Interview tip: Know who you are interviewing

Posted on June 26, 2015

Aside from the fact that coding and code interviews are not even close to the meritocracy that many suggest, going blind into an interview and just testing coding skills is not a solution. By blind I mean not knowing the background and experience of the applicant. Asking is not enough – read their resume, check their Github and LinkedIn and Twitter. Get some context for their skills and experience.

For example, I was in an interview and while pairing, I said quite a few times something along the lines of “Well what’s your process? … you could do X or Y.” And the response was to tell me that I should just do what I think is right.

Do you see the issue?

Question: What’s your process?

For a beginner, this question is likely asked either because they don’t know what they should do (from lack of knowledge or self-confidence) or they aren’t particularly familiar with the process of developing software and working in teams.

For someone with 10 years experience building web apps as well as management experience, this is conveying that there are many subtle nuances to developing software and I’m asking about yours. It’s also an opportunity to engage with the interviewee about process, agile, etc.

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