Every business eventually falls victim to that superficially wonderful interview that turns into a reality horror story. Some people just have a knack for saying all the right things before they are hired and then promptly do all the wrong things as a member of a software development team. How to evaluate a software developer’s experience can be a tricky chore. You don’t have to feel like you have to leave the hiring process to chance though.
Consider incorporating some of these 10 strategies you can use during the verbal interview to help your interview team pick the best candidate for your company:
- Help the developer to feel a little more comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation. The interviewee usually feels like a duck in a shooting gallery. All eyes are on her/him as very pointed questions fly through the air. Break the ice with some small talk that focuses on where s/he is from, hobbies s/he enjoys, past companies, etc. Look for a candidate who can answer this portion in succinct yet detailed responses.
- Define the interviewee’s key personality traits. What are her/his personal goals, what are the steps s/he plans to take to fulfill those aspirations, what does s/he do best, and what are personal weaknesses that s/he would like to conquer. Look for an individual who is curious, ambitious, and ready to learn.
- Ask the candidate to evaluate the recent projects in which s/he has played a key role. Ask her/him to speak specifically about what systems were used, the technologies and architecture of the system, how s/he integrated their task into the system, and the benefits and drawback of how s/he went about implementing that aspect. Look for an answer that displays a detailed understanding of past projects through a self-reflective, critical lens.
- Make sure you verify her/his practical processing capabilities. The best way to do so is to ask her/him to solve a defined problem by creating a simple program. If s/he cannot even perform the steps needed to write a simple program, you sure don’t need to go on to steps 5-10. You can train a bit on the job, but you definitely don’t want to start at the basics.
- Also verify her/his technical knowledge and skills. Since productivity is key to your business, double check and triple check that the candidate possesses depth in the technical knowledge area you prefer. Look for advanced thinking and problem-solving skills here over simple memorization. Listen for details, best practices, and a clear understanding of the basics.
- Experience is hard to beat, so make sure you closely examine what the possible hire has done in the past. Then, make sure you verify that developer understands the software development lifecycle and all about components. If the candidate is truly experienced, s/he will be able to thoroughly explain the process and provide alternative solutions as well.
- Check the individual’s engineering skills, especially since most development never goes off as planned. Does s/he possess the skills to chunk bigger tasks into smaller ones and work through a series of steps to find a solution? Ask her/him to solve a problem that requires deconstruction to solve. Look for step-by-step instructions that will result in the correct process.
- What kind of team member and leader will this developer make? Will s/he listen to what others have to say, share new ideas, stay organized, work through problems, and generally support others for the benefit of the team? Listen to the details from her/his past, paying special attention to the specifics. If they only speak generically, s/he probably won’t make a good addition to your team.
- Consider the person’s intelligence since so much of a software developer’s life has to deal with creativity and design ability. Ask her/him to break business processes down into the right design patterns that lead to framework choices that s/he must reason through. It’s not the correct answer but the creative approach that matters.
- What questions does your candidate have for you and your company? A very reflective individual will want to know even more specifics about you than they already do. Are they thoughtful and curious enough about your company? If they don’t even care enough to ask you purposeful questions, they obviously don’t care enough.
Inviting a new hire into your fold can feel a bit like hit and miss, but it needn’t feel that way. You can arm yourself with a healthy dose of gut feeling, a stellar interview committee, and these top 10 considerations. Please contact us for all the pertinent support you need in the world of the software development.