I have just come back from an interview for a job that I really wanted. I found the person asking the technical questions to be vague; “an application is having issues, how would you go about troubleshooting the problem”. Hello? Is it web based? Is it reliant on a database or storage? For fucks sake, give a candidate more to work on than that. If possible, give them a real world example that you have come across yourself. I wonder how much real world experience people like this have themselves if the best question they can ask is as vague as this. I was asked four similar questions like this and felt that I was let down by the interviewer rather than by myself. The only technical question I was asked, was about the configuration of Apache and Tomcat. Now, I have done lots of Tomcat and Apache, but it has been well over 6 months since I actually had to configure anything, so asking me what the Apache configuration file should look like is stretching my memory at the very least. Given that most System Administrators support any number of applications, expecting someone to have detailed configuration knowledge of something they haven’t been working on the day before is expecting a lot – especially in an interview environment. I have given technical interviews and know that you don’t expect exact answers, and if you want to get the most from the person you are interviewing, you give them specific problems for them to work through and not just some vague randomness. If they can’t answer one question, move onto something else, maybe ask what they have been working on more recently and quiz them on that or ask them if they any projects they have worked on outside of the office, etc. By adapting your interview to the person being interviewed, rather than having a rigid (read lame) structure, you are likely to find a more skilled candidate.
Now, if I could only get that retard to read this.
About the best analogy I could come up with, would be asking a cook what are the specific ingredients for a sponge cake they haven’t made in 6 months when all they have been making recently, is main course. Both involve cooking; either they can cook or they can’t, so asking them details about the the more recent items will let you know whether they are up to making a sponge cake (after all, configuring Apache+Tomcat is not difficult is it?).