There were 3 developers at this GIS tracking company, but now there's 2. Last week my boss was fired. Today, new developers will be coming in for interviews. They'll be coming in from a placement agency. I don't really know how to be on this side of a hiring interview. Any advice or sample questions I can ask?

Company Background: The 2 of us wear many hats. We are the MySQL DB admins, we write C# web services including APIs, there's C# back end processes that generate reports and issue alerts, and we also have a few VB6 projects that I personally am hoping to replace. Our web app is just under 10K lines of javascript, almost 2K lines of HTML and just under 4K lines of CSS. We don't use a lot of frameworks or libraries aside from jQuery and Bing Maps. I've been here a year as just a developer and at no place have I ever worked with any sort of management responsibilities.

What kinds of questions can I ask that can really show me that somebody knows how to develop in these languages? I'm really drawing a blank here.

  • What you're asking is literally a million dollar question. You should probably post what you're looking for in a new hire, at the very least. Before that, you should probably figure out what you're looking for. – idoby Aug 27 '13 at 14:45
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    possible duplicate of How can I tell in an interview if a programmer is passionate about programming? – user53019 Aug 27 '13 at 14:48
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    let them make a code-review of a buggy code. or Or if you have a actual problem, explain it to them and ask for ideas. On how they perform / behave you can decide, if they fit in your team. – MrSmith42 Aug 27 '13 at 15:10
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    This question can't be answered here, but feel free to join The Whiteboard theis site's chat to discuss. There are many good articles people can point you to in there, off hand Joel's guerilla guide as linked below is great, I can suggest this article too, as well as Jeff Atwoods article – Jimmy Hoffa Aug 27 '13 at 15:20
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    Side bit to @MrSmith42 's idea, if you do this, you can impress them by paying them for the interview if they do suggest the fix to the problem or review the code (after all, they did add value to the company in that case). – user40980 Aug 27 '13 at 15:30

Read Joel's excellent blog posting The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing

When interviewing, focus on getting to know the person. You're trying to learn two things:

  • Will this person do good work?
  • Will I want to work with this person?

If you absolutely must use a programming test, try FizzBuzz. I've had candidates fail it. I tend to politely end the interview very quickly after that.

Don't forget that interviewing is a two-way street. The candidate is evaluating you and your company as well. Spend some time outlining what's important to you, how the company works, etc. Treat the candidate with courtesy and respect.

Never make the hiring decision on the spot - when finished with the interview after the candidate has left, write down your thoughts and impressions.

Don't worry too much about this, you'll get better with practice.

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  • ps - turn your B.S. detectors on 'high'. Some candidates will try to exaggerate their abilities, experience, etc. If you get an uneasy feeling about a candidate's honest, pass on them. – Dan Pichelman Aug 27 '13 at 14:49

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