What I Look for During an Interview

Keith Brewster on September 30, 2019

I've had to interview a number of developers throughout my last couple of jobs, and I've been slowly refining a list of common traits I've found th... [Read Full]
markdown guide

Hey I totally agree and look for very similar things when I conduct interviews for our company.

However I do like for the passion part when I see applicants that like to work on few personal, open source projects. But like you said yeah not looking to have someone doing commits everyday.

I also look for someone who is a team player and doesn't shut themselves out. We like to go (the whole team) drink and play darts on Fridays and I wouldn't want to hire someone who Friday night leaves everyday to go home and play some games for instance. (don't get me wrong I love gaming)

As much as I'm not a fan of whiteboard interviews, I still like to ask a few tech questions to see that I'm not with someone who has just wiggled their way through. I usually ask simple things such as: What is a recursive function? Do you know what the MVC model is ? How would you explain inheritance? etc.

For me it's really not about just finding someone who will code what we tell them to and do the job well and that's it. But really a discussion on finding what the person can bring to the team and how they will fit in.


I totally agree with this, and yeah, there definitely still needs to be some technical elements to the interview. I've tried both take home assignments and having a list of questions I ask during the interview, but I'm still trying to find a good balance. Team outings are also definitely a great way to build a stronger and more trusting team, and it's great to find a candidate who wants to participate.


that Trait 4: Honesty did the trick for me....I always ask a candidate to tell me the scale of their technical skills (eg JavaScript, PHP etc) between 1 to 5...

when they write 1 or 2, I know they not so skilled but they are likely to be honest..when its 3, I'll find out if its a "safe" zone where they tend to lie about their capabilities...when its 4 or 5..I'll give them a lil test


I would likely end up not hiring anyone who ranked themselves at the top of any skill scale I provide. I asked (at a presentation) Bjarn Stroustrop how he would rate his C++ skills on a scale of 1 to 10. He said 6 and he invented the language.
If any good programmer is being honest with themselves, they'll likely always rank themselves slightly above average I find.


That's the problem with this sort of question.
If you ask me to rank myself.. I'll say something and you'll interpret all sorts of things.. but who knows if your ranking system is the same as mine.
So I find this sort of question meaningless.

Best ask the person what they are best at and then measure that somehow. Like asking them what they did in the past or asking them to show you something or you showing them something and see if they can follow.

But trick questions can be tricked, and rarely are reflective of anything.

People have wide backgrounds.. so there's a wide range of skillsets.


Y'know, I've never thought about asking candidates to rate themselves on a skill scale, but that's a great point!


Once I was interviewing a candidate with a couple of years of experience. The conversation went like this:

Me: "What was the most challenging task/project that you have ever done?"

Her: "No challenging tasks!😒"

Me: "Wow, really? What if you are assigned to a challenging project?"

Her: "I will take it as a challenge"

Me: 🙄🙄🙄


Hi. Interesting stuff.
I was wondering what's your take, as an interviewer, on coding challenges.

I've written a couple of posts about coding challenge - this is the first, which is kind of a research attempt:

and this is the second - which is how I think it should be:

However, these are from my perspective, which is more often the candidate's perspective and less the interviewer perspective (I have conducted some interviews, but that was never actually a part of my day-to-day job, so I lack experience from that side of the table).


I remember a interviewer was constantly asking questions that even himself, did not know anything about them at all!

code of conduct - report abuse