My Interview Program

Long time ago (just like a fairy tale), my Boss asked me to check whether a new colleague was intelligent enough for the assigned task. This was a strange request for me as I was always not sure about how much I knew about the job that I did. Due to this reason, I was immediately under tremendous pressure. As is my nature I expressed my discomfort to my boss and requested him to teach me about how I could evaluate this colleague of mine. My boss told me that the easiest technique was to use the “Question Theory”. I told my boss that I had never gone to any business school and in all of my education; I had never come across the “Question Theory”. So, my boss explained that the “Question Theory” stated that to test a person’s capability or to test a technique or to test any plan, if we could ask questions which included “What”, “Why”, “How”, “Where”, “When” then within 5 such questions, we would know the goodness of the subject. He further explained that if I want to be perceived as intelligent, in any circumstance, when I did not understand anything of what is being discussed, simply ask any of these questions in any order and the people will go out-of-the-way to explain the details. There is a good chance that I could understand the subject to some extent. However, there was a huge advantage in sense that if the person went on to answer till 4 such questions were asked, then I could be very sure that the person knew the subject extremely well; even though I would know nothing about the subject. However, if the person answered all the 5 questions, then the person is a bluffer. He further explained that in all circumstances, everybody would only respect me more as I would be perceived as a person who asked only relevant question coming from deep understanding of the subject.

I thanked my boss for this extreme piece of knowledge. Programmer that I am, I formulated it as a theory for evaluating any person or team for easy implementation as I get uncomfortable when I need applying myself. The formula was this set of simple steps.

  1. Codify the evaluation questions as 1 = What, 2 = Why, 3 = How, 4 = Where, 5 = When.
  2. START.
  3. Take any book. Open any page in the book. Start reading the page till I came across the first word or phrase or sentence that confused me and I know nothing about what I had read.
  4. Memorise the portion of the text in the book that cause this confusion in me.
  5. Approach the person who needs evaluating.
  6. After a bit of ice breaking conversation, ask the person to explain the portion of text memorized in step 4.
  7. If the person does not answer or says that he did not know anything about the question, conclude that the person does not know anything. STOP.
  8. If the person answers the question asked in step 6 (whether or not I understood the answer), then select a random natural number between 1 and 5. Decode the corresponding evaluation question from step 1.
  9. Ask the evaluation question as determined in step 8.
  10. If the person answers the question (whether or not I understood the answer), conclude that the person has BASIC level of knowledge. (Else, conclude that person does not know anything. STOP.) If there is a need for further evaluation, proceed to step 11, else STOP.
  11. Select a random natural number between 1 and 5 which is not equal to the selected number in step 8. Decode the corresponding evaluation question from step 1.
  12. Ask the evaluation question as determined in step 11.
  13. If the person answers the question (whether or not I understood the answer), conclude that the person has INTERMEDIATE level of knowledge. (Else, conclude that the person is at the level of intelligence as determined in step 10. STOP.) If there is a need for further evaluation, proceed to step 14, else STOP.
  14. Select a random natural number between 1 and 5 which is not equal to the selected numbers in step 8 and step 11. Decode the corresponding evaluation question from step 1.
  15. Ask the evaluation question as determined in step 14.
  16. If the person answers the question (whether or not I understood the answer), conclude that the person has ADVANCED level of knowledge. (Else, conclude that the person is at the level of intelligence as determined in step 13. STOP.) If there is a need for further evaluation, proceed to step 17, else STOP.
  17. Select a random natural number between 1 and 5 which is not equal to the selected numbers in step 8 and step 11 and step 14. Decode the corresponding evaluation question from step 1.
  18. Ask the evaluation question as determined in step 17.
  19. If the person answers the question (whether or not I understood the answer), conclude that the person is an EXPERT. (Else, conclude that the person is at the level of intelligence as determined in step 16. STOP.) If there is a need for further evaluation, proceed to step 20, else STOP.
  20. Determine the natural number between 1 and 5 which has not been selected in step 8 and step 11 and step 14 and step 17. Decode the corresponding evaluation question from step 1.
  21. Ask the evaluation question as determined in step 20.
  22. If the person does not answer the question, then conclude that the person is an EXPERT as determined in step 19. STOP. If the person does answer the question, then conclude that the person has bluffed all along the interview. STOP.

For simplicity of explaining the interview process, consider that the person being interview is Ramu. You see we always need assuming in Mathematics.

Armed with my interviewing program, I picked up the first book that came my way. I did not have to open the book as the cover had a word about which I knew nothing. It said “SID”. I also picked up a fair dice to help me in selecting a random number. I had to add one extra piece of logic because of the dice and that was that if the open face said 6, I had to roll the dice once again till 6 did not appear in the open face. This was a complicated piece of program as it involved recursive logic.

Armed with my word, I approached Ramu. After shaking hands, I asked him “What he thought about SID”. He told me that SID was a nice guy and a very good friend of his.  I immediately concluded that the person was worth interviewing as I found myself at step 8 in the program. So, I rolled the dice and number was 5. So, I asked him, “When?”. Ramu said, “All the time. He was always very positive”. I understood nothing about what this meant. I was already confused as I was unable to understand how a person could be “positive”. From my basic arithmetic knowledge, I only knew that +1 is always positive. Anyway I did not delve into this and concluded that the person had BASIC level of intelligence as per step 10. So, I proceeded to select my next random number. It was 2 and so I asked, “Why?”. Ramu immediately said SID had a wonderful family and had a wonderful educational background and this was possibly why he was always so positive. Now, I was very curious because I also had a wonderful family and had gone to big school with a large playground; so was I also positive? Anyway I did not ask my question and concentrated on my program as I found myself in step 14. Again, I rolled my dice and this time the number was 4. So, I asked “Where?”. Ramu told me that SID lived in Gariahat. This time I understood the answer as I knew where Gariahat was as I had gone there to buy a saree for my wife.

I was elated as not only had Ramu answered all my questions till now; I actually understood what Ramu was answering about the subject. So, Ramu had the extra skill of getting down to the level of the other people and talking in their frequency. I decided that Ramu at least had ADVANCED level of intelligence and that should be enough for my boss. Armed with my conclusion, I left Ramu and went to my workstation. I open PowerPoint and made a wonderful management report.

Dice five
Dice five (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
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