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GayleL. McDowell | Founder/ CEO, CareerCup
gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
Dev Interview Training
How to InterviewDevelopers:Best& ...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 2
Hi! I’m Gayle LaakmannMcDowell
Author Interview Coach Interview Consulting...
Core Beliefs
Philosophies around hiring
01
Gayle Laakmann McDowell 4gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
#1: Interviews don’tneed to mirror the real world
Gayle Laakmann McDowell 5gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
#2: Goodcandidateexperiences matter
Gayle Laakmann McDowell 6gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
#3: You’llnever have a perfect process
Gayle Laakmann McDowell 7gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
#4: You need to THINK aboutyour process
The Interview
Goals & Questions
02
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 9
Goals
Great employees, not great interviewees
Goodin 6months,not 6days
...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 10
Core Question Types
Experience/Behavioral Questions
Knowledge
Design/A...
Behavioral/Experi
ence
What do you ask and why?
03
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 12
1. Why?
Isthisapersonyouwanttoworkwith?
Technical expertise
 Hasmadego...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 13
2. BadPractices& FalseNegatives
Undefined“cultural fit”
Interviewerassu...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 14
3. Best Practices
Probe deeper
Be nice and friendly
 (Evenifyoufeeldif...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 15
4. Evaluation
A factor in ALL interviews
Err towards listing minor conc...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 16
5. Examples
Dive into a technicalproject
 Walk throughdesignonwhiteboar...
Knowledge
What do you really need?
04
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 18
1. Why?
Do they know the stuffthey should?
Do they have therelevant job...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 19
2. Bad Practices& False Negatives
Only basic knowledge
Requiring stuffy...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 20
3. Best Practices
Hard to acquire ORa red flag
Relevant to job
Discuss...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 21
4. Examples
How does ____ work?
How do you thinkit’s implemented?
Design
Big, meaty problems
05
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 23
1. Why?
Tests:
 Abilitytotackleopen-endedproblems
 Communication/teamw...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 24
2. Bad Practices & False Negatives
Unreasonable knowledgeexpectations
S...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 25
3. Best Practices
Ask open-ended problems
Encourage follow up questions...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 26
4. Evaluation
Ability to make tradeoffs
Ability to identify issues
Sep...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 27
5. Examples
DesignAPI for…
System for Amazon book rank
System for Tiny...
Algorithms
Make ‘em think
06
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 29
1. Why?
Smart people do good work
Hires adaptable people
Very effectiv...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 30
2. Bad Practices& False Negatives
Easy questions
Questions with “a ha” ...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 31
3. Best Practices
Ask the right questions
Be nice and friendly
Coach
M...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 32
3a. The Right Questions
Medium-to-hardquestions
Multiplehurdles
Unusua...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 33
3a. ReasonableKnowledge
Data Structures Algorithms Concepts
ArrayLists Me...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 34
3b. Be Nice and Friendly
Intimidatedcandidates do poorly
Candidatesclin...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 35
3c. Coach
Give hintsas necessary
Encourage examples (input/output)
Rem...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 36
3d. Phone Interviews vs. Onsite
Don’t “go easy” on thephone
But avoid p...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 37
4. Evaluation
Not just correct vs. incorrect
 Howoptimal?Howquickly?How...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 38
Rand7: Given rand5(), implementrand7()
 Has“aha” moment
5. Bad Questions
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 39
Sub Permutations: Given two strings, s and t, find all
permutationsof s ...
Coding
Practical stuff
07
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 41
1. Why?
Code quality matters
Not everyone can translatealgorithm into c...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 42
2. Bad Practices & False Negatives
Requiring every detail
Tedious quest...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 43
Goal: “Seemingly compilable” code.
Don’t waste time
 Do you really nee...
Gayle Laakmann McDowell 44gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
4. Whiteboardvs. Computer
 More communication
 Morethought
 More focus...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 45
5. Evaluation
Look at structure and style
 Butdifferentiatewhat’straina...
Final Thoughts
Things to remember
07
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 47
Remember:
It’s on YOU to get theinfo you want
Challengeyour assumptions...
gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 48
Remember:
Err towards noting iton feedback
Be nice andfriendly
MAKE TH...
THANK YOU
gayle@gayle.com
gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
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How to Hire Software Engineers: Best and Worst Practices

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What should your goals be in hiring software engineers? What sorts of questions should ask? What do you need to be aware of when you ask?

How to Hire Software Engineers: Best and Worst Practices

  1. 1. GayleL. McDowell | Founder/ CEO, CareerCup gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Dev Interview Training How to InterviewDevelopers:Best& WorstPractices Oct 15, 2015
  2. 2. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 2 Hi! I’m Gayle LaakmannMcDowell Author Interview Coach Interview Consulting <dev> </dev> (CS) (MBA)
  3. 3. Core Beliefs Philosophies around hiring 01
  4. 4. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 4gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #1: Interviews don’tneed to mirror the real world
  5. 5. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 5gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #2: Goodcandidateexperiences matter
  6. 6. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 6gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #3: You’llnever have a perfect process
  7. 7. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 7gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #4: You need to THINK aboutyour process
  8. 8. The Interview Goals & Questions 02
  9. 9. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 9 Goals Great employees, not great interviewees Goodin 6months,not 6days Reduce falsenegatives Keepcandidates happy  9
  10. 10. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 10 Core Question Types Experience/Behavioral Questions Knowledge Design/Architecture ProblemSolving/Algorithms Coding 10 Canbemixedandmatched!
  11. 11. Behavioral/Experi ence What do you ask and why? 03
  12. 12. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 12 1. Why? Isthisapersonyouwanttoworkwith? Technical expertise  Hasmadegood,interestingtechnicaldecisions Culturefit/personality  Notarrogant,curious,initiative,etc Communication  Can theyarticulateimpact?
  13. 13. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 13 2. BadPractices& FalseNegatives Undefined“cultural fit” Interviewerassumptions Overly specific questions Not focusing on self  “We”not“I”
  14. 14. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 14 3. Best Practices Probe deeper Be nice and friendly  (Evenifyoufeeldifferently) Stick to more technicaldiscussions ChallengeYOUR assumptions Inevery interview
  15. 15. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 15 4. Evaluation A factor in ALL interviews Err towards listing minor concerns  Evenifit’sjusta “feeling” Challengeyour assumptions
  16. 16. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 16 5. Examples Dive into a technicalproject  Walk throughdesignonwhiteboard  Discusstradeoffs,keydecisions,etc  Extensionstoproject(scaling,etc)  Focusonpersonalimpact
  17. 17. Knowledge What do you really need? 04
  18. 18. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 18 1. Why? Do they know the stuffthey should? Do they have therelevant job skills?
  19. 19. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 19 2. Bad Practices& False Negatives Only basic knowledge Requiring stuffyou don’t really need Too many factualquestions
  20. 20. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 20 3. Best Practices Hard to acquire ORa red flag Relevant to job Discussions > fact grilling  Evaluationshouldbemostlyqualitative  OR:QuestionseasilyGoogledare bad
  21. 21. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 21 4. Examples How does ____ work? How do you thinkit’s implemented?
  22. 22. Design Big, meaty problems 05
  23. 23. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 23 1. Why? Tests:  Abilitytotackleopen-endedproblems  Communication/teamworkskills  Adifferentsideofproblem-solving Respects experience of senior candidates
  24. 24. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 24 2. Bad Practices & False Negatives Unreasonable knowledgeexpectations Some candidates don’t know “theflow”  Can’taskquestions  More ofa factualanswer  Don’tdrivetheprocess
  25. 25. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 25 3. Best Practices Ask open-ended problems Encourage follow up questions Have candidate walk through Let candidatedrive
  26. 26. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 26 4. Evaluation Ability to make tradeoffs Ability to identify issues Separate knowledge from attributes Response to feedback
  27. 27. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 27 5. Examples DesignAPI for… System for Amazon book rank System for TinyURL OOD for a music library
  28. 28. Algorithms Make ‘em think 06
  29. 29. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 29 1. Why? Smart people do good work Hires adaptable people Very effectiveifdonewell
  30. 30. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 30 2. Bad Practices& False Negatives Easy questions Questions with “a ha” moments Well knownproblems (or patterns)
  31. 31. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 31 3. Best Practices Ask the right questions Be nice and friendly Coach MAKE THEM THINK
  32. 32. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 32 3a. The Right Questions Medium-to-hardquestions Multiplehurdles Unusualquestions Avoid obscure knowledge
  33. 33. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 33 3a. ReasonableKnowledge Data Structures Algorithms Concepts ArrayLists Merge Sort BigO Time Hash Tables QuickSort BigO Space Trees(+Tries) Breadth-FirstSearch Recursion Graphs Depth-FirstSearch Memoization/ Dynamic Programming Stacks/ Queues BinarySearch Heaps
  34. 34. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 34 3b. Be Nice and Friendly Intimidatedcandidates do poorly Candidatescling to every word  Usethis!  “Goodjob”,“greatpoint”,etc. Especiallyifthey’restrugglingornervous
  35. 35. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 35 3c. Coach Give hintsas necessary Encourage examples (input/output) Remindthem of key details Stop themfrom writingcode too early
  36. 36. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 36 3d. Phone Interviews vs. Onsite Don’t “go easy” on thephone But avoid problems needingdiagrams  Strings,hashtables,linkedlistsare easytodraw  Treesandgraphsare hard
  37. 37. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 37 4. Evaluation Not just correct vs. incorrect  Howoptimal?Howquickly?Howmanyhints? Compare to other candidates  Earlyonyouwon’tbecalibrated More of a “gut feel”thana metric
  38. 38. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 38 Rand7: Given rand5(), implementrand7()  Has“aha” moment 5. Bad Questions
  39. 39. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 39 Sub Permutations: Given two strings, s and t, find all permutationsof s withint. 5. Good Question
  40. 40. Coding Practical stuff 07
  41. 41. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 41 1. Why? Code quality matters Not everyone can translatealgorithm into code
  42. 42. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 42 2. Bad Practices & False Negatives Requiring every detail Tedious questions Taking over the testing Lettingthe candidate code too early
  43. 43. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 43 Goal: “Seemingly compilable” code. Don’t waste time  Do you really need that Node class?  Encourage abbreviations, skipping uninteresting parts, etc. Make it clear when they should/shouldn’t code Encourage testing, refactoring, etc 3. Best Practices
  44. 44. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 44gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 4. Whiteboardvs. Computer  More communication  Morethought  More focus on essentials  BUT: slow & tedious  Can bemore comfortable  Can write faster  BUT: compiling can be distracting
  45. 45. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 45 5. Evaluation Look at structure and style  Butdifferentiatewhat’strainable Not about complete vs. incomplete Let the candidate test
  46. 46. Final Thoughts Things to remember 07
  47. 47. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 47 Remember: It’s on YOU to get theinfo you want Challengeyour assumptions Separate “did they do X?” from “can they do X?” 47
  48. 48. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 48 Remember: Err towards noting iton feedback Be nice andfriendly MAKE THEMTHINK 48
  49. 49. THANK YOU gayle@gayle.com gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
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