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Old 07-12-2016, 08:48 PM
 
1,833 posts, read 1,794,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsthetime View Post
Do you feel behavioral based interviewing techniques are a proven and effective way of assessing a candidate's skills, experience, and ability to be successful in a particular position or role with the company? Do the strengths outweigh the weaknesses when it comes to performing this type of interview procedure?
First of all, these types of behavioral questions do not have to be done for the entire interview. It can be mixed and matched with technical questions, background questions about the applicant, etc.

That being said, the whole point of these behavioral questions (in my opinion) is to get the applicant to talk. That's it. As crazy as the questions may seem some of them are whacky on purpose just to see how the applicant handles it. You want to see how they communicate, how their brain processes things, get a sense for their concern for quality, how they handle customers or co-workers, what motivates them, etc.

In that respect, I do see some value in those types of questions but I never make the entire interview dedicated to that line of questioning.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:06 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 18,097,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
Put heart into the deal jaypee, not just the head like you think.

You can ask them for examples of what they wrote in the area maybe? Or forward examples? There are numerous ways to tell, we never had problems without testing people, and we hired some real good programmers on projects.

I had a technical interview question recently which had been named and renamed several times recently so I got the question wrong, and believe me the guy asking the question thought he was so smart asking some textbook question (all head, and no heart interview). But since I advised the company that wrote the whole module I thought it ridiculous. In fact I once spent six months helping the company set it all up since it was a colleague and I who developed many routines which were public domain, but they added things over the years so I didn't know the latest label on one routine they used. So I got that wrong on the "test". You can always ask a technical question that gets the wrong answers, but it does not indicate prowess or basically anything at all. Tests are all head and do not answer where peoples will and heart follow. There is nothing wrong with looking at what people have done, but anyone can get out a textbook with chapter questions and trick anyone on any given day with the head.
Ok. Instead of talking in generalities, give me a sense of the questions you typically ask a technical candidate in your engineering area.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:27 PM
 
9,245 posts, read 8,671,838 times
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Quote:
That being said, the whole point of these behavioral questions (in my opinion) is to get the applicant to talk. That's it. As crazy as the questions may seem some of them are whacky on purpose just to see how the applicant handles it. You want to see how they communicate, how their brain processes things, get a sense for their concern for quality, how they handle customers or co-workers, what motivates them, etc.
Absolutely correct. If you have 5 candidates with about equal education and experience, you have to find the one that will fit in the best with the existing crew. These questions are to find, how they think and react, when a problem comes along. Some very bright, educated, and experienced people kind of shut down when something happens that needs them to react or call the right person to handle the problem. The way that these people can handle questions they are not expecting, gives you your only opportunity to learn how they think, how fast they think, and how they react when something is thrown at them they are not expecting. It gives you an idea, how they will react if they are suddenly faced with a problem they are working on. There will very often be no right or wrong answer, but how the applicant handles stress. Something that you need to know to select the best of the 5 qualified candidates.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:40 PM
 
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The concept is easy - how someone has performed in the past is often an indicator of how they will perform in the future.

By the time someone gets to an in-person interview with me, I've already grilled them with technical questions in the manager phone screen. In-person interviews are to assess fit, thought process, how they interact with others. If someone knows the technical skills but no one wants to work with them because they are rude, demeaning, etc. - are they really the best fit for the job? If they have technical skills but melt down when faced with the slightest crisis or delay, are they really the best fit?

When I am the interviewee and am asked the "tell me about a time" questions, if I don't have an example, I either greatly embellish a true story, use an example I observed, or flat out make up a lie. If you're a convincing b.s. artist, behavioral interviews are the easiest to coast through. I used to really struggle with these interviews until the day I realized that if I'm lying, the interviewer will never know... assuming I'm convincing enough.
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:13 AM
 
Location: Western NY
627 posts, read 692,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaypee View Post
Ok. Instead of talking in generalities, give me a sense of the questions you typically ask a technical candidate in your engineering area.
In the last few interviews I had, the technical ones asked questions from some textbook and the HR asked some psychology and general stuff about where I found my highest self worth (ego related babble I guess, not money) or something I recall. When I have been involved in hiring I would ask not general but stuff ON THEIR RESUME:

I see you interfaced with a keysight/agilent 45xxa, did you use the packaged templates or you wrote a SCPI version? Did you try the HP/Agilent versions or just the Keysight/Agilent ones?

The integrating camera you used to acquire the biomedical densitometry data, did you set the integrating time with the software you wrote? Did you work off an external acquisition window or you wrote a whole software set for that? Was the light incident/reflected or transmitted? What kind of light level? Was the sensor cooled or noise reduced somehow?

Things that are ON their resume you use to see what, and how, they did it. That is what I need. General, psychology, or textbook type questions would never be asked by me if I had a companies money, or my own companies money on the line. That I can say.

Last edited by TestEngr; 07-13-2016 at 05:08 AM..
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:38 AM
 
285 posts, read 298,856 times
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I don't know if I've just been very lucky, but as an engineer, every interview I've ever been on as been all technical. I've never been asked a "tell me about a time... " question, or even "why do you want to work here"?


Now that I occasionally interview, I usually find a specific project on a candidate's resume that looks interesting, and dig into that. I'll ask for an overall description of what they did, why they chose a particular approach, and implementation details. Sometimes, the whole half-hour is spent talking about one project.


Why do I do this? Two reasons: First, I want to know if they were telling the truth on their resume; and if they actually worked on the project they listed. Secondly and more importantly, this gives me an idea of how they will actually perform on the job. Asking a bunch of questions that they could easily Google answers for does nothing for me; because on the job, I don't need them to have a bunch of facts and stats memorized. Rather, I need to see their overall approach to problem solving.
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Old 07-13-2016, 05:11 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
9,435 posts, read 14,052,039 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowbelle View Post
When I am the interviewee and am asked the "tell me about a time" questions, if I don't have an example, I either greatly embellish a true story, use an example I observed, or flat out make up a lie. If you're a convincing b.s. artist, behavioral interviews are the easiest to coast through. I used to really struggle with these interviews until the day I realized that if I'm lying, the interviewer will never know... assuming I'm convincing enough.
And that is exactly the problem. The interview devolves into a lying and BSing contest. So what problem could there possibly be hirirng somone for their ability to lie and fake (especially a scientist in charge of certifying the accuracy of data).

Last edited by MSchemist80; 07-13-2016 at 06:18 AM..
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:27 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 18,097,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
In the last few interviews I had, the technical ones asked questions from some textbook and the HR asked some psychology and general stuff about where I found my highest self worth (ego related babble I guess, not money) or something I recall. When I have been involved in hiring I would ask not general but stuff ON THEIR RESUME:

I see you interfaced with a keysight/agilent 45xxa, did you use the packaged templates or you wrote a SCPI version? Did you try the HP/Agilent versions or just the Keysight/Agilent ones?

The integrating camera you used to acquire the biomedical densitometry data, did you set the integrating time with the software you wrote? Did you work off an external acquisition window or you wrote a whole software set for that? Was the light incident/reflected or transmitted? What kind of light level? Was the sensor cooled or noise reduced somehow?

Things that are ON their resume you use to see what, and how, they did it. That is what I need. General, psychology, or textbook type questions would never be asked by me if I had a companies money, or my own companies money on the line. That I can say.
Whether you know it or not, those are technical questions meant to assess the extent of the candidate's knowledge ... and rightly so.

You could've also asked "Tell me about the toughest technical problem you've ever had to solve." The open-ended nature of the question can take the interview anywhere you wanted to go. You can explore technical knowledge or you can try to gauge behavior or characteristics.
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Western NY
627 posts, read 692,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaypee View Post
Whether you know it or not, those are technical questions meant to assess the extent of the candidate's knowledge ... and rightly so.

You could've also asked "Tell me about the toughest technical problem you've ever had to solve." The open-ended nature of the question can take the interview anywhere you wanted to go. You can explore technical knowledge or you can try to gauge behavior or characteristics.
I don't think you want to risk a companies millions of dollars of funding on open end questions about a candidates behavior and behavioral characteristics. I just don't see where you are going on that, sorry but I really don't. To see where a candidate is and how they can help you go right to their resume and talk what they did so that you can actually determine where you can work together. It might feel safe, sounds openly pleasant, polite, and even diplomatic to use textbooks or psychologists, but people who think that also probably think they can win the lottery. My stance is "candidate lets find where we can work because I want to hire you", the psychology and behavior stuff is just arbitrary elimination methodology. Doesn't mean you don't find out if they are polite and so on, and you can shoot the breeze a bit on other matters too, but it is about hiring somebody.

Of course if they are a student you can still use what is on their resume but slightly differing ways and I could adjust what I do for that situation. But when it comes to open end talk about behavioral characteristics, using technical textbook tests, or psychology quizzes, or just a too wide and obviously not directed general question about the "toughest problem solved" or similar we will just have to disagree. I would not risk my companies money on that, and I certainly don't think that brings the USA back to leading technology roles in science and engineering.

Last edited by TestEngr; 07-13-2016 at 12:27 PM..
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:02 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 18,097,582 times
Reputation: 19672
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
I definitely don't think you should quiz technical candidates on technical matters, because that is too broad. Technical matters are wide and deep, those who are technical experts on ABC may only be average in DEF because the past jobs didn't emphasize DEF, but they may be the best person for the job because of what they did with ABC makes DEF a piece of cake or a new dimension or something else. Technical matters are too wide for interview testing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
I don't think you want to risk a companies millions of dollars of funding on open end questions about a candidates behavior and behavioral characteristics. I just don't see where you are going on that, sorry but I really don't. To see where a candidate is and how they can help you go right to their resume and talk what they did so that you can actually determine where you can work together. It might feel safe, sounds openly pleasant, polite, and even diplomatic to use textbooks or psychologists, but people who think that also probably think they can win the lottery. My stance is "candidate lets find where we can work because I want to hire you", the psychology and behavior stuff is just arbitrary elimination methodology. Doesn't mean you don't find out if they are polite and so on, and you can shoot the breeze a bit on other matters too, but it is about hiring somebody.
I'm "going on" about it because I don't know what the heck you're saying about interviewing a technical candidate. You say not to ask them technical questions nor behavioral questions so that doesn't leave anyone with much.

It's uncommon to interview someone to find out where their experience "fits" in the company. It is more typical that you need a candidate to fulfil a very specific job that has specific requirements.
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