Friday, September 15, 2006

Advice to interviewers

Lately on several blogs I've seen posts discussing different aspects of hiring. Most posts were giving advice to candidates - so, I thought I might also take part in this. However, instead of giving advice to candidates on how to survive an interview, I'd rather give some advice to interviewers.

Phone interview. Couple of times I've discovered that the person who is interviewing me over the phone has some speech defect or some extremely heavy accent. I'm not a native speaker myself, and, probably, I shouldn't complain about it, but still - the fact that I was unable to understand questions from the first time (and sometimes from the second and from the third times as well) made those interviews extremely - and unnecessary - stressful. So, advice number one is: make sure that the person who does phone screening speaks clearly.

Also, do not make candidates read or listen to large pieces of code. It's inconvenient, ineffective and, speaking frankly, pretty stupid.

And the last one about phone screening: be flexible about who calls whom. I've encountered once a person who insisted on calling me - in the middle of a working day in my office!


Do not ask the candidate to submit code examples from his (or her) previous job. This might be illegal, and it puts the candidate in an awkward position.

Test projects and on-line tests - well, I, personally, strongly dislike those practices. Nothing prevents candidate from cheating - and serious professional wouldn't like to spend his time on doing some bogus project.

On-site interview.

Always give your business card to the candidate. When going through an interview with 5 or six people in a row it's hard to remember everyone's name and title - and it's so embarrassing later to admit that you've forgot whom did you talk with!

Don't turn the interview into your ego-booster. Don't ask questions the only purpose of which is to prove you that you know something better than the candidate. As an example: in a list of "General SQL knowledge interview questions" in one company I've seen a question based on a strange, and, probably, incorrect behavior of MS SQL server under some circumstances. Do you think this is an appropriate question to measure general knowledge of SQL? I don't think so.

And, please, try to give a feedback. I remember one of my interviews. A man asked me questions, I answered, he said "OK..." and continued with the next question. At some moment, I felt uncertain about my answer. The man said "OK...." and I asked him: "Was it the answer you expected?" He calmly replied: "No. As a matter of fact, it was a completely wrong answer." I asked for a clarification, and discovered that I misunderstood his question. So, if the candidate answers your question incorrectly, tell him (or her) so - maybe they know the right answer, but just didn't get you right.

Technorati tags: ,

No comments: