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First you should look at the job advertisement and the money you offer. You might be missing the people you want and getting what you pay for. I don't think the number of people with deeper knowledge is smaller than 10 years ago. There are more jobs and more people after those jobs while the number of people who know their stuff stays the same.

If you pay less than 75% percentile for programmer job, you can't expect too much.

Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014 15-1131 Computer Programmers http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151131.htm

Yes, would be curious to see his job posting and what he is paying. If you are paying average wage, you are going to find (at best) the average programmer.

Also you need to be aware of self bias when interviewing. You ask him things YOU think are simple, and are shocked when they don't know it. Of course the only sane way to do A singleton object in Java is to do a double checked lock with a volatile keyword, it says so right in "java concurrency in practice!"... But if a candidate has never needed to write a hand rolled singleton (say always worked in Spring), meh.. I bet they know things that you don't know. Ask a candidate you reject as dumb to ask you 10 hard questions he can prove he knows the answers to, and see how many you get right. If he stumps you on all 10, then you just proved that you each know things the other does not, which may mean you would be a good team working together ;)

P.S. I know how DB indexes work because I find it interesting. Does that actually help me? So far I have never used that knowledge, but hey - I sound cool in interviews!

>You ask him things YOU think are simple, and are shocked when they don't know it

No I ask him things that He wrote in his resume He is expert of, One need to understand,Process of interview is not riddle game, or I am not going to play role as Brain magician who would through questions to candidates just for fun.All I am expecting from a candidate is if you are presenting yourself as an expert of field, be prepared to answer 'what' and 'how' of it.

I love your reverse interview idea. I am gonna start doing that (:

Hah let me know how it goes ;) Have never got around to it, but after being on both sides of super frustrating interviews I bet it could give some surprising results.

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