When it comes to constructing the perfect technical interview process, you’re likely to run into problems. Maybe the person administering the interview isn’t necessarily technical themselves, or there’s no structure to the interview process set in place. Yikes. While every company has their own way of interviewing developers, there are 3 common classifications of technical interview questions they can implement – knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Knowledge questions are typically structured to see how aware the candidate is of a given topic. In the world of technology, these type of questions are asked to determine if a candidate is familiar with a certain programming language, technology, process, product, or niche of work. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t reject or accept candidates solely based on their proficiency in one particular language. If they are willing to learn new things and easily pick up on new languages, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Other knowledge-based technical interview questions could include asking the candidate how they learned these new pieces of knowledge, what roadblocks they faced doing so and what suggestions they may have for companies to help new employees get this knowledge more efficiently.
Skills questions are asked to see whether the candidate can put their knowledge to use. This is the time when you want to see how a candidate approaches and then implements their thought process into a project. Many times this can be measured in a live coding or whiteboard programming portion of an interview, in which the interviewer gets to see the candidate write code and solve a problem. When asking skills questions, you’ll typically delve into their communication, teamwork, reasoning, and analytical skills.
Ability questions help to see if a candidate can apply his or her skills across a variety of contexts or problems. At this point, you’ve established that the candidate is knowledgeable and has the right skills, so you want to see how they put it all together in different situations. These types of questions often are asked in a behavioral interview style, such as “In this situation, how would you execute X?” or “Can you tell me about a time you did Y?” Through these types of questions, interviewers will be able to get a feel for the candidate’s sense of leadership, their work style, how they manage projects, and if they are results-driven.