How to evaluate the professionalism of a programmer in 5 questions

How to evaluate the professionalism of a programmer in 5 questions

When you often conduct interviews, you want to have a few key questions at hand so that you can immediately understand what kind of programmer is sitting in front of you. We decided to ask the experts if there are such questions, and if so, what they are.


How do you learn something new for yourself? Tell us about your experience with new solutions for you

This question allows you to understand whether a person has a desire for new knowledge and how he prefers to receive it – whether he shows independence or waits for directives from above. Also, the answer of the applicant will show whether it is easy for him to take on something new. The field of programming is constantly evolving, so constant learning is indispensable.

Do you allow yourself to deviate from the SOW, experiment with the code? In which cases?

A programmer can deviate from the SOW and experiment with the code in different ways. Some try to optimize it, think over the architecture, test the resulting code, and make sure to report the expected results. This approach is unlikely to raise questions, especially if the result of the experiments fits everyone’s needs. If a person believes that it is possible to deviate from SOW without any purpose, “for the sake of interest”, this is a reason to put on considering cap.

What will you do if you realize that the project has no future?

It is not very good if a programmer, who realized that something is wrong with the project, keeps silent or simply runs away. Thanks to this question, we can understand how the applicant will act if he finds himself in such a situation. What level does he escalate the information to? What will he do? Will he correct the situation himself or trust others, will he offer a solution?

Are you ready to correct the mistakes of others?

It only seems that programming is a great job for introverts: you just sit in the corner with your computer and that’s it. In fact, the work on the project is most often carried out in a team. Difficulties happen to everyone. This question will allow us to understand the willingness of a person to “pick up” a problem that a colleague has and help with its solution.

Describe your biggest failure: what was it?

A mature person talking about such a situation, as a rule, is independently responsible for his mistakes. If the applicant is inclined to blame other people, circumstances and weather conditions, this is an occasion for the HR specialist to deeply think of hiring him.

Head of Information Technology Department

In my opinion, it is impossible to evaluate professionalism in 5 questions. You need to see the result of the candidate’s work, in what time frame and under what restrictions it is achieved. Therefore, we often offer a 2-week paid internship with the company to see the candidate in action.
If only 5 questions are allowed, then I always ask about the projects which the candidate took part in.

  1. Have they reached commercial operation?
  2. How was the development process organized? Who set the goals and how? How was it tested? Who made the decision that the task was completed?
  3. What didn’t suit the candidate during the development process? Did he offer ideas to improve the process?
  4. How was the code documented?
  5. Is the candidate accustomed to automating their activities?

What questions would you ask?