10 min read

How to Conduct Technical Interviews? - A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you are in the tech world, most of your product’s success hugely depends on your software engineers, a.k.a; the people making your vision come to fruition. With years of experience and hiring over 200+ software engineers, we have learned that conducting effective technical interviews is one of the most crucial aspects of identifying the best candidates. 

It plays a significant role in assessing candidates' skills and understanding their technical knowledge. Moreover, it’s equally important to evaluate their soft skills, like how they go about solving a problem, how they communicate their thought process and experience, and their collaboration style to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for the company and the role.

In this article, we will share our thoughts and advice on conducting technical interviews successfully. We will cover every aspect of the process, from the most optimal overall process to the essential questions to ask during the interview.

So, whether you're a hiring manager or a developer preparing for an interview, we hope you'll find these tips and tricks helpful. Let's jump right in!

What Happens Before Technical Interviews?

When hiring software developers, the technical interview is typically the second step in the process. But before candidates get to this stage, they usually meet with the tech recruiters to discuss their skills and experience in more detail. This initial conversation is a chance for the hiring team to get a sense of the developer’s overall background and see if they’re a good match for the role. 

It's also an opportunity for the applicant to learn more about the company and the position they are applying for. This meeting sets the foundation for the technical interview and helps ensure that both parties are on the same page before diving into more specific technical inquiries and assignments.

At this stage, the common questions usually include what kind of products they have worked on and their responsibility while working on them. This is usually a good way to tell how well a developer can represent their experiences and elaborate on their work. For an agency like us, it is a crucial skill to look for in a developer since our team members ultimately have to communicate with our clients. 

Overall, this interview helps the HR team members to assess not only if the candidate’s previous technical background is a match but also their communication style, their English proficiency, and whether they are a cultural fit for a company or not. If candidates meet all the criteria, they move on to the next step - the technical interview.

Technical Interview

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As we said, this is one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Interviewers ask candidates about their experience and technical knowledge and expect them to explain their approaches and solutions to technical problems.

Tech recruiters usually prepare the interview questions beforehand and have a general timeline in mind. However, the main focus is to follow the interview flow, modify questions as needed, and remain flexible to ensure a smooth and efficient interview experience. 

At Redberry, our technical interviews last around 60-90 minutes, with a tech recruiter, a technical interviewer, and the head of engineering. This team approach allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the candidate's technical knowledge and problem-solving abilities and their fit within the company culture.

Technical Questions for Laravel Developers

At the beginning of the interview, the technical team usually starts by asking more general questions, regardless of the candidate's seniority level. These initial questions could be as generic as "How does web architecture work?" or other fundamental topics that any software engineer should know. This helps the interviewer team evaluate their fundamental understanding of the field and the basic concepts that lay the foundation for any specialization. It also sets the foundation for more technical questions later in the interview. 

Once the candidate has demonstrated a solid grasp of the basics, the interviewers begin to ask more challenging and specific questions directly related to the company's and the candidate’s tech stack. For instance, when interviewing a Laravel developers, we first ask more general PHP/Javascript-related interview questions. Then, we move to more specific ones about Laravel/Vue, which allows us to assess the candidate's in-depth knowledge of these technologies. Some examples of these questions might include the following:

  • How does autoloading work in Laravel? - By asking this, we can find out whether the person has delved into the framework's underlying architecture and is enthusiastic about understanding its core principles.
  • What is the difference between service providers and facades in Laravel, and how are they used? - This question aims to test the candidate's understanding of how Laravel's service container works and how it can be used to provide services and resolve dependencies.
  • How does event loop work in Javascript Engines, and how does javascript solve concurrency?- This a broad and multifaceted topic and can be used to assess the candidate's knowledge of the subject.

As the interview progresses, the technical interviewers usually ask follow-up questions to delve deeper into a particular topic and ensure a thorough understanding of the candidate's knowledge.

Live Coding

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Once the technical questions are completed, the team moves to the live coding step to evaluate the engineer’s hands-on abilities.

We ask the candidate to solve a specific coding problem or implement a feature during live coding. In the meantime, the interviewers observe and evaluate their problem-solving skills, coding style, and approach to collaboration. The process typically involves a collaborative and interactive coding session where the interviewers provide feedback and guidance to the candidate in real time. You can use several tools to facilitate the process, such as Visual Studio Live Share or CodeTogether.

During the live coding step, interviewers usually pay close attention to the following factors:

  • Code cleanliness and organization
  • How efficiently do candidates write code and come up with a solution
  • Ability to properly analyze and identify the problem at hand
  • Approach to problem-solving (can they analyze the problem and plan their approach before diving into writing code, or do they immediately start typing without a clear strategy in mind?)
  • Creativity in finding multiple ways of solving the same problem
  • Speed in identifying and fixing bugs in the code
  • Capacity to solve complex problems and handle advanced coding challenges

By analyzing all of these factors, interviewers can gain a better understanding of a candidate's strengths and weaknesses. Besides, carefully evaluating their coding abilities can help the interviewers eliminate any doubts about their proficiency and ensure that they have the necessary skills to succeed in the role.

What’s The Decision-making Process Like?

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After conducting a technical interview, it's time for the final decision-making process. To make an informed hiring decision, the interviewer team needs to evaluate both the soft and hard skills of the candidates.

Soft skills are essential for a productive work environment. It can include communication skills and interests, as well as their motivation to develop further and passion for adopting new technologies. An enthusiastic and self-motivated employee can be an excellent addition to any team.

For hard skills, we usually consider the cleanliness and structure of a candidate’s code, whether they use unit tests, and whether they focus on creating a high-quality end product. It's also crucial to consider their problem-solving skills and ability to think outside the box.

The tech interviewers usually take written recaps to document their first impressions. These notes are super helpful during the final decision-making process, especially in remembering their first impression of the applicant and their strong and weak sides.

At Redberry, we’ve developed an internal assessment system using points. This system allows us to assign scores based on their performance in technical interviews, including soft and hard skills, which help us make our final decisions more objectively.

After the Technical Interviews: Making the Final Call

So, you've conducted the technical interviews and evaluated the candidates based on their technical skills. But what happens next? 

In our case, the candidates are invited to a managerial meeting with higher managers within the team after completing their technical interviews. The hiring manager asks more contextual questions to understand their fit for the company better. The questions may include the following:

  • How familiar are they with Scrum methodology and its use in software development?
  • Can they demonstrate a strong understanding of object-oriented programming concepts and how to apply them in practice?
  • How do they approach decision-making, and can they provide examples of difficult decisions they've made in the past?
  • Do they have a broad understanding of computer science principles and how they relate to the work they'll be doing?

On top of that, the candidates also talk about their plans and how they want to develop themselves. This helps to assess whether their interests align with the company's vision for the future. Although technical interviews hold significant importance, it's crucial to note that the final green light comes after the managerial meeting.

Conducting Technical Interviews for Laravel developers: A Sum-Up

Knowing how to conduct technical interviews is essential in ensuring that a tech company finds the most qualified software engineers who fit the role based on their expertise and the company culture. So we hope that our guide has been helpful insight in navigating this critical aspect of the recruitment process.

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Meet the authors

We are a 200+ people agency and provide product design, software development, and creative growth marketing services to companies ranging from fresh startups to established enterprises. Our work has earned us 100+ international awards, partnerships with Laravel, Vue, Meta, and Google, and the title of Georgia’s agency of the year in 2019 and 2021.

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