The other side of the interview table

Who are the interviewers?

Well, most of us are programmers also.

What do we want / need?

We need cool new colleagues, that can help us with tasks.

Why do we hire?

  • Business needs, expansion
  • New project incoming
  • More workload
  • People are leaving

All of us wants the same thing. We called you to a technical interview on-site, so we definitely want to hire you.

What the technical interviews actually mean for the interviewers?

  • Time spent not working
  • Usually unpaid
  • The work is still there when we get back to our desk
  • It’s exhausting for us too
  • We need to spend at least 10 minutes looking over the CV, prior to the interview
  • We need to spent at least 30 minutes after the interview, to provide feedback to the HR
  • Sometimes we need to be early in the office for an interview, and the interviewee cancels
  • Sometimes we have to stay late in the office for an interview after working hours, while still arriving early in the office (personal reasons, meetings, etc.)
  • …and so on

Tips for a successful interview – non-technical related

  • Be professional with the HR and with the interviewers (in person and via mail)
  • Relax and don’t worry that much of the outcome
  • Be yourself!
  • Do not speak 30 minutes over your personal experience – just mention a few strong points – 5 minutes should be more than enough

What we don’t care too much / at all

  • CV is a good way of showing off your skills – but I’m interested in what you know, not in what’s written there
  • Background: I don’t care what college you did, or how many years of experience you have
  • Traits such as introversion/extroversion

What we’re not looking for

  • Memorizing answers => We are aware when an answer is simply learned and not understood why it’s like this

What we’re looking for

  • Thought process => Doesn’t matter if the problem is solved or not, I want to see how you thought about solving it
  • Passion => It’s not a must, it’s not a minus, but it’s definitely a huge plus if it exists
  • The wish to learn and improve => Continuous improvement
  • Implication / involvement
  • Autonomy
  • Not being afraid to ask questions
  • Attention to detail
  • Technical knowledge

In the end…

…You can still be told that you weren’t picked.

There are many reasons why that could happen.

Not being picked – Not Your fault

  • The company had more options to choose from and you weren’t the first choice
  • Sometimes there’s only one available position for the team, and we also struggle to figure out which candidate will fit the best in the current team
  • The position was already closed
    • Not needed anymore
    • Someone internal wanted to change project / role (from integration to dev, for example)
    • Misalignment between management / HR

Not being picked – Your fault

…And sometimes it’s your fault. And in 90% of the cases, it’s not about your technical knowledge.


  • Something felt off during the interview (some people are good communicators and they can fool you by saying what they know you want to hear)
  • You showed a bad attitude or lack of respect for your interviewers, by yelling at them or saying things such as ‘I don’t want to solve this problem’
  • You showed lack of respect or talked badly about your previous team/company

Final words

Just be yourself and don’t try to fool anyone. Relax, and don’t be scared if you don’t know an answer to a question – we don’t expect you to know the answer the everything – we just want to have a clear picture of what you know and what you still need to learn more about.

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