Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

phone interviews

Going into my 6th interview in 3 months,I was given 3 phone interviews with 3 developers over which I was asked 2 design questions, data structure theory questions, 3 coding questions (coding line by line over the phone), over a period of 3 hours.
I  guess they wanted to find out if the person can code or not.
How are other people's experiences with phone interviews?
Can you really judge tech skills over the phone, at least initially?

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Most phone screens I've been part of used rather simple technical questions to test some aspect of the person's resume. This wasn't so much to see if they were the right fit, as to filter out a bad fit (usually from over-embelishment on their resume).

What it sounds like you were put through was more like a full interview, except on the phone. Is it expensive to get you to their offices, like it's in another country? It seems pretty surprising that anybody would do an interview of that depth over the phone. But maybe with the job market the way it is today...

Brad Wilson (
Saturday, December 27, 2003

No it's only the first stage, there's another part face to face if they find me suitable. And yes they are around a 3 hour plane ride away

Saturday, December 27, 2003

By the way, for any interviewers out there, a three hour phone interview (all at once) can be tough on people. Cell/cordless batteries aside, if they don't have a speakerphone (and it's unreasonable to expect someone to have a speakerphone at home) then you're talking about some serious muscle fatigue.

I'd strongly recommend breaking it into 3 1-hour interviews. You should also let the candidate know up front that's what's coming: "you'll have two or three one-hour phone interviews, then if we like you we'll fly you in..."

Just my $.02.


Saturday, December 27, 2003

I live in Bucharest, Romania.

Microsoft interviewed me over the phone for about 1 hour.

It was a scheduled interview - they first called and asked when it would be a good time to talk for an extended period.

They asked a lot of questions - mostly design questions, and some programming questions.

Then they asked me to come to the live interview, also held in Bucharest.

While I wasn't familiar with their methods, I liked them a lot - they seemed to have a very "get the job done, no useless stuff" attitude.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

I inteviewed a few candidates by phone. Usually it takes up to 10 minutes, I ask 3-4 simple technical question, and, if answered, then candidates are invited to office for a more detailed interview. My 0.002$

Evgeny Gesin /
Sunday, December 28, 2003

We use phone interviews as a simple technical  filter.
I suck at phone interviews so i don't care for them
very much.

son of parnas
Sunday, December 28, 2003

I like phone interviews when they are conversational. I *hate* the "What is the maximum airspeed of a fully-laden swallow" bullet question type interviews.

But then you all know that about me. :)


Sunday, December 28, 2003


Not sure about a fully-laden swallow, but this is the data for an unladen swallow:

True for any given value of "true" :)


"Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging"

Mark Pearce
Sunday, December 28, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home