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How to test candidate: honest analysis



I was responding to an earlier thread and got to thinking that one of my annoyances is discussing things with someone who is interested in something other than a true solution to the problem.

I.e., people who just want to show you how smart they are,  or just not let you see how dumb they are.

The Wright brothers used healthy arguing to "prototype" solutions to problems.  I'd  like an employee to be able to participate in that.  Not everyone is cut out for this.


Any suggestions of how to evaluate this ability?

The real Entrepreneur
Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I'm not even sure what you want to test for. Sounds like "intellectual honesty" perhaps?

Because that's in rather short supply. I don't think anyone always lives up to such a standard. ;)

Sum Dum Gai
Tuesday, March 02, 2004

In my experience, people who get strongly attached to an idea (or solution) can be difficult to work with.  So.  Propose a problem, let the candidate come up with a solution.  When they're finished, propose a different solution.  "What do you think of...".  See how the candidate reacts.  If they dump all over it/you, or defensively justify their solution, or just dump their solution and go with yours without being able to explain why they think it's better, lose them.  On the other hand, if they react by recognizing the merits of your solution, pointing out its problems, and comparing it to their solution, hire them on the spot.

Should be working
Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Good idea.  The Wright brothers' father would have them argue something then SWITCH SIDES and argue the other side.

The real Entrepreneur
Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I have done that to my brother on occasion to get him to understand what he was actually talking about (he was always calling me to help him write his debating essays).

Perhaps you could pick a controversial subject, and ask him what he thinks, then disagree with him in a way that invites him to respond, leave it open.

If I were an interviewee I would be raring to debate a point (any point, lets do it), but I would also very quickly want assurance from the interviewer that this was the intention (ie a nod of the head, and encouraging gesture), ie you want to see the argumentative side of me. Because part of my personality is that I don't jump up and argue over any silly little thing, and I am certainly not going to argue in an interview, because unless this is what the interviewer is specifically wanting (like in your case), then this would usually annoy an interviewer.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Maybe you can get them to draw up a logic tree diagram of an argument.

I'm not sure what their real name is, but it's one where you draw a tree from each argument, with supporting and contradicting arguments, and then each argument itself branches with supporting and contradicting arguments.

Then you work from the leaf nodes up the tree, evaluating each argument logically on the basis of the strength of its support. Finally you reach the root and can make a decision on whether the conclusion is logically supported.

Sum Dum Gai
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

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