I highly recommend this article from Marc Andreessen, especially for computer science folks.
To be fair, I think he is a bit too optimistic (as an entrepreneur he should be), but he still made plenty good points.
This is not exactly a new article, but I just realized that a lot of people haven’t read it yet, thus the sharing.
A good friend of mine, Ciao, is relocating to another part of the world.
Ciao is a very nice dude, and we have had a lot of fun hanging out together. Perhaps the funniest ever experience is our first encounter, when Ciao went to interview with a company that I previously worked for.
I guess most companies have a certain interviewing style that reflects the company culture. And for that particular company, the custom seems to be grilling the interviewees with trick questions, mostly in low-level math and computer science. I could see the value of such a style in testing the interviewee’s character and intellect, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to do that to someone who has recently obtained his Ph.D. with a SIGGRAPH paper. So instead I talked with Ciao a bunch of high-level research questions. We had a great time.
The troubles came after I filled out the interview evaluation. The hiring manager informed me that my interview style is “not very proper” and sent me to a course teaching people how to do proper interviews. (I confess I never attended the course.) Furthermore, the interview with Ciao turned out to be not only the first but also the last one that I ever conducted for that company.
Fortunately, my “not very proper” interview with Ciao did not cost his job offer, and later he joined the company. Together we had some additional fun for a couple of more years. It soon became pretty apparent that we are both not very good fit for that company (my “not very proper” interview with him is probably a good early sign), so eventually we both left. But I would like to thank that company for enabling me to learn a few very important lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and most importantly, the chance for getting to know Ciao.