Having studied Mathematics, you might assume correctly that I do pretty well at IQ tests. Why? Because my brain likes puzzles and logic, as simple as that. What do the scores tell us? Absolutely nothing at all aside from the fact that the person taking the test might be good at logical puzzles or not. It doesn’t mean I don’t forget my keys when I leave the house, or that I can make a greenhouse from some bizarre plans cooked up in North Korea, or that I don’t make stupid mistakes at work.

I have in my time interviewed so many people for different roles and seen too many many CV’s for several lifetimes. On the whole, I quite like the interview process, I just dislike all the time and effort required to get the person there in front of me.

Do I make my mind up before the interview ? No. Most definitely not, and that’s because candidates tell fibs. One of the most important aspects in any interview process is to test the mettle of the person you are interrogating. This means the interviewer needs to be knowledgeable on the subject and have a defined curve on which to score the candidate. For any technical role I will always recommend a test, this means build me something. I will do my best to provide a reasonable facsimile of your working conditions and even allow you access to the internet. What I will not do is allow you enough time to complete the test and that is because as well as demonstrating a basic knowledge I want to see how you manage your time, how you think and how you react to the deadline.

I also make sure that I have a standardised set of questions to ask all applicants which cover not only technical but also time management, conflict and most importantly what it is that drives them. If I can figure out what gets them out of bed in the morning happy, I can see if that aspect can be finessed inside the role.

Candidates are expected to be nervous, if they’re not, I want to know why not, but the first 10-15 minutes is usually spent just calming them down and trying to elicit a natural state of being. Tea helps sometimes.

Things I expect from my candidates: Honesty above all, inquisitiveness, alertness, reasoning, social etiquette, demonstrable skills, intuitiveness, team player or lone wolf, curiosity, common sense and honesty [yes, in here twice as it is the most important]

Aspects that will have me looking at my watch and trying to find ways to escape: Lying, either in paper form or to my face. Even a minor fib will probably cost the interview. Misrepresentation on skills (lying), attitude, lateness, earliness, argumentativeness, submissiveness.

After each interview I make sure to write up my notes immediately and give a score on skills, personality, fit and experience. I also quite often give them an opportunity if they want, to take the test home with them to complete it, on the proviso that they do not spend more than a couple of hours. Astonishingly the amount of candidates who have done this and then sent in a failing test is enormous.

One aspect rarely mentioned in these diatribes is gut feel. Trust your instincts, you have a whole load of things going on inside your subconscious and even if you can’t nail down the problem area precisely, your subconscious probably has.

But the truth is that after the interview I have 99% of the time made my decision as to their suitability, sometimes in the best case scenario I might even hire on the spot.

Anyway, back to IQ. I decided that I HAD to build an IQ test, which I then renamed to a visual acuity test because, as mentioned above, nobody really knows what an IQ score means.

I think, looking back on this, I was in a very circular mood, as most of the puzzles are circular based gizmos, it’s also possible that I was focussing on my pint(S) of Guinness during the puzzle planning sessions. God knows what would have happened if I had used the bathtub as my location for inspiration. The tests are all configurable to be unique on each visit, UI is quite nifty, there’s a nice timer too. Needless to say, I played it so many times during the testing phase that the top scores are ALL mine. AHH HAHAHAHAHA !

Cultural reference: The jugs game is from the 3rd die hard movie – actually, it’s not, it’s from about 1200bc Egypt, but you know what I mean.

Play the game here!