Hobbies and Interests

Several years ago I wrote an article summarising some of the key points I keep in mind while interviewing candidates for a test team. The article is called "Hiring Software Testers in an Information Age" and is available as a PDF on my main site. The article was originally targetted to recruiters who kept asking me for advice on hiring software testers and they would always be surprised at the level of detail that I went through in describing what it takes to hire a good person for a testing position.

Conversations with recruiters over coffee would always start the same. I would say something like: if you are just trying to find a warm body to fill a position, then you don't need to hear what I have to say.  If you want to hire someone who thinks and has a good chance of fitting in with the culture of the team and organisation to provide value, then it is a complex problem that requires insights into what the position actually involves.

There are about a dozen different checkpoints that I go through when considering and interviewing candidates, and the paper I wrote touched on some of the major points but not all of them.  Actually, I even removed some of them from the article as early drafts had too much information.  My intention was to get some of the important points across without writing a book.

Recently, a colleague and friend, Michael Mahlberg tweeted the following:
RT : At Atari we hired based on hobbies and not grades in school. We ended up with the best engineering group in the world.
I liked that comment and followed up with a supporting tweet:
On Hiring: if a résumé or cover letter doesn't describe Hobbies or other Interests, I usually skip it.
This sparked some conversation on twitter and I want to elaborate on my comment here.