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Tips on interviewing junior devs?

Hey guys,

Our company will be hiring new devs in the coming days, and I volunteered to be involved in the hiring process, specifically with face-to-face interviews.
For background, I am also a software engineer and am taking on additional responsibilities for the growth of both our company as well as myself.

Do you have any tips on what to look for when interviewing junior devs?
Are there any red flags that I should be wary of? How about green flags?
What questions can I ask that would tell me a lot about a developer? We do have an extensive list of questions prepared but I would like to see if we might have missed any good ones.


Top comments (3)

s_aitchison profile image
Suzanne Aitchison

I've generally found questions around their approach to coding problems more useful than the "tech questions" we often lob at junior devs. E.g. ask what their latest project has been (hobby or for college or whatever), and to tell you about the most challenging problem they faced with it. How did they overcome it? Give them an opportunity to tell you how they work through difficulties (e.g. using docs, seeking someone to pair with, debugging skills). I tend to find some people really stand out when you ask these things, whereas others give you a blank look and say they took their code to a teacher.

If they have come from university or bootcamp, ask about how they worked with others in any group projects - what were the challenges? You'll learn a lot about their ability to integrate with your team.

And lastly.. ask them what they're currently learning and/or excited about in tech right now! The answer to this can help show you if they're the type of person to voluntarily/enthusiastically learn new things and if they have an inquisitive mind that would help your org.

rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk • Edited

I would look at these points when hiring in general and some specific to new programmers:

  • Desire to learn, here attitude is the most important thing. Are they open and willing to take advice from colleagues.
  • Intelligence, can they absorb information and use that relatively quickly
  • Fighting mentality, do they go and search for information on their own to try and solve issues OR are they always asking people too quickly. Here the thinking is, can they reason through problems by themselves and solve that with the tools they have (google etc) and ask for help when appropriate.
  • Social skills, a lot of programming is about cooperation and group discussion / team work. Social skills are crucial for an effective team member.
  • Culture, there needs to be a culture fit with that new hire and the team and the company. If it doesn't fit well that will create problems down the line. Better hire someone with better team fit than someone that is smarter.
jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel πŸ•΅πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Fayard

If you are in Berlin, send your junior devs to us. We prepare them for the job interview, because when they are stressed like hell, nobody looks like the right fit for the job.

If you are not in Berlin, which is probably the case, well try to find someone that can do that.