We want to make our candidate selection process as open as possible. Generally we’re not trying to hire people who can solve software problems on the acute timescale and in the pressured situation of a job interview, so maybe it’s best to share some example interview questions and assessment tools with everyone?
This is a representative example, and gives an idea of what to expect, but the process we use for any specific role may differ somewhat.
Once we have approval to advertise a post, the RSE Team agrees a job advert with “Human Resources” and this is listed on the University of Sheffield website and jobs.ac.uk. Once advertised we are bound to select candidates based on the advertised “About the Job” document. We promote these adverts using a variety of means, including the RSE Society Slack channel and Twitter. Applicants are welcome to ask informal questions via firstname.lastname@example.org, and can apply using the University of Sheffield website.
Prior to the interview the RSE Team will convene a panel (usually three people) including members with management responsibility and with relevant technical skills. These will review and rank applications primarily against the “essential” and “desirable” person specification criteria in the “About the Job” document, and select candidates for interview on this basis.
The purpose of the interview is to further assess and validate a candidate’s skills in relation to the job specification criteria. The interviewers have this in mind when asking standard or follow up questions. We often ask candidates to share some code with us before the interview. Sometimes this isn’t possible, particularly if their previous work has been in an environment where software engineering isn’t done in the open. That’s fine. At the start of the interview we might ask candidates to give a short presentation on this code, we’ll ask that the talk covers a few things such as:
We will then follow up with questions on this. Some of these will be to clarify points the panel don’t understand and others might be more standard such as:
Some of these are a bit challenging and might not have a simple answer that solves the problem. We might then ask some questions about working with others, and how the candidate develops and applies their skills, such as:
The last questions could be on planning and relating to others, like:
After the interview, the panel will rank interviewees, again this is against the criteria in the person specification and the job description, before recommending that “Human Resources” make offers.
Hopefully by sharing this we take some of the stress out of the interview process and encourage people to apply for jobs in the team!
We haven’t perfected this and would welcome feedback on aspects that we could improve.
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