How to Hire Great Software Engineers:
Interview Structure

Using an interview structure is important for several reasons…it gives each candidate a fair evaluation, ensures interviewers connect candidate skills to specific job duties, and helps employers make hiring decisions quickly. To lead an effective interview, you should have a set structure to properly evaluate each candidate and provoke a productive discussion. Here’s how we recommend that you structure both the first and final
stage interviews.

1.) Intro

We recommend that you spend about 5 minutes at the beginning of the interview for introductions and an overview of the candidate’s experience. This helps the candidate become more comfortable before beginning the actual interview. During this time, the interviewer should also review the purpose of the interview (i.e., how skills align with the role, to get a feel for how the engineering team works together, etc.).

2.) Skills Assessment

This section represents the bulk of the interview and should assess how the candidate’s skill set translates to the job duties required. The interviewer should ask no fewer than 8 questions per hour. This equates to about 5-6 minutes per question, leaving enough time for the candidate to answer and for the interviewer to ask any follow-up questions. We recommend at least 2 follow-up questions on areas that are important to dig deeper on. Keep in mind that the candidate should do 2/3rd’s of the talking here to ensure they have enough time to sell themselves.

3.) Candidate Questions

Getting to know the candidate and their qualifications is just as important as the candidate getting to know more about your company and what you can offer them. Leave about 8 minutes at the end of the interview for candidate questions and to briefly discuss next steps. This is also a great way to signal the conclusion of the interview.

Here’s how following the structure above would look for a 45 minute interview:

* Intro = 5 minutes
* Skills Assessment = 32 minutes
* Candidate Questions = 8 minutes