Tech Screen Questions

Recently I performed a tech screen on a candidate for my company. Through the process I realized how out of date the questions were for the type of work we do. One whole section was dedicated to WinForms and how/why you would override the drawing events. I decided I would weigh in on some helpful new topics and questions. It turns out there were previous efforts to modernize the evaluation form that stalled and since I’d shown initiative, I was handed the whole thing.

Side stepping the discussion of no good deeds going unpunished, I decided to seek feedback if anyone feels strongly enough to speak up.

We have two distinct skill sets for which we screen but it’s not required that you have all the specialized skills. My company is only interested in people who are late-intermediate to senior level and above and the topics should reflect this.

  • SharePoint, InfoPath, Worflow
  • MVC, Entity Framework, WPF, Silverlight, WCF

At the heart of it, all candidates need to pass standard .NET stuff including generics, garbage collection, proper OO design, etc. It should also include patterns, iterative development and, optimistically, test driven development.

I’ve got a small stash of topics and acceptable ranges of answers. If interested I could share the ones I’m thinking about working into the form but I’m curious what others think are good questions for evaluating a person’s comfort and competency with senior level programming.

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2 responses to “Tech Screen Questions

  1. Frankly, I find interviewing for knowledge to be mostly useless. I try to find smart people with problem solving skills and who are eager to learn. Obviously, they need to have demonstrated an ability to code, but they don’t need any specific coding knowledge. I guess that’s not helpful, though. Unfortunately, I don’t feel qualified to give you any suggestions on the topics you actually asked about.

  2. I can’t stress enough covering design patterns. Though the person shouldn’t have to have cardinal knowledge of each and every pattern, they should be familiar with design patterns, where and when they should be used, and be able to descibe how they integrate them into thier design philosophy.

    I’ve seen too much code that doesn’t follow any sort of design pattern, and lacks any form of design documentation to ever let it slide.

    Also go over design reviews and coding reviews. Does your company even do those? If not why????

    My personal philosophy is that coding is 60% design, 10% coding, and 30% testing. (Or something close to that.) So, having specific knowledge of a set of features is less important then being adaptable and knowing good design practices. Technology changes so fast anyhow.

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