Over the last year, I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing. As in, I have at least 8 interviews scheduled this week already. I’ve easily done more than 100 interviews in the last twelve months. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about interviewing. When I first started, my interviews were mostly rambling conversations. I had a few questions in mind, but I mostly just chatted with people. I did a great job of hiring people I liked to talk to, but my track record in finding high performing candidates was more mixed.
This realization led to a concerted effort to improve our interview process. To start, we’ve come up with a standard set of questions for each position. These questions are designed to help us evaluate for specific skill or traits that we believe are important. Before including a question on an interview, we ask the question to at least five people who we know well. That helps us know in advance what a good answer looks like. We also use this to see if there are answers that correlate with the kind of people we’re looking for. For example, if I ask about a failure you were involved in, I have an idea of what kind of answer shows ownership and empathy.
Along with preparing a set of questions in advance, we also rate each response individually. By doing this level set, we can take the advice in Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. We can then hold our general perceptions or opinions until the end. By doing this, we’re less likely to base our decision on our first impression.
We do the same testing with any coding challenges we give. We don’t give brain teaser questions during an interview since we’ve found that there is little correlation between people who can answer the question and the people we want to hire. Instead, we try to find a challenge that is similar to the work we do at HubTran. Once we have that, we give the coding challenge to our entire team. If the better developers do a better job, we’re in good shape. If instead we find little correlation, we go back to the drawing board. This takes more time, but we’re finding that we do a better job of hiring.
This has been a step in the right direction, but we still have room to improve. Most recently, we’ve found that we aren’t testing for all of the skills we want our team to have. That means we’re currently working on new questions. If you’d like to test them out, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out out our open jobs!