Technical Hiring

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In 2009 I joined an onsite+offshore model software development company. This was my first experience with the offshore environment. The company had just started their operations in India and planned to grow faster. I got into the org as dev lead when it had 3 engineers, 1 designer, and 2 test engineers. Soon after, I was given responsibility to spear-head the company technically, including project delivery and technical hiring. In first 6 months we grew our team to 60 SDE and SDETs and by the end of 12 months we were more than 130. We were primarily doing projects for US clients. Our project ranged from corporate web applications to GIS based systems and QA services.

Though initial screening was done by HR department, technical aspects of the interview and final decision was with me and my team. We typically hired engineers with average 3 years of relevant experience.

This is what went into hiring process:

  • Hiring requirements were raised internally.
  • Requirements usually ranged from 3 to 15 engineers.
  • External agencies informed regarding the requirement.
  • HR received applications from candidates.
  • Applications were shortlisted for preliminary call (40%-50% would get through).
  • HR exec would make calls to shortlisted candidates to set-up initial interview with tech team.
  • 1st round of tech interview would take place on phone (20% would get through).
  • HR exec sets up personal interview for 2nd round of tech interview, usually at company’s office.
  • Our 2nd round tech interviews consisted of a lot of practical white boarding, having following areas of testing:
    • Technical Skills
      • Problem solving (strictly coding)
      • Syntax and semantic understanding
      • Style of coding
      • Structure of solution
      • Understanding of common problems in the domain
      • OOP concepts demonstrated in classes, interfaces, modifiers, methods, properties, events, delegates, etc.
      • Databases, SPs, Indexes, performances, etc.
      • Understanding of IIS, Servers, services, etc.
      • Web dev related stuff – HTML, Javascript, AJAX, JQuery, JSON, XML, etc.
  • Project Management Skills (if requirement was for technical project manager)
    • Team building
    • Project setup – Dev team, test team, dev infra, test infra, etc.
    • Documentation
    • Planning, estimation, delegation, and monitoring
    • Waterfall | SCRUM
    • Client communication
    • Stakeholder collaboration – Arch, Dev, Quality, Deployment, Client, and Top Management
  • Soft Skills
    • Communication
    • Focus
    • Energy
    • Willingness
    • Fit

Only about 5-10 % of total candidates, who applied originally, would get through the final interview and get offer letter.

If you have to fulfill a requirement of 10 engineers, you must get at least 120+ applications.

To fill 100 openings in a year, we screened a whooping 2000+ candidates. I still remember 5-10 senior devs along with HR team would work on many weekends for tech interviews. I will try to asemble the questions we used to ask for technical and managerial rounds and share with you here.

Get hired!

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