This may be stupid but..

Michael.Dillon at Michael.Dillon at
Mon Nov 10 11:03:15 UTC 2003

>  DO NOT SEND YOUR RESUME at this point of the application process. If
>  you do send your resume, we will assume you did not bother to
>  carefully read this job posting, and we will not consider your
>  application.

>  To begin taking the tests, please send your public SSH key to
>  jobs at along with your email contact information. 

I like these two points. Essentially, they are ways of weeding 
out the large number of timewasters who just can't do the job.
Who wants to open up their network infrastructure to someone 
who can't read and understand plain English? And how many truly
experienced network engineers would not be able to generate an
SSH public key if they don't already have one?

But this type of technique can also be used with recruiters. It just
means that you have to train them in how to identify candidates that
you like. In past lives at other companies I've done this.

For instance, I told the recruiters that MS certification was a bad
thing and that I the only Cisco cert that was remotely interesting
was CCIE. I also told them that at least half the resumes they submitted
should have no certs at all. I explained the kind of UNIX experience
that was good to have, i.e. using Linux or BSD at home. I also told them
that I wouldn't see any candidates until I had interviewed them over
the phone. This let me quickly weed out the evasive ones who were 
probably stretching the truth on their resumes.

When I interview, I start out by asking one or two key questions that
help me quickly get to the truth. For instance at one company, when I
has hiring NOC folks, I started by asking them to explain traceroute 
to me. The answer that I wanted was one which showed that they had 
a detailed understanding of what was going on at the protocol level
as the packets flowed through the network because that view of the
network is needed to effectively troubleshoot problems. It did lead
to one awkward situation with a 16 year-old who immediately started
talking about ICMP echos with varying TTL and routers sending back
ICMP echo-replies. I wanted to end the interview and hire him on the
spot but it seemed unfair to give this young guy the idea that job
interviews are that short.

I believe that it is possible to train recruiters to ask one or two 
questions like this by giving them a few samples of the level of detail
that you are looking for. For example I could have told a recruiter
that the answer should mention TTL and echo-reply. 

If you shop for a recruiter who is willing to learn about your
needs and properly select candidates according to *YOUR* requirements
I think that recruiters can be much better than hiring directly.

--Michael Dillon

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