How do you ask thoughtful interview questions and have insightful conversations with potential candidates?
The interview process can be a little intimidating for a candidate- especially if they're being interviewed by several people at once. They want to put their best foot forward, and you want to discover if they'd be a good match for your organization.
First, we recommend setting up 3-4 interviews, each one designed to create conversations around specific aspects of the role and the organization. During each of these interviews, you'll want to ask questions that engage your candidates and allow you to ask follow-up questions. This way, candidates feel the interview is more like a dialogue or conversation. They feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their experiences and perspectives. Simple "yes" and "no" questions might not give you the insight or the connection you're looking for. Show candidates that you're genuinely interested in getting to know them by asking thoughtful questions- not the typical, bland interview questions that lack.
We've compiled a list of Ruby on Rails Interview Questions that can be asked during different phases of the interview process. We've even created a downloadable PDF, so you can save and use these questions right away.
Ruby on Rails Interview Questions: Qualifying Questions
You may want to include some Ruby-specific questions in your interview process. To save time, we've found that the best time to ask these questions is in the initial application before any interviews take place. In our most recent job listing for a Mid-Level Ruby on Rails Developer, here are some of the qualifying questions we included.
- How many years have you been working with Ruby on Rails?
- What front-end frameworks are you comfortable using?
- What's one of your favorite RubyGems?
- What RubyGem tends to give you the most grief?
- Describe your experience working on existing "legacy" applications that were started over 5 years ago.
You may also want to ask questions that touch on their experience with Rails, like, "Why do you enjoy Rails over another framework?"
Ruby on Rails Interview Questions: Initial Screening
At Planet Argon, the Initial Screening interview is done by our Hiring Manager and Engineering Manager, Ben Parisot. He asks candidates general questions that help him understand where a person is and where they want to go in their developer journey. Here are a few questions we recommend asking during this phase of the process.
- What do you like most about being a developer?
- What drew you to this job?
- How long have you been working in Rails?
- Describe a time you've led a team of developers in architecting a solution to a complex technical problem.
- How many times in the past month have you pair programmed?
- How many times have you explained your work to an external client or an internal stakeholder in the past three months?
- What's the most amount of projects you've worked on simultaneously at any given time?
- Do you have experience with DevOps / AWS? (i.e., comfort with SSH'n to sever?)
- What are you currently working on getting better at?
- Describe a project that was not a success.
- Describe your ideal work environment
Ruby on Rails Interview Questions: Collaboration & Communication
This interview is essential in learning if the candidate would be a good match for your company's team and culture. You'll want to determine if the candidate works well with others, how they approach and solve conflict, how they work through dev tickets, how they communicate with challenging clients, and what type of work or projects they excel in. It's also important to discover what motivates or inspires them, so be sure to ask a few questions along these lines. Here are some examples.
- What about Planet Argon motivated you to apply for this position?
- What are your experiences with mentorship? Have you mentored anyone? Have you been mentored before?
- Describe a time when you had a difficult interaction with a coworker and how did you resolve it?
- Tell us about some things you are passionate about outside of work.
- Tell us about one of your proudest moments at work. What about outside of work?
- Is there something you are looking for in this job that your previous job did not provide?
- In what type of work environment do you excel? What type do you find the most challenging?
- What actions or processes make a team function successfully?
- Have you written or presented on technical topics before? (Blogging, teaching, speaking, etc.)
- In your previous position, what specific skills or competencies did you seek to improve yourself and help others improve themselves?
- Describe a time when you realized you needed additional skills or knowledge to be successful. What was your approach to gaining these skills?
- Describe things you have done in previous positions to make yourself more effective or productive.
Ruby on Rails Interview Questions: Technical Role Interview
During this interview, you'll want to get a good feel of a candidate's experience as a developer. Our Engineering Manager, Ben Parisot, describes this interview to candidates as a way for our team to assess their technical skill level and approach to problem-solving. It's also an opportunity for them to ask more technical questions they might not have asked during the Collaboration Interview.
Ask questions that encourage open conversation, sharing stories, and related follow-up questions related to their previous dev work. You'll want to be clear in what you're looking for here as well- do specific tools and programs matter to you? (If so, which ones and why?) Or are you looking for a willingness to learn? What type of previous work experiences are valuable for your organization? This interview allows you to discover whether a candidate can communicate effectively and how they approach certain technical situations.
- Tell us about a project you wish you could go back and refactor -- what would you change and why? What was the outcome of the project?
- In your opinion, what goes into an effective PR process, from submission to review and approval? Do you find any of the common processes redundant or not as useful?
- What do you consider technical debt? What do you think other devs get wrong about technical debt?
- Are there any trends in the industry that you've been skeptical about?
- What does and does not belong in a README?
- What gems do you find most helpful and why?
- What gems do you find most frustrating and why?
- How many times have you needed to renew an SSL certificate?
- A client reports a SEV-1 issue outside of regular business hours. Who is responsible for addressing that issue?
- Describe a time you've developed a technical strategy to solve a specific problem. How did you delegate the tasks involved in that strategy to other team members?
Final Interview, If Necessary
Our Hiring Manager might have another interview with a candidate if he wishes to discuss specifics of a role, negotiate terms, or if he's really torn between multiple candidates. Usually, the final choice is made by email, and he'll schedule a quick call with the candidate after they've accepted the offer to prep them for their first day.
You can add or re-frame any of these questions to work best for your organization, and many of these questions change or evolve as you interview more frequently. But these questions offer a launching point if you need to get started pretty quickly.
Download Your Ruby on Rails Interview Questions Template.
If you're looking to hire Ruby on Rails developers, check out our new Recruiting services can help match you with quality candidates looking for a new opportunity.
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