Show Me Yer Technical Chops
Over the years, I've kept a list of interview questions for languages
all purpose questions that could answer:
- How fast can he or she learn new technologies?
- How deep (or broad) does he or she go?
- How well can I work with this engineer?
Of course, these questions would have no right answer, but the
ensuing discussion, should illuminate the shadow behind the resume.
How do you Implement XYZ?
A question like this (where
XYZ is something somewhat relevant, like
a "web server", "ping", or "servlet container") shows not only
technical knowledge, but curiosity, as well.
I mean, we use web servers every day, but do we know what's under the
As the candidate describes the components, data flow, and APIs, this
should show off things like:
- Is she detail oriented or more interested in the big picture
- Is his knowledge and interest broad or deep
- His or her communication skills
I highly doubt that anyone would remember every aspect (I know, I wouldn't),
but this seems reasonable to ask.
What is the most interesting feature of…?
We all brag on our resumes about the hot, new language we were able to
learn, but how well did the candidate learn Groovy, Scala, Haskell or
If you were to ask me about Groovy, I would mention the nice syntactic
sugar, but bemoan the type laziness. This would show that I like
structure and am not comfortable with ambiguity.
really use an overhaul, but optional aspects just invites confusion
and problems. For me, if something is completely optional, leave it
out. If parenthesis are needed some of the time, require it all the time.††You might complain about the number of parenthesis in my beloved Scheme, but at least you knew what they are doing.
Going off on such a rant should be expected if the developer is
passionate and excited about their work. And that's a Good
I realize that our half-hour time slot is now over, but I want you to
add to this list. What questions do you ask potential co-workers?
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