Interviews are tough. For both recruiters and the interviewees. But what makes it hard for everyone concerned is the degree of unsatisfaction most people come out with, post interviews. It gets tough to interview without using some of the cliched questions. The ideal interview would comprise the perfect mix of technical and behavioral questions.
Now, how do we come up with the perfect mix and from where do we choose? The answer’s simple, just look at the role you are trying to fill. Is it a beginner level position that requires a lot of hand-holding? Or is it something more advanced, where the person is expected to guide people in a team? Always keep in mind that the level of experience and the seniority of the position should be what determines the questions you ask them. Never have a standard set of questions that you want to use for all possible interviews. That can hurt your chances of attracting the best developers.
Ask the Right Technical Questions to Verify your Interviewees’ Skills
Most companies haven’t resorted to Tech Assessment platforms yet (read why you should be using one if you aren’t already). This fact makes verifying the skills of the applicant at every stage important. Starting with the Job Description, every single step is important. Thus, wasting a lot of time during interviews which could be better used to understand them instead. In any case, what can be done is that some degree of skill level is to be established using the interview using technical questions.
Data Structures & Algorithms questions
A basic rule of thumb is to start from scratch. Which involves questions covering Data Structures and Algorithms. The following questions are something along which lines you can explore
- How to find the middle element of linked list in one pass?
- How do you find duplicates in an array if there is more than one duplicate
Questions like these help understand the basic understanding of the core concepts of the interviewees. These include Algorithm based topics like Core Programming, Scalability, Dynamic Programming, and Data Structures like Arrays, Strings, Stacks, etc.
Design Patterns based questions
Next up after the core concepts is the Design sense of the person. As much as people might downplay the importance, the fact is even developers need to have a good design sense in order to ensure a properly functional and scalable product. Questions like these are ones that test the scalability, performance and such aspects of the person.
- How to handle updates and the user is typing too fast?
- How would you handle throttling?
- Can you prevent cloning of a singleton object?
Questions like these help test various topics like Design Planning, Microservices, and Architecture.
Usually, the conventional assessments or paper/whiteboard based coding problems solve this problem. Based on the role that the person is interviewing for, you can modify each question. You can ask a web developer questions about maintaining websites, front-end designs, and web servers.
Likewise, a Java developer should be tested on his skills of programming in Java, in addition to the general programming based knowledge.
front end oriented questions
You can always add more detailed ones, like Styling/CSS based questions for front-end based positions. For eg.
- The pseudo class : checked will select inputs with type radio or checkbox, but not elements.
- Does overflow: hidden create a new block formatting context?
- What are the reasons to use preprocessor?
There are many more. Questions like these help you test a person on topics like Background and Borders, Gradients, and Responsive Website Development with Bootstrap.
It just depends on the nature of the complexity and the experience of the role and the person you are looking to hire. The more experienced a person you are looking for, the harder and more detailed the questions get.
Now, these are the essence of an interview because we all know that skills aren’t everything when it comes to working in a team. A great hire is one that gels in perfectly with your team while improving performance and delivering the expected results. And sometimes, you can achieve this by hiring a slightly less-talented individual with better suitability/adaptability. Those characteristics might seem hard to gauge at times. But the truth is, asking the right ones can help you understand every applicant better, at least to the point where you do not have to make decisions based on hunches.
In case you are looking for help to decide which questions to ask, we have made a small shortlist that you can choose from. Here is our article that details some of the behavioral questions you can ask developers while interviewing them.
Teamwork based Behavioral Questions
The below question can help understand the teamwork aspect of the person you are interviewing and how flexible they are to adjust to others in a given team.
- 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?
Conflict Management based Behavioral Questions
Something like this can help you understand the conflict management skill of the person. Keeping their cool under pressure and accepting their mistakes are the signs of progressive thinkers.
- 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 hundreds of things that you can ask during an interview, but the fact remains that it is up to you to tailor them to your requirement and company culture. The more tailored questions are to your company, the better suited the person you end up hiring will be.
In the end, the interview is an essence of whether the person can do the job right or not, coupled with the fact that they can work in the work environment like yours. It just comes down to these two factors in the end. The ideal way is to find the person with the most balance between the two aspects or have a slight margin of error that gives you some flexibility. But try not to compromise on this formula, as it will eventually not end up good.
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