The phrase “fake it ’til you make it” is something that often gets thrown around as a tip for building confidence, but it’s also a source of real problems in the world of software development.
IT and software development are fast-moving fields. Those who work in those fields are expected to constantly learn new tools, frameworks, and ways of working. If you’re a hiring manager or someone who used to be “hands-on” but is now in a more managerial position, how can you keep up with this ever-changing field?
Software Developer Interviewing: Ask The Right Questions
As you Interview With A Nearshore Software Developer, you can make life a lot easier if you ask the right questions during the interview process. Firstly, be aware of the issues you’re likely to face if you’re hiring for a nearshore software development team.
Common “candidate problems” include:
- Overstating English-speaking proficiency.
- Claiming full-stack experience when they actually only know a couple of tools.
- Overstating proficiency with a programming language.
- A lack of problem-solving skills (because their work is usually turnkey deployment).
The first issue is a particularly common problem for companies that rely on outsourcing. Candidates may claim a B2 level of language proficiency, but struggle to hold phone conversations. These developers can read StackOverflow threads, but written communication with clients is beyond their level of English proficiency.
It’s possible to weed out those candidates via a phone or video interview. A good hiring process might include vetting CVs to eliminate those that are poorly written or that don’t even claim the skills that are needed, then a first-round phone interview to get to know the candidates better, followed by a final interview with an experienced CTO or developer.
Some Questions to Consider Include:
- What remote working/collaboration tools do you have experience with?
- How do you manage your time when remote working?
- How do you maintain a good work/life balance working remotely?
- What is your work environment like?
- How do you handle conflict in a remote team?
It’s a good sign if the candidate has experience with Trello, Slack, Zoom, and time tracking tools, and has confident answers to the other questions.
For example, the working environment might come down to personal preference, but there’s no right or wrong answer as long as the person’s thought about it. One strong candidate might say they have a dedicated home office. Another might rent a co-working space or take their (encrypted, for security) laptop and work using a VPN from a coffee shop.
Some candidates may manage work/life balance by setting strict 9-5 office hours. Others might work late at night when the kids have gone to bed. A non-technical interviewer should still be able to tell whether the candidate takes their obligations seriously and whether their working patterns will fit with the business.
Screening Candidates For Technical Skills
Once a candidate has passed the preliminary interview process, the next step is to vet the candidate’s technical skills. This can be done using coding tests and a technical interview carried out by a senior developer or CTO.
Some companies ask applicants to take on a real-world coding task, but this could put off serious and high-quality applicants who view that as being asked to work for free. A better option is to use a platform such as Hacker Rank to set problems for applicants to solve. They can do this remotely, and you can combine this with technical skills questions to get a feel for how each candidate works.
The technical interview is a chance for the interviewer to learn how the candidate thinks. The interviewer might ask the candidate to give the pros and cons of different tools (for example, asking whether Nginx or Apache is the best web server for a given job), or ask them to explain how they’d solve a complex problem, then consider the questions the person asks, and the thought process they use to arrive at a solution.
If you don’t have in-house expertise that can vet a software developer, consider using a nearshore software development company with a large talent pool. At Sonatafy we have the expertise in-house to help with a variety of development tasks using popular programming languages and frameworks, so we’re your ready-made development partners.