The art of technical interviewing.

Darren Neimke forwarded me a question from LinkedIn this morning. It was from another person with great technical skills in the ASP.NET developer community.

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As it happens I have done a fair bit of technical interviewing in the past and I am continuously evolving ways to find out more about the candidate that I am talking to. Whilst you can put a lot of metrics around the interview process (scoring etc) it remains a bit of an art form which means its something that you only get better at with practice.

Within Readify there are efforts underway to standardise the way we perform our technical interviews. As with all discussion with technical interviewing it seems to come back to build lists of questions, but answering questions is not what a technical interview is about. I believe it is all about:

  • Finding out if the candidate is passionate about technology.
  • Finding out the depth of the candidate by asking questions.

The devil is in the detail though. Rather than having a list of cute questions draw upon your own experience to guide the discussion. Have a rough list of topics and some starter questions by all means but you aren’t just ticking boxes, you are looking for understanding.

3 thoughts on “The art of technical interviewing.

  1. Pingback: Darren Neimke's Live Portal: A Weekend Read - 3

  2. silky

    we’ve had quite good success at just asking general programing questions + some theory. + some fun things, like what is lsp, etc etc. I’ve written up a bunch of questions that i ask, with varying degrees of difficulty, and getting through these, plus questions to gauge their general programming knowledge, works quite well. what _still_ fascinates me is how many people, when asked what an interface is (and an interface when compared to an abstract class) still talk about the user interface.

    problem solving questions, like the one pictured above, are a little stupid, imho. they can be answered incorrectly under pressure, and don’t get anyone anywhere, except give the interviewer a smug feeling.

    i was asked quite a fun question once, which was to calculate the number of cars going past their window per 60 seconds. that was fun. fun questions are good. they actually make me want to work for you.

  3. Kieran Jacobsen

    I was just involved in an interview process, as the cadidate, that just blew my socks off when it can to silly things to ask. Apart from the fact I had to work around their schedules, which were not in the same timezone (-5 GMT as compared to +11), the questions were of little value in todays computing environment. I cannot go into detail, nor will I mention who the Interviewer was, but after 4 phone interviews over 4 weeks, all taking longer than was booked (and hence caused me to reschedule other appointments….like a Doctors Surgery), they made a decision. Now I am not just bagging them out because I didn’t get the position, I just have to raise the crazy interview practices. If you plan for a 45min interview, keep it to that, and keep the questions to the point, and do not ask the same question multiple times. Follow those rules, and it will help us all.

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