Fair Interview Question?



#22

I'm interviewing someone today for a job that could eventually lead to position in my engineering department.

Do you think it is fair to ask them what type of calculator they use?


#23

When I was being interviewed for my current job, the Chief Engineer gave me an old and heavily used HP 15C (that is still working) and asked me to calculate 2+2... He was so amazed when I did it, that I got hired almost instantly...

Thanks, 32Sii...

Alex (Civil Engineer) - Greece

#24

Sure. Then, if the candidate doesn't give you the answer you want and you hire him/her anyway, buy them a nice HP calculator out of your departmental budget and encourage its use.

Jeff

#25

I always do. :-)

That can be a good lead in type question to really get at the heart of what the candidate thinks about math, problem solving, and the way they approach things. Even if they don't really use a calculator, it is a good way to then have them reason out what might be the advantages of using one vs other options.

TW

#26

It doesn't matter what brand of calculator he uses, if he uses one at all or a spreadsheet, a piece of paper, a slide rule or what have you, as long as he solves the problem.

This is too much a politics/religion-type of question that raises too many emotions (at least with you) that divert from the important questions of a job interview. As soon as you anticipate good and not-so-good answers, don't go there at all. If you are completely neutral about his answers you could ask it - but then: why should you in the first place!?!

The fact alone that you ask this here shows me you shouldn't ask it there! ;)

Edited: 14 July 2011, 10:28 a.m.


#27

I don't agree with your premise. One could not ask any question during an interview.


#28

I think that the point of George's statement is that the type of calculator (if any) chosen by the candidate does not affect his/her ability to do the work. The corollary that George offers is religion / politics. Is it correct to ask the candidate's opinion of either in an interview? Neither are related to the job at hand and neither help determine the candidate's ability to do said job. The type of calculator chosen falls into the same category in my opinion. Interview questions should be related to the ability of the candidate to perform the duties expected of him/her and questions unrelated to the job that might engender an emotional response should not be asked.

My 2 cents worth...

#29

I don't agree as I would want to be sure they could solve the problem in an approprite way.

Even if they got the right answer I'd be concerned abount a candidate that had to break out a spreadsheet or use Wolfram Alpha to find the proability of throwing (a fair) coin and getting three heads, or finding the resistance of two resistors in parallel...

Mike T.


#30

And how does the BRAND of calculator they choose to use matter to their ability to solve a problem the appropriate way? Any question related to being able to do the job is fine. No one is suggesting that such questions should not be asked. But asking if you use a HP vs. TI vs. any other brand does not judge your ability to solve a problem appropriately.

#31

Quote:
Even if they got the right answer I'd be concerned abount a candidate that had to break out a spreadsheet or use Wolfram Alpha to find the proability of throwing (a fair) coin and getting three heads, or finding the resistance of two resistors in parallel...

I'd be concerned even more if anyone had to get out his pocket calculator for these answers, when a piece of paper or just his or her head alone would do.

If help is needed, the best candidate will use whatever is available, no matter what specifically it is. This could be the own fingers, a calculator, a super computer, wikipedia, a book, a coworker, his aunt Eleonore...I wouldn't care how the problem was solved, if the answer was correct and delivered in time.

#32

I think it is fair, as long as the answer to that particular question doesn't influence your decision.


#33

Quote:
I think it is fair, as long as the answer to that particular question doesn't influence your decision.

And because one can't guarantee this, one avoids these questions altogether.

Edited: 15 July 2011, 3:57 a.m.

#34

Once my cow-orkers proposed that during a job interview, they gave the interviewee a Stardate. The interviewee would then have to correctly identify the episode Title and guest star.

A correct answer assured them the candidate would fit in with the team.

B^)

Ren

dona nobis pacem

#35

Hi!

Don't you have anti-discrimination laws in the US? Here in Germany you would probably not be allowed to ask that question and base your decision on the answer...

And how would I qualify for your position? Although I own almost 1000 calculators I haven't used one at work (engineer and aviator) for 15 years or more. No need at all.

Regards,
max


#36

AFAIK, they have only laws for the less important topics like gender, colour, age etc. ;-)


#37

Quote:
AFAIK, they have only laws for the less important topics like gender, colour, age etc. ;-)

And ideology ("Weltanschauung"). The preference for certain types of calculators is certainly an ideological issue, because professionally, an engineer must be flexible enough to adapt to every kind of technology :-)

Edited: 14 July 2011, 3:05 p.m.

#38

You can probably ask "Do you work with a calculator?". If the answer is yes, you may ask for a demonstration.


#39

wow, marcus, that's too close to a "hexenhammer" Bo)
hans

#40

I didn't ask.

This is a recent graduate and he was nervous enough without wondering why I'm asking him about what calculator he uses.

#41

Norman; I think it's fair, as long as you include the Corvus 500, Privileg SR 54 NC and the Electronica RPNs on the correct answer list.

Alex; Every surveyor i know has met at least one (civil) engineer who needs a calculator to do 2+2.

Ren; I remember reading that stardates vary by not only time but position; so if that's true, depending where you are, it's always 4523.3

Tim; Extra points given to applicants whipping out a DC50?

BTW: There was a bean counter at our field office today. He brought the 17bii he bought in college, and uses it in RPN. For the very little that it is worth; he gets extra points from me.


#42

Quote:
Every surveyor i know has met at least one (civil) engineer who needs a calculator to do 2+2.

Every surveyor I know depends on a (civil) engineer for his employment!

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  HP 65/25 shout-out in interview with Paul Lutus Egan Ford 3 513 12-21-2012, 11:09 PM
Last Post: Mike Morrow
  Calculator Related Math/Science Fair Project Tim Wessman 3 432 10-31-2010, 09:11 PM
Last Post: Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.
  fair Value on HP-35 aj04062 2 401 03-11-2010, 12:33 PM
Last Post: AJ04062
  How HP Got Its First Calculators: Video Interview with Tom Osborne Steve Leibson 15 1,266 02-25-2008, 04:55 PM
Last Post: Steve Leibson
  Re: Upcoming interview with Tom Osborne Ren 2 362 11-14-2007, 03:53 PM
Last Post: Jake Schwartz
  Upcoming interview with Tom Osborne Steve Leibson 10 940 11-09-2007, 09:04 PM
Last Post: Dave Shaffer (Arizona)
  Dave Cochran Video Interview Steve Leibson 7 746 10-24-2007, 11:24 PM
Last Post: Steve Leibson
  Displaying part of my collection at the San Diego County Fair Victor R. 2 370 06-08-2007, 06:15 PM
Last Post: Dan W
  Fair use with respect to ROM cards Han 4 534 10-27-2006, 09:47 PM
Last Post: Eric Smith
  Carly Fiorina Interview Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. 3 457 10-24-2006, 11:49 AM
Last Post: Howard Owen

Forum Jump: