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Re: Some help for interviewing

Geoff Sweet <lists_(_at_)_whootis_(_dot_)_com> writes:
> Subject: Some help for interviewing
> From: Geoff Sweet <lists_(_at_)_whootis_(_dot_)_com>
> To: misc_(_at_)_openbsd_(_dot_)_org
> Content-Type: text/plain
> Message-Id: <1070944707_(_dot_)_1474_(_dot_)_404_(_dot_)_camel_(_at_)_whapper>
> Mime-Version: 1.0
> Date: 08 Dec 2003 20:38:28 -0800
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
> We use alot of OpenBSD for our DNS and Mail relays at work, and we are
> interviewing some candidates to come in for a System Admin type
> positions.  I was hoping I could call on the groups collective power and
> ask if there are any favorite interview questions (and their answers)
> that you like to ask with regards to OpenBSD or just BSD's in general.
> The person needs moderate to (maybe) advanced knowledge of day-to-day
> system administration, tune up, tweaking, and taking care of the
> system.  Responding to outages and faults... ya know.  Not that there is
> much of that with our OpenBSD stuff. 
> Come on I know there are some good ones out there, Henning and Chuck
> strike me as people that enjoy making candidates squirm.  LOL
> Thanks for the input.  
> Geoff

I suppose a lot depends on the pool of candidates you have - do you
actually expect to hire poeple who are already experienced with
OpenBSD?  Personally, rather than looking for a person who is already a
complete expert (who might be $expensive) (or who worse yet might
*think* they're a complete expert and not be...) I'd look instead for
people who are bright, listen, and learn well.

For OpenBSD in particular, I'd look for people who can read man pages,
RFCs, and source code, and come up with intelligent solutions on their
own.  For tuning, tweaking, and such, somebody with a good working
knowledge of hardware and OS design, and performance analysis tools
would be good.  I suppose a very basic test case might be to ask to
draw a picture of the kernel & user space, and explain all of what
happens when you run "cat /dev/tty".  Possibly handing them ktrace
output might be helpful, or maybe not.  For a more complicated but
perhaps more meaningful test, I suppose you could hand them various
"broken" machines (like an overloaded machine with too little ram,
utility that core dumps, name server with corrupt data, bad pf firewall
rules, etc.) and see how they go about figuring out what's wrong and
what they'd do to fix it.

Of course, if you want a really short simple test question, ask them to
explain to you why they think you should be running OpenBSD.  :-)

					-Marcus Watts

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