5 tips for interviewing peer-ple in technology
Hello developer pal!, glad to see you here.
Interviewing people is always a challenge, you never know who is joining in person or in a call with you, it is a lottery!
Perhaps you are interviewing the next Steve J, the next Mark Z, or the next... You!
Some time(or long time) ago, someone gave you the opportunity to start working as an intern, as a fix term, as a freelancer, whatever the job was, you had the chance to start a career because someone wanted to!; maybe this person saw something in you that outstand from others?, perhaps you used the right words or coded the right challenge?, anyway you had this chance and I'm pretty sure you were happy when you received the news that you were selected!
After all this epilogue, do you remember how it was?, what were the steps the person from technology followed for that interview?, you were prepared for sure, but how about the interviewer?, well in case you don't recall, and if you are in this situation where you will evaluate candidates, maybe this tips could fit you!
Show Me The Topics
The topics to be focused on are:
Set the Rules
Disclaimer: This post comes from my own experience interviewing candidates for different roles, not saying this is the best way to go, nor the worst, any contribution is more than welcome in the threads below!
What's the very first thing you should do when driving an interview?, either way in person or virtually: it could sound too obvious, but you do need to
Aside being polite, you would be evaluating a peer, a person who has(at least in paper before the interview) the same skills, maybe more maybe less, than you.
For properly introduce yourself, let the candidate to know:
Your Name: this is a most!, the candidate needs to know your name, when some questions arise it could be awkward to hear them say
hey youor something like that just because we forgot to give it a the very beginning.
Role that you have: you can be flexible with this!, which of the two scenarios below could sound better when you are interviewing, for instance, a Junior?:
Hi, my name is Shanks, I am a
Senior Full-Stack Cloud Architect Scrum Masterpleased to meet you!
Unless you are interviewing another
Senior Full-Stack Cloud Architect Scrum Master, you can expect this reaction:
The other scenario instead:
Hi, my name is Shanks, I am a
Seniordev in here, pleased to meet you!
See the difference?, the first one could sound a bit intimidating for most of the people, and so far it is very possible that only 5 seconds have passed(Jojo's pun intended)!
The time frame for the interview: time is precious, for you, for me, for everybody, so let the candidate know the time frame you could be using for the interview(by the way, thanks for taking some of your time for reading this!)
Set the Rules
As an interviewer, you should be in control of the interview, this include the times for questions, comments, suggestions, so let the candidate know about this since the very beginning.
If you determine that it could be a heavy interview, let the candidate know when there could be a break, for how long is gonna be that break, and in what part of the interview you would place the time for questions.
This is useful and allows you to hurry or slow down the main points you want to evaluate.
Well, so far you have only done 2 things introduce yourself and set the rules, now it is time to listen the person in front of you!
You have two options:
Go straightforward to the interview topics; start with all the questions right away, and evaluate in an atomic way: answer correct?: Yes/No.
Let's add up:
➕ No introduction ➕ No idea where the interview is going ➕ No sure whether questions are allowed or no
Recipe for disaster ✅
Start in a nicer way, and let the candidate to feel comfortable.
A technique that I apply is the use of ice breakers, in particular:
🧊 How do you define yourself? ❄️ What are you doing right now in your current project? ♨️ Could you give me a brief introduction about yourself? 🔥 What's your favorite tech stack?
-Note: try to emphasize that it is a brief introduction, from 3 to 5min of the interview should be more than enough.
Now it comes the showtime!
By the time being, the candidate hopefully should feel more comfortable, you had the chance to talk, the candidate had the chance to talk, 5min is not enough for feeling familiar with someone, but 5 is greater than absolute Zero.
In this sections there are no restrictions, every interview is different for a thousand reasons, so follow the documents, templates, situations, or whatever resource you have for leading the interview in the way you feel it more natural.
As suggestions, try to keep a casual conversation with the candidate, you already set the mood, try to keep it simple, you are in front of a peer, cover all the areas you need to without applying extra pressure(for sure the candidate already has a lot of it).
Try to start with the easy topics and let the interview flows, according to the performance of the person, you would have an idea whether you would need to shrink or stretch the times, and cover or not some extra topics.
Last but not least, the Closing Time section, where Q/A can happen.
Perhaps the candidate did not have any questions at the very beginning, or in the middle(if you set some time in the middle for it), so you could give it a last try.
It is also a good opportunity for you to ask for comments or suggestions that the person could have for you, maybe you have some improvements areas that you don't even know yet and having the insight of different persons for free could worth a lot!
When you interview peers you most be prepared for the best interview in your life or the worst!; maybe you could have another thoughts, let's discuss in a thread below!
Thanks for reading!
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