Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Interview With a Programmer

Saturday, April 03, 2004  

I've actually been having fun with my interviews to fill the position of software developer. For the interview itself, I jettisoned about half of the behavioral questions I used to use and focused primarily on pulling specifics from the candidates. Secondly, I incorporate some practical questions, including a single coding question, into the interview. Thirdly, I involved my senior developer in the interviews as part of his supervisory training.

I think the fun is both in the effort, at times, to tease out the information I'm looking for. How does the candidate act with others? What about conflict resolution? Team-building? Changing someone's point of view? Some answers were stock and avoided specifics, others were more detailed.

What really shocked me was how completely unprepared most of the candidates were for a real-life programming example. I chose to have them write an integer to string function in either Java, C#, Python or Perl. Only one candidate could actually sit down and write code. Others struggled and one passed on it. I remember when the majority of my work was coding and that as long as I could break down the problem I could code it. I was really surprised how many people couldn't break down the problem. Yikes. It was a great idea to include this question -- I think it separated those who "code" with tools from those who truly understand what they're writing.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 4/03/2004 07:56:00 PM

Comments: Post a Comment
the author
open source