The demand for software engineers is always on the rise as businesses go digital across the world. As a result, recruiters are facing a tough time finding and hiring developers. With countless interviews each day, vetting your candidates to pick the deserving ones becomes challenging. On top of that, how do you assess your candidates if you don't have technical knowledge?
A Complete Guide for a Non-Tech Recruiter to Interview a Software Developer
Not all recruiters know how to program or code. Therefore, they cannot successfully evaluate the technical skills of a software developer. However, that doesn't mean you should miss out on hiring the best talents.
Here are the top tips and tools to help you interview a developer and assess their tech and soft skills.
How to Evaluate Tech Skills
One of the best ways to assess tech skills is to have a technical engineer in your interview panel. They can help you determine if your candidate possesses the right skill set to suit your development purposes.
However, not everyone can find a technical engineer to sit through the interview rounds. Recruiters might ultimately end up vetting the candidates without a technical person.
In such cases, you need to ask the right questions that give insight into your developer's skills and technical understanding. Try to focus your questions on technologies the candidate has worked on and come across during their professional life.
Additionally, you can try the following interview tactics for a thorough vetting:
Ask about Technology Skillset
Your project requirements will determine the essential programming languages your candidates must know to join the team. However, recruiters may also include more programming languages on the list based on their projects.
Create a final list of technologies and form your questions on them. You can get a developer in your team to create the questions if you lack technical understanding.
You can ask candidates how they used the frameworks for previous work and how often they used them. It is also good to ask them to show an app or software they developed for past clients. You can form an understanding about their work and level of efficiency.
Additionally, you should pay attention to the engineer’s experience in different markets. If you are looking for a software developer to join a healthtech or fintech project, it would be great to find candidates who have worked in similar areas.
Pre-Screen Candidates on GitHub
GitHub is the most popular destination for leading developers and businesses. The cloud environment facilitates the development and even helps you screen candidates in multiple ways.
Recruiters can use GitHub to explore all open-source projects a developer has been working on. As a result, you can get a better idea of your candidate's work experience and exposure. You can also determine the niches or areas where the developer has the most expertise.
However, non-technical recruiters may not be able to identify the quality of coding. For them, GitHub provides other ways to screening your developer. You can assess your candidate's skills based on:
Reputation: The number of followers of a developer can tell you how popular they are. It can be a good way to find out their level of reputation.
Recent activities: You can view a summary of projects and commits a developer has in the recent past on GitHub. The information can provide you a better idea of your candidate's work experience and exposure.
Level of experience: Recruiters can find out when a developer joined GitHub to determine their experience. A candidate that joined long back and has a lot of activities will be more experienced.
Type of projects: GitHub can tell you more about the nature of projects a developer has worked on. You can browse the number of repositories of your candidate to develop a better picture.
Conduct Coding Tests with Automated Vetting Tools
Not knowing how to code is not a barrier anymore to recruit top talents. Recruiting teams can vet potential candidates for coding skills using a range of automated tools. They come loaded with prebuilt coding tests and even let you create your own for optimum screening.
Here are three popular remote software developer hiring tools to consider:
Codility allows recruiters to evaluate candidates with skill-based programming tests. It can help businesses screen developers even if they do not possess technical knowledge. You can take advantage of hiring features like:
- CodeCheck:Create role-specific remote skill tests to screen candidates for interviews.
- CodeLive: Conduct online or physical interviews using video and virtual resources like whiteboards.
- CodeChallenge: Create online coding challenges without the need for technical expertise.
Codility is available in over 40 languages and lets recruiters hire at scale. You can assess hundreds of candidates without running up a considerable cost. Additionally, the platform is suitable for hiring both front-end and back-end developers.
ChallengeRocket not only helps recruiters assess candidates but also provides access to leading talents. Recruiters can join the platform to get a ready list of developers that match their requirements. You can take advantage of an interactive hiring tool that uses AI to recommend the best matches for the job.
Big names like IBM and Nvidia rely on ChallengeRocket to recruit. You can use several hiring methods, including:
- Code challenge: Generate coding tests and evaluate candidates automatically.
- Creative challenge: Conduct advanced coding tests to find the right skills you need.
- Arrange hackathons: Recruiters can create online hackathons to zero in on the right match for their needs.
HackerRank is geared for remote hiring. You can plan your recruitment, access talent, screen, interview, and choose the best developers to save time and effort. Recruiters can hire in multiple ways, like:
- CodeScreen: Arrange online coding tests to find candidates that match your requirements.
- CodePair: Uses pair programming to conduct real-time coding assessments to hire remote developers.
- Projects: Helps you evaluate real-life skills by allowing recruiters to create actual projects.
- Insights: AI-driven insights let you find out exactly how each candidate is doing.
HackerRank even connects recruitment teams with top developers around the world. It also provides a pleasant hiring experience to the candidates and makes recruitment more engaging.
The tools and methods above will help you evaluate developers' technical skills even if you lack technical knowledge. Next, we will explore how you can determine your candidate's soft skills.
How to Evaluate Soft Skills
The next step to hire developers is to assess your candidates for soft skills. Soft skills are essential to be a part of a development team and facilitate collaboration, especially if they have to work remotely. Additionally, personal traits like dedication and working with minimum supervision are big contributors to project success.
Recruiters can ask the following interview questions to determine soft skills:
1. What are your comfortable working hours?
People choose to work remotely to enjoy flexible working hours. However, every organization needs its developers and teams to work together for a few hours to collaborate. As a result, it is necessary to determine if your candidate can commit to certain times of the day.
Another important aspect of this question is matching the working hours of developers from different time zones.
2. Describe a situation where you've successfully resolved a conflict.
This question helps you assess the communication skills of your shortlisted developer. You can determine if the candidate will be able to gel with other team members and communicate adequately. Additionally, it will help recruiters find out if the candidate avoids conflicts or looks for a solution.
The question is also apt to get a sense of your developer's problem-solving skills.
3. How do you concentrate on tasks when working remotely?
It is among the most important questions to ask a software engineer. We know a person can face many distractions at home like family, pets, chores, and surprise guests. However, dedicated professionals will have sound techniques to avoid distractions and focus on being productive while working from home.
This question lets you determine how serious your candidates are about their work. If they invest in avoiding distractions, they can be a worthy addition to your team.
4. How do you collaborate with a remote team?
Collaboration is a must for any development team. Asking this question will let you find out how good at collaborating your developer is. They might say the names of tools like Trello, Zoom, and Slack, which are popular means of collaborating remotely. You can also discuss how often the candidate prefers to conduct meetings and how they are used to daily standups. Always ask this question if your developers are going to work remotely.
5. How would you like to develop your skills in the future?
Recruiters can determine the passion and dedication of a candidate with this question. It can also pinpoint the areas the candidate likes to work on most. Additionally, you can find out which niche or area of development your candidate wants to target in the future.
Vetting a software developer for soft and tech skills is essential for finding the right talent. You can focus on the technologies you need and tune your questions accordingly. Recruiters can also rely on GitHub and use automated vetting tools to conduct coding assessments. In the end, ask the right questions to assess the soft skills of your candidates before welcoming them onboard. As you can see, you don't always need technical knowledge to successfully screen and hire a developer.