Interviews



  • I know you guys have seen some really bad interviews. But soon I may have the opportunity to be partly responsible for hiring a junior developer. I was wondering what kind of tasks or questions I should ask of the interviewee. I remember being asked some random questions about CSS, SQL queries and some other stuff; I even got a homework assignment. But those questions were typically very specific, something that you either knew or didn't. But I know that anyone walking through the door will not know everything they need to know to do the job. I need to find someone who can figure stuff out and can learn quickly. Obviously I'll have some questions about specific things to gauge how much they do know, but how can I determine if they can figure out a problem.

    I'd like to put them in front of a computer and say, "fix this bug." Or maybe have them create a demo app. Any ideas?

    Thanks!



  • @ksbecker said:

    I need to find someone who can figure stuff out and can learn quickly.
     

    With vapid requirements like this, I'm sure you'll find a suitable candidate.



  • In the past I've given a small programming test. Something like "Read this CSV file and print the rows where price is greater than $5. For bonus points, print them in alphabetic order by product name, and exclude items manufactured prior to 2010." It's a theoretically simple exercise, I wrote my C# solution in about 5 minutes. I'll also give them their choice of environment and language because I want to see that they can program, not that they know their way around a specific language. No trick questions or intentionally tricky data.

    In my experience, 80% of applicants cannot do the above, and of those fewer than half know the IDE or language (of their choice mind you!) well enough to create a new project or even write compileable code. The other 20% complete it very quickly and become the real candidates for the position.



  •  have a simple test. we ask candidate to spot difference between various coding language like php / python / perl / ruby on rails.

    then we have her work on .NEt platform. 

    then we make her write code in java. once all this is done, we send her to HR department, where they are prompt in rejecting her.



  • @Nagesh said:

     have a simple test. we ask candidate to spot difference between various coding language like php / python / perl / ruby on rails.

    then we have her work on .NEt platform. 

    then we make her write code in java. once all this is done, we send her to HR department, where they are prompt in rejecting her.


    Did you get that, everyone?

    Nagesh's company:

    1. Tests recognition of four interpreted languages
    2. Requires code to be written in two (or more, .NET could mean multiple languages) compiled languages
    3. Does not hire employees
    That's right. Nagesh's company is really good at Python.


  • My company has a predefined list of questions to be asked of candidates to judge their competence in various areas. Some are applicable only to candidates for certain types of positions (technical, finance, sales, management, etc.); others are applicable to all candidates (personal traits such as drive, motivation, initiative, curiosity, time management, etc.). There are a few categories that are enumerated, but don't have any questions in them. I found this one particularly telling:

    7. Empathy and personal insight

    [REDACTED] does not currently use this competency.



  • We usually get them to:

    • Solve a problem in whatever language they like as long as it is fairly common and at least one of our developers has written some code in it (VB.NET, C#, JS, Python, PHP, Ruby are options).
    • Do something .NET based (we are a .NET shop). Usually some basic .NET repeaters/gridview bound to a database.
    • Some basic CSS questions (floating, text alignment, writing a table etc).
    This weeds out most of the dickheads before an interview. I tend to leave out JS questions ... I worked for years doing Webforms and doing minimal JS but could do server side, database and CSS stuff absolutely fine.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    There are a few categories that are enumerated, but don't have any questions in them. I found this one particularly telling:

    7. Empathy and personal insight

    [REDACTED] does not currently use this competency.

    I can sorta see limiting that.  I mean it's helpful in management, but the whole point of sales is to manipulate people into doing what is good for you instead of what may be best for themselves.



  • @locallunatic said:

    @HardwareGeek said:

    There are a few categories that are enumerated, but don't have any questions in them. I found this one particularly telling:

    7. Empathy and personal insight

    [REDACTED] does not currently use this competency.

    I can sorta see limiting that.  I mean it's helpful in management, but the whole point of sales is to manipulate people into doing what is good for you instead of what may be best for themselves.
    Do I really need to say that it is in management that empathy and personal insight are most noticibly unused?

    Personal insight is also very useful in sales: Understand the customer's personality, needs, desires and motivation; this makes it much easier to manipulate them to your own ends. Real empathy, of course, is a terrible hinderance to this.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    Do I really need to say that it is in management that empathy and personal insight are most noticibly unused?

    By many managers it is unused, but good ones do actually use it.  Have you never had a good boss?

    @HardwareGeek said:

    Personal insight is also very useful in sales: Understand the customer's personality, needs, desires and motivation; this makes it much easier to manipulate them to your own ends. Real empathy, of course, is a terrible hinderance to this.

    OK, I was only focusing on the empathy part and not the personal insight.



  • Yes. There is so much brilliance shining over here, you have to wear goggle all the time.

    @Ben L. said:

    @Nagesh said:

     have a simple test. we ask candidate to spot difference between various coding language like php / python / perl / ruby on rails.

    then we have her work on .NEt platform. 

    then we make her write code in java. once all this is done, we send her to HR department, where they are prompt in rejecting her.


    Did you get that, everyone?

    Nagesh's company:

    1. Tests recognition of four interpreted languages
    2. Requires code to be written in two (or more, .NET could mean multiple languages) compiled languages
    3. Does not hire employees
    That's right. Nagesh's company is really good at Python.
     

     



  • @locallunatic said:

    @HardwareGeek said:

    Do I really need to say that it is in management that empathy and personal insight are most noticibly unused?

    By many managers it is unused, but good ones do actually use it.  Have you never had a good boss?

    Actually, I've had mostly good bosses, and my current manager is among the best of the lot. However, above him the hair gets very pointy.

     



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    @locallunatic said:

    @HardwareGeek said:

    Do I really need to say that it is in management that empathy and personal insight are most noticibly unused?

    By many managers it is unused, but good ones do actually use it.  Have you never had a good boss?

    Actually, I've had mostly good bosses, and my current manager is among the best of the lot. However, above him the hair gets very pointy.

    Incompetence is different from empathy, which is what we were talking about.



  • @locallunatic said:

    Incompetence is different from empathy, which is what we were talking about.
    Well, most of them are competent, so maybe they aren't really PHBs, but some of them exhibit a PHB-like "Cover my ass, and those of my superiors, and screw the underlings" behavior.

     


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