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Hiring for the first time

Evaldas on September 06, 2018

With recent promotion, one of my tasks will be filling up a team with a couple of junior developers. This is going to be the first time I'll interv... [Read Full]
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  • Ask them how to implement or ways to implement a problem (don't ask him to write the code, just listen to the solution)
  • Ask what is the better approach and why.
  • DO NOT ask for syntax (google gives you syntax for silly mistakes)

You've to observe the thought process while the candidate is solving the problems.


Don't look too much into their technical skills. They matter much less than their personality.

Many juniors (at least that I encountered) are rushing to implement their ideas, they don't have patience and make silly mistakes. Look for that, patience.


Like I mentioned above, we're basically establishing a new development team from existing people within the department. The only difference being a totally different technology stack.

So I kinda know their personalities to certain degree. But looking for patience is an awesome tip. Thank you!


Hi, there. Recently, I got to interview developers for the first time and really enjoyed the experience. I will post a how-to on next week!

I'm not sure of the type of interview you want to do (I went with live coding). Regardless, I think it's great to lay down the format of your interview at the beginning and get a nod from your candidate.

For example, I said,

"The format of my interview is as follows. For the first 5-10 minutes, I will ask you questions about yourself. Then, I have 3 coding problems for you. Ideally, each takes 15-20 minutes. Finally, you get to ask me questions for the last 5-10 minutes. Does that sound all right with you?"


I really like the idea to lay down the format of interview beforehand. Looking forward to your post!


I am an excitable fellow, I have interviewed developers in the past and got a bit over excited as they like the same technology as I do, but it's so important to keep your cards close to your chest. Keep calm and stay objective. Our interviews where usually solving a simple broken bit of code which had some unit tests. My own interview was a bit of a trick question, I didn't know the answer but I knew alot of things I could have been, I got the job on that alone.


My general principles when recruiting less experienced people is that it becomes almost 100% about their potential than the skills they bring into the room with them. Good junior devs have a massive energising ability through their innate curiosity and desire to learn, so if you don't see that, it would be a massive red flag for me.

Beyond that, you're hiring into an existing team, so looking for team fit is essential.

  • What does the team lack in terms of technical gaps - will the hires increase that problem or reduce it?
  • Is the team patient enough to mentor the junior developers accordingly?
  • How diverse is the composition of the team (culturally, gender-ly, etc) - can the new hires also increase the level of diversity?
  • Ultimately, you need to be confident you can visualise them sitting in the team room and working with the team.
  • Will the team be working under lots of deadline pressure? Can they handle that?

Great tips! What if there's too much energy? Not to learn but to get things done.

Usually rushing leads to more harm than good.


I've just stumbled upon your post again a few months later, how did the recruitment go? Do you have a full team now?


It went really well, I relied a lot on my colleagues and asked for their presence during interviews, which helped a lot.

Team's full now and grows quite fast, they trust each other and are keen to work with any kind of tasks. So far it's been very positive and higher management is also really happy with our progress.

Thanks for asking!


That's great news! Sounds like you have a fantastic team around you.

Looking forward to reading your next blog post :)

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