Operation Bootstrap

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Rate My Skills: No

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I’ve been asked in the past to rate my skills when chatting with a recruiter about a position, it goes something like this:

“Can you rate your skills in the following areas on a scale of 1 to 10:
SAN Storage

My response is generally, “no and goodbye”. This isn’t out of arrogance, but there’s just no point in moving forward. When we’re talking about a job I’m interviewing your company every step of the way. One key question I’m always asking myself is “does this seem like a hiring process that would hire people I want to work with?”. I don’t get a huge chance to interview my co-workers when I’m coming into a new place so my only real guide as to what type of folks they are is… the hiring process.

If your hiring process starts by selecting people based on how they rate skills, think of who you are excluding. Also, think of who ends up at the top of that list – arrogant, self-important folks who think they are experts in everything. Perhaps the HR person is clever and is looking for folks who rate themselves poorly to suggest humility but there are better ways.

I want to work on a team where you hire people because they fit well into the team, because they have passion about their job, and because they can learn. I don’t want you to hire someone who already thinks they know everything because every conversation with that person is going to be an argument about why something new isn’t as good as what they’ve already done before. People do what has worked for them in the past unless they are tinkerers who like to try new things – in which case they probably don’t become experts, they become generalists. The best folks I’ve worked with didn’t know how to do most of their day to day tasks when they started the job. They learned, they asked questions, they were humble and eager and engaging. Those are the people I want to work with.

Yes, I’m restricting my potential job opportunities by doing this – which is exactly the point.