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"CEO". "These people". Fortunately I have questions in my developer interviews that filter out the snarky techier-than-thou types in favour of those who actually take an interest in the business whose success their tech skills are supposed to be supporting.





That's pretty reasonable, but in this case there's no evidence that she wasn't initially excited to be working on whatever it was that the team did. It's often quite difficult to make that assessment going in, and based on the tone of the article, it reveals a sense of disappointment. I always read up on a company and the product I'd be working on before doing an interview, because I'm critical of the companies I choose to work for—if it's a choice. However, in my last place, my naive optimism was kind of dampened in the first little while despite the product being interesting. You never really know, but if you're optimistic, you might just try and make the best of it for a while.

That sounds interesting, how do you do it? Which questions do you ask? What shows you that someone is interested in your business?

The classic start-and-end-of-the-interview questions can tell you a lot if you listen carefully to how they respond and ask follow-up questions:

- What do you know about the company already? - What is it that excites you about this role?

When discussing previous projects, after covering the technical side, I will ask specific questions about how their work impacted the bottom line or what difference it made to the business as a whole; not necessarily looking for something financially quantifiable but for something that indicates they understand how dev fits into the bigger picture.

For graduates, I will actually take an interest in their extracurriculars and side projects, these can reveal a lot about whether they have any commercial nous as well as technical chops.

I will generally come up with some hypothetical on-the-job situation where there may be some perceived conflict between business needs and the ideal developer scenario, asking them to walk through how they might go about resolving the situation, how they would communicate, what questions they would ask and of whom, all the while looking for answers that suggest a leaning towards teamwork, collaborative problem-solving that encompasses more than just lines of code, and hopefully some kind of rudimentary understanding of what drives a business.

Also, I will generally look for the Spolsky dyad of "smart" and "gets things done" [0]

[0] https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2006/10/25/the-guerrilla-guid...


Back when I did hiring interviews I used to ask people to familiarize themselves a little bit with the organization (could be the whole company or just a team, depending on size) before the interview, and then ask them why they want to work here. This is so important that I would even ask applicants to answer this specific question in their cover-letter.

I'm not sure that works in the majority of jobs. If you are the world's 27th largest CRM vendor then how would you expect a programmer to answer that question?

There is a good chance that after a couple of years they will be as passionate about the CRM market is you are but 99% of the companies out there are not Google or somewhere people lust to work at.


I don't mean why do you want to work at this particular company more than all other companies, but why do you want to work here at all? What is it that you find appealing here?

This is also a good meta-question. Even after I write to a candidate to say that they will be asked this, you'd be surprised how many are unprepared. I remember one guy who told me, when I asked him, that he's interviewing at so many places that it's unreasonable to expect him to know any specifics about this company. I wondered if he thought it reasonable, given how many people I was interviewing, that I try to know anything specific about him. Unsurprisingly, that answer is the only thing I remember about him.


Then you filtered out an honest person.

Lets face it though, it is not that hard to jot down some notes for each company that you can review in a couple minutes in the car before the interview.


Honesty is a necessary condition, but certainly not a sufficient one. If someone came to the interview and said that they don't really know how to program, I might appreciate their honesty, but still not hire them, and I might think badly of them for wasting my time.

And while it's easy to jot down notes and review them (which is what I, as an interviewer had to do), the fact that some people didn't even do that despite being told in advance that they should, told me something about them. I didn't ask them for a take-home exercise or anything too time-consuming, just to know what it is that we're doing.


And if the prospective employee asked you what you think makes you special as an employer, what would you say?

Would have an answer about what makes you unusual and distinctive compared to tens of other possible employers?


I don't think you understand. My question isn't why would you like to work here more than anywhere else, but why would you like to work here? For example, if we were McDonald's, the answer could be, because I like hamburgers, or because I like giving service, or because I'm interested in the supply chain -- not because Burger King sucks. And if the candidate asked me why I'm interviewing them, of course I'd have an answer, because I prepare for interviews.

The goal is to know if the candidate knows what we're doing and is interested in the subject. And remember, we're talking about a high skill, high pay job.


As a programmer, I could be interested because I want to work with the language they use, because I want to work more with databases in a practical setting, because I want to work in a small company (I doubt the 27th largest CRM vendor has more than say 200 customers) or simply because I want to try something different.

That means that the developer has spent about 10 minutes looking at your website, at most. Maybe that is enough, I don't know, but I guarantee you that I can find something in almost any company that I can say is interesting to work with and explain why to the interviewer.

In this case, just ask if they know who the CEO is, then watch their souls unravel.



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