What’s your approach for interviewing freshers? Are you lenient while interviewing them? In other words, are your expectations low when you talk to them? Following is what I think about it.
Those who underestimate the capability of freshers are the ones who would conduct nonsensical/unfruitful interviews and later put a bar on the performance of the selected ones. It is said that for the interviewee, interview day could very well be the first day of job. What about the interviewer? Isn’t an interview, the first day on the job of an individual s/he is probably going to hire?
An interview is two-sided. It is a conversation. Both sides are the interviewees as well as the interviewers. The questions an interviewer asks, the way s/he treats the answers give active feedback to the interviewee. The feedback is what is expected from the interviewee when on job. If you are giving an easy entry, that ease w.r.t. expectations is going to haunt you later. Ofcourse, I assume that you and your company both are ‘you’ here.
A typical fresher has spent 19-20 years in the education system and the kind of studying required every year is much more than an average tester in the industry does. ( just ask the age old question to any tester – which book on testing have you studied?). We should look out for the ones who did good for themselves while at it. And I’m not talking about scores/college.
Don’t be lenient when interviewing freshers especially when it comes to the core testing skills – thinking, exploration, logic, breaking up an abstract problem into concrete granules and so on. Don’t be lenient when it comes to ethics, behavior, how the person carries himself, excuses s/he gives, what s/he has done during the education period.
If the question is, then how do we hire in bulk? My polite reply is that bulk hiring is what has created benches in bulk as well. These bulk hiring processes, which don’t care much about who gets in, are setting wrong examples for the rest. When one knows that s/he can get a job as a tester without any specific skill-set, just cram a few jargons: why would s/he bother about building skills. Bulk hiring is not about selecting good ones. It’s about selecting the target number x good ones amongst who are there.
I remember one instance when the group of freshers who had been on the bench for more than an year ( and we had joined together ), while I was in projects from day 1, were given better salary % hike for the rating type than me ( and the rest of the us in projects ). I felt bad then, not now. The only way those people can be kept happy is with money, otherwise why should one stay in a company for more than one year without work/learning and no skill building whatsoever. This “kyaa kare rahe ho?” — “maze, aur kyaa?” stage, has set a wrong example.
What sort of engineers we are trying to build when at the beginning of one’s career, one is into the habit of getting paid without any active contribution at all? I’ve also heard various talks, where the ones who get frustrated by this are seen in bad light. “Company is spending so much on them”, “aren’t they getting paid”, etc. The money spending part is over-played in most of such discussions. Spending is more personal when it comes to career building. Having a pool of ready engineers is a necessity especially for services company but what do they do they till an ‘actual’ project comes. Is to so difficult to create a constant learning environment where they can constantly hone their skills?
I know this post might hurt some readers. It’s meant to hurt and I am in no way ashamed of that. If you want to know what hurting means, be a part of those discussions where I was and I was told “The quality of freshers is deteriorating these days.”, “You know, in our days…” and so on. Nobody cares to remember that in those “our days” the giants of today were not giants. The benches were not so gigantic. Freshers were not paid without work. If you belong the pool of freshers who would giggle at such remarks or the pool of experienced ones who would give a sorry nod/ say ‘I too feel that’, this post would hurt. For the others, I believe we are having a healthy conversation in this post.
Freshers: Next time you find yourself on a bench/ doing $#@! job and feel sad about it, do an introspection about why you chose to be where you are.
Companies/Managers/”Experienced Ones”: Next time you complain about the quality of work of a fresher in your team, ask what you should do to your hiring process for freshers.
I am extremely thankful to those freshers who have inspired me to build this thought process, who are an inspiration for me, who make me wish that I should have been like them when I entered into IT. I wish we see more of them around and it’s our responsibility that we build an ecosystem that sets the right examples for freshers wanting to become like them.