Vettery CTO Jimmy Fountain knows a thing or two about hiring. He’s participated in well over a thousand interviews since he joined the team six years ago, and he’s generally just a very smart guy. (Hi Jimmy!) Below, he’s sharing a bit of his wisdom when it comes to building out an engineering team—and ensuring all involved in the hiring process feel heard, valued, and respected.
Plans are good
Write things down! Systematize it! Have a well-defined interview process and make sure all your fellow interviewers are trained on what to expect. A disorganized interview process will likely be a red flag for candidates.
Know your culture
Have a good idea of your company culture and make sure all the interviewers in the process are evaluating candidates based on that.
You like technology, the candidate likes technology. Talking about technology should be an enjoyable experience. If you walk out of an interview wanting to continue the conversation with that person, that's a good sign.
It's important that the whole interview experience be positive for the candidate. You will interact with more members of the tech community through interviews that you ever will through meetups or networking. Even if a candidate doesn't get an offer, they should feel that the whole experience was efficient and positive.
Keep track of time
Make sure you’re being respectful of everyone's time—that means the interviewee as well as your team’s time. Architect an interview process that is productive for both sides.
Answers aren’t everything
Having the right answer to every interview question or problem isn't a must-have. It's more important to see how someone reacts to questions that challenge them and how they can figure things out than having all the right answers.
Iterate your interview process the way you would any process in a tech organization. This has to be done carefully though. You need to maintain a good calibration in the way you evaluate candidates process changes.
Talk to a candidate about a project or problem they worked on. Get down to the specific details and keep digging. Why did they do it one way and not the other? Throw edge cases into the mix. What if a certain part failed, what would happen? How would you scale that 10x, 100x?
Lengthy take home tests are bad
A candidate will most likely be talking to several companies as well as working full time. Sending a coding exercise that takes a whole weekend is not respectful of their time and will most likely send your company to the bottom of their list.
And keep in mind that…
...interviewing candidates is a combination of evaluating the candidate and selling the role. :)