Wading through resumes can be a tedious task. Looking for the right candidate that would be a good fit for an opening can be challenging, especially in a team-oriented atmosphere. Through recent interviews, conducting interviews, attending college recruitments, numerous job fairs, and talking with career counselors, here are my guidelines for good interview questions for assessing a candidate’s analytical abilities, reasoning skills, and approach to providing solutions based on Microsoft and Google interview techniques and tips from tech interviewers.
Ask the candidate to discuss a project listed on their resume.
Discussing the resume helps to open the discussions towards more challenging questions. This also puts the candidate a little bit at ease instead of feeling defensive against barrage of questions.
Ask the candidate to solve a problem that requires estimating an amount.
This question is popular with Google, Microsoft, and tech companies for assessing logical, analytical, and reasoning skills. The questions range from ” How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? ” to “How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? ” (These questions are in the same genre as “If you were a tree, what kind of a tree would you be and why?”) Since there is no exact answer, these questions purely require logical thinking and deduction skills.
Ask the candidate how they would react to an impending deadline and limited resources.
These questions purely evaluate the interviewee’s experience. There is no textbook answer for what a person would do if lab resources are unavailable, documentation is unclear, the deadline for a project is four-hours away, the results need to be declared by the end of the day, and there are no other team members who can provide the expertise. The best response to this question will be provided by someone who has experienced these situations in the past.
Ask the candidate to chat about the weather or make small talk.
Effective small talk can reveal a person’s working style and mannerism towards others. When working in a team environment, it is important that everyone work together with minimum friction as possible as failure to work together can put the project in jeopardy. If a candidate has attitudes and personal issues, they might not answer to small talk in a comfortable manner.
Discuss with the candidate salary expectations and special work conditions
If the position requires travel, working remotely and at odd hours, make sure to clear up these needs at the time of the interview. If the potential candidate is simply inflexible or has unreasonable salary requirements, further negotiations may be required to raise their interest for working with your project.
Finally, ask the candidate to explain a situation at work where they had to go above and beyond what was expected
This question will give the interviewer an idea about a person’s work ethic, style of thinking, and coming up with solutions. Again, this is not a question that requires memorizing a textbook answer, but tests a person’s attitude towards work and problem solving skills.
There may never be a cookie cutter candidate to a particular position, but through careful screening, a close match can lead to a solid hire for a long-term career path. The above questions should provide a guideline for evaluating a candidate’s depth and personality for becoming the next team member.