Q&A: Ed Murray, VP of R&D and Operations, Gomez Inc.

‘Good problem-solving skills are more important than specific technical
experience. Smart people can learn new technologies quickly.’

By Sonia Lelii

Dice News Staff | August 2008

Ed Murray is senior vice president of R&D and operations at
Gomez Inc., a Lexington, Mass., company that helps businesses measure
the performance and availability of Web sites. As a 24/7, Software as a
Service (SaaS) business, Gomez typically hires software engineers,
quality assurance workers, customer support representatives and
database administrators. Murray is usually the final interviewer during
the hiring process. During a recent conversation, he offered insights
into what a hiring manager looks for in tech job candidates.

How do you approach an interview?

have been doing this for quite awhile. I have been managing software
development teams for 28 years, so I have a standard list of questions
I use in any interview. One of the questions I ask about is the types
of challenges people faced in the past and how they have dealt with
them. I don’t tend to focus on the technical details, but rather
attitude and motivation. Good problem-solving skills are more important
than specific technical experience. Smart people can learn new
technologies quickly.

What exactly do you glean from the ‘challenges’ question?

creative people are and how flexible they are. Also, how they deal with
pressure. Business moves quickly today and all parts of the business
must be adaptable.

How do you judge a candidate? What do you look for in an employee?

and motivation first. For me, that’s always important. I want people
who are willing to learn what our business is about. I want people who
are willing to work hard for our customers. I want people who are
interested in intellectual challenges. Secondly, I look at specific
background and expertise to see how (the candidate) fits the job.

advice would you give someone who is starting a job search – whether
they’re just coming out of college or an experienced worker?

answer is the same in both cases. It’s important for candidates to
understand what gets them excited. They have to understand that and
they have to get the company to see that. Perhaps it’s easier when you
have more experience, but even someone who is fresh out of school needs
to know what gets them excited. Time figuring that out is time
well-spent. Enthusiasm shows in an interview.

Reach Sonia Lelii at sonia.lelii@dice.com