technical interview

Image Source: Hetemeel.com, “Dynamic Einstein picture”

The Technical Interview is probably the hardest to get right, even for the most seasoned interviewer. I’ve been through the process on both sides probably a hundred times, and it’s only starting to make sense to me now.  Whether it’s for a new business analyst, or the focus of this blog, a CRM developer, there’s definitely some tips to be had when it comes to conducting a successful interview and finding that star developer.

Here’s my top 8 Technical Interview tips for the interviewer:

  1. Get to know the Applicant

Find out where the person you’re interviewing got their break in IT. It can give you some insights on their goals and aspirations. For instance, I started out in an old school computer store as a technician. So when I hear technician, I can immediately relate to them working under time pressure and doing on-the-spot troubleshooting. These skills can often translate to the coding world.

  1. Be Courteous

Always maintain your professionalism, which just seems like common sense. For example, letting people finish their answers and trying not to get too much into their personal lives. Be mindful of the fact that the applicant is probably nervous. Let them have a moment to think before answering instead of throwing rapid fire questioning.

  1. Try to Understand the Reason for the Move

If they’re moving from another company, try to understand why it is they are leaving and what it is about your company that is attracting them to make the move. Changing jobs is difficult, and the decision is never made lightly. If they have been well established in their current role and moving progressively up over the past few years, try asking them “why now?”

  1. Ask Open-ended Questions

Open-ended questions are a great way to understand your applicant’s thought processes. Try to think of a question that doesn’t have a black or white answer — an ambiguous question that may in fact have several answers, or there may not be a correct answer at all. For instance, “what do you think of the current version of CRM compared to the previous version, and what would you like to see changed in the next release?”

  1. Know The Platform, Be The Platform

Understanding the Dynamics CRM platform, its capabilities and its limitations will be a key to a successful technical interview. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve written solid code, or maybe you’ve been working in the same domain for a while now. If so, then take this opportunity to refresh. Step back and take a forest view of the Dynamics CRM landscape. Visit the many CRM blogs and check out what’s being talked about on the various user groups and discussion forums.

  1. Scenarios

The scenario based question can be fairly simple, something along the lines of “you have a customer who spends a large part of her day reconciling payments with the corporate accounting system, what would you suggest to be an appropriate solution to this issue?” A great suggestion from a colleague of mine is to use a real life problem on a project your team is currently working on, as you may hear some surprising and enlightening responses.

  1. Give Tips

I always like to make every interview a learning opportunity for applicants, even if they don’t progress through the recruitment process. For example, give some tips about how you would approach data migration or integration into Dynamics CRM. Perhaps point them to some cool new ETL tools. Dynamics CRM is about continual learning, and there’s always something new out there.

  1. Self-Review

It’s always important to look retrospectively at how you thought the interview went, for both yourself and for the applicant. Did you meet your primary objective (that is to determine if the person was a good fit within your development team)? Were your questions too focused on a particular subject? Did your conversation end up going off-topic too often? Write these down and make a checklist for your next interview. Also, if you didn’t get to ask the question you wanted an answer to, there is no harm in following up afterwards.

 

So there you have it, my top 8 Technical Interview tips for the interviewer.  I hope you find this blog helpful. I’m keen to hear your thoughts, or if you want to share with us your top tips please drop me a comment below.