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October 04, 2004

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I've seen a few interview talks at each of Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT. All three schools had some level of direct questioning. I don't like the term "negative question" because it seems to imply that the question itself is negative, when in fact asking these kinds of questions can help refine the understanding of the work. (I'm leaving aside obviously nonconstructive questions here, e.g. "this is worthless.") The only time I've seen it get really ugly is when audience members believe that the speaker is misrepresenting work, either their own or others'.

The questions at MIT, however, were by far the most direct, and the number of interruptions most frequent. I suspect that is part of the culture there, but I can't really be sure.

Suresh

was going to post a comment, then the first commmenter stole my thunder :). I would agree with this comment about AT&T as well, except that I think we have a tendency maybe not to confront the candidate head on, but be a bit (too) subtle about it.

DavidMolnar

Well, in fairness, your comment about conferences vs. seminars says everything I was going to say to Lance's post. :)

-David (forgot to sign first comment)

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