I’ve been interviewing candidates quite a bit lately and I must admit that I quite enjoy the process. I get to meet new people and learn about how they work, and things they’ve worked on, and about technologies that I haven’t used or haven’t heard of.

At Intelliware we usually conduct two separate interviews: the first is a personality/fit interview intended to answer the questions, “Can we work with this person, and would they be happy here?“. The second interview assesses their technical chops.

Most candidates fail the first interview.

Not because they are horrible people, or that we have some exclusive club at Intelliware, but because they lack basic communication skills.

Most are able to explain what they’ve done and what they’re looking for, but when I speak of communication skills I refer to the softer, non-verbal interactions.

I look for candidates that can listen to a question and understand its intent. When I ask what they enjoy about their job I’m looking for a passionate response. It doesn’t matter what excites them, as long as there’s something that they get genuinely excited about. A question like “Describe a conflict you were involved in at work. How did you resolve the conflict?” is really trying to ascertain how well you can relate to other people.

I’m particularly impressed by candidates that can pick up on subtle facial expressions indicating that I don’t quite understand what they just said, or recognise that a quick glance at the clock may indicate that they’re waffling.

The gold star goes to candidates that are able to tell me something that I’m unlikely to ask, like how you found a complex, multi-threading bug, or how you diffused a delicate people-problem on a project.

Help me see your best attributes.