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Today I interviewed someone who's been working in tech for twice as long as I've even been working at all. They were interviewing to be a DevOps/Systems Engineer and stated that they work heavily with shell scripts.

I'm willing to accept that interviewing pressure causes generally worse performance than usual, but it took 3 tries when whiteboarding to arrive at a solution to print to stderr.

Today's the interview that convinced me I need far more "basics" questions ready.

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interviewing 

Honestly, the whole experience of being on the other side of an interview has been eerie. I had no idea how difficult it can be to find people with appropriately matched skills.

The only reason some of these interviews have been so shocking is because when I read their resume's/CV's they list several years of experience and then don't seem to be able to do more than restate their resume or handle the basics, if that.

interviewing 

I wish the best of luck to all 3 people I've had interviews with so far in finding a role suitable to growing their skills, we just need someone who can help the 1 to maybe 2 other people that can handle the breadth and depth of tasks we have at "${WERK}"

interviewing 

@architect oh tell me about it. Wait till you get the ones fresh out of collage no experience and expect 6 digits and yet can't answer the most basic questions. Clams to be linux expert and and does not know where log files are located at.

interviewing 

@omnipotens Thankfully the one kid fresh out of college I met that recently got hired was looking for something much more reasonable and (perhaps due to some lunch conversations prior to him getting hired) knew all too well that he's not an expert yet.

Sounds like those interviews can be a good sadism outlet though if they're particularly cocky: "without spawning any additional processess, how would you calculate the length of a string on the command line?"

interviewing 

@architect Honestly if its one on one interview I always try to break the interview formalities and casually steer the conversation to hobbies. I find people with tech related hobbies tend to be the most motivated and fast learners. So even if they lack in skills I normally put then on top of the stack. It has not been wrong yet. I once hired one guy with no experience or school for entry level. He went to mid level in a year. All because linux was a hobby

interviewing 

@omnipotens @architect that's probably a good idea. I saw some advice about a year ago to get a ham radio license for that reason.

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@omnipotens I can definitely see that working well too. As I go I'm breaking up my list of prepared questions not only by type and difficulty, but by cruelty. You'd only get those dragged out if you legit have the skills or get combative.
So far I've mostly stuck with procedural questions that let them explore possible solutions. Like "how would you troubleshoot an internal webserver that isn't responding to requests?"
More details on demand, and lets them display their understanding

interviewing 

@architect @omnipotens I would probably fail most interviews, but I'm curious about the answer for "without spawning any additional processess, how would you calculate the length of a string on the command line?" With my limited knowledge (although motivated to learn more) I would take a guess and reply:

myVar="newnix"; echo "${}"

interviewing 

@frank @omnipotens
Yep, though an ideal solution would be generalized to a certain degree.

strlen() {
[ -n "${1}" ] && echo "${#1}"
}

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@architect @omnipotens At least I got the brace expansion right. So I guess I show potential for a junior position ;)

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@frank @architect The hardest part for me is definitely finding people who are not siloed. In the 5g lab you pretty much need to be strong in networking,linux, storage, hardware, OpenStack, openshift, VMware, Kubernetes, docker, scripting/coding and mostly a lot more I am not thinking about at the moment. So finding people that know it all is hard to find. Everyone seems very siloed to just one thing. People who code rarely know networking and etc.

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@omnipotens @frank It's pretty similar for us right now, though probably to a lesser extent in at least a few fields.
Since we do R&D projects, you have to be able to at least start troubleshooting at any given layer or domain from filesystems to virtualization to code, networks and at least basic security. We don't necessarily need cross-domain experts, we just need people who know enough to understand how to start digging into various technologies and how they interop.

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@architect @frank yeah I get that but for some damn reason I become the go to expert for everything. Even if I have no clue what it is lol. I haven't been stumped yet but damn I wish I could have some help to push crap too. At lease I finally got a good scripting person to push that off too. I even got other labs calling me asking for help troubleshoot issues.

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@architect whats the position?

I'll admit I haven't done a lot that needed error messages, but wouldn't you just pipe echo >&2

There's probably a printf option too

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@hannibal_ad_portas DevOps Engineer/Systems Engineer, so scripting is a key skill for the position.

And yeah, just `echo foo >&2` would've worked.

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@architect heck I can BASH my head against things.

Are you willing to send my CV to the hireing manager?

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@architect To be honest sometimes I have issues writing scripts on whiteboards. I joke my fingers know what they are doing not me lol.
With that said hard questions are fine you don't need easier. The process to find a answer and critical thinking is just as important as a answer. That and it is sometime fun to watch people squirm lol.

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@omnipotens While that's also true, I don't want to make an interviewee feel like an idiot right out the gate by making them do something like say: write a recursive fizzbuzz implementation in POSIX sh without spawning additional processes.
That only gets used if you ace everything else or I'm pissed that you're wasting everyone's time so now you get to sweat.

Though given time, I could probably expand my list to include a "well that's just uncalled for" set of questions

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