For the past two days we have been searching for people. More so, we are searching for the fresh talented people who will propel ScaleDB to the next level. ScaleDB is a small company, but it doesn’t intend to stay that way for long. To grow we need to hire talented engineers and quality assurance testers. So Mike and I have spent the last few days interviewing candidates for the QA position, and a bit of time scoping out new office space to accommodate our expanding team. While it is wonderful to finally be working somewhere other than Mike’s house (at least for a few days), there is a certain boredom that really begins to set in when all day is spent listening to timid software nerds talk about their qualifications, and looking at empty buildings.
All of the interviews were conducted at the company’s office, which is in a shared office space in Menlo Park. ScaleDB’s space is limited to a bedroom sized office which houses our three software engineers: Moshe, Vern, and Ron. Moshe is the one who originally came up with the idea for ScaleDB. He has been working on the code for about three years now and is the brains behind the whole company. Vern is a retired database architect who worked for IBM for something in the ballpark of 40 years. He is widely respected in Silicon Valley, and gets ScaleDB a lot of street credit. To put things in perspective, when a group from Sun met with ScaleDB a few months ago, some of them asked to have their picture taken with Vern. He is a rock star in the database world… if such a thing actually exists. And Ron has a Ph.D. and is the VP of engineering. When we eventually do higher QA people and more software engineers, they will be reporting to Ron. So he has been given a lot of input in the hiring process.
As the office space is tight enough with these three fellas, it’s a real blessing that the building has a conference room for all the tenants to share. This is where we held our interviews. The first candidate to interview for the QA position, we’ll call him Morty, ended up being the best we saw. Morty seemed the most comfortable with the interview process, and the most excited about the company. Excitement is critical for a start-up company – if the employees don’t want to succeed as much as you do, there may be problems. He answered the questions well and conveyed a thorough knowledge of the industry. Then came Ron and his pop-quiz. As his part of the process, Ron gave each candidate an unannounced test (literally a pencil and paper test!) to determine their skill level. Over an hour and a half later, - a time we all thought was a little long - Morty and Ron emerged. Our first candidate had survived and ended up doing alright over all.
Next came Wilbur. Wilbur was one of the many unfortunate victims of the ailing economy, having lost his last QA job due to downsizing. He gave short answers, lacked enthusiasm, and made very little attempt to impress us. As a result, none of us were very impressed. Finally, we interviewed Shanti, a timid woman, who despite her quiet demeanor and pronounced nervousness, seemed to have a good grasp of database testing. While both Shanti and Wilbur, scored better than Morty on Ron’s marathon test, ultimately Morty was the only one we asked to return for a follow up interview.
The rest of our time was spent driving to various locations in the Valley to check out possible spaces to move the business to - enough said.