we rejected applicants with excessive job hopping and focused on applicants who spent at least one or two years in each position listed on his or her resume. He was also able to give guidance on applicant's schooling, rate their schools on a scale of one to five.
We used a two-stage interview technique: Applicants were given a quick technical screen on the key technologies of our product, and those who did well on the technical screen were given a longer interview to probe their knowledge and experience in key processes, especially testing and leadership. The face-to-face interviews were much more successful than the phone interviews, and our ears quickly became acclimatized to the local accent.
During my two-week stay, we developed a prioritized list of possible candidates and left the final salary and benefits negotiation to the engineering manager. Within a week of my departure, we had four confirmed candidates. They were to start four weeks after accepting the job (the typical notice given in the Indian software industry).
Both the liaison and I had a wonderful time in India. The people were incredibly friendly, and really went out of their way to make us comfortable. We were taken out to dinner, shopping, and site-seeing. I even got to ride an elephant!
While waiting for the engineers to start, the liaison obtained and configured a test server. He also purchased laptops and software for each of the engineers. The plan was to have these arrive prior to the engineers' start date. However, it took much longer than anticipated to get the hardware through customs, so in actuality they arrived about two weeks after they started.
While waiting for the visas, the liaison started the training process. He took them through all the different components of the system, explaining what the components did on a high level. He was also sensitive to finding gaps in their technical knowledge, so that we could schedule any required third-party training back in the states.
Coming to America
The engineers arrived in the states in late November. I am afraid that they had a more difficult time adjusting to the weather, with the winter being one of the worst in recent memory for snow and ice. A first priority was making sure that they all had adequate boots and coats.
We got them two furnished apartments in the same complex. We had hired two men and two women, so the men were in one apartment and the women in another. The liaison was given a mini-van to transport them in, so there were no issues with learning to drive in the states.
With the engineers and the liaison in the US, we started their training process in earnest. We first gave them a relatively simple programming assignment and used the results to assess their technical skills. Based on our findings, we decided to schedule them for further training in Windows and SQL Server administration, as well as a refresher course in SQL.
Training in the states was split into two parts. The first consisted of a combination of classroom training on various aspects of our systems, combined with practical exercises in configuring and testing our software. The second part consisted of creating a "fake" project for them to work on with minimal guidance from their mentor. This project was designed to replicate what it would be like if the team made actual modifications to all major aspects of the software.
Prior to the start of the fake project, we identified one of the team members as the future supervisor of