Discussions on Experience: Key Questions and Values Search

Discussions about a candidate's experience can take various forms, from a general self-introduction to a detailed discussion of specific projects and technologies. It is crucial to clearly understand the goals of these questions. What exactly do you want to learn by asking a particular question? Could this information have been obtained from the resume or during previous interactions with the recruiter?

Many interviewers sometimes lose focus in this block. Listening to information that could be extracted from the resume, they ask extensive questions but do not gain additional insights. Do not waste time on questions for which answers could have been obtained differently. This applies to all interview blocks, but this error is most common in the context of experience.

The main task of this stage is to create a comprehensive impression of the candidate. Assess how well they matched the requirements of their previous job and whether they are ready to adapt to your approach and values. Here is where the value of the preliminary work and resume analysis lies.

It is important to identify "red flags" regarding the candidate. Some may have been noticed by the recruiter, but others require a technical perspective. In this block, you create a general impression of how well the candidate is prepared to work in your company.

Cannot Replace Technical Assessment

Although discussing experience is essential, it cannot replace a full-fledged technical assessment. I believe this should be a separate interview block.

It is essential to ask questions but not overload them. Do not try to fit 100 questions into 10 minutes; it will not be beneficial. Define in advance the technologies in which you want to assess the candidate's knowledge. It is also necessary to have your understanding of these technologies.

The main task is to determine the level of knowledge and the boundaries of their understanding. Do not assess the candidate as "knows" or "does not know." If the candidate has no experience with a specific technology, they cannot know all its intricacies. Assess how deeply they understand related technologies, indicating their readiness for self-learning.

Pay attention to the candidate's reasoning, ask clarifying questions that lead to a detailed response. Assess their ability to reason and discuss. Comparative questions, such as comparing various technologies, reveal more about a candidate's real knowledge than simply repeating textbook definitions. Avoid demanding that the candidate knows everything, especially regarding highly specialized questions. Be prepared to discuss with the candidate rather than expecting a 100% correct answer.

Practical Aspect: Code Examples and Design Architecture

Although discussing technical aspects is important, a full assessment of the candidate is impossible without seeing their work with code or design. This provides a practical aspect to the technical interview.

Why is this important?

  1. Evaluation of dealing with a given task: How does the candidate approach problem-solving? Do they dive into implementation immediately or thoroughly analyze the conditions, asking questions? This helps understand their readiness for real working conditions.
  2. Planning and discussion of the plan: Does the candidate plan ahead and discuss it, or do they prefer to act independently without discussion? Understanding this is essential for evaluating adaptability to teamwork.
  3. Handling feedback: How does the candidate react to feedback during discussions and problem-solving? The ability to receive and adapt to criticism is a crucial aspect of professional growth.
  4. Thinking and discussion: How does the candidate think and articulate their thoughts? How comfortably do they communicate their ideas? This is important for understanding how well you can communicate with the candidate in a work environment.

Conclusion

By putting all the above into practice, you can create a more complete and objective picture of the candidate's technical skills. Remember that the goal is not just to assess the ability to write code but also to evaluate its practical application. The next stage involves discussing the candidate's questions and concluding the interview.

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