You've been running a successful business for several years now. Your customers are very satisfied with the product you offer them. All thanks to your team who’s super-responsive to adapting to customer needs and developing new features.
But one of your developers has left for new horizons, and you need to replace Dave the Dev at short notice if you want to continue offering a top-quality product… How do you go about it?
At Claap, we're well aware that excellent developers are absolutely essential to the success of our company. This is why we've put together some advice on how to recruit the perfect nugget. In this article, we’ll share with you the top questions to ask in a developer interview, as well as our ultimate developer interview template. You can use it directly for your next interview!
Hiring an excellent developer is crucial to your business
A developer is a key employee specialized in designing, building, and maintaining software applications. Their role involves translating business requirements into functional and efficient code. They will put in practice their technical skills ensuring the seamless operation of software systems.
Great developers drive innovation, creating cutting-edge products that enhance your company's competitiveness. They also ensure adaptability to technological shifts.
For your company, hiring skilled developers totally is an investment in project success, operational efficiency, and long-term cost-effectiveness.
4 difficulties experienced when hiring developers
For the second consecutive year, the 2023 Reveal Annual Software Developer Survey highlights the persistent challenge of a shortage in developers. It is no secret that recruiting developers is very hard nowadays.
A (very) competitive talent market
A major obstacle when hiring software developers is the scarcity of qualified candidates in the job market. Skilled individuals are in high demand, creating a scarcity that intensifies the competition among companies.
To overcome this challenge, you’ll have to adopt strategic hiring practices. For example, you can target specific locations or niches, offer competitive compensation, or use innovative recruitment methods like referral programs and employee retention strategies.
Companies also face a skills gap when seeking software developers. The fast-paced evolution of technology makes it challenging to find candidates with the precise skills required for a particular role.
Addressing this issue involves for you to clearly define the skills and experience needed for the position you offer. You’ll then seek candidates with a strong learning aptitude for new technologies. Another way to face the skills gap is to offer training and development programs to bridge the skills gap and retain top talent.
Remote workforce management
The increasing prevalence of remote work poses a challenge for companies managing a team of remote developers. Issues related to remote communication, collaboration, and time zone differences can arise.
Mitigating these challenges requires clear communication protocols, regular check-ins and catch-ups, and the use of project management and collaboration software to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among remote team members.
Retain top talents
Retaining top developers in a competitive job market is a final challenge for companies. High demand for tech talent can tempt developers to explore more attractive opportunities.
To counter this, companies need to create a positive work environment, provide engaging experiences, and offer competitive compensation and benefits to retain their top talent amidst fierce competition.
What makes an ideal developer? Meet Dave the ideal Dev
Technical skills, the sinews of war
Experience with noteworthy projects or a solid GitHub profile showcasing proficiency would align with what you're looking for. You'll need to carefully test these technical skills in the interview, or at least ask your candidate to explain how he or she has handled them in previous experience.
Good problem-solving skills
Your ideal candidate should approach challenges with composure and analytical thinking. A demonstrated ability to navigate through complex issues and deliver effective solutions is crucial. You're looking for someone who embraces problem-solving as an integral part of their skill set.
To assess their problem-solving skills, you can present to your candidate hypothetical scenarios related to your industry, or the specific challenges your team encounters. Ask the candidate how they would approach these situations, what steps they would take, and what factors they would consider.
Team spirit is non-negotiable. you want someone who not only codes with their eyes closed, but can also work collaboratively with ease. Your future new developer should be ready to jam with designers, product managers, marketing team and everyone in between.
Of course, you'll also expect your future developer to demonstrate a set of soft skills, a good understanding of the company's culture and great communication skills.
One of the best ways to make sure you evaluate the key skills of a candidate is, of course, to use a developer interview template.
Why you should use a developer interview template
Approaching a developer interview with a nonchalant "let's see how it goes" attitude may seem relaxed, but it introduces a level of uncertainty that can be detrimental for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
In the absence of a predefined template and caught up in the heat of the battle (i.e. the interview) there is no assurance that you will address all crucial aspects of a candidate's abilities and experiences. This can result in overlooking key evaluation criteria essential for assessing a developer thoroughly.
Utilizing a developer interview template offers a systematic framework that guarantees that you’ll cover these essential points. Key technical, problem-solving, and collaborative skills will then be evaluated consistently across all your candidates.
10 developer-specific questions to ask during an interview
1. Can you describe a challenging coding problem you faced and how you approached solving it?
A good candidate will give you context, walk through the problem, articulate the thought process, highlight any trade-offs or optimizations made, and conclude with the impact of their solution.
2. How do you stay updated on the latest technologies and trends in the development industry?
You’re looking for someone who has at least a basic tech curiosity and keeps up to date with tech news.
3. Share an experience or a former project where you had to optimize code for performance.
4. Share an experience where you collaborated with cross-functional teams (e.g., designers, project managers).
A good way for your candidate to answer is to discuss a specific project, the roles of team members, and how collaboration improved outcomes. They should emphasize effective communication and problem-solving together.
5. Describe a situation where you had to work on a development project with tight deadlines. How did you manage your time and priorities?
To answer, your future developer should explain the context of the project and their strategies to meet deadlines. They should emphasize their ability to maintain code quality under time constraints.
6. How do you handle debugging when faced with a complex issue in your code?
You’ll wait for a consistent debugging approach (identifying the root cause, using debugging tools, and iteratively testing solutions until the issue is resolved).
7. Discuss a project where you had to integrate with a third-party API. What challenges did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?
Your interviewee will describe the API integration and should highlight their challenges such as authentication or data mapping. A great answer will provide the solutions implemented for successful integration.
8. Can you share an example of a time when you had to explain a technical concept to a non-technical team member or client?
You’ll evaluate communication skills here. Your candidate has to be able to communicate complex concepts in a simple manner.
9. How do you approach code reviews, and how do you handle feedback from team members?
Pay a particular attention to the second part of the answer: your future developer has to show you how they incorporate constructive criticism into their work.
10. Describe a situation where you had to troubleshoot and resolve a production issue.
Difficulties are part of the job! Your interviewee should expose you to the incident and then outline the steps taken to identify and fix the issue. It's great if the person takes the initiative to suggest preventive measures so that a similar incident doesn't happen again.
Bonus: hypothetical scenarios and problem-solving exercises for your developer interview
Can't think of a question to put your candidate in a situation and assess their problem-solving skills? Here's a cheat sheet.
1. Database Performance Issue
Problem: "Imagine our database is experiencing performance issues, and users are reporting slow response times. What steps would you take to identify and resolve the problem?"
2. Bug Fixing
Problem: "You receive a bug report from a user stating that a specific feature is not working as intended. How would you approach debugging this issue, and what steps would you take to fix it?"
3. Algorithm Design
Problem: "Given an array of integers, write an algorithm to find the two numbers that sum up to a specific target. Optimize your solution for time complexity."
4. Third-Party API Integration
Problem: "Our application needs to integrate with a third-party API, and there is limited documentation available. How would you go about understanding the API, handling potential issues, and ensuring a smooth integration process?"
5. Code Review
Problem: "Here's a snippet of code. Walk me through your process of reviewing it for potential issues, ensuring it follows best practices, and suggesting improvements."
Your developer interview template to copy and paste
Developer Interview Template
- Name of the candidate:
- Position pursued: Developer
- Date of the interview:
I. Introduction and background
- Tell me about yourself and your journey to becoming a developer?
- Elaborate on your previous experience.
- What projects are you most proud of, and why?
II. Technical Proficiency:
- Pose a coding problem relevant to the position: (“develop a function that efficiently validates the format of email addresses entered by users in a SaaS application”)
- What is your approach to optimizing code for performance?
- What programming languages and frameworks are you familiar with?
- If your company requires a specific language or framework: what experience do you have with [specific programming language or framework]?
III. Problem-Solving Skills:
- Walk me through a challenging problem you faced in a previous role and how you resolved it.
- Here's a real-world problem we encountered in a recent project: [describe scenario - see next session for examples]. How would you approach solving this problem?
IV. Collaboration and Teamwork:
- Describe how you work with cross-functional teams.
- Imagine that you have a major disagreement with your boss about a strategy to use. What do you do?
V. Adaptability and Learning:
- Can you share an example of a time when you had to quickly learn and adapt to a new tool or technology?
- Have you ever had a project fail? What is your analysis of this experience?
VI. Communication and Soft Skills:
- How do you communicate technical concepts to non-technical team members or clients?
- Describe a situation where you had to handle a tight deadline. How did you manage your time and priorities?
Do you have questions for us?
Make the most of your developer interview with Claap
When conducting developer interviews, utilizing an interview template undoubtedly brings structure and clarity. I now introduce another game-changer for your interviews: Claap.
Claap is an all-in-one video platform featuring audio and video transcription tools that will revolutionize your interview process. Now that more and more interviews are taking place online, see how Claap can take them to the next level:
- Claap records all your meetings and integrates seamlessly with all the platforms you’d like to use to run an online interview (Zoom, Google Meet, Teams…). Claap is a must for recording interviews and will enable you to replay every interview you conduct;
- Claap is your virtual scribe during the interview: it offers audio and video transcription for you to keep a written record of the interview;
- Claap AI-powered notes and summaries help you organize your thoughts at the end of the interview. You can choose the template you like for your summary (and even the developer interview template I gave you earlier in the article);
- Leverage Claap for a pre-interview code problem: Claap records your screen and enables you to share your recording quickly. This feature will come in very handy if you offer your candidates a practical code case before the interview and want to give them instructions. You can even use this feature to share your solution with the candidate;
- Claap helps you collaborate with your team through its collaborative platform, which is just like a wiki. You and your teammates will be able to comment on the interviews and share feedback thanks to comments, threads and reaction features. Your interview debriefs will now be super easy;
- You can store and access all the interviews you’re running in a few clicks with Claap, just like a video library.
Use Claap to record your screen in order to present the instructions and/or the feedback of a code problem to the candidate
As you probably realized, using a well-structured developer interview template is a big step towards finding your next Dave-the-Dev rock-star.
And we can't recommend using Claap enough to make your recruitment process even smoother. So don't wait any longer, Claap offers a 14-day trial with access to all premium features (no credit card required).