about a set of interview questions that potential employers can find it
useful to ask, about each job in a candidate's history:
How did you find out about the job ?
What did you like about the job before you started ?
Why did you leave ?
Naturally, the first two of those can be asked also about the job the
interview relates to. Since they're reasonable questions, it makes sense for me
to write up the answers to them alongside my career
Head-hunters; and I'd noticed the company as interesting in my
earlier job-hunting, so was willing to talk.
Open-source core product, modest-sized development team, bright young
The investors – who'd told management to grow and promised to
pay the resulting transient deficit – decided they didn't want to own
technology companies any more. The company was forced to abandon the growth
plan and those it had hired for it. At least we were able to leave the
survivors with a better code-base on which to build their future.
My friend Jonny Axelsson was working there and I'd asked him to let
me know when they resumed hiring, after the internet economy bubble burst.
Jonny had shown me round during an earlier visit to Oslo and it
looked like a good place. Opera was also working towards making the browser
market a free market, rather than the monopoly it was, and keeping the general
market for 'phone software from becoming a monopoly. Moving to Norway apealed
After a decade, only the last of the above was really true and I was
getting stale; it was time for a change.
I heard rumours of an interesting young start-up in an incubator near
where I was working; so researched them on the web.
A bright young team of enthusiastic recent graduates; and an
interview process that left me in no doubt that they only recruited the best, so
I wouldn't find myself carrying weaker colleagues just in order to get things
The internet economy bubble burst, obliging the company to contract
– and the expensive old man drew the short straw !
At a midwinter party, a friend of friends asked what I was up to;
after hearing the shambles, asked if I could sysadmin; after hearing a humble
answer, asked if I could webadmin; as I could, offered me a job.
Bringing local small businesses into the Web era and being solvent
again, so that I could take my time about looking for a proper job.
My father worked for the same company and knew of a department that
might have a use for a school leaver who could program.
A chance to put into practice what I'd learned at school and get some
experience with more modern computers. Bonus funding for my student years was
It was time to take up my place at Cambridge.
The same article follows up with How many people have you hired, and
where did you find them ? but I've always preferred technical
rôles to management ones, so never been the one to hire anyone. The
closest I've been to the normal recruitment process is examiner for the
programming test Opera applied to those seeking developer positions. The extent
to which I've ever taken a leadership rôle has also been technical, as: an
adviser to developers; an advocate of their interests and concerns; and the
occasional ring-leader of skunk-work.