Phone Screening Candidates
Not too long ago I posted an entry titled How to Interview a Programmer. At the time, I wasn't interviewing anyone. Now, 3 interviews later, I'm forced to think about the interview process again. I'm not leading the interviews so my input is somewhat limited, but of course that doesn't prevent me from making suggestions here and there.
My first suggestion was to phone screen. It's a huge time saver for both the interviewee and interviewer since it eliminates obviously incompatible people. The trick to phone screening is asking the really important questions that can make or break the hiring decision. Failing to do this, I believe, is often overlooked and is the trap my team has fallen in to. Several candidates have passed the phone screen only to be almost unanimously rejected by the interviewers (including me).
So I suggested to my team that we should evaluate the current phone screen questions and perhaps throw in a few more technical questions to give a more realistic preview of the candidate. The ideas were well received so now I'm curious to see how it goes.
Update: Since revising our phone screen questions, we've been able to eliminate 50% of the candidates that we thought “looked good” on paper. Which isn't to say that the people we talked to were not intelligent, but our questions gave us enough information to decide that they weren't good fits for the position we were trying to fill.