Interviewing/ReviewsIT Best Practices

5 Questions to Ask When Conducting a Technical Interview

Employer and employee both want a good fit. That means a thoughtfully crafted job interview works to everyone’s benefit. And regardless of which side of the table you sit on, it would be wise to hear the best questions that are being asked during technical interviews today. In an article for TechRepublic, Alison DeNisco Rayome shares five of these questions:

  1. What type of work do you want to be doing five years from now?
  2. Do you write code outside of work?
  3. What’s the best (and worst) software project that you’ve been part of?
  4. What role do you play in quality assurance?
  5. Are you on LinkedIn?

Giving and Receiving the Third Degree

The benefit of the first question is straightforward—it speaks to the aspirations and motivations of the candidate. In turn, it allows interviewers to judge if their business really agrees with those motivations. Next, the second question—about coding outside of work—indicates how much passion candidates really have for technology. If they are already coding on their own at home, it could mean they will respond more favorably to being asked to learn new skills for work.

The third question—best and worst projects—gauges candidates’ ability to accurately and honestly reflect on past work. It shows awareness if candidates can specifically describe why a project seemed to fall apart. And it also shows that candidates are experienced enough to fully understand the complexities of software development.

Regarding the question of quality assurance, Rayome shares this:

Certain developers have an attitude of “I write code, I don’t do tests,” or an attitude that their responsibility ends when the coding is complete. “To me that is an increasingly antiquated school of thinking,” [Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond] said. “On agile teams or cross-functional teams, the willingness to be able to test what you’ve written and write your own test cases is increasingly important.”

“That’s one of those questions that shows me, am I dealing with somebody that’s got an old-school way of thinking when it comes to process?” Hammond said. “Or are they willing to do what it takes and get cross trained to help a small, fast-running team meet its goals?”

The final question, about LinkedIn, strikes me as kind of odd, since its overall aim seems to be to get at that person’s network of other developers. Maybe just focus on the person sitting at the table right now instead.

In closing, Rayome offers a few more pieces of advice, this time with some warnings included:

  1. Center the interview discussion around work that will be done in the new job, and not so much on details of work found in the resume.
  2. Focus on the interview and do not get derailed by small talk that goes too far. Likewise, do not let the interview run overly long for no good reason.
  3. Do not grill candidates. It will just encourage them to work for somebody who does not ask stupid questions at the interview.
  4. Overall software engineering experience and ability to work in a team should be weighed just as much as general coding ability.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-conduct-a-technical-interview-5-questions-to-ask/

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