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Who does the interviewing?

In an ideal situation, I think management and HR should whittle down the pool of interviewers to a small pool final candidates through an initial round of interviews.  Then I think key members of the team should partipate in a second round of interviews with the final candidates and have input into the final selections.

However I've worked places where management often did all the hiring, choosing candidates who sounded good but never turned out well because management was unqualified to assess their actual technical skill. 

How do you think it should work, and how has it typically worked in companies you've worked for?

John Rose
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Management did the entire interview process at Camel.

I rest my case.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Technical team leaders together with managers were doing the interviewing at Algoritma.

George
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Personally, I don't ever want HR involved in the pre-hiring process. Of course, I don't particularly ever relish working at a place large enough to (a) have an HR department that (b) feels the right to filter resumes based on OCR and keywords.

In-face interviews should be done primarily by people who do the job that the person wants (software engineers interview software engineers, etc.). Any person says "no hire", and it's over.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

In Flameville, everybody gets to do interviewing and the decision is a consensus decision where everybody's vote holds equal weight.

In Flamecorp, we also have a tendancy to have managers who spend at least part of their day coding and solving technical problems quite a ways up the hierarchy, so even management tends to be pretty clued in on how stuff works.

Flamebait Sr.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Flame Managers should be spending their time managing and let go of the past. Managers who code in a reasonably sized company are hiding from something and should not be trusted.

Managers who code - yikes!
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

In any job that requires skill and talent, such as programming, your best people working in that job should do all the qualification, from the first phone interview forward.  Nobody else has even the remotest capacity to measure specific skill and talent than those who do the thing really well.  A good interviewer can weed out nearly all of the unqualified candidates in 5- to 60-minute telephone screenings, so you need not worry about wasting too much of their time.  The cost of a bad hire is far greater, and enduring.

If the team happens to have a manager, then that manager should interview qualified candidates to measure the personality and such to ensure a good fit with the team, but they can't evaluate skill and talent, even if they once held a programming job.

veal
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

In education it is nearly always the immediate superior, and sometimes his immediate superior that does the hiring.

Large organizations may do it centrally and then send out to the branches, but you would rarely get somebody totally unqualified hiring.

In software however there are many more specializations, so the problem becomes more acute.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I have participated in the hiring process twice for research organizations. HR only compiled the CVs and then sent all of them to me, together with a copy of the hiring policy (antidiscrimination act, etc), then members of my team and me made the shortlist based on technical requirements and experience. During the interviews we have the supervisor (me), peers to be and a representative of HR to check that we weren't going to be sued for asking something stupid.

uncronopio
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

In theory at least, any candidate brought in for an interview should be qualified (based on the resume and perhaps a phone screening). So the real purpose of the interview is to separate out the liars and nut cases. If the hiring manager is not qualified to do that, the company is in a heap of trouble. I think the main benefit of having staff help with the interviews is to give them exposure to the process, so when they are managers and have to make the decisions they are qualified to do so. 

Tom H
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

"Perhaps" a phone screening?  It is absolutely *impossible* to assess whether someone is a qualified programmer from the resume.  Even if every word is absolutely true, a resume cannot help you assess how much they understand, how they think, how they approach a problem, or most important of all qualifications: their innate aptitude for programming.

In fact *nothing* on a resume can posit a single of the traits that matter greatly in a full-time hire.  The best a resume can do is to help whittle down your choices if you're in a great hurry.  Even that's dangerous as you'll lose out on the brilliant, hard workers who haven't yet accumulated much time-in-service.

veal
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

"Flame Managers should be spending their time managing and let go of the past. Managers who code in a reasonably sized company are hiding from something and should not be trusted."

Ideally the managers are totaly clued in and don't need active "coding" to remain so. In practice this is not easy at all. While Flamebait's methods could lead to other problems, at least his whole company has a shot at avoiding the typical non-tech management mistakes.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, January 08, 2004

I didn't institute the policy of having some managers still code, I just happen to agree with it.

Especially for low-level managers, it seems to be quite valuable to have people who actively understand the code base in question.

The whole problem, of course, with this is taking a person who is a decent manager-coder and making them an upper-level manager.  So you are, in a sence, exchanging one problem for another.  However, I think that dealing with our problem is better for moralle.  Most engineers seem more likely to forgive somebody who is, by all accounts, "one of us," who screws up than somebody who is an MBA who doesn't know code and ends up displaying most of the popular PHB traits.

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, January 08, 2004

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