A technical interview is focused on testing many qualities of the candidate along with technical acumen. Some insights from the other side of the interview table. The following checklist (from approximately 1000 interviews I have taken) should be helpful for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
1. Hands-on coding
Nevertheless to say, a technical interview is incomplete without hands-on coding. Even if you are hiring a QA guy or a very senior person, coding test is a must. Core skill-set should be identified and then language specific questions should be put up. Any ambiguities from CV should be cleared out. Technical skill-sets required for the position should be clear in the interviewer’s mind.
2. Smartness in picking hints
Every interview question does not necessarily need to be answered. Candidate should attempt the unknown question, but it is always good to state out the comfort level. Hints are always dropped to test candidate’s listening skills. A smart candidate picks up the hints quickly.
Prepare well for aptitude questions, both interviewee and the interviewer 🙂 Some puzzles should be used. Smart candidates stand out clearly in such round. Also, if proper skill-match is not there, decision is made based on a person’s attitude.
4. Past projects
Passion is tested from the past projects. Good candidates will have so much to talk of their past projects, that you will have to make them stop. One who would have walked an extra mile will make sure to teach the interviewer some new things out of his experience.
5. Performance under pressure
Some questions are asked to stress out the person. Candidate turns defensive or maintains his cool can be an important decision maker. Good candidate should come out with flying colours with a little help from the interviewer.
6. Outward thinking
A good interview should involve some design questions. Candidate is tested not only on the solution but also on the way of thinking. Design decisions should be clearly communicated. Even if you have prepared the question well, hold yourself and go easy with the flow 🙂
7. Working style
Every person has a different frame of mind. Some are workaholic while others look for 9-5 job. Similarly, project requirements are also different based on its state. Both the parties should agree on this for a long term association.
8. Team work
Again, based on the project requirement, role can be different. A good candidate should be open to both individual and team work. Nurture modesty and sincerity and spice it up with technical knowledge.
9. Entrepreneurial skills
Ownership is the key here. Nurture the “whatever it takes” attitude and have fun in work.
10. Why do you want to quit? Why do you want to join?
This is generally a formality question, but can have a strong rejection impact. Prepare your reason well and back it up with facts.