Interview overview or can you interview somebody

Once, when I was working in one small company, I was offered to conduct an interview with a candidate for the QA engineer position. At that time I did not have experience in that, and naturally, the first thoughts were "What to ask? What to do?".

After some time, after a large number of interviews in QA sphere, I can say with confidence that the interview is, first of all, very interesting. This is a unique opportunity to learn about what processes, methods, approaches work on real projects, what problems arise and what solutions are applied.

Interviews are always a stress for both sides.

For the candidate – everything is obvious, he wants to get a job and must put his best foot forward. Most candidates try to answer all the questions, even if they don’t know the answer. And different ways usually used – like inventing an answer based on conjectures, google search on the fly or something else. All of this, of course, is not comme il faut and definitely not beneficial. It is very important to be yourself and to answer as honestly as possible. For example, if a candidate was faced with stress testing in a way that someone in the team conducted it, and the candidate was standing beside, then there is no need to write in the resume that "I'm an expert in stress testing". After all, there will be no answers to the in-depth questions. It is obvious, but a huge number of candidates do just that.

If you want to know, it is also rather hard for the interviewer – he needs to evaluate the candidate objectively and eventually make a very important decision. The first interviews that I conducted were very dry and academic. At that time it seemed to me that this is how it should be, after all, the interview is a serious process :) But over time I realized that the first thing that should be done is to win the person over. It is important at the very beginning of the conversation to remove tension and show that the interview will be easy and friendly, regardless of how the candidate will cope with the questions. For example, it is not superfluous to ask some informal questions, like "How’s the weather now at your homeland" (if the candidate is from another country or city), to find out the interests of a person, in addition to the main job, something like that. And of course, a smile and appropriate jokes will also help to relieve tension. The more relaxed the atmosphere of the interview, the more objective and adequate will be the impression of the candidate.

It often happens that the candidate is not prepared, responds poorly and at the very beginning, it becomes clear that he is not suitable for the position. Earlier I tried to just finish the interview as quickly as possible, saying the trivial phrase "Thank you, HR will contact you" so as not to waste my time and time of the candidate, but then came to the conclusion that something is wrong. Now I think that in cases like that it will be more useful to honestly tell what kind of specialist we need and why the candidate does not suit. If it is clear that a person has very little experience and this is one of his first interviews, it will not be superfluous to advise the candidate about useful information to read or to study in order to fill in the gaps and become more prepared for interviews in the future. The candidate, realizing that he is not suitable, would still be grateful for advice and information, and there’s a high probability that the conversation will end on a positive note. Who knows, maybe the same person will come back for an interview again and brilliantly pass. And everyone will win.

Do not discuss issues that are not your area of expertise. For example, you do not need to answer questions about salary, if there is a person within the company who deals with this issue directly.

The checklist of questions should be well adapted to the experience and knowledge of a particular candidate, as well as to vacancy requirements. For example, if a person was engaged in management tasks for some time, and the last time he was dealing with automation testing was a few years ago, then there is no need to ask deeply about automation – he hardly remembers the topic.

It is necessary to clearly understand what is required from the candidate and to compare it with not only his experience, knowledge and role in the latest projects but also to find out what interests him most; how he wants to develop in the future.

Of course, there are times when the candidate has a very high opinion of himself, behaves defiantly, emphasizing his individuality and uniqueness. Yes, it happens and in this case, it's better not to waste time.

There is no doubt that it’s much more comfortable and effective to work with an adequate and decent person than with a ‘difficult’ person, even if he has great experience and skills.

Understandably, to get a good look at the set of the candidate's human qualities during the interview is not really possible, but if there is even the slightest doubt; if the intuition says "there’s something wrong" despite the person having good experience and skills, it is better to say no. It can spare your nerves and save your time in case that person goes to work and you realize that doubts were not in vain, and it was better to trust your intuition.

Share this post