I thought giving 3-4 working days was fine. But now I am not so sure. The candidates these days seem to be researching me on LinkedIn, trying to hazard a guess probably on what I could ask them as opposed to brushing the fundamentals up, and taking some challenging exercises from SPOJ etc.

I am just thinking should I make it a day or max. 2 days now?


Maybe I'm missing something, but candidates that know about you and the company before coming to the interview should be seen as a good thing. After all, if they've made the effort to do a little bit of preparation and research before the interview, then they're showing level of interest in the position which should be seen as a good thing.

I certainly don't think you should be discouraged if they've looked you up on LinkedIn.

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Why don't you try changing up the types of questions that you ask? If you think that you are being too predictable, perhaps it's time for a change in that regard.

Besides, faster isn't always better. Time crunching your candidates may leave out a lot of really great people. Additionally, you may leave out those great candidates who are in demand and who have scheduled other interviews during your limited, two day window.

Keep in mind that just because someone can quickly memorize some fundamentals doesn't mean they can apply them. You want to hire someone who hopefully can take what they've learned and do something innovative and useful with it, and the skills involved in innovation aren't always directly proportional to speed.

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  • The issue is not with asking predictable questions. It's more like during conversing with a candidate they give an impression they know a lot about me and my company, certainly more than they know their adjacency matrices and skip lists. – Fanatic23 Jan 14 '11 at 6:15
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    @Fanatic - Set expectations. Make that clear in the job description what you're looking for. Most employers want well rounded individuals who can not just understand the technical realm but also understand the business and the big picture. If you're looking for technical skills only, then tell them so they are properly prepared. – jmort253 Jan 14 '11 at 6:21

I don't think changing the number of days would make you find better candidates.

I wouldn't care about the preparation time at all. I would set up my interview differently and give them my outline of the interview with an indication of time so they can assess what point I think are important, something like (hope you don't schedule 5 minute interviews)

  • 5 min mutual introduction
  • 5 min why do you want to work for us
  • 30 min general programming knowledge
  • 40 min previous projects, what have you done
  • 60 min pair programming session with one of our devs
  • 30 min lunch with questions how to proceed
  • possible job offer

I think the goal is to find good matches, limiting their time to asses if they fit into your company is not going to help. Making your wishes clear and test them as good as possible will.

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  • That is approximately 3 hours of working day, so you suggest for a person who is looking for job and currently employed that he need to take day off just to go to interview ? – artjom Jan 14 '11 at 8:45
  • @artjomka: At least that would be relatively fair. I know of a company that enforces an interview at about midday and then makes the interviewee wait for maybe an hour before he is exposed to a one-hour interview. In this case he effectively wastes a whole day yet only one hour is spent in an actual inteview. That's much worse. – sharptooth Jan 14 '11 at 8:54
  • @artjomka Yes. Maybe it is local (The Netherlands) but for my current job I first had an interview of an hour outside of working hours. After deciding it was a good fit, I was asked for a second interview taking an entire morning. But it is an example and you could divide everything by 10 if you would like to. The point is to give the interviewee an idea of what you value. – KeesDijk Jan 14 '11 at 8:55
  • The Complete Interview Guide! I have never seen a better laid out interview plan. Probably good for selecting 1 out of the 2 finalists. – abel Jan 14 '11 at 10:22

I don't know about your candidates, but most of the time when I've been applying for work I need a modest amount of notice to organise time off my current employment to attend. My initial response to "can you attend tomorrow" is a sharp burst of stress over and above that that will arise in expectation of the actual interview. Obviously it depends on when (what time of day) you interview and also on how long your interview process takes, but I'd expect several working days notice.

In terms of candidates - if they already know about the business then you can hit the technical stuff faster and, at the end of the day, the technical stuff is key - if they don't have the ability it doesn't matter how well rounded they are.

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  • I'd agree, some companies like a weeks notice (if possible) for time off requests... – Gruffputs Jan 14 '11 at 11:21

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