Whether you follow a structured format or judge candidates on the fly, the interview process is an extremely important part of every company’s success. Asking the wrong technical interview questions will not only turn developers off from applying to your company but can cost you a lot of money as well. (The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the first year’s potential earnings.) Yikes.
We asked a few developers which technical interview questions they wish recruiters and hiring managers would ask them during the interview process. Here’s what they had to say.
David Mercer, a Programmer and Founder of SME Pals, feels that this question is great for both parties because, “it allows the developer to talk about something they have done really well and shows off their creativity and problem-solving abilities to the employer. Many developers come up with beautiful solutions that no one ever gets to see (because it's buried deep in code files), so for them it's an opportunity to explain what they can do and how they are creative and innovative in the course of their normal work.”
Wesley Flippo, Co-Founder and Head of Web Development at Buy the Best Drone gives all of his company’s technical candidates a website to look at and asks them how they would improve it.
Flippo says, “We look to see how the candidate responds and want to see what 'tools' of knowledge he or she can leverage to answer this question. We are looking for two things here. First, we want to see a wealth of knowledge. We have already planted a few major bugs in the code that can be easily identified by a competent developer and want to see how fast they can catch this. Second, we want to see innovation and creativity. We are looking for someone that can take an idea and build on it. The ideal candidate is looking at the future of the site rather taking a 'maintenance perspective'.”
Max Brown, Founder of Silicon Beach Talent, gets lots of feedback on developer interview questions from the programmers he interviews. He says the most frequent request he hears from developers is that interviewers should ask for their opinion on the technical/coding tests.
Brown says, “For instance when the interview contains a technical test of some sortwhere the candidate works on real prototyping or coding, they'd like the interviewer to ask them what they would do differently to the code or to the architecture if they could do anything they wanted. These questions would be beneficial to both parties because they encourage open communication and feedback - two key aspects of a happy and productive team.”
Howard Lo, Co-Founder of Rabbut, would like employers to stop basing a developer’s worth around how clean their code is, and to instead judge them by how they’re able to get around obstacles.
Lo says, “This is especially important for early stage startups. Organized code and following protocol are all mannerisms. And mannerisms can be taught on the job. What can’t be taught is thought process.”