What not to ask for technical interviews

Original author: Steve Brownlee
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Never require esoteric knowledge in a particular technology from the applicant. There is absolutely no connection between such knowledge and how effectively a person will work in your team.

The idea for this post came to my mind when I came across an article entitled " Questions for an interview on the position of Front-end developer ." The incredibly long list provided in the article are precisely those questions that should never be asked. Never ever.

To ask these things at the interview means to inspire the applicant, “I’ve been a real maniac and I googled all this senseless garbage for a week only to mock you and see how you suffer.”

Yes, I understand perfectly. We are all geeks, and we seriously believe that those around us should know and love the very stack of technologies that we ourselves know, and no other. But the fact that the applicant by some miracle will find in his head the knowledge that exactly corresponds to our secret expectations does not say anything about him.

Think for a second about the best team you've ever worked with. Now, remember a couple of the most disgusting assholes you had the pleasure of knowing personally. Do you only consider the level of technical qualifications when you give them such an assessment? Of course not.

Some of the most talented people I worked with behaved like complete idiots, and I would gladly have torn off their heads with my own hands without feeling the slightest remorse. On the other hand, some of my employees did not grab stars from the sky in terms of understanding the nuances of a particular technology, but at the same time I would not hesitate to agree to work with them again in a team.

I was lucky one day to work with wonderful people in DaVita. Of course, everyone had their own strengths and weaknesses. [...] So, when I needed to conduct an interview, I asked only five simple technical questions - I don’t need to terrorize a person for hours to understand if he has experience or not.

If the interviewee answered adequately, I tried to start a dialogue with him using the following three questions:

- Why do you want to work with us?
- What do you think is your personal quality that will be most useful in teamwork?
- What do you really like to do?

As you can see, these questions have absolutely nothing to do with the short-term knowledge that the applicant could feverishly google one hour before the interview. If we have already found out that the candidate for the position possesses the minimum necessary skills, we can only determine that he:

- Is able to think critically;
- In love with some occupation;
- Will benefit the team.

And the bottom line is that I do not think software development is complicated at all. On the network you can find a whole bunch of material, it’s enough to be able to use the search. If you can extract information from man pages and Stack Overflow, congratulations, you're a programmer.

This is not the real problem. A software developer needs first of all a certain mindset. Attention to detail. Willingness to debug the simplest code sometimes turns into an eternity journey. The ability to concentrate on the task for hours.

Not many people fit this description. And those that are not suitable, but still work in the industry, are easy to identify. Enough twenty minutes to talk on any topic, except for technical details.

Note metranslator: I rarely publish translations, so I ask those who do not find it difficult to comment on the quality of the text. Thanks!

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