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Thread: Recruiting Tanks - How picky are you?

  1. #1
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    Recruiting Tanks - How picky are you?

    I tend to be the first line of screening on tank applicants to our guild. I generally get them to post up an application, then throw four questions at them in their application post. Typical ones:

    - Do you know what effective health is? If yes, give a short summary.
    - What sort of cycle would you use to generate threat, assuming you need to use Shield Block?
    - 490 defense makes you immune to crushing blows?
    - 25% block chance is required?
    - How can you become immune to crushing blows?
    - Is it useful to build Defense past 490?
    - Devastate and Sunder Armour: Compare and contrast
    - Is it a good idea to stack a lot of avoidance in your gear? Why or why not?

    Usually something about their spec:
    - Something strange: Why Improved Demo Shout over Improved Thunderclap?
    - Checking knowledge: Why Improved Heroic Strike over Improved Sunder?

    And finally:
    - What would your two ideal next upgrades be (anything from Gruul to SSC)

    I figure that those questions can gauge the prospect's knowledge of basic mechanics and theory pretty well. Most applicants can answer 50-75%. A few answer them all. Some just don't know and go away. Some just don't know and come back in an hour or so with 75% or more of the answers. I had an in-game interview experience tonight with a warrior who knew none of it. Zero.

    Well, sort of. I asked him about threat, so he rattled off the normal threat cycle ("Sunder*5 then devastate, shield slam/revenge when available, heroic strike at the end"). When I asked him why he used that - "it's what I was told to do".

    I asked him about effective health, and he had no clue. So I asked why he has +12 stamina gems in all sockets - "it's what I was told to do".

    I asked him what his average threat generation on a boss was - "1000-1200" (with a King's Defender)

    After winding my way though this all, the guy was at the end throwing out guesses to answer "can you see anything wrong with four dodges in a row on a boss?" (my favourite: "it makes you more likely to take a crushing blow?")

    So I finally tell the guy that no, we will not pursue his application. He gets all offended and comes out with this:

    no 1 from the top 5 guilds would worry about you knowing this shit

    Yeah, we are picky on DPS and tank types since they are a dime a dozen, to be honest. We're working to push our progression hard, not for arbitrary ranking on the server, but to experience the content and progress for our satisfaction.

    I tend to try out the people who can answer at least half the questions I ask. I'm not interested in teaching tanks theory and mechanics and how to apply that in game. I want someone who can come in and be taught how we do things in a raid and trust that they will do the actual job of tanking without needing their hand held.

    The question is, if someone comes and says "I can't answer any of these questions but I don't lose aggro", are they worth a tryout from the masses of applicants who can answer at least some of them? Is there such a thing as a "natural tank" who just knows how to make it go?

    How picky is too picky?

  2. #2
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    Well, my tank is my alt, but when I app'd to a progressive raiding guild on my Warlock, I had to do the following:
    • Initial quick "interview" with the Warlock class lead - he was looking at my spec/gear and we talked about things. I think he was using this as a way to gauge my knowledge of the talent trees in general.
    • DPS test on Dr. Boom with Warlock class lead - he asked me to think about a rotation change (which I did)
    • DPS test with the Raid Leader (mage) who takes all official DPS tests for the guild.
    • Heroic 5-man to test out my CC control/dps/attitude.

    When I told my friend about that, he laughed and said that it was crazy for a simple guild app. I didn't think it was such a big deal, and I think the guild got exactly what they wanted. A good DPS'er who knew their class, and could possibly help the guild in their progression.

    I don't think the methods you described are too much. If someone is really interested in joining and really knows their stuff, they won't have any problem with going through that process. The only people that will have a problem with it are the ones that fail; and you don't want them anyway.

  3. #3
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    - Do you know what effective health is? If yes, give a short summary.
    - What sort of cycle would you use to generate threat, assuming you need to use Shield Block?
    - 490 defense makes you immune to crushing blows?
    - 25% block chance is required?
    - How can you become immune to crushing blows?
    - Is it useful to build Defense past 490?
    - Devastate and Sunder Armour: Compare and contrast
    - Is it a good idea to stack a lot of avoidance in your gear? Why or why not?

    Usually something about their spec:
    - Something strange: Why Improved Demo Shout over Improved Thunderclap?
    - Checking knowledge: Why Improved Heroic Strike over Improved Sunder?

    And finally:
    - What would your two ideal next upgrades be (anything from Gruul to SSC)
    Exactly the information I read this site to find out :P

  4. #4
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    satrina, I don't think 95% of the current tanks out there could answer your questions more than 75%.

    i sure know that most of the tanks that i've had a run-in with over the last 2 years couldn't.

    hell... most are still in the "i did my 5 sunders, why is my threat only 25% of yours?" camp

    i've had to take tanks aside and painstakingly explain about effective health and threat cycles far too many times.

    -- gyre --

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyre View Post
    satrina, I don't think 95% of the current tanks out there could answer your questions more than 75%.
    The information is out here and there. It's their fault to not learn about their class.
    The problem is, you can do the interview like Satrina and not recruit a guy that could be a good tank but you can recruit a what you think is a good tank that performs well in Kara but later sucks in higher instances.
    We had that problem before. How can a guy that has been tanking for 2 years don't understand the basis about LoS of bosses? (2 weeks wiping on Hydross pulls was too much).

    Yes, you are right, most warrior doesn't know anything about theory. Some perform good and some perform bad. You can teach a guy that knows the theory to perform better, and some that don't know theory would start studying it as soon as you point them where to find sites like this one. But some of them cba to check sites even after you tell them to do so, would u risk ur guild by recruiting someone who can be one of those?


    The right answer for Satrina's test is:
    "You are right, I can't answer more of ur questions, but if you could point me where to get the answers I would be pleased and I promise that I would give them a read." (or how u spell it )
    If I get that kind of answer after a "Satrina's test" I would give that guy a try.

    In summary, TBC raiding is easy. 9/10 encounters can be summarized with 1 phrase. Stay out of the fucking fire.
    Panda Cub with a Gnome pet!

  6. #6
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    Consider this: Kungen couldn't answer your questions. Kungen had to ask a forum how to become crush immune recently. Would he not be a good enough tank for your guild?

    As sad as it is that not everyone can answer those simple questions... just because someone doesn't spend lots of time reading up on theory and guides doesn't mean they won't be very good at their job.
    "We actually talked today about adding an item level 300 shirt that did absolutely nothing but mess with mods that attempt to boil down players to gear scores. " -Ghostcrawler

  7. #7
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    I do perform technical interviews for work and I think book knowledge testing on applications is overrated. Sure it's important but it's just a starting point.

    A paper test is not a great measure of a tanks abilility. I could answer all of those questions but only because I've put in a lot of time researching and it doesn't require that I had ever run an instance before.

    What makes a the difference between a good tank and a great tank though is how well they perform. Take them out give them a spin, heck I'd even let them chose what to tank so you can see them run something they are comfortable with. You'll also get to see what run they choose which again speaks for their experience and confidence.

    I'd rather have a tank with good confidence, skill, and control then one who knows all the answers from this site. A player who has the confidence, skill and control can learn the theory pretty easily but the player who has good theory it may still suck at tanking for a long time to come.

  8. #8
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    I think the main point is not the answers but the way he answers.

    If the final answer is "None of the top5 guilds worldwide cba about that questions" then that guy can perform good but its a total stupid.
    If he answers about how he perform even without knowing that then its worth a try.

    Like you say, theory can be learned, but if you starts with zero disposition to learn the theory, for me, is a signal that he is gonna be zero interested in learning new encounters.
    You can be the best at your job, but i'd rather pick the second best tank if the best one is a total prick.

    In summary, TBC raiding is easy. 9/10 encounters can be summarized with 1 phrase. Stay out of the fucking fire.
    Panda Cub with a Gnome pet!

  9. #9
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    I think I can count on my fingers the tanks on my server who can answer 75+% of these questions. I'm not kidding ...

  10. #10
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    I think you're all a bit pessimistic. I generally get answers to all of the questions of some sort, and usually 50-75% correct. People who fall outside of that are the exceptions that I've seen.

    The real world comparison is a good one. I also perform interviews for work, and I'll be the first to agree that book learning can be overrated. However, like having a single position open with a flood of applicants, you must have some screening process. The most common one is spelling and grammar on resume and cover letter. By the same token, how many otherwise good and solid prospects do we automatically discard because of that simple screen?

    In my real world experience, book learned people tend to be the ones who will put in the effort to keep their skills up to date and develop new ones. In my game experience, the people who have researched theory and mechanics tend to be the ones who put in the effort to read strategies ahead of time and offer constructive input to the learning phase. In both worlds there are exceptions, of course. They seem to be equally rare that I've seen.

    All that to offer this point to the discussion: We get 2-3 tank applicants a week, and we have one spot open. Taking every prospect for a trial would basically be a revolving door. How harsh a weeding mechanism does it look now?

    (Oh, for point of fact: the guy I was talking to was rejected based on reliable information from another guild he'd applied to regarding personality and skill, superseding any decision I would have to make anyway)

  11. #11
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    Not a single one of the tank's I have in my guild, or have recruited have been able to answer most of these questions. However, all the tank's I have invited to the guild came back with answer's.
    That to me is the most important. If I ask someone a question they could not answer, and they take their time to find it out and come back to me, unasked, then they are worth a shot. They showed a dedication to their class and their application that not alot of people do. To want to know how to do your job in a raid setting deserves a shot.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
    - Do you know what effective health is? If yes, give a short summary.
    - What sort of cycle would you use to generate threat, assuming you need to use Shield Block?
    - 490 defense makes you immune to crushing blows?
    - 25% block chance is required?
    - How can you become immune to crushing blows?
    - Is it useful to build Defense past 490?
    - Devastate and Sunder Armour: Compare and contrast
    - Is it a good idea to stack a lot of avoidance in your gear? Why or why not?
    I am pretty confident I can answer all those questions correctly. But maybe I'm wrong. Like most everyone else here, we are here to learn.

    Can you post what you would consider to be acceptable answers to the above questions?

  13. #13
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    I knew I forgot something in my second post. Centx nailed it right on the head. I had one prospect who caught me in game and we interviewed in tells before the application went up on the forums. He said "I don't know" to every question I asked, except for the difference between sunder and devastate.

    When I checked the forums an hour later, he had posted his application anyway, and included the answers to all of the questions I had asked in the "anything else we should know?" section.

    We hired him.

  14. #14
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    Good call, Gajanana. Go here!

  15. #15
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    I knew all that stuff and I was the shittiest tank in Outlands because I was book smart but not real world smart. I had never tanked an Outlands instance but would have gotten an A on the quiz. That's all different now, but my point is you can know all this and still be a horrible tank....and a horrible guild-mate.

    The reciprocal is also true. People can be great tanks and not know Calculus. I think a better quiz would be:

    1. Do you get into arguements about Chuck Norris or Hunters on /2.
    2. What is the procedure for rolling on BoP blues if there is an enchanter in the group?
    3. Can you keep your mouth shut on vent and do what you're told by the raid leader without arguing?
    4. (not a question, rather just go to the armory and look at their gear and their gem choices....that will tell all you need to know almost)
    5. I like your question about threat, and which order to push which buttons.
    6. Ask them, "Explain the differences between EH, threat, and Avoidance. When do you know you're lacking one, and what would you do about it?"
    7. Do you farm honor in AV while you're AFK?


    I would also ask questions about their knowledge of other classes. A great tank is someone that knows how many traps a hunter can lay, or a mage to sheep, or a lock to banish, etc. How the team plays together is the most important thing, and while knowing your class is great, I don't think all that theorycraft in the initial interview is what's the most important...just that they know the difference betwee aggro, health, and avoidance, and how to achieve each.

  16. #16
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    It really depends on how your raid is structured, how many apps you have to filter etc.

    Once in a while we get apps for one of our three guilds in our raid alliance. If he wants to join my guild and is a warrior, my GM tends to talk to him in TS and after that he gets me in as well. Nevertheless I mostly check his gear and then tell him, we ain't got a raiding spot for you, can you live with it. Truth to be told, we had to slim down our raid quite a bit since we had some low performers and also a too large cadre anyways.
    The problem with a questionaire like this is unfortunately that quite a lot of folks just play the game without digging deep into the mechanics thing. I bet my two co tanks wouldn't be able to answer more than lets say 30-40 % of the questions. Nevertheless they perform ok in a raid. Which is why I'd always test an applicant somehow ingame, either once he is a trial or if you don't outgear the instance in a heroic beforehands.

    Quite a lot of tanks are actually doing the right thing without knowing why it is right, either because they tested it themselves or because they just read it somewhere and took it over without reflecting about it. If a tank sucks you will see it pretty quickly anyway.

  17. #17
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    Every guild builds retard checks into their recruiting process from the start. Warrior lead/class lead/whatever is generally only interested in checking class knowledge and performance.

    OldHarry's point about knowledge of other classes is a good one. It leads to the difference between a good 5 man tank and a good raid tank. They are not the same skill set. It's much easier to be a good raid tank, and I've seen decent raid tanks who utterly fail as a 5 man tank.

    In my guild, when we recruit someone, they get thrown in fast to check if they can live up to it. Again, I think everyone does that. We tagged one prospect at 7:45 and I had him on Gruul at 8:25. Void Reaver is one of my favourites for this, since you can see in one fight how they manage both limited rage situations and how they generate threat as main aggro target.

    Interesting discussion for sure, keep it going!

    Quite a lot of tanks are actually doing the right thing without knowing why it is right, either because they tested it themselves or because they just read it somewhere and took it over without reflecting about it. If a tank sucks you will see it pretty quickly anyway.
    Yep. All told, I am actually not super fussy on any given person giving all the "right" answers. Well, okay, if someone is all "490 defense stops crushing blows!", I'll probably say no. But mostly what I want to see is what they say, and how they reason it. They could be reasoning it out from first principles for all I know, but if the logic is sound that's good enough for me.

  18. #18
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    "Because I was told to." is a particularly sticky one IMO. If someone didn't bother to find out why exactly he was doing something as big as sticking 12stam into everything, what are the chances that they'll continue to improve? Will they need to be told all the improvement steps?

    Things change, patches continue rolling and knowing only a particular key sequence to hit without any of the underlying theory *at all* is a recipe for degrading performance.
    "I played hard to avoid mistakes, but now I can play hard to capitalize on opportunities." -Arold, on the 3.0 Protection Warrior.

  19. #19
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    I'm MT in a Kara guild. We got 2 Kara groups now.

    When we needed tanks I wasn't looking at egar or how much they know about tanking.The only question I asked was are you willing to learn about tanking and follow my advise. Our OT had rly bad gear, we hooked him up and he does a good job now. Most importand thing for your tanks is to communicate. Kara isn't that hard but still sometimes we almost work but with good team work and communication we work it out.

    OFC for BT guilds this isn't going to work, takes to much time to teach a noob everything and imp. his gear.
    Carefish - Fury Warrior - Chromaggus EU

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyre View Post
    satrina, I don't think 95% of the current tanks out there could answer your questions more than 75%.
    I think that most decent tanks who are serious about being in a raiding guild should know at least half of the first bunch of questions. I knew at least half the answers before coming to Tankspot--and most of the answers were from lurking in the WoW official warrior forums and from wowwiki.com.

    (I'm not even in a "raiding" guild...lawl)

    I think that:
    *. willingness to tank, and
    *. a willingness to improve

    Are very important as well, and more than makes up for not being able to answer the other half of those questions.
    I've got more plate than your grandma's cupboard.

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