It’s time for me to be on the other side of the table. Any suggestions on how to be a great interviewer?

  • 5
    I struggled with that question for a long time.

    What I came up with is:
    1. Read the CVs
    2. Make notes of questions you want to know and ask those on the Interview
    3. Trust your gut when actually talking with the guy/gal

    I personally prefer asking questions about previous experience and only give hypothetical questions to fill the picture of how the person is. But it always boils down to gut feeling. You have enough experience to feel out a true programmer and then you just make sure they know the tech you need, if they have the predisposition to learn them quickly.
  • 5
    And don’t try to trick them.

    If they say something strange, ask them to elaborate or explain.

    And assume they are a bit nervous and could make easy mistakes due to that ;)
  • 2
    An interview goes both ways - you want to leave a good impression on the one interviewing, so, if he passes he will want to come work with you.
    Don't forget to test 'grace under pressure' scenario.
  • 1
    @Voxera assuming they are nervous is a great thing to do

    Once we realise how easier it is to ask questions, especially ones that aren't easy to answer, we will automatically get empathetic and change our tone/course of action
  • 5
    I'd also include some easy trivia questions on the domain where the candidate claims experience. No crazy shit, just things that someone with that CV should certainly know from practice.

    Also, show some piece of code in a programming language relevant to the job, not too large, that has a pretty obvious bug in relation to what it should do. No super tricky shit. Then ask the candidate to take a close look and give a comment.

    That's not meant for finding great candidates, only for filtering out CV fraudsters, hence the rather easy level. It also accounts for a good, but nervous candidate who doesn't perform as good as usually.
  • 2
    If the candidate claims an interesting Github / OSS project, ask for explanation what it does and how it works. That allows you to filter out Github fraudsters, but also lets you see how the candidate solves problems, and it puts the candidate on a familiar territory to ease nervousness.

    It will also give you a big bonus for actually good candidates because that kind of personal presentation is rare in interviews. After all, they check you as well.
  • 4
    Validating what they have on their CV is a must. It is easy for anyone to say they built a "cloud service" followed by n-number of technological buzzwords. What they did contribute to that project tells us what they are actually capable of

    I wouldn't bother going deep into DSA if they are going to work on simple web projects. Problem solving is required to function a project but we don't need CS or Maths experts. If we happen to hire such people, it would be doing injustice to them and it will only backfire after a certain point
  • 3
    Do everything you can to trip them up and ask ridiculously obtuse questions that don't have anything to do with the job. If they answer the question correctly but it doesn't line up with the answer you have in mind say things like "i think that's a good answer, but I'm looking for a specific phrase here".
  • 4
    Remember this is your opportunity to show them how smart you are. Use obscure terminology, and acronyms as much as you can.

    Grill them relentlessly they should come away feeling like they aren't worthy of working for you company.

    No matter how they answer questions respond with a slightly dismissive grunt.

    Keep your eyes locked with them the whole time make them feel like hunted prey.

    For bonus points rip your short off halfway through and challenge them to an arm wrestle to establish dominance.

    Remember at all times the objective is to make you feel smart and powerful if they really had any skills they wouldn't be interviewing for a job in the first place remind them of that frequently.

    That way if you do like them they'll be so grateful they got a callback you can low ball them on an offer.
  • 2
    @adhdeveloper yeah more specifically, ask 2 leetcode hard problems giving them 20 mins to solve, a system design question where they have to architect Facebook both front end and backend with diagrams, obscure questions that the creator of the fucking framework would answer (design react router, you have five mins) and behavioral questions asking about the time they came up with a brilliant solution that saved the company hundreds of millions of us dollars and how they solved it, detailing every event and interaction! Also ask to go over the projects they built and have them detail everything about their architecture and the steps they took to build them...

    PS state that the code for the Leetcode questions must be perfect and bug free. Points will be deducted for every bug you fix, even if you find and fix them yourself without hints.
  • 2
    If they are legitimately struggling or freezing up, I just like to break the suspension and talk about something for a bit. I don’t really take it bad on them - I reckon I’d probably struggle if I was asked a tough problem too. Usually it works and helps them out
  • 1
    Honestly, I feel I can spot a good developer in normal conversation, so most of the interview is trying to get them to relax, talk casually about what interests them, their opinions, and experience.

    Throw in a few questions about preferred working style/environment to see if it's a good fit for both.
  • 1
    If you've got the freedom to do so, make the interview a natural conversation. Don't as a bunch of preset questions, ask the candidate to talk about the work they've done recently, then steer the conversation to topics you care about. If they've done a coding exercise, ask them to talk through that as well.

    One decent dev can pretty quickly identify another through this strategy. Leave the "Why do you love our company" and "What do you think about being a rockstar dev" questions to someone else.
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