How to Carry Out the Technical Part of IT Recruitment?

How to carry out the technical part of IT recruitment?

1. Preparation for the interview

The first and basic thing to do is a thorough analysis of the candidate's CV. Anyone who deals with the recruitment process will confirm that candidates' CVs are prepared at various levels. Although the aesthetics of the CV is an important element, remember that the most important is its content. So let's pay attention to the technologies, experiences and projects listed there, especially those that are used in our project.

Let's also enter links to other portals, such as LinkedIn or even GitHub. In particular, the latter can be a great starting point for us to prepare technical questions for the candidate during the interview. The advantage of this approach is that during the interview itself, we won't have to waste the candidate's time getting to know the code - after all, it's his own code and he should be able to explain what's going on in it.

In addition, it is worth paying attention to issues less formally related to the recruitment itself, i.e. the candidate's interests. This will help to build an important atmosphere at the meeting - it is one of the key factors of any successful recruitment.

2. Atmosphere

Most often, the technical part of the recruitment process takes about an hour. This is a reasonable time in which both the candidate and the recruiter should be able to answer questions and dispel at least most of the doubts. It is worth using it effectively. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure a good, friendly atmosphere. Only thanks to this, the candidate will be able to really relax, open up and introduce himself to us as he really is.

Taking care of a good atmosphere (one that reflects the atmosphere at work) apart from the effective use of time, of course has other advantages. If the candidate feels comfortable, even if you are unable to offer him a job, it will reflect well on you and your company.

How to create a good atmosphere? One of the basic procedures is to switch to "You" right away, before the conversation starts for good. It is worth making sure that the candidate speaks the most during the meeting, so that he has the opportunity to ask questions and talk about his experiences. A joke that makes participants smile (e.g. " I see you have the same glasses as me " or " I'm going to ask you some technical questions that I don't know the answer to at all, maybe you can help me? ") is also a great way to start a successful recruitment process. .

3. Time frame

Usually, the technical part is not the only stage of recruitment and, as in other stages, you can expect questions about everything. However, in order to keep the meeting within a reasonable time frame, the following schedule, which I have proven many times in battle, may prove useful:

  • Performance [~ 10 mins ]
  • General information about the candidate [max 10 min ]
  • Theoretical part [max 10 min ]
  • Practical part [~ 20 min ]
  • Candidate's questions [remaining time - min 10 min ]

1. Performance

Begin the meeting by introducing the participants. It is worth introducing yourself and having the other company employees participating in the recruitment do the same (very briefly). At the end, the candidate should introduce himself and it is worth giving him more time than the others. In this part, it is worth asking the candidate about the projects and technologies he uses. This sequence of presentation allows for a smooth transition to the next phase of the meeting.

2. General information about the candidate

In this part, it is ideal for the candidate to start talking about himself and his experiences. There are candidates who are even prepared for this part, they have notes of what they should say. Unfortunately, it also happens that the candidate ends this part quickly. Then it is worth asking him about specific projects (preferably current ones) and the technologies he used. Candidates often talk about the problems they encountered. It's a great way to find out not how they finally solved the problem, but how they came to the solution, what their path was. This method of recruitment says a lot about the candidate and allows you to sense his character (individual vs. team player) and the level of his involvement in project matters and problem solving.

3. Theoretical part

A general conversation about the candidate is often a long and interesting discussion, but it is worth sticking to the framework and moving to the technical questions part. At the beginning, it is worth starting with general questions to determine how the candidate can navigate in the IT environment. Here are some not-so-great sample questions related to WEB development jobs:

  • What is git?
  • What design patterns do you know?
  • How would you describe the concept of DevOps?

These are standard questions that every candidate can easily find answers to on the Internet and prepare for them in about 5 minutes. Therefore, it is always worth deepening them:

  • What git commands do you use most often and do/how do you use git flow?
  • What problem have you recently solved using a design pattern, and which pattern (and why) do you find most useful?
  • Do you like the DevOps concept and why would you like/wouldn't you like to implement it in your current project?

Summing up, the questions we ask should always be aimed at examining specific projects/problems that our candidate has encountered on his way.

4. Practical part

The practical part is to narrow down the level of questions we ask in the direction related to the position for which the candidate is applying. Of course, this part will surely fail if we, as recruiters, are not really technically savvy. Why?

Again, many sample questions can be found on the Internet and prepared in advance. Let's imagine a situation that we ask a question in an area that we do not fully understand ourselves, and the candidate answers it. In such a situation, we will not really be able to fully verify whether the candidate understands a given area, or maybe he just hit the question for which he had a prepared answer.

The hands-on questions should tap into the candidate's experience so that we (again) can explore their true level of experience. A good way to conduct a successful practical part is to ask questions from all kinds of exams with a high level of complexity. It is worth to warn the candidate that the questions are indeed difficult and have many catches (they often deliberately do not present good programming practices) so that our guest is aware of it. At the same time, it is worth noting that more than providing a good answer, it is important to explain the various constructions used in the question, explain the concepts presented, as well as indicate what is and what is not good practice.

If the candidate is able to explain all this, and at the end also gives the correct answer to the question, we can be sure of his high level of knowledge. However, if he is unable to give us the correct answer or shows us the wrong answer, then discussing with him will give us some idea of ​​what things the candidate understands and what he still needs to learn. If, in our opinion, it should not take the candidate more than 3 months after possible employment to learn the shortcomings, we certainly should not write him off for this reason.

5. Part for the candidate

Ultimately, after the part where we ask the questions, it should be time for a rematch. According to the proposed schedule, at least 10 minutes should be reserved for this part.

Our guest can now ask us about the project, the team, the company. It happens that after asking the candidate to ask his questions, the candidate backs off saying that he has no questions or knows everything for now. It is not worth getting discouraged and taking it as disrespect, because very often the candidate is simply shy, and in addition he is consumed by stage fright. He could also find out about the aspects important to him earlier, e.g. by talking to HR. Therefore, in this case, it is worth telling a bit about the project for which we are recruiting.

It is also worth mentioning the technology stack and other people and the structure of our company. This should arouse the candidate's curiosity and provoke him to ask more questions on topics of interest to him. In addition, we should remember to give the candidate as much information as possible to his questions, while being careful not to cross the border of our company's trade secret.

4. Mind set

You have surely noticed that the entire recruitment of a new team member is focused on getting to know him. Both general information about the candidate, as well as the theoretical and practical part, are aimed at getting to know the candidate from the perspective of his/her experiences/projects/solved problems. Even more important, however, is to know what kind of person he is - what his "mindset" is.

"Reasoning" in my opinion is not a good translation of this term. Rather, Mindset focuses on things like:

  • following good practices,
  • character,
  • way of working in a group,
  • sense of responsibility for the project,
  • desire to learn,
  • level of involvement.

There are no always good or always bad candidates. Instead, they are more and less suited to our organization. Therefore, the real art of recruitment is the ability to find people who fit our team, our company. I think you can risk saying that mindset is as important as the level of experience, but it cannot be determined by asking questions directly to the candidate.

This is why all recruitment should focus on the candidate's experience, so that in this way, we can feel this weighty and important sphere, somewhat between words.

Successful recruitment is when, after 3 months from employment (often the trial period), both the employer and the employee can look each other in the face with a smile and say: "I enjoy working with you." I wish such successful recruitments for you, Dear Reader, and for myself.