Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Christiaan

VectorWorks quiz questions for current and potential employees

Recommended Posts

Next year I'm going to start assessing our current user skills (for training purposes) and potential employees (to vet them) in part by giving them a quiz; mainly multi-choice I think. And I'll probably ask current employees a different set of questions to potential employees.

Does anyone have any suggestions for questions I should ask?

Once I've put a test together I'll post it to the Resource Sharing forum under a free licence.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

What some firms do, is rather than specific questions in VW, they ask workflows.

What is the first step you take when starting a new project?

What would the layer z and delta z settings be for a 3 story resiential, with 8' ceilings, 16" slabs, etc.

How would you go about getting a tailored material finish to be used in a project?

Beyond VW questions, many firms ask potential candidates various industry standard questions.

Things like that ...

Edited by Katie

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, I'll have a CAD exercise for potential employees too, which I'll record with video screen capture, but the other aspect will be a quiz; mainly focused on CAD but industry standard questions is a good one too.

Share this post


Link to post

One of the main things that architectual employers often overlook is a draftsmans knowledge of the industry. I have found over the years that it is much easier to train an individual to operate a CAD program than it is to teach them how to build. Asking simple questions that seek to find out what a persons depth of knowledge in structures (pieces and parts) will tell you whether or not they will struggle in the CAD end.

Pete A.

Share this post


Link to post

Islandmon,

That's a tough question.

Hmmmmm....well I've tinkered. Started out with Lincoln Logs and stepped up to Leggo's following the directions mostly. I do remember once smashing somes guys thumb with a hammer (ooops...it really was an accident, sorry Al).

Come to think of it...I did design and build a Pine Wood Derby race car when I was in Cub Scouts. Never won anything though.

But I do get your point as I do live in the la-la land of the McMansions and SUV's where reality is purchased at the Mall. I work out of my basement, don't own a cell phone and own a motorcycle instead of a car.

Maybe someday if I ever get to the USVI we can swap our real world adventures over a couple of cold tall ones. Until then I shall continue to grind out a meager existence in this dimension we refer to as time.

Pete A.

Share this post


Link to post
Asking simple questions that seek to find out what a persons depth of knowledge in structures (pieces and parts) will tell you whether or not they will struggle in the CAD end.

Not necessarily. We've had some very knowledgeable architects, structure wise, who ended up costing the company because of their very low level of CAD knowledge/skills.

Also, I'm only a part of the interview process and my part in it is to access their CAD skills. The Director is still interviewing them and asking such questions. My job is to assess their CAD skills and rank them on this basis.

And, again, with current employees it's much easier to assess someone's knowledge of building simply by talking to them and looking at their work. It's much harder to assess someone's CAD knowledge because the process counts as much as the end product.

Share this post


Link to post

CAD skills are easy to acquire. Knowledge and expertise about building takes years.

Or to put it another way - knowing what to draw is far more important than knowing how to draw it.

Many architectural firms fall into the trap of over rating computer and CAD skills. It is a corollary of their reluctance to spend money on training.

Share this post


Link to post
Pete, I think islandmon was suggesting a question rather than asking you directly.

Yeah ... sorryboutthat ... as Christiaan states, it was simply a question to be added to his list ... that's all.

It is NOT a dig at the much venerated Mr. Panthony ... especially after that really kool rendering montage he posted last week ; )

I try NEVER to personally attack the skills, experiences or credentials of any members of this forum.... that's not my style. I'm a team builder .. first and foremost.

Christiaan's post is pertinent... and deserves our thoughtful input.

Once again ... mike m oz sums up my thoughts precisely.

Share this post


Link to post

Guys...Guys,

No foul, no harm. I did catch Islandmons intention.

I was really having some fun. No really. The first thing I try to do is find a way to laugh then get serious...or is seriously laugh...oh, I'm an idiot.

More to the point. It is very difficult to find and retain talent. Skill is learned and developed where talent is a gift. I've hired some really talented people who have gone on to perform wonderfully for years. And then again I've worked with some real heels.

I hate the term CAD jockey but that is what some firms turn out...all they are looking for is line crunchers. Architecture gets me all emotional and teary eyed. Some folks are real good at sitting infront of a desk slouched back in thier chair pumping CAD iron for a living. Ok, hire them if you need lines on a page and don't get me wrong, there is a need for people who love to do that sort of thing. But there is also those folks, who for the most part can envision dimension, character, form and function that you won't find (very often) at the corner pub sloshing beers on Friday night. They are the ones whose dedication is their demise, caring more for perfection than production.

It's those types of people who you must design your testing around. Finding those types of people by asking the right questions or for that matter uncovering their underlying talent and skillset is the goal. Empowering them to excel at what they are good at is your resposibility as an employer.

I have to say it takes guts to seek advice...so Christian, I know you are on the right track with your search. I'm sure your co-workers apprectiate your commitment and support of them.

Islandmon, you have a poetic methedology of prose that requires mind altering substances prior to ingenstation of script. In other words you crack me up with your wit. Keep em comin'

Pete A.

Share this post


Link to post

By the way Pete, I sent your image to several of our local firms to show them what can be done with a bit of effort. The main man at one of them was so impressed he wants to know if you are interested in a change of lifestyle - to working in a seaside environment in one of the world's great locations for sailing (Fremantle, Western Australia - where the 1987 America's Cup series was held). If you are interested drop me a line and I'll forward their details to you.

PS If anybody else is interested in a lifestyle change there is plenty of work in Western Australia at the moment. PM me and I will pass the details along.

Edited by mike m oz

Share this post


Link to post
CAD skills are easy to acquire. Knowledge and expertise about building takes years.

Or to put it another way - knowing what to draw is far more important than knowing how to draw it.

Many architectural firms fall into the trap of over rating computer and CAD skills. It is a corollary of their reluctance to spend money on training.

To be honest I didn't mean this to turn into a debate about the merit of certain types of employees or the merit of assessing CAD skills. As I said building knowledge will of course be taken into account but, as *part* of the interview process, my job will be to assess CAD skills so they can be taken into account when employing someone, and in order to determine what training is needed for current employees.

Share this post


Link to post

You will put them off going for the job! Too many jobs around and employees can be chossey. You rarely get someone who has vw skills. Most are autocad. Also experienced VW users tend to have their own way of doing things and do not want to easily follow the office procedures.

At a former office we set up a CAD test at the second interview but it tended to put people off.

Recently we made a job offer to someone and offered a days training with a VW tutor prior to starting to work. This would bring him up to speed and give us an expert's independant view of his skills and how much further training would be required. He turned the job down.

We tend to ask them to show a portfolio of work that covers all their skills and experience, including CAD. On the CAD front we ask them how they set up the drawings, file structure, etc. This is hard to convey and so you could ask them to bring a file in and present it on your computers.

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, that is a possibly Michael, but we've found ourselves in a position where we had a choice to make and it came down to CAD skills but we didn't know who was better. We've also had people who were dishonest about their CAD skills.

In any case I still need to assess our current users. I wish I'd posted two separate threads now.

Share this post


Link to post

Give them a box of bits containing PC/Mac [preloaded with licensed copy of Vectorworks V11], monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, cables and a bootleg CD of Vectorworks 2008 then tell them to put it together and draw then printout a box in Vectorworks.

The people who put the kit together successfully will cost less in support calls in the long run than those that can't but may already know Vectorworks. Those that install the bootleg version should be bottom of the list.

Share this post


Link to post

Christiaan says:

assessing our current user skills
You mean that you don't know if your employees are any good?

Pete A. says:

One of the main things that architectual employers often overlook is a draftsmans knowledge of the industry.
My knowledge of the industry was abysmal, but I was a whiz on the computer. It is more important that they know how things are built than how to use a CAD system I have to admit.

Share this post


Link to post
You mean that you don't know if your employees are any good?

As explained, it's to help me identify what sort of training I need to do.

It's difficult to assess user skills accurately once you get into the tens of users and above without automating it some how. If you don't directly measure skills, then you're guessing at needs.

You might find some users have large gaps in CAD knowledge that they've been concealing for years. You may find that some users genuinely don't understand your standards. If only a few users have problems with standards, then this indicates an isolated problem, which is best resolved by individual training. If many users have a problem doing some seemingly simple task then you know you have a systemic problem and therefore need group training. If a few users excel in all areas then you've found your power users (although I already know who these are).

By screening all users I can build a list of training topics based on actual need rather than speculation.

Share this post


Link to post

Christiaan,

I took the liberty to re-arrange your text...I hope you see the sense in this.

I can build a list of training topics based on actual need rather than speculation By screening all users.

I think you need to build the list of topics based on your level of skill...then poll your employees to find out who would like to increase or improve in what areas. This way you will give them ownership of seeking knowledge.

Pete A.

Share this post


Link to post

Absolutely agree Pete. As noted in my previous post, testing is to "help me identify" what sort of training I need to do. *Help* meaning that it's just one of many ways to identify the needs.

In fact I've asked all my users to suggest questions as well.

I have to say I'm surprised by the level of antagonism toward testing. I don't think it bodes well for VectorWorks offices. The lack of a culture of systematic training is surely a factor in the lack of VW experience available out there.

This thread has turned into a bit of a debate so I think I might post another just for suggested questions.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

 

7150 Riverwood Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046, USA   |   Contact Us:   410-290-5114

 

© 2018 Vectorworks, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Vectorworks, Inc. is part of the Nemetschek Group.

×