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The Other Side of the Table - Part 1

I may have mentioned before that I've had the opportunity to interview folks before. This is true. After a phone call today, I realized exactly how long it had been since such an ocassion. To put it lightly, assuming that I was ever in practice before, I am most certainly out of practice now with regard to interviewing.

So today, as I was wrapping up other tasks at work, and, effectively, starting with a clean slate, I began looking into what it takes to interview folks. Specifically, I'm prepping for an interview with potential software development and user experience interns, which is a bit different from interviewing, say, a full-time person.

To clarify off, I haven't interviewed anyone in the past three years, and I've certainly never interviewed anyone while at a startup. It got me thinking how things are on the other side of the table, so to speak.

There are plenty of good resources out there for interviewing technical people, more specifically, software developers; if you're interested, you should check out those.

A lot of the advice that's given usually emphasizes a few key points:

  • Hiring is important; don't half-ass it. Bad hires are more expensive than good ones. If you have any reservations about a candidate, do your best to resolve them, and if you can't, don't hire them.
  • You're really looking for two qualities: smart, and gets things done. It's difficult to gauge these two qualities, but having one or the other isn't sufficient
  • Passion is a really good indicator of the quality of a candidate. Passion is hard to measure, but projects are a good indicator.

It's going to be interesting to be on the other side of the table again. I'll follow-up after Wednesday with my insights after I've actually had the opportunity to hire again.

Nicholas Terwoord

A self-titled software developer, "code archaeologist" (whatever that means), and professional geek. Spends too much of his time coming up with new projects, and not enough time working on them. Likes video games, board games, anime, manga, and Pathfinder / Dungeons and Dragons (GOTO: Line #1 - Geek).