RE: Was: Interviewing potential coworkers -- longish

Subject: RE: Was: Interviewing potential coworkers -- longish
From: "SHIELDS,SUSAN (HP-FtCollins,ex1)" <susan_shields2 -at- hp -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 13:42:22 -0700

I haven't been following this thread closely but this particular message
rocked my chemistry boat.

Bruce Byfield wrote:
>Let's be honest: the only way to know whether someone fits in is to
>work with them for a month or two. The fact that new hires generally
>have a probationary period is an indirect acknowledgement of the

Okay. I agree with this part.

>Michael Bryans wrote:
>> into my ranks, but I do not think it reasonable to fear
>> the intensity of others. Maybe some groups (or
>> individuals) need to be shaken up and have their
>> chemistry boat rocked once in a while.
>I agree. But, unfortunately, most groups and individuals don't want
>to be shaken up. In my experience, somebody labelled by others as
>"too intense" is often a person with experience, high standards, or
>energy. To people settled in a routine, these traits are not
>virtues, but uncomfortable reminders of alternatives - and, perhaps,
>of their own mediocrity.

This particular individual is neither frightened nor threatened by the
intensity of others. I have learned, through my own interviewing and hiring
experiences, to be wary of the hyperintense, however. Some of them have been
people of experience, high standards, and/or energy. Others have just been a
pain in the a** -- energetic, rigid, controlling, with difficulty working
cooperatively, difficulty accepting input, and/or difficulty accepting

In one recent example, the "too intense" person had experience, high
standards, and lots of energy but also all of the less-appealing traits I
mentioned above. This person did good work but was a management nightmare: a
time-sink with big control issues. I've never struck anyone in my life but
this person tested me. I really wanted to slap this person up side the

Conversely, some of the folks I've worked with or hired who were "too
intense" at first glance have turned out to be great additions to the team.
Unfortunately, as Bruce mentions, the most reliable way to discover the
difference between the two types is to work with them for a couple of

You can't lump all of the "too intense" interviewees into a neat group any
more than you can label all of those who respond badly to the intense folks
as mediocre or rut-bound.

This concludes today's rant,



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