Software Interviews

Software Interviews are an interesting mix of determination of technical skills and cultural fit

  • Technical
    • For a long term fit: Ability to learn, enthusiasm are important
    • There should be a coding part to the interview, some options:
      • live meeting, webex, etc
      • pairing in person - best to see the thought process and offer help
      • - simple questions, not geared towards interviews
      • - geared completely to interviews - pretty expensive
      • - looks fun
    • Automated tests / Test Driven?
  • Personality / other skills
    • A bit of obsessiveness / perfectionism can be very valuable to a programmer.
      • I love to work with people who are willing to rework something until it's just right - get it reviewed, rework it some more. Red-Green-Refactor (need all 3!)
    • Communication
    • Teamwork
      • Pair programming
      • Code reviews
      • How to resolve a technical disagreement (or conflict in general)?
  • Cultural
    • Sort of binary questions - you generally identify with either one side or the other
      • Shared/Team ownership of code base vs Individual ownership of functionality
      • Checks off tasks without followup vs Follows through to make sure it's working in QA and Production
      • Loves to code vs "It's just a job"
    • People fit somewhere on a sliding scale for these
      • Completes a task per letter of requirements vs Looking for the intent of requirements and considers alternate solutions
      • Believes they will complete tasks perfectly on the first try vs The real value in software is built in over time
        • Construction metaphor vs molding clay (which remains mold-able forever) metaphor
      • Automation vs Manual
      • Likes to work collaboratively vs Likes to work by self
        • doesn't relate directly to competence, but can be tied up with it. Ex: an extremely competent person can like to collaborate in order to teach others and get fresh ideas or feel that they don't need anyone else and can do everything on their own. An incompetent person can rely on others to do work for them or learn from others or hide their incompetence by working alone. So, no real relation here. Shared vs. Individual ownership is definitely directly related however.

Reverse Phone Screen tips - good questions to ask prospective employers

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