Recruiting Chat

Someone was having trouble recruiting for new talent, and I wound up talking them through my previous strategy over chat. I took some notes, so here's the recruiting speech, as a stream of consciousness. I recently was hired by a company whose hiring process is *nothing* like this, so your mileage will always vary.

I did interviews for a small company for awhile, and now get to interview before someone joins my current team at work. Much like almost every tech company on the planet, we get resumes that aren't even close to qualified, and get resumes that are flat out lies. Spending my time - and other team members' time - is pricey, as **interviewing someone is a cost**. If it costs us 1,000 hours to hire the best possible entry-level fit... there's a problem. To save ourselves time and heartache, we *always* do phone screenings first. I've never ever interviewed anywhere else that didn't phone screen first, either, with the one exception of being skipped past phone interviews by having a personal recommendation into the job.

For each job, we're looking at over a hundred resumes; if the posting is open long enough, many more than a hundred.

Forgive my bullet-point lists, but here goes.

1. Take a *big* stack of resumes, as many as 100.
2. Filter out at least nine out of ten.
3. Put at least eight into a stack to be called for a phone screening. If there aren't eight good ones, go through more resumes.
4. Call them, ask if now is a good time, or schedule a good time with them.
5. Ask them questions to confirm their resume is actually true.
- Ask them about their current job or academic experience.
- Ask them very simple technical questions.
6. Thank them for their time, and tell them to expect a followup via email in a week.
7. Hopefully have four good candidates. Schedule them in for an interview.

The interview has five sections:

1. Say hello, and explain the next four sections.
2. Tell them about the position.
3. Walk through their resume.
4. Ask them technical questions.
5. Get them to ask questions.

I only have three questions I ask entry level candidates:

1. "Here's an array of integers. Write a method to sort it." Most interviewees botch this, and about half eventually come up with insertion sort. I accept insertion sort.
2. "Are you familiar with java.util.Vector? Write an implementation that does add(), get(), and size(), and use any data structure you want." Additional rule; they can't use another class that just does this for them. (No using ArrayList, Vector, etc.) Most interviewees botch this, and about half eventually come up with something that works.
3. "What's the last thing at work or school that you've done that you were really proud of? Tell me about it." I'm either looking for something that's technically impressive or them being really, really excited and gung-ho about getting to do this. If they've got both, this person is the person I want.

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