How To Hire Awesome Developers Without The Stressful Interviews

  • Can they do the work we do?
  • Do we think they will succeed as a developer who primarily pairs or works in an ensemble (some folks call it a mob)?
  • Can they “develop out loud” while someone is helping?
  • Is their preferred craft in alignment with what we have found to work? (TDD, CI, legacy rescue…)?
  • If they do things differently than we do, can they speak to the pros/cons?
  • Knows what they are looking for the candidate to demonstrate
  • Will only help as much as needed to keep the candidate moving — the two are not trying to solve the exercise together
  • Is there at least one programming language that they can be effective with? (Candidates may work in whatever language and tool set they are comfortable with.)
  • What is their skill level with their language of choice? Do they write it idiomatically?
  • Can they explain the what and why of the code they are writing?
  • Are they careful?
  • Are they skilled with TDD and generally test-first, and is that their default instinct?
  • If they do not demonstrate the use of version control during the interview, are they able to talk about how they would use it in real work?
  • Do they value small, single-concept commits with useful messages?
  • Do they bring at least a little humor or fun to their work?
  • Are they able to gracefully recover from setbacks?
  • Do they accept instruction/redirection well?
  • Are they curious if they are introduced to something new?
  • Are they comfortable “not knowing the answer” in front of someone?
  • If they do not know a specific detail, can they quickly find an answer online?
  • Whiteboard coding — as mentioned above, it is not what we do day-to-day and may create undue stress for the candidate.
  • Ability to list the names of, for example, data structures or patterns. While we want candidates to be aware of and be able to show use of some patterns (based on career level), there is no mark against someone who can implement a particular pattern but doesn’t specifically state its name.
  • Willingness or ability to do unpaid development work outside an interview. We recognize that not everyone has a life that allows them time to code outside of work. For instance, a person might be caring for a sick parent or be responsible for small children. If we were to screen out candidates who cannot do coding exercises at home, we would be reducing the diversity of the pool of people capable of succeeding at Studios.



The Path to Agile Transformation Starts Here |

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store