Developers always have qualms about being judged on things that don’t relate to development. And they may be correct in saying so. But the truth is that no matter how good a developer is, their skills go out of the window if they aren’t going to fit your team. By fit, I mean as a person. No matter how good the code is, it is the person you end up working with. And that person has to be workable and should own the necessary skills to handle situations. What questions you ask them, will make the biggest difference.
As much as one might argue that in the end the code or the application should speak for itself, the truth is that people matter. That is the reason why one needs to interview developers even though they’re proven. A trick to keep in mind is, what works for someone else might not work for you, and vice-versa. Always keep your company culture and the nature of the position in mind when interviewing developers. Remember, someone might be an instant fix to a problem while someone else might be a long-term solution. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need from the person you want to hire.
That being said, there are a few things that can always be put up to a developer to test their mojo. And by mojo, I mean everything that has nothing to do with their development skills. Xobin Interact now features a wide array of tests that can actually quantify the soft skills of developers. Tests ranging from Emotional Intelligence to Psychometric Assessments, one simply needs to set up the account and choose the pre-built assessment and send an invite. You can choose from all the available assessments here.
What we are trying to give you is not a cheat sheet of the behavioural questions you can ask and find the best. NO!! What we intend to do is help you understand whether asking a certain behavioural question makes sense or not. Here are the questions that made the cut.
Different questions, tell about different things, and the first quality of all is to see how good the person is, being a part of the team. The questions we are talking about, usually reflect upon times that may have been difficult, probably a story that illustrates your ability to work with others under challenging circumstances. Think team conflict, difficult project constraints, or clashing personalities.
- Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with another programmer. How did you handle the situation? Were you able to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to that conflict? If not, why were you and your co-worker unable to reach a mutually beneficial resolution? If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently to either prevent the conflict or to resolve it?
- Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person to accomplish a goal. What was the biggest challenge? How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you worked with someone who was not completing his or her share of the work. How did you handle the situation? Did you discuss your concern with your co-worker? With your manager? If yes, how did your coworker respond to your concern? What was your manager’s response?
Time Management Questions
Deadlines are a part of every team’s playbook. Every single project involves deadlines, and the way that pressure is handled says a lot about the level-headedness and the work ethic of the people involved. The following questions are directed at finding out how people have handled things under pressure:
In other words, times one juggled multiple responsibilities, organized it all (perfectly) and completed everything before the deadline.
- Tell me about a situation when you had problems working under pressure. How did you handle that situation? Did you decide to ask for support? How and when did you ask for help?
- Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
Conflict Management Questions
Problems and work usually go hand in hand, not like it’s an ideal situation, but starting from missing paper clips to a piece of code that simply wouldn’t execute, there are problems of all magnitudes every day. What matters is how coolly a person handles them.
- Walk me through a difficult/complex problem/project you encountered. How did you decide what to do first? What information did you need? What obstacles did you face? Which ones were you able to overcome? If at all you needed any, did you ask for help?
- Tell me about a situation when you made a mistake at work. What happened exactly and how did you deal with it? What steps did you take to improve the situation?
There are times when things are pretty specific, but usually, situations cannot be predicted. Although we know that for a fact, it is always best to know what some random situations can hold.
- Describe a situation in which you experienced difficulty in getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? How did this work? Were you able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way?
A question like this would give a deep understanding of the developer’s ability to communicate and convince people about their ideas. While also showing how open to suggestions they are.
- Give me an example of a time when you were faced with a complex project related matter and you could not decide on the best way to deal with. What did you do? How did you go about making the decision – lead me through your decision process? If you could make the decision once again, would you change anything?
It shows how well the developer can work under a pressuring situation and maintain their calm. Also, shows grit depending on how they handled the situation.
- Tell me about a time when you had to present a complex programming problem to a person that doesn’t understand technical jargon. How did you ensure that the other person understood you?
Sometimes, you want your developers to do the talking at meetings. And basic communication is always a good skill to have up one’s sleeve. This question basically sees if they hold enough sway to get people to understand things in a simple and efficient manner.
- Describe a situation in which you have experienced significant project change that you weren’t expecting. What was it? How did that impact you, and how did you adapt to this change? Consequently, how did you remain productive through the project?
Nothing ever really remains the same. That is because change is constant and rather consistent, ironically. What really matters is how one reacts to this change. This question really shows how the person can react and possibly change, for better or worse.
- Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation? Finally, how did you handle it?
Mostly, developers do not interact directly with the clients or get their requirements. But there are situations where that might be necessary. However insignificant that might be, it is very important to know that your developer will not lose their cool in the heat of the moment.
In order to test your developers for behavioural profiles and see if they fit your team, feel free to head over to our latest psychometric assessment and get started. Remember, it is the human that you hire, otherwise, the world would simply start making AI take over coding everywhere. As long as one can be taught, it is always the better option to go for the better person.
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