I’ve thought about some ideas on how we can learn quickly who is sitting in front of us. Yes, I’ve being doing lots of interviews to candidates and it seems to me that the normal technical questions tell nothing. I’m more and more interesting in a try to understand the person and see if there is a real win-win situation.
Over the years, I’ve learn that these 4 questions will give you a good idea about the developer/product manager/designer you wish to hire:
1. What are you excel at?
A nice way to touch on the strengths. What you references will tell me about you?
Btw, ask for a few references and call them. You will be surprise how much you can learn from them.
2. What is your one weakness you wish to improve?
Well – everyone got something that they can improve. It’s interesting to hear the ‘music’ of the answer and less the content. If they say something positive in a custom of negative (e.g. “I’m stubborn and won’t let a problem break me”), you know you have a problem.
3. Where do you wish to see yourself in the next job?
This will help you understand what they wish to do later in life. I used to ask this question with a time aspect (e.g. in 3-4 years) but it’s better to keep it with out time limit as no one knows how long they will move on.
4. What is the one thing that you know to be true that many others think to be false?
I ‘borrowed’ this one. It’s really good.
As for more general questions that I find useful to ‘tell’ you more about the person:
- What book is your favorite one?
- What activity you like most?
- Name you best: movie, song, band, vacation place.
Last but not least, there is the famous list of Bernard Pivot. It’s great not only on celebrities but on your friend at parties as well, specially, if they had few drinks before. Drinks are useful to help them drop the masks.