Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Civil 3D Interview Questions

Over the past few years I’ve done a several interviews, unfortunately for me it has resulted in only one offer that I had to decline. But in these interviews I’ve noticed that Civil 3D related questions are lacking. Not lacking in that they don’t ask, but lacking in the interviewer’s knowledge of how to show that a person has Civil 3D knowledge. Sure you could just ask and get the default answer of “Yes, I know Civil 3D I’m an expert”, but how do you know if they are telling the truth? Now you could get out a computer and test them on it, but I’m guessing that most of the interviewers don’t know how to run Civil 3D themselves. So that test probably won’t work.

So how can you tell if they know Civil 3D? I’ve come up with some questions that may help you determine if the person is versed in Civil 3D. I do want to add a disclaimer that my questions are geared towards finding the self motivated learner and someone always on the look out for new information. It won’t demonstrate if the prospective candidate has attended a reseller’s three day class and then sat next to and questioned the target person with questions for the last three years in the previous job. I really don’t want to hire that person, because unless you have the self motivated learner already on staff, that new hire is quickly going to become obsolete in their knowledge of Civil 3D.

Now the first question to ask is “What Civil 3D related blogs you read?”. If they stare back at you and don’t know what a blog is, well this person probably isn’t what your looking for. If they real off the best or most frequent blog posters, then you are headed for a winning candidate. If you are a interviewer here are some of the top Civil 3D related blogs:

Blogs are a great source of information, whether its finding out the newest product information or solutions to common problems. With blogs you get the best bang for your buck since they are free.

Now lets say they claim they’ve been using Civil 3D since it first came out, the question to ask is “What is your favorite Civil 3D Rocks post?” Now if they don’t know about the best early Civil 3D blog out there, they probably use Civil 3D like they used Land Desktop, as an expensive version of AutoCAD. Now if they mention that her parcel rules posts was one of the best or her lone wolf post really helped you in learning Civil 3d; then you probably have a candidate who has used the product and goes out and learns how to use the product when they encounter road blocks.

The next question to ask is “What is your favorite Civil 3D Discussion Group?” Now there isn’t a correct answer to this, just that they provide an answer to it. Answers I would expect to hear include the Autodesk Civil 3D Forum, The Swamp or the AUGI Civil 3D Discussion Group. Now you can ask if they are active in the groups or just go and look for answers. If they are active, ask for their user name so you can see how they interact with others in a public setting. This answer lets you know if the person goes and tries to find what they don’t know.

The last question is to ask them “How many Autodesk University online classes have you downloaded, watched or used to solve an issue in the past?” Now if they don’t know what Autodesk University is or about the boatload of information that is available there, it would indicate they are not a self motivated learner.

In review here are the questions:

  • “What Civil 3D related blogs you read?”
  • “What is your favorite Civil 3D Rocks post?” (for long time users)
  • “What is your favorite Civil 3D Discussion Group?”
  • “How many Autodesk University online classes have you downloaded, watched or used to solve an issue in the past?”

Now I’m sure there are other questions that are just as good, but I feel that the self motivated learner is the best one to have as a part of your team and I feel that these questions will help you find that person.


TommieR said...

Wow! You really hit the nail on the head with this blog. Finding an individual that is self motivated in learning and improving their Civil 3D skills is very important. Classroom training is great, but having an individual of this type on staff can really make a difference in helping a company succeed in their move to Civil 3D so much faster. I look forward to using these questions in the future.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you bang on target. Some of the best questions show more about the user than their CV. My personal favorite q&a are related to, problems with the release they claim too be an expert in. If the can't describe the work arround then that generally proves they owned a program but as you said they were just using it as AutoCad...

Brian Hailey said...


I think you left off one of the best Civil 3D related blogs off you list. Let's see, what was it again? Oh yeah! Civil 3D Reminders!

Kyle Kondo said...

I really wanted to write a comment, but it got too long. I've since posted my thoughts on our website.

Interview Questions said...

Really i am happy with these questions,thanks for posting.


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