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Prenj
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
I think a lot of you are missing the point. Of course management should, and probably does, know better than you how productive their IT workers are, and how they contribute or detract from the profitability of the company.

The question is what would you, specifically, do in your job to maximize the profitability of the company. If the company is comparing 3 potential employees, it gives them a way to evaluate what each would bring, in terms of what the company cares about.

So saying "it is not my job to know how IT contributes to profit is basically like saying "I just take orders, and don't plan to think at all on my own. I may be good at doing what I am told, but I will never be anything more".

As a side note, I wouldn't use the question quite like that. I would rather phrase it without the emphasis on profits, such as "what is your business plan to do this job in a way that will make this company best-in-class", or something similar. The best companies focus on products, and let profits follow, not vice-versa.


Thats all fine and dandy, but 99% of people, say on an interview, have no idea about how EXACTLY are they gonna influence anything, since they never even worked at that place. Its just idiotic way of some smartass in a suit trying to ask a job candidate if he/she is lazy or wasteful.

The question is idiotic, the concern should be framed within the job description not within the business model of the company as a whole, which IS a job of management.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Quote:
So saying "it is not my job to know how IT contributes to profit is basically like saying "I just take orders, and don't plan to think at all on my own. I may be good at doing what I am told, but I will never be anything more".
But unless someone takes the time to explain HOW your job helps the bottom line, they may not know. That doesn't translate to unwilling to learn. I've never had it explained to me.

Why does someone have to explain it to you? Or from the point of view of the interviewer, if you are waiting around for someone to tell you how your job helps the bottom line, you are probably a "do what you are told" type of employee. There is nothing wrong with that, but the purpose of the question is to separate the "take initiative" employees from the "do what you are told employees".
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

energyman76b wrote:
The question should be 'what is the company really expecting from me'.
The author makes a related comment:
Quote:
I once had a manager end the interview, and he hired no one, because he could not produce a "live problem" for an applicant to try! He realized THERE WAS NO JOB! Just "headcount."
So if you were hired into such a position and THEN management realized you were just headcount, you'd be let go. If you demonstrated how you added value, they might not let you go.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
if you are waiting around for someone to tell you how your job helps the bottom line, you are probably a "do what you are told" type of employee.
Being a "do what you are told" employee has absolutely zero correlation to how it impacts the bottom line.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
Thats all fine and dandy, but 99% of people, say on an interview, have no idea about how EXACTLY are they gonna influence anything, since they never even worked at that place.

Agreed. And 99% of people are not going to get hired by the guy asking the question (or me, if I was doing the asking).

He even states this explicitly in the article:
Quote:
Any job applicant can walk into an interview and rehash past accomplishments on a moment's notice. A dog with a note in its mouth can do that. The person in Lou's scenario could be visiting any company, talking with any manager, about any job. In other words, Lou's applicant can be totally unprepared and you'd never know it.

But the truly prepared job candidate has researched your company's business in detail and is ready to deliver a "mini business plan" about how to do the job you need done, showing why he or she would be your most profitable hire. There is no way to fake it. This is the only interview question that really matters because if the applicant's answer isn't a good one, then there's no reason to waste time talking about anything else.


Prenj wrote:
The question is idiotic, the concern should be framed within the job description not within the business model of the company as a whole, which IS a job of management.

It is a question about the job description. The question is "What's your business plan for doing this job profitably?". Maybe people are getting thrown off by the terms "business plan" and "profitably" in the question. They aren't important. The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


Last edited by richk449 on Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
richk449 wrote:
if you are waiting around for someone to tell you how your job helps the bottom line, you are probably a "do what you are told" type of employee.
Being a "do what you are told" employee has absolutely zero correlation to how it impacts the bottom line.

I don't agree. A company full of "do what you are told" employees (DWYATEs) is not going to be profitable for very long.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know... Depends on the position being sought, I'd think. It's pretty clear for a manager type... or for sales and marketing. But for a technical person?

If someone's looking to hire a programmer, I have to assume that the company already has a business reason for needing whatever work they're hiring for done. If anything, it's a question I might ask of them: why do you need this written? What are you looking to achieve?

Let's turn it around: suppose someone's hiring a manager/CEO type. It'd be like asking them, "what's your technical plan for minimizing latency and maximizing responsiveness and uptime of the website?" That isn't their direct job. What could they meaningfully answer? Something along the lines of hiring the appropriate team with the know-how to do the job, perhaps making website performance part of the team's job-performance reviews? I doubt they'd go into the details of perl and python and how they'd benchmark to discover what the problem areas are and consider C for the most performance-critical ones.

So as a technical person, what could I meaningfully say? Perhaps talk about any diverse skills one might have, taking the angle that in case the company needs to change goals and targets, there's also knowledge in areas A B and C that could come in useful. Perhaps talk about past projects, mention a track record of delivering functioning code in a timely fashion and with minimal bugs/support issues. What else could one say to this?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


That would be good question, which people can answer truthfully. However it wasn't. If you are applying for a job as say Oracle Performance Engineer, you have all kinds of plans how to tune Oracle stuff, how to explain to customers why, and so on and so on, but you don't have a business plan. Business plan is produced by someone whos job it is to produce one.

It would be as moronic as if we lived in technocracy, and oracle dude is interviewing a management candidate, and asked him about his approach to optimizing oracle performance.

EDIT: Akkara beat me to it! :lol:
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
richk449 wrote:
The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


That would be good question
It may or may not be a good question, but it is an entirely different question which has little to do with the original.


richk449 wrote:
I don't agree. A company full of "do what you are told" employees (DWYATEs) is not going to be profitable for very long.
I bet most below management staff ARE DWYATEs. But my point wasn't whether or not DWYATEs impact the bottom line, but that being one doesn't relate to whether or not a person understands how their job specifically impacts it.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akkara wrote:
I don't know... Depends on the position being sought, I'd think. It's pretty clear for a manager type... or for sales and marketing. But for a technical person?

If someone's looking to hire a programmer, I have to assume that the company already has a business reason for needing whatever work they're hiring for done. If anything, it's a question I might ask of them: why do you need this written? What are you looking to achieve?

...

So as a technical person, what could I meaningfully say? Perhaps talk about any diverse skills one might have, taking the angle that in case the company needs to change goals and targets, there's also knowledge in areas A B and C that could come in useful. Perhaps talk about past projects, mention a track record of delivering functioning code in a timely fashion and with minimal bugs/support issues. What else could one say to this?

Say that your boss comes to you and tells you about a plan to push the business into a new market. Engineering is developing a new product, and marketing is talking to the customers, and you, as the IT guy, need to do some stuff to support the effort - probably back-end stuff like database work, and maybe front-end stuff like web presence. Your boss says that he wants a plan by Tuesday.

So what do you tell him on Tuesday? Do you say that you will use add another server for the extra traffic, running X content management system, and use the existing database, with modifications Y, and Z? Perhaps. That would be a technical plan.

But I would expect that instead you would tell him the plan is the following:

Get the following input from marketing:
(1) customer facing needs
(2) estimated traffic at launch
(3) market potential in the future
(4) customer information that needs to be tracked

Get the following information from management:
(1) money available to implement systems
(2) maintenance plan

Get the following information from engineering:
(1) product information that needs to be tracked
(2) manufacturing information that needs to be tracked

Using that information, develop a technical plan, by date A: how to structure the back-end, and what to run on the front end.

The first part is the business plan. You probably do it all the time, you just don't call it a business plan.

The question is asking you to give that kind of description for your job. It is not asking for the business plan for the company, just the business plan for your specific position.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Prenj wrote:
richk449 wrote:
The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


That would be good question
It may or may not be a good question, but it is an entirely different question which has little to do with the original.

It is your interpertation that it has little to do with the original. I think it has a lot to do with the original.

Quote:
richk449 wrote:
I don't agree. A company full of "do what you are told" employees (DWYATEs) is not going to be profitable for very long.
I bet most below management staff ARE DWYATEs. But my point wasn't whether or not DWYATEs impact the bottom line, but that being one doesn't relate to whether or not a person understands how their job specifically impacts it.

Interesting. I guess that is true. A DWYATE might know that an assignment is bad for the company, but would do it anyway. However, I think this is unusual. If you take the time to understand what makes your business profitable, you probably care enough to argue when you are given assignments that don't contribute to the profitability.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
richk449 wrote:
The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


That would be good question, which people can answer truthfully. However it wasn't. If you are applying for a job as say Oracle Performance Engineer, you have all kinds of plans how to tune Oracle stuff, how to explain to customers why, and so on and so on, but you don't have a business plan. Business plan is produced by someone whos job it is to produce one.

I guess that is where we differ. I think that a good employee is always considering the business aspect, even as they are doing technical work.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
It is your interpertation that it has little to do with the original. I think it has a lot to do with the original.
It is my interpretation that you misunderstood the author and supporting comments by the author.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you hire the right employee for the right (and needed) task, the employee is actually earning the money, or generating profits.

So the amount earned per person should be the highest.

Now this's relating to people who do tasks which directly corresponds to the companies task. For e.g. if the company does IT solutions, they'll need coders, admins, marketers etc...; they're actually earning the money via these people.

Then there's the category of necessary evil employees, or people who do house keeping tasks for the company, like management staff, accountants etc.... or a shitload of MS administrators who's only task is to re* Windows or 'software' aka 'drivers' to fix unknown errors.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
Prenj wrote:
richk449 wrote:
The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


That would be good question, which people can answer truthfully. However it wasn't. If you are applying for a job as say Oracle Performance Engineer, you have all kinds of plans how to tune Oracle stuff, how to explain to customers why, and so on and so on, but you don't have a business plan. Business plan is produced by someone whos job it is to produce one.

I guess that is where we differ. I think that a good employee is always considering the business aspect, even as they are doing technical work.


No they don't. Professionals in certain lines of work focus on their task. Professional managers know this, and can incorporate them into the big picture while at the same time allowing them to focus on their task. They remove obstacles for talent.

The mindset that "zomg teh business aspect" is more of a yuppie thing among low-level management or inexperienced small company owners. I worked in opposite scheme, where CEO of a company was an old lab rat from Tandem that had a part in designing their Guardian OS, and was focusing on HIS own vision of what an IT-system should be, and was off by a decade or two. He never "got" the internet, for example, nor why presentation, marketing, packaging and general productification was important, nor did he understand the leverage that open source paradigm presented for small companies.
So you had coders and IT architects trying to influence his decision making, while he was trying to influence coding. It got pretty stupid pretty fast.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well put.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
Akkara wrote:
I don't know... Depends on the position being sought, I'd think. It's pretty clear for a manager type... or for sales and marketing. But for a technical person?

If someone's looking to hire a programmer, I have to assume that the company already has a business reason for needing whatever work they're hiring for done. If anything, it's a question I might ask of them: why do you need this written? What are you looking to achieve?

...

So as a technical person, what could I meaningfully say? Perhaps talk about any diverse skills one might have, taking the angle that in case the company needs to change goals and targets, there's also knowledge in areas A B and C that could come in useful. Perhaps talk about past projects, mention a track record of delivering functioning code in a timely fashion and with minimal bugs/support issues. What else could one say to this?

Say that your boss comes to you and tells you about a plan to push the business into a new market. Engineering is developing a new product, and marketing is talking to the customers, and you, as the IT guy, need to do some stuff to support the effort - probably back-end stuff like database work, and maybe front-end stuff like web presence. Your boss says that he wants a plan by Tuesday.

So what do you tell him on Tuesday? Do you say that you will use add another server for the extra traffic, running X content management system, and use the existing database, with modifications Y, and Z? Perhaps. That would be a technical plan.

But I would expect that instead you would tell him the plan is the following:

Get the following input from marketing:
(1) customer facing needs
(2) estimated traffic at launch
(3) market potential in the future
(4) customer information that needs to be tracked

Get the following information from management:
(1) money available to implement systems
(2) maintenance plan

Get the following information from engineering:
(1) product information that needs to be tracked
(2) manufacturing information that needs to be tracked

Using that information, develop a technical plan, by date A: how to structure the back-end, and what to run on the front end.

The first part is the business plan. You probably do it all the time, you just don't call it a business plan.

The question is asking you to give that kind of description for your job. It is not asking for the business plan for the company, just the business plan for your specific position.


congratulation. That is the job of the project manager. Or maybe CTO. If you have to do that - or do that without being asked to, you are either not 'a techie' or damn stupid.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
richk449 wrote:
Prenj wrote:
richk449 wrote:
The question could be reworded "What is your plan to do this job well?".


That would be good question, which people can answer truthfully. However it wasn't. If you are applying for a job as say Oracle Performance Engineer, you have all kinds of plans how to tune Oracle stuff, how to explain to customers why, and so on and so on, but you don't have a business plan. Business plan is produced by someone whos job it is to produce one.

I guess that is where we differ. I think that a good employee is always considering the business aspect, even as they are doing technical work.


No they don't. Professionals in certain lines of work focus on their task. Professional managers know this, and can incorporate them into the big picture while at the same time allowing them to focus on their task. They remove obstacles for talent.

The mindset that "zomg teh business aspect" is more of a yuppie thing among low-level management or inexperienced small company owners. I worked in opposite scheme, where CEO of a company was an old lab rat from Tandem that had a part in designing their Guardian OS, and was focusing on HIS own vision of what an IT-system should be, and was off by a decade or two. He never "got" the internet, for example, nor why presentation, marketing, packaging and general productification was important, nor did he understand the leverage that open source paradigm presented for small companies.
So you had coders and IT architects trying to influence his decision making, while he was trying to influence coding. It got pretty stupid pretty fast.


You worked for MS?
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