At the moment I’m in Las Vegas attending DevIntersection. Next to all the technical sessions, there was a whole track dedicated to leadership.
One of the sessions in the Leadership track was ‘Interviewing Developers’ by Billy Hollis. Here are some of the notes I made during the session:
- Keep a professional attitude.
- You are here to find the perfect match for your team not to get new friends.
- Don’t try to become friends with the candidate. If you hire him (or her) you get time enough to get acquainted.
- It’s a good idea to ask the candidate to send some code up front. This should not be a whole project but just some files the developer can share.
- Unfortunately some developers work on proprietary projects and cannot provide any code.
- Do a review of the application letter.
- Chances are high that the candidate did write this letter himself, which could not be the case for his CV.
- Don’t be merciful on spelling mistakes!
- Do a full analysis of the CV.
- Especially look at the project length and the time they stayed at the same customer(longer is better)
- Listen to your first impression.
- But don’t listen too much. :-)
- Keep a neutral tone and posture during the interview.
- People try to read your body language and change their answer accordingly.
- Be aware for defensiveness
- Development is a trial-and-error process. Making mistakes is part of our job. Look how the candidate handles mistakes and can learn from them.
- Don’t make too much notes during the interview.
- It distracts the candidate.
- Ask open ended questions.
- Avoid telephone interviews.
- If it is not possible to see the candidate in person, use Skype(or a similar tool).
- An interview should not take too long(not more than one hour).
- After one hour, nature kicks in and the candidate will probably need to use the bathroom :-)
Billy also gave a whole list of sample questions which he asked not to share. So I will not add them here. If you want to know these questions, apply for a job at my company ;-)
Remark: Billy mentioned that he will probably create a Pluralsight course based on this talk, so watch out for it…