These days, it is very common to have a diverse global team working on a single software development project. It is not uncommon to have developers from India, architects and business analysts from US, testing engineers from China and UI experts from Europe. Alternatively, all of your resources could be in USA but telecommuting. Having all these resources on the same page becomes the crucial for the success of the project. Apart from cultural differences, there can be other communication gaps that could put the project, deliverable in jeopardy.
We at Mantra Technologies come across this situation quite often. We are hiring all the time. Here are six techs that anyone can follow to interview offshore resources before they join your team
1. Insist on receiving resume AND a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook profile
We have noticed that the quality of reason means coming from option resources is not very good minute compared to the similar resources in US. Particularly resources in India do not take efforts to document their notes, duties and technical contribution to the project. Typically when we submit any resumes to the clients we have to go thru many iterations to come up with the resume of acceptable quality. So ahead of the interview you can forward you a template with any required details to the accounts manager or a vendor project manager you are interacting. You can insist on receiving the resume me in the same format, which will make it easier for you to understand the feature team member better for the interview. Also insist on listening social networks provide such as LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter. We have found that many resources, particularly from India; do not have a detailed LinkedIn profile. Would you work with someone with a credible LinkedIn profile or the one without it? Same goes with Facebook as well as twitter.
2. Ask for a small write-up on a proposed role and responsibilities
This is critical in understanding the legal contribution of team member. Many times there is a small paragraph about the project but not much about the contribution. Here are some of the points that you should be looking off for the projects they were in the past 2 to 4 years –
- How much development or actual technical contribution has been made by a team member?
- What problems did he/she encountered – with an example
- How those problems where resolved - with an example
- What new tools, technologies, methodologies, frameworks were used by a team member first time - How was the experience?
- How big was the team?
- What follows the quality and level of documentation?
- What value was added to the end client?
3. Prefer in person, face-to-face Skype (or on-line video) interview
We always encourage our clients to have a face-to-face, in person interview with our global resources that they will be working with on the project. It is one thing to talk someone on the phone. Moreover, it is an entirely different thing to be able to see the same person in person. Typically face-to-face interview is about two to 3 times more effective than a phone interview. Here are some points to consider for face-to-face interview-
- Be aware of the time zone and time of the day (night).
- Be aware of cultural difference
- If the interviewee is in the office setting then encourage him to introduce you to the project manager if available.
- Move your camera around to show the candidate your office setting if possible. This will provide him a clearer picture off your office environment and will reflect positively in the communication later on
4. Discuss and walk thru the resume
Another critical point to remember. Often resume will not be elaborated enough to disclose all the information, contribution the candidate has made the project. So discussing all the projects and walking through the resume together helps understand the candidate better. Some of the questions to ask during this step –
- How do you think this past project will help you the one that we are interviewing you about?
- How do you get along with your project manager, team lead and client manager?
- What, if any, you would change and why?
- Which role you liked most and who do you think made the most contribution to the project?
- Why did he choose to work on this project?
- How do you think this project helped you, will help you in your career?
- What is the single most important take away from this project?
5. Ask lots of technical and tactical questions
This point reminds me of a story that has happened in a team couple of years back. We were interviewing at Microsoft.net candidate for on-site engagement. The candidate was in India. One of the tech leads, an interviewer, from our team Googled ‘interview questions for Microsoft.net .' He started asking the questions and surprise! - Candidate answered all of those questions 100% correct, because she was also referring to the same site at the same time.
We always encourage our clients to prepare a list of questions ahead of the interview. These questions should not be shared with anyone but only with team lead. Another better way for the technical screening it is to have online test.
6. Say NO often!
Finally, the most important point is to say no often. Do not feel pressured to accept the candidate. You can take your time and interview more than one person to make sure that you get the right fit. Because you are going to work with this person. Your team is going to work together with this person. Also, success of your project, team spirit and work experience for everyone in your team will be affected, good or bad way, by your choice of the candidate.