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I especially liked a few of the ideas around hiring and interviewing:

When hiring candidates, ask for their operating manual. Tell candidates: “Imagine you're a robot. What does your manual say under 'ideal operating conditions.'” Once they answer, follow-up with this question: “What does the 'warning label' say?” You're likely to get insightful, unpredictable and humorous answers in this very low-lift way of gauging self-awareness and revealing personality.

Test candidates' ability to observe. Interviews index highly on engineers' capacity to execute. But there's often not an easy way to test how they absorb and apply information — especially in group sessions or activities. One technical leader offered this exercise: “We have a game that our office likes to play. It's a machine — kinda like a pinball game. After candidates go through their interview schedule, we ask them to play the game with us. They usually think it's about culture fit. But here's the catch: We have them watch the game first. And then instead of telling them the rules, we ask them to tell us the rules. We're testing to see if they can extract how to play the game from observation.”

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