Some Good and Bad Ideas for Recruiting

Eweek has an interesting article about Microsoft’s latest bad hiring idea [1] (their previous one was hiring a model to try and give the idea that IT work is cool [2]). They have created a web site to try and get people who consider themselves to be geniuses to work for them.

One significant problem with this idea is that the amount of ego required to claim the title of genius is significantly greater than the amount of ego that makes it impossible for two people to work in the same office. Google’s methods of trying to attract candidates are much more sensible, for example setting mathematical and logical problems and inviting people who can solve them to apply for work. People who can solve maths and logic puzzles tend to be good programmers because essentially programming is about solving such puzzles while also relying on having memorised a huge number of facts and numbers. If you can solve the logic puzzles then you are probably half-way to becoming a decent programmer.

The next problem is that the web site doesn’t work very well. In fact it works so badly that some people have suggested that the aim of the exercise is to make job offers to the people who give the best suggestions as to how to improve the web site. It gave a black window with Konqueror and with Firefox it didn’t appear to offer full functionality (and required a pop-up for no good reason too).

But one useful thing about it is that it links to the Microsoft Jobs Blog [3] which is a really good recruiting idea. There are posts about various benefits that MS offers it’s employees, about visits by MS representatives to schools, and other things that will surely be of interest to people who like MS. I recommend that everyone who works in HR reads that blog and considers whether something similar would work for them (I think it would work for all large companies). Another interesting thing to note is that there are glamour photos of recruiting agents. I suggested in my previous post that they should “find some cute female MS employees and get them to do the promotion”, well it seems that MS was already doing similar things before I suggested it!

One significant thing that they could do to improve their jobs blogging is to have a blog with job adverts with category based feeds for all the different categories. This would permit someone who is interested in XML work to get a feed of the XML jobs category and wait for something suitable to come up. I believe that every company that advertises more than two positions per year should have a RSS feed of the job adverts. It allows syndication feeds of adverts from multiple companies which job seekers can poll for positions that match their skills.

3 comments to Some Good and Bad Ideas for Recruiting

  • Fred

    Interesting times. When I applied and was hired by Microsoft I had to go through 7 interviews, of which much was about problem solving, lateral thinking, work capability and ability to learn. Knowledge of the product set wasn’t important as the ability to learn covered this. Interestingly I wasn’t actually interviewed for the position but the actual fit for the company. Hence I was interviewed by multiple people and managers from various areas of the particular subsidiary. I am guessing a new age sweep has come to the HR department globally and potentially downgrading what it used to be all about

  • The “dum games” on the low bandwidth site do not work also… Try the “Ping” and leave the window open for some minutes, around 100000 the “ball” gets stuck on the bottom, 2 million points an counting…

    Oh, on Epiphany the low bandwidth site remembers me of those 1990’s sites full of animated GIF’s… hehe

  • Yesterday, I visited MS office for having session on Hitachi’s application and Vista presentation.
    The class room was huge and they presented Office2007 premium for 5 people. I missed, but if I could get it, I would have sold it and bought core2duo CPU.
    Next room, they are having Execl class or something and beautiful woman instructor was teaching.
    MS Office is easy to handle if do not have ability to solve puzzles,
    and I thought Vista is better than XP because you don’t to have to get an admin privilege when you install application.