These are the stages I use when I interview candidates myself.
1. First, I introduce the company, describe the processes, talk about the team and what I expect from a future team member. I must say right away that I like to leave “traps” in this part: I deliberately do not talk about something, so that at the stage of questions from the candidate they would have something to ask about, and I could go deeper into the details.
2. Next is the candidate’s turn: their experience, context of the application of tools and techniques. How often did they do releases in the company, what exactly they were doing, why, and what for. At this stage, the story about products is less interesting. Sometimes people go into details, talking about the intricacies of the architecture implementation for their applications. This is great, but the most important thing for me is the tools, approaches, and solutions to various test cases.
3. The next stage is the actual solution to the cases. I have my own collection of questions that I use for different profiles: some for mobile testers, others for backend specialists, and some others for cross-functional testers.
4. After that goes the obligatory stage with questions from the candidate. There is such a thing as an inverted interview. For me, as an interviewer, this is the coolest thing: when you get the impression that it is not you who is conducting the interview but rather you are being asked questions. How the development process works, what about CI/CD, what about automated testing, and what framework do you use, why, what for, and so on. At this moment you understand that the specialist is involved and they care, and you also understand what they are worried about. I make notes for myself: for example, the candidate has a broader view. A person needs to ask questions that would help them to hedge against the mistakes that they made in the previous place. If they talk about how they left the previous company and during the interview they don’t ask those questions ─ for me this is a wake-up call.
5. In the end ─ organizational issues. For example, salary expectations: I always ask my candidates to state the minimum, considering such basic needs as children, family, and mortgage. And the maximum. If a person has an adequate professional assessment of their skills and competencies ─ that’s great. Whenever possible, I try to give candidates direct feedback so that they understand how the interview went. I would like the interviews to be in a free format. This allows us to leave staying positive, even if the candidate is not suitable for the job right now. I have many examples when the candidates were rejected because it wasn’t the right time, and after some period we are working with them.
Job specifics, as well as stages of hiring in a particular company, determine the number of interviews. If possible, I try to fit into one interview, I don’t like more than two.