DEV Community


Posted on • Updated on

How Do I Interview Candidates as a Junior Engineer?

I'm a junior engineer and I've been at my first full-time gig for ~7 months now. My boss/CTO asked me if I'd want to start interviewing new engineering candidates and I expressed interest, but now I'm starting to worry that I'm not qualified to interview anyone since I'm just starting my career.

What should be expected of me as an interviewer and how can I prepare myself to interview candidates who are anywhere from junior-senior level?

Top comments (1)

recursivefaults profile image
Ryan Latta

You're about to learn some valuable lessons. Chief among them that most engineers do not know how to interview. After seeing this side of things you'll be much better equipped when you are job-seeking again.

I am looking to answer three questions when I interview people:

  1. Would we want to work with this person a year from now?
  2. What ability to they have to contribute now?
  3. What capability do they have when we change everything?

If I have answers to these questions that I'm confident in, then I know what I need to say to hire them or not. From these three goal type questions, I will create questions that get me to these answers. The questions may be problems to solve, they will definitely be open (Not Yes/No) questions, and I will spend a lot of time on question 1.

A dumb question I get asked a lot: "Do you know git?" This is a sample of a yes/no question whose answer is meaningless. You have no idea what they think it means to know git. You have also got to wonder if they are honest. I would instead ask, "Tell me how you have used git" This requires them to tell me from their experience how they've applied knowledge instead of asserting it exists.

My approach to the technical side usually involves pairing on a problem and/or solving fizz-buzz where I add and change requirements.