Effective Hiring for Technical Talent

Tips for effective hiring in tech
  • I preferred working with other senior software engineers over entry-level engineers.
  • I enjoyed working with other highly self-motivated people.
  • I loved working with very intelligent and talented people and teams.
  • I felt great satisfaction with the success in the marketplace that exceptional teams produce.

Hiring for Talent

  1. “Firing Squad” Technical Interview
  2. Aptitude Assessment Test

“Firing Squad” Technical Interview

  • Hiring manager and selected technical staff (usually 3–4 developers) meet together with the candidate.
  • Participating technical staff should have previously reviewed the candidate’s resume and have a good idea of the type of person we’re looking to hire.
  • Participating technical staff should have a broad representation of technical skill sets, so that they can effectively drill down on all relevant technical areas.
  • The candidate is informed that we’re going to ask questions of a technical nature to get a better feel for his/her technical strengths and weaknesses. They will be told it’s ok to respond with “I don’t know,” venture a guess (e.g., “I’m not sure, but I would think…”), or think through the question and problem out loud.
  • Participating technical staff will ask technical questions, starting at a high level and then drill down on the specific topic until the topic is exhausted. Here is an example of a drill down into one specific topic:
  • Asking general computer science questions can be useful in assessing the candidate’s technical capability (e.g., “what is inheritance?”), however, it is generally not beneficial to do research to come up with questions and answers. The collective knowledge of the interviewing team should be sufficient to assess the relevant technical capability of the candidate.
  • Move from topic to topic until running out of time or exhausting relevant topics.
  • After the candidate has left, each team member shares their thoughts and opinions of the candidate (i.e., what they liked/disliked).
  • How much of the candidate’s resume is fluff vs. real (e.g., did they just work on a project that used JavaScript or did they write JavaScript code, and how proficient are they?).
  • Insight into how the candidate thinks (i.e., we’re not just hiring for skills, we’re hiring for talent).
  • Insight into the personality of the candidate and how they interact with others.
  • How the candidate responds under pressure.
  • Opportunity for the candidate to get to know members of our team and give them a feel for our personalities and how we interact with each other. The candidate is evaluating fit from their perspective as well.

Aptitude Assessment Test

Summary

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