers, tech writers, tech support, and project managers in detail with examples. Certainly, I've hired systems engineers and business analysts using the same techniques. But I don't have an appendix or specific examples for them.

I find it fascinating that our industry's job titles have no common meaning. A business analyst one place writes requirements, in another designs the UI, and in a third is the liaison between "the business" and "the technology folks."

Johanna
Linda Pan
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Joined: Sep 24, 2001
Posts: 96
Yes, a Business Analyst position I observed once, did all three you mentioned; was the liaison, wrote functional specs, and designed the UI. People ask me what I do I've used all the following; programmer, developer, computer consultant, software developer, and others. Really above all I'm still a problem solver.
Vijay Vaddem
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Joined: Feb 13, 2004
Posts: 243
Johanna,

does age factor plays a crucial role to hire a person for a technical job??

We do see companies mentioning about the age limit for an entry level IT job
which i feel that it doesnt make any sense.....

Then why do these companies look for age limits...
Johanna Rothman
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 72
    
    6
Vijay,

I have no idea why employers would look for a particular age in a candidate. (In the US, that's illegal.) However, some hiring managers or employers are looking for some number of years of experience. Unfortunately, number of years of experience doesn't correlate with ability.

If you're a candidate responding to an ad that requires some number of years of experience, and you think you can do the job write a cover letter. Include your list of accomplishments that are relevant to the job so that the hiring manager will look at those, before the hiring manager looks at the number of years of experience.

Johanna
 
 
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