RE: Civil 3D Interview Questions

Let me start out, that this post was originally inspired by the recent Civil 3D Reminders, Civil 3D Interview Questions post,  which according to Chris’ last post is no longer going to be around after today (April 1st).  I really enjoyed the post and found that it dug up early Civil 3D memories I had completely forgotten about.  After reading the post, I could not stop thinking about it.  I really wanted to either write a comment or a post in reply.  As you can see, I decided to write a post.

I definitely agree that being self-motivated to learn is a valuable skill in an employee; however, I do not think that reading and remembering blogs and their entries clearly indicates whether the candidate knows Civil 3D.

There are three modes I often find myself in, research mode, thinking mode, and asking mode.  Research mode is when I am trying to find someone else’s answer to a problem that they have already solved.  Thinking mode often comes after research mode comes up dry and I have to solve the problem myself.   Additionally, asking mode comes up interspersed along the trail.

When you are hiring someone, not only do you want them to be able to power through and research the solution, you want them to be able to think their way through a problem.  The more esoteric the topic, the more likely that they are going to have to think their way out of it.   You also want in an employee that does not mind asking for help when they are really stuck.  I do not mean asking for help when they are remotely stuck and have not even tried to go through either mode (research or thinking) but rather one that knows when both methods are not getting them anywhere and it is time to ask for help.

How does this connect with CAD Masters Inc?  Not all problems are going to be researchable, at least via Google.  If you dig deep enough into your Autodesk software, you’re going to run into problems that no one else has published the solutions for.  This is why it is important to work with a value added reseller (VAR) such as CAD Masters.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One of them is that we run into a lot of different problems.  Way more than there is time for us to publish answers for.  Another reason is that we have many employees here that we can bounce ideas off of.  It’s amazing what can be solved as a group whereas the problem might be impossible for a single person to think of on their own.

So, how do you know if someone knows Civil 3D?  In addition to probing their researching and problem solving methods, you might want to:

  • Ask them if they know who their Autodesk reseller is.
  • Ask them how often they talked to their reseller.
  • Ask them if they’ve ever asked their reseller a question.
  • Ask them to give you a typical question they might ask their reseller and the answer to that question.
  • If they can clearly explain both the question and the solution, then they probably do understand Civil 3D.

Finally, there are no correct answer to these questions.  Even if they do not know who their reseller was, there’s likely a difficult problem in Civil 3D that they’ve had to solve on their own.  You can ask about that.  These are just some ideas of questions that you can use to determine how well they know Civil 3D or any other software package that the potential hire claims to be an expert in.

  1. Yes, on April 1st I too read Chris’s final post on Civil 3D Reminders ….and so, in response, I decided to reply with a comment. April 1st = April Fools? Yes or No? If he’s serious….then C3D’rs lost “the best” alternative to asking questions to a reseller.

  2. While i completely understand your reseller position, it must be said that most firms (either the reseller or the firm hiring the reseller) don’t necessarily publicize that anyone can call to discuss a problem. In fact, some resellers will limit those calls to specific key individuals to channel both issues and resolutions through an individual who can disseminate to the larger crowd.

    I wish the dialogue were more open between reseller and consulting firms. A great deal of misinformation and /or FUD would be dealt with without the hysteria that typically happens on the discussion boards.

    I digress, the point being that folks who are self-motivated will call the reseller even if they are not in a position to do so. Although i don’t think you’ll need in depth questions to spot a person like this. More likely, they will be asking you questions about how you do or do not create parcels. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the feedback Kevin. I agree with everything that you said and appreciate the thought you put into it. I also understand why some companies would try to keep their technical support services in-house via help desk. There are definitely benefits with that model, such as maintaining company specific standards. With regards to reseller practices, CAD Masters lets everyone that works for our clients call for support for free while they are on subscription and I often forget that not all resellers work that way.

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