How To Conduct Telephonic Interviews With Developers

Recruiters are opting to use telephonic interviews as the first stage of a job interview to recruit developers. Interviewees who are successful in the first step of the interview would be invited for a face-to-face interview as the next step. This is a time-saver for both the recruiter and the interviewer. Conducting a developer interview over the phone would be the first step in getting to know a potential candidate.

Tips for interviewers to know whether they have the right person or not, in terms of conduct

The proper way of conducting the interview is quite important. There are certain things to avoid and some patterns to look out for. Here they are:

While the recruiter will not be able to actually “see” the applicant, he can make out the readiness and the energy level emanating from the applicant by the way they answer the questions and handle the pauses. You can even distinguish between a confident answer and a hesitant one. Here are other tips that would be helpful to you as a recruiter.

  1. If you are calling for the first time, ensure the developer is free to take the call. It may so happen that the applicant may be involved in some personal emergency where he can take a call but cannot answer official questions. If he reveals the fact to you, then you can schedule a time that is convenient to both of you.
  2. Do not call at meal times. Or if the applicant is having a meal when you call, reschedule it. If the applicant hides the fact that he is at a restaurant (however quiet it may seem) and is chewing food while you are asking him questions, cut the call and try the next applicant.
  3. Applicants must be eager, but they should not be too eager to answer your questions. Some people have the habit of cutting in and talking in between before you are able to frame your question completely. They are over smart people who want to show off their skills. It may be because they already know what your questions is or maybe, it is their over eagerness to impress you. Some applicants are not at all confident that they worry you will not consider them if they hesitate at the slightest bit. Either way, recruiters are generally not pleased to have such an attitude from their applicants.
  4. As a recruiter, you must be able to speak clearly and distinctly. A person who speaks too quickly or too slowly does not generally make an impression, even if he is the recruiter. Similarly, you must be able to identify the applicant’s skills by the speed at which he/she speaks. If you have to repeat what you have to say, then it leaves a bad taste in the mouth for both parties.
  5. As an interviewer, you must listen to the background noises and the tone of the applicant says a lot about how much he knows about the topic. It is true that “talking” to the developer will now give you the complete idea of his knowledge, but you can ask him specific coding questions and then move on to HTML based questions. Some developers can answer the questions off the mark while some would need to refer manuals. You must instantly know when they hesitate to answer or fumble with them.

Here are some tips to conduct your interview through the telephone

  1. Choose a quiet place to do the interview. Silence is as important for the interviewer as it is for the interviewee.
  2. Using the official landline phone would be better because mobile phones are too personal. First interviews must always be through the landline.
  3. It is imperative to keep the materials related to the interviewee at close quarters because you may have to refer to them during the interview. You may have all the questions prepared, but a spontaneous interview will get you more information about the applicant.
  4. Even though it may be a telephonic interview and the developer may not see your during the interview, it is better to sit upright in your official attire. Slouching in the chair and interviewing in your pajamas will not bring the desired results because you tend to relax and the whole thing would lose its seriousness.

Finally, getting through the interview part…

Telephonic interview is the most preferred choice for many companies because it saves them time and they can go over a large number of applicants when compared to the physical interview. It would help them screen through all these applicants and choose the ones that would go to the next level of interview. The fact is that even though many developers may tell you that they are good at HTML, in reality they may not even write HTML documents as they rely on external publishers or need reference manual on a continual basis. Every developer should be proficient in writing the HTML code on the spur of the moment and without referring to any external resources. There is another thing that you have to confirm with the developer. Is he ready to work as a team or would he want to go solo? Some developers prefer the latter. Ask them to diagnose a problem and find a solution. For example, you have a web application that is still running, but your customers get the message that the “connection is refused”, ask him how he would solve the problem.

Interviewing is an art, and it is easy to become the expert once you conduct a few questions and learn how to “hear” people.

Interesting Links:
How to conduct interviews over telephone
How to conduct telephonic interview with developers

Pictures: B Agyei/ starmanseries

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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