I posted a comment to Freakonomics today, and I almost made it on the first page of comments. Sadly, mine is #27 and is unlikely to be read by anyone but those of you who clicked it from here. Or maybe, if I get really lucky, someone else procrastinating bigger things will post a “re: #27” comment later.
The Freakonomics post was about a website where potential employers could post mini projects for students and other job seekers to complete. The idea is that then job seekers can demonstrate their skills before being interviewed or hired. Sadly, I think such a site would get plenty of traffic. I sympathize with all the students who would feel compelled to do those extra projects during what little remains of their sleeping hours. And no, I don’t think it would help them get jobs.
Oh, I also commented on Question: Where to Study Information Visualization or Infographics at Information Aesthetics today. Yes, I gave the School of Information a shout out. I would love to have more infoaesthetics types around.
On the employer side, I doubt that such a site would actually help find appropriate employees. If my work at Microsoft taught me nothing else, it showed that domain proficiency does not indicate success in employment. Great engineers have mad social skills. All engineers spend more time in meetings than any student could ever imagine. A site for mini projects might get work done for free, but it won’t help people weed through CS graduates to find the ones that can work in teams and on large-scale projects. Now if only there were some way to figure out whether a potential employee could work well with others…