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Monday, November 18, 2013

Overall interview evaluation parameters for a software engineer/architect

When giving technical interviews, either as a software engineer or software architect, you are not only evaluated on technical prowess but also on a bunch of other factors that make a good or not so good hire. Every company and every team has a different set of parameters on which they evaluate candidates, but here is a list that is quite common across most organizations. Note that each of these categories may have a different weight assigned to them to provide emphasis to specific skills that are more important to that team. In addition, the team and company culture have a strong influence on the hiring process and that can be learnt to some degree by reading about the company and their development philosophy.

I have also given a typical question to highlight what I mean by that category. Again, this may vary, but it should give you a good idea on how to present yourself during an interview.

N/A – Based on observation
Ready to learn
N/A – Based on observation
Takes new challenges
What would you do if you happen to finish your assigned task earlier? (Hint: read new tech, fix existing bugs, help teammate, slack off, analyze data, etc.)

Potentially independent
Tell me about a situation that required you to build your knowledge base before solving a complex problem

Results oriented
When do you consider a problem solved? How much time would you spend tweaking a solution to gain more performance? When is the performance good enough and you move to the next problem?

Growth potential
Describe a time when you had to complete a project in which you were provided with very little information or guidance

Describe a time when you presented a proposal or provided a service that was given an unfavorable response by stakeholders
Tell me about a time when you did not meet a planned milestone
Tell me about a time when you mentored others in your area of technical expertise
Provide an example of a time when you had to motivate others to complete a challenging deliverable.

Team Fit
Describe your most recent experience working with a virtual team.
What were the challenges you faced and how did you work through them?
Describe a situation when you led a project with a geographically or functionally diverse team
Describe how you have collaborated with others outside of your immediate team to resolve a critical issue
Tell me about a time when you experienced a major organizational change (for example, a reorganization, a new supervisor or a new procedure) that created stress. 

Company Fit
Why would you join our team and not another competitor?
What are 3 words that describe you?
What experience do you have that qualifies you for the job?
What do you consider your strengths?
What are your short term and long term goals

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Data driven
Describe a long-term project or assignment of which you took ownership. How did you make sure each milestone was achieved in a timely manner?
You wanted to make a change on the website, but your product manager was not in favor. How would you handle this?
Tell me about a situation when you had multiple alternatives from which to choose. What steps did you take to determine the most appropriate alternative?

This should give you a good idea on what many interviewers gauge a candidate. There are of course many more factors and qualities that guide the hiring process. 


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