Tag Archives: Small Test Projects

The bidding war — a way to test companies out!

Categories: Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It is customary for people to compare bids when hiring a contractor. But, for longer term relationships, it is more complicated. I have learned that a company might bid a reasonable amount on a particular job, but then bid a crazy amount on job #2. If you want to hire someone who can handle anything that you throw at them for the next 10 years, you need to think about how much they can handle.

I gave a bid for a moderately easy project to about 50 companies to see who was in range. I had to give it to many, so that I would be able to choose from the ones who bid within range. What I learned was that only 20% of companies bid within range. A few underbid through desperation or stupidity, while most overbid — through stupidity, or hour padding — or both. But, the lesson that I learned was that when I gave companies who bid reasonably on the first bid — a second more complicated bid, many of them fell on their face.

There are bids on easy projects, medium, and more difficult projects. The range in bids is more extreme and unpredictable on complicated projects. If you are testing someone out to see if they can handle complicated work, you might start them off with the harder bid first, and then give them an easier bid.

I’m testing dozens of companies out. I give them a test project to weed them out. Most companies are too irresponsible to complete a simple assignment on their own initiative. The problem is that after I weed companies out with bidding and small test projects, there don’t seem to be more than 2% who make it through my easy hurdles. Depressing, but at least I am learning good methodology for testing companies out.

If you need a long term service provider, a test is no good unless you test them on the hardest project that you will ever assign to them!

(1) If you’re testing companies out, do you give the hard test 1st or an easy one?
(2) When we requested a 2nd more complicated bid, most companies fell on their face!

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What are the best interview questions?

Categories: Hiring & Firing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What are the best interview questions?

Too many people are asking interview questions where the answers are too obvious.

Q. What would you do if you won a million dollars?
A. I would come to work the next day, I love being loyal to my boss.

What do you expect them to say. So, I decided that I prefer personality questions where there is no correct answer.

How much would you spend on a house, and why?
How do you fit a giraffe in a refrigerator?
What attributes do you look for in friends?
What traits do you find desirable in an enemy?
What trait upsets you most about clients?

You can learn a lot about a person’s personality by asking these questions. There are also infinite ways to answer these questions.

Unfortunately, what I have found is that the people who did worst at my interviews did the best work. The people who were the most polished at the interview, failed to deliver good service. Please keep in mind that I was interviewing companies with more than one person. I am speaking of the overall output of a company.

When you boil it down, what really matters is if a company can make it through two or three small test projects of varying difficulty and a few test estimates. That says more about them than whether they have good techniques for fitting a giraffe in a refrigerator…

“Here Shelly… just stick your neck through that hole and I’ll give you these nice leaves… yum!!!”

(1) The best interview questions are more conversational than technical. See our examples!
(2) The best interview questions are not what you would ever dream of.
(3) Those that did best at the interview were good talkers, but not good workers. Hmm.

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