Nelz's Blog

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Interviewing Tips, for Both Sides of the Table

I just got back from San Francisco. I was in town for 2 different interviews over the last 2 days. Now that I’ve been "in-industry" for a while, I have definite opinions about interviewing and being interviewed.

  1. Interviews are a two-way street!
    1. The candidate is there to evaluate the work situation as much as the interviewer is there to evaluate the candidate’s fit. In my experience, it is pretty easy as an interviewer to let the interview become one-sided. Have just come from an interview like that, I can tell you that it was not pleasant. Show the candidate around the office, so they can observe the working conditions. Give them a benefit summary up front. For goodness sakes, SMILE at the candidate, at least once!
  2. Interview for intelligence, not trivia!
    1. I think you should strive to hire people that are intelligent and capable of learning new things, not just try to hire people who know ALL the specific vagaries of every singe technology in your stack. Yeah, a little bit of trivia mixed into the questions help to prove the candidate is not just slinging buzzwords at you is alright, but an ENTIRE interview based on trivia is a dumb step.
  3. Treat a candidate with respect!
    1. If you need a candidate to fill out paperwork, give them some time to do that, don’t just tell them to "fit it in" between interviewers. If you are going to give a paper-based quiz to a candidate, don’t sit there yawning and sighing, or sucking your teeth and picking at your nails.
  4. Re-evaluate your applications!
    1. Do you really need to know every single address I’ve lived at for the past 25 years? Do you really need to know my Social Security Number before you even agree to hire me? When gathering information on references, do you really need to know the reference-giver’s physical mailing address, are you really going to write them a letter? Why do you think it is appropriate to gather their SSN already?
  5. For Candidates: Have your own pen, and bring a portfolio, or something to put paperwork into.
    1. The nice lady at the front desk may only have one pen, and may not be able to part with it. Having a portfolio can help keep your interview area uncluttered and may help keep you on-track.