Make Them Talk

There's a bunch of interesting interviewing tips and ideas here, but I like this one the most:

Have the candidate give a 20 minute presentation to your team on their area of expertise.

20 minutes may be a bit too long, but the idea has merit. If someone comes in and say, "um...I've done programming over the past 10 years...mostly Microsoft with some Java...er...I've worked with databases...urf...um...can you just ask me a question about why manhole covers are round?", that's probably a good indicator as to what kind of job they want. Note that I didn't say that person is stupid or incompetent; s/he may be the best developer you'll ever meet, but god help you if you push him/her outside of their comfort zone, because their answer screams of a desire for a fixed schedule with crystal-clear definitions and no wavering on the problem space. Again, that might be fine depending on the position, but if you're looking for someone who needs to be dynamic and willing to test the alpha version C# 5.0 [1] right now this may not be the person you're looking for.

[1] You did realize that was available, right? Oh, I said too much... [2]

[2] For those who can't see sarcasm when it's blinding them, there is no such thing as an alpha version of C# 5.0 as of date of this blog post. Who knows what the future may bring, though...

* Posted at 03.02.2005 12:17:24 PM CST | Link *

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