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Interviewing: the hardest question

In this piece, I share my experience in interviewing candidates at Extendi. I hope to bring some precious insights to everyone that is going through the process.

Leonardo Rosseti senior frontend developer

By Leonardo Rosseti

Senior frontend developer

16 April 2021

Extendi sala riunioni Leonardo

Introduction

In the last period along with our CTO Duccio Giovannelli, I've got the opportunity to interview a large number of candidates for the position of front-end developer in my team. If I think about when I first started this job, I was used to sitting on the other side of the table -or screen nowadays- and all I would focus on was to answer correctly to my interviewer. How the tables have turned, today my job is asking questions and this has taught me something I want to share with you now. 

Interviewing at Extendi

When I first started interviewing I thought that technical questions were the hardest ones, therefore my preparation was mainly concerned with that. Later on this journey, I discovered that technical skills represent only a small portion of our evaluating process given the fact that candidates are now more than ever meeting the base technical skills required. 

When we hire someone, what really makes the difference is his/her capacity to connect with the rest of the team and his/her ability to learn and familiarize with the specific tools of the project. Even the most experienced senior would need time for insertion and that’s exactly our job: we try to evaluate how a candidate will fit in a long term, based on how the candidate answers our questions. 

Joining a team must be a moment of mutual exchange: a person must enrich the team and vice versa! But how does someone evaluate that? 

The hardest question

After clearing background and skills questions there is something different to ask, something that will tell a lot about that person you are interviewing, and that question is: 

“What would you like to do in our team?”

Many candidates seem to be disoriented by this simple question. What’s going on here? I’ve been asking this question many times now and found to my surprise that it’s by far the toughest one. Most of the candidates don’t know what they like to do, and that’s very interesting, especially because there’s no wrong answer

Takeaway

The aim of the question is simply to find out how passionate and enthusiastic a candidate is. What we really are trying to understand here is whether or not the candidate shows love for this job, because loving what we do is the first step towards the motivation needed in our work, and that reflects someone’s willingness to ramp quickly into making a difference. 

If you are interviewing, be ready to answer this question and I’m sure companies will look at you differently.

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About Author

Leonardo Rosseti senior frontend developer

Leonardo Rosseti

Senior frontend developer

Leonardo Rosseti is a senior frontend developer with a strong passion for coding and music. When he is not coding you can find him playing 90's dance music in front of the loudest and craziest crowds.

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