Unusual Subroutines

The blog and musings of Christopher Allen-Poole


Recently I've been doing a number of interviewing potential hires at my company. I have one question which I put in every interview, and the answer/reaction is one of the most important

What is something you're excited about?

I ask this question for several reasons.

  • It lets me build rapport with the candidate. I can readily ask some follow-up questions, or at least ask them to tell me more about it for a few.
  • It lets me see how they act when they're invested in something.
  • It lets them demonstrate that they're really able to be a subject matter expert (my 10 years as a developer makes it so that most people really aren't impressing me in with their expertise anymore. On the other hand, I know nothing about carpentry, which happened to be one of the candidate's interest)
  • It makes it so that the candidate is a lot more talkative immediately. If you don't talk more about your favorite topic, then there's a good chance that you'll continue that way in work. I care that clients (internal or external) get along well with our team. If you only say one or two words and then clam up, you're likely to behave the same way in other circumstances.

Obviously, the technical part of the interview is important, and if developers can't pass that they're out, but it's hard to recover if you don't answer the above.

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