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Recruitment – Where to start

I’ve been recruiting team leads and developers on and off for the last few years and thought I’d share some tips for those of you starting out:

1)  Agencies rarely know much above looking for keywords in CV’s and obviously haven’t got the level of skill as a developer or tester in real life. Get some multiple choice questions to the agencies, make these technical and set a benchmark at where they need to be to join your company

2)  Do a telephone interview with some taxing technical questions, make sure you don’t just charge into these, people don’t think well when they’re stressed! If you aren’t looking for am exceptional manager then you can put personal skills at a lower rate than technical (within reason).

i) Give them feedback! Ever been asked a question and get nothing back from an interviewer, this is really bad for the candidate, they may not even want to work for you. Make sure you tell them yes or no and be personable, you are going to be working with them.

ii) Choose a technical resource to do the telephone interview who really knows their stuff, this ensures they can probe for more information if the candidate is almost in the right direction.

3)  Have a technical test ready. The IT industry is very large now, there are many skills you can gain, C# has many parts to it and often you’re after someone that can learn not just someone who knows everything (they could cost a lot!). Therefore consider setting a technical challenge which does not require extensive framework knowledge. Make it a puzzle and give them access to the Internet. Look for coding style and aspects such as TDD. Get them to walk you through the solution and explain how they thought about it. At the extreme you could even get a technical resource to “pair program” with them.

4) Do they self study? What was the latest thing they looked at. Many of the “best” people are passionate about the industry and keep up to date. Without these people you’ll end up with stale solutions set in the past and grumbling about the lack of training.

5) Cut it short. If a candidate is bombing out end the interview early, there’s no point going on for a full time you’re wasting both of your times.

6) and finally… if you employ them note down their strengths and weaknesses so you can concentrate their appraisal on these aspects right from the beginning.

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