After we’ve thoroughly vetted candidates for your position, we present them to you to conduct your own interview. By this stage, technical candidates have passed two interviews:
- Our initial screening, which evaluates the candidate’s technical skills, soft skills, and logistical suitability with respect to your role and company
- An in-depth technical coding exercise that mirrors the types of challenges a developer would realistically encounter in your position.
The developers that have the skills needed to succeed in your role and performed well in both interviews are then presented to you. Because of this, most clients use this interview to dive deeper into specific topics, as the majority of technical and soft skills have been thoroughly evaluated. That said, we do understand that some companies will want to conduct their own technical assessment with candidates. You can of course do this! We simply encourage you to be cognisant of interview fatigue, which can be unnecessarily stressful for candidates.
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For all roles, including non-technical ones, like project managers and UI/UX designers, this interview is your opportunity to discuss your business and technical challenges in depth and ask the candidate open-ended questions to confirm their suitability for your project.
Before going into the interview, we share information about each candidate. This will help you identify specific areas you may want to spend time discussing. Our presentation notes will include:
- General suitability: time zone, availability, hourly rate, flexibility with working hours, etc.
- Start date: When the candidate is able to begin the engagement.
- Academic and professional history: you’ll receive a detailed overview of the candidate’s education, their years of experience, and specific roles they’ve held.
- Technical skills: an overview of the candidate’s experience with and skill level with the frameworks, tools, and libraries they would be using in your role.
- Personality and soft skills: here, we give an overview of who the candidate is, what they like, where they excel, and potential weaknesses we’ve identified through screening.
- Recording of the live coding exercise: for development-focused roles, we share a recording of their live coding exercise to help you understand their programming approach and time management
Let’s dive into what to expect for this meeting, how to prepare and make the most of your time with candidates.
How to Prepare for Your Interview with a Candidate
This interview stage should help you determine whether the candidate is a good fit for your team, both technically and culturally. The bulk of this interview should be a comprehensive discussion on topics specific to the challenges your company is facing and, for technical roles, the technology stack the developer will use for your project.
Here are some things to consider when preparing for the interview:
- Make sure all relevant team members are present: As this is the last stage of the interview process, any team members involved in the hiring decision should attend this meeting. If some team members can’t attend, we’ll share a recording with you that we encourage you to share with them.
- Try to minimize the number of interviews. This helps avoid interview fatigue and keep the momentum going with the candidate so we reduce the risk of them losing interest.
How to Get the Most out of the Interview + Sample Questions
To get the most out of your interview, we recommend asking open-ended questions, rather than yes/no questions. This will elicit more detailed answers from candidates and will reveal more about their personality, knowledge level, thought process, and other soft skills.
If the role you’re hiring for is development focused, asking the following open-ended questions will help you fully understand the candidate’s technical potential and cultural alignment with your team.
- What projects are they currently working on?
Find out what the candidate is currently working on. For developers, find out what technologies they’re excited about. This can give a peek into whether they’ll be excited about your role based on the stack you’re using. For example:
- “What project(s) are you currently working on? What is the project about?”
- “What tech stack are you currently using?”
- “Are there any aspects of your current projects that you’re excited about?”
- “What are some challenges you’ve experienced in your current role/project?”
- Are they suitable for your position and team?
Digging into a candidate’s motivation and professional interests can help you set expectations and start off on the right foot with a new hire. Learn what attracted them to this opportunity and what they’re looking for in their next position.
- “What are you looking for in the culture of the next company you join?”
- “What technical skills would you like to develop in your next project?”
- “What soft skills are you looking to improve?”
- “What tasks were you were less excited about in previous roles?”
- Have they worked on similar projects?
Discussing previous projects in more detail helps you assess their technical abilities as it relates to your stack and determines if they’re a good fit. For example, do they have experience with:
- Solving concurrency problems in high-traffic applications
- Implementing and designing caching strategies
- Security patterns
- Working with Design Systems
- Using limited mobile bandwidth efficiently
- Troubleshooting specific scenarios
- What is their experience with the stack?
Ask questions to gauge how much experience the candidate has with the stack and their interests in continuing to learn more about it. The answers will tell you about the candidate’s self-awareness, confirm the candidate’s seniority level, and demonstrate their ability and desire to learn. For example:
- “In your view, what are some strengths and weaknesses of the stack being used?”
- “Can you tell me about any recently released features you’re excited about?”
- “What are you currently learning about the stack?”
- “How are you hoping to improve your skills or gain more experience with the stack?”
- How do they solve technical problems?
Ask how the candidate would approach a hypothetical problem using real-life scenarios. Instead of surprise coding challenges, technical discussions related to your business challenges will align with your hiring needs and give insight into how a candidate could provide value. Asking about a real challenge that your company is facing at the moment may even give your team the ability to learn from multiple candidates during the interview process and uncover the best solution.
Interview Questions for Developers and Non-developer Roles
For all role types, ask the following questions to understand more about the candidate’s experience and how they will fit within your team.
Where does the candidate’s focus lie?
When considering your own product roadmap, understanding what the candidate leans toward can help inform your team, improve planning and task distribution, and in turn increase productivity.
For example, questions you can ask (organized by role type) are:
- “Do you see yourself as a full-stack developer?”
- “Do you lean more towards back-end or front-end?”
- “What is your comfort level working with infrastructure and unit testing?”
- Quality Assurance: “Do you lean towards manual QA or Automation?”
- Design: “Do you focus more on UI design, UX design, or both?”
- “What is your experience with cloud infrastructure?”
- “What cloud provider do you prefer the most?”
- “What is your experience with IaaS and tools like Terraform vs Ansible?”
- “Do you have experience as a product manager, or is project management your main area of expertise?”
- “What is your experience and comfort level working with agile methodologies?”
What have they learned from previous projects?
Find out what the candidate has learned from their previous work experience, including the problems they encountered and how they solved them. For example, you could ask:
- “What is the most interesting or complex challenge you have solved?”
- “What skill(s) did you develop during your most recent role?”
What are their preferences for methodologies and tools?
Is the candidate used to agile or scrum project management styles? What about digital tools they use for research, time tracking, and task management? Finding out these preferences early on is a good idea to gauge the candidate’s flexibility and compatibility.
Share the methodologies and tools your team has in place and discuss if they’re comfortable using them. This is part of your team’s internal processes so there needs to be a consensus.
- “What project management tools do you have experience with?
- “What software or tools could you not live without?”
- “What is your experience with agile methodologies?”
- “What is your experience with time tracking tools?“
Are they a fit for your team and company culture?
Address important aspects of how your team operates to see if they fit in or can adapt to your company culture. Learn what is important to them in an organizational culture. For example, ask:
- “In what kind of work environment do you excel?”
- “What does your ideal work day look like?” Or “What’s your preferred work style?”
- “How do you usually collaborate with other remote team members?”
What size of teams have they worked with?
Learn what team size the candidate has experience with, where they feel most comfortable and if they have experience working on teams similar to yours. It’s not always a bad thing to work with someone who hasn’t worked on a similar size team before. But it can be helpful to know what they’re used to for onboarding purposes (like assigning a mentor or having them set up themselves depending on their experience working with different organizations and teams).
Questions you can ask include:
- “What is the average team size you’ve worked with?”
- “Do you prefer working in startups, corporations, or something in between?”
- “Are you relatively self-directed or do you prefer having a manager who is more hands on?”
How can you help them be successful in this role?
Every employee will have different preferences for how they work, the level of support and mentorship they receive, and what helps them be successful. Find out what they need in order to feel comfortable and efficient in their work. Consider their needs and whether you have the capabilities to fulfill them. For instance, you can ask candidates questions like:
- “What’s your preferred management style?”
- “Tell me about the best manager you’ve ever had.”
- “What are some expectations you have of a manager or team lead?”
- “What support do you need to be successful in a role?”
What is their experience with remote work?
Most likely, any developer you interview today will have at least some experience with remote work, but this isn’t always the case. Find out what they consider important aspects of successful remote development teams. Their answers will help you understand the depth of their experience with remote work and what practices or methods they follow and value to make it work.
For example, ask questions like:
- “How comfortable are you with communicating asynchronously with the rest of the team?” (e.g. over Slack, in regards to progress on assigned tickets and potential blockers)
- “How should requirements be handled? What level of detail should the specification have?”
- “What sort of follow-ups or check-ins do you expect from your manager?”
After your interviews with candidates, we kindly ask that you provide feedback to both us and the candidate, regardless of whether they were selected.
Providing feedback to Scalable Path
Your feedback helps our team understand why a candidate was or was not the right fit for your role. If you have comments on how the interview went, the quality of the candidate, or which technical and soft skills were pre-vetted, we’d love to hear about it. This helps us recalibrate expectations and evolve our candidate search requirements.
Providing feedback to candidates
If you have the bandwidth, we really appreciate it when you’re able to provide candidates with your feedback, especially if you didn’t hire them. It helps build trust with future employers and helps them understand where to focus their efforts for improvement.
After the interview concludes, collect your team’s thoughts to review and analyze your candidates. Consider developers who stood out technically, as well as those you perceive as being a strong communication and cultural fit. If your team wants to hire someone, let us know as soon as you can to provide an offer without losing momentum. For candidates you want to pass on, try to let us know right away and provide honest feedback wherever possible.