[kwlug-disc] how would you interview potential linux employees?

Raul Suarez rarsa at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 27 21:11:15 EST 2009

I'd say that hiring a "linux person" may be missguided. When hiring someone technical you need to set your goals.

Is it someone to hit the floor running expert at something? Will be more expensive and not as versatil
Is it someone for the long term? Then it's someone with the will and capacity to learn

Is it for desktop support? Server support? Development? Evangelization? A senior level or an entry level?

If it is a small shop and he wants a "computer guy" that will fill all those positions in a Linux environment here are the questions I would ask:

If you wanted to automate cleaning up the logs, how would you do it?
Which is your favourite GUI toolkit and why?
If the desktops lost connectivity to the database on the server every now and then. What steps would you follow to find the problem and what tools would you use?
What got you interested in FLOSS?
Why do you think it is valuable to use Free software?
Have you contributed to any project or Free software community?
Tell me something about the last two FLOSS books you read.

Questions like that do not have a "right" answer but will entice the candidates to talk showing their interest, knowledge, honesty and enthusiasm for FLOSS.

Raul Suarez

Technology consultant
Software, Hardware and Practices
An eclectic collection of random thoughts

----- Original Message ----
From: Robert P. J. Day <rpjday at crashcourse.ca>
To: KWLUG discussion list <kwlug-disc at kwlug.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:19:31 AM
Subject: [kwlug-disc] how would you interview potential linux employees?

  here's a wide-open question -- if you could give some advice to
someone trying to hire linux expertise, what sorts of questions would
you suggest asking?

  yes, that's a fairly boundary-free request, but a colleague asked me
to suggest a few things.  i figured you could start by weeding out the
total posers pretty quickly:

* What distros and versions have you used and are using now?  For
* What other distros are you familiar with?  And what are their main
features -- what selling points set them apart.
* What hardware have you installed Linux on?

  obviously, this is pretty lightweight stuff but i think it quickly
shows who's up on their stuff and who isn't.  are there any websites
that discuss this?


Robert P. J. Day
Linux Consulting, Training and Annoying Kernel Pedantry:
    Have classroom, will lecture.

http://crashcourse.ca                          Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA

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