If you are looking for talented Java developers, you are not alone. The demand for programmers in this field has risen quite notably in the past few years, and it probably won’t slow down any time soon. However, not everyone knows their way around coding, and it can be rather hard to evaluate applicants if you are not sure of how to compare their skills.
So, we wrote this article with the hope of helping everyone that thinks that C++ is a school grade and Ruby is just a pretty gemstone. There are actually several ways your company can identify top-notch developers without learning the in’s and out’s of Java application development. Of course, you could always get your candidates to take some kind of Java test you found on the web, but those results won’t tell the whole story. Keep reading to find out more.
Learn about their problem-solving skills
Every recruiter knows that problem-solving is a must for most job positions. However, when it comes to coding, the term acquires a new meaning. Java development projects are no walk in the park. Issues are bound to pop up on almost every step of the way, and your ideal candidate should know how to tackle them effectively.
Some basic indicators of good problem-solving skills are Java certifications, experience in developing personal projects, and a particular interest in keeping up with the latest Java technologies. It also a good idea to let applicants talk a bit about their perspective on problem-solving and the impact it has on their field.
But if you want to go a step further, try applying the STAR technique, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. By introducing behavioral questions, interviewers can prompt candidates to present real examples of how they fixed unexpected or complicated issues during the development process. This way, you can directly assess whether or not they have practical coding experience in critical and constructive thinking.
Let them talk about their latest or favorite projects
Yes, you might run into a lot of terminology and concepts that could make the story hard to follow. However, those details are not as important as how passionately they talk about their work. Passionate candidates are relatively easy to identify, and they have the highest chance of dedicating some high-quality hours to their work.
Try to take note of which tools and frameworks they are comfortable with (even if you don’t the difference between them), and inquire about their workflow and their general ability to manipulate the Java language. Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand something—those who can transform complex topics into simple ideas are the ones that will fit your particular situation best.
You can also take this opportunity to check on their communicational aptitudes. Not many people are aware of this, but developers need to be effective communicators. They will often find themselves interacting not only with their teammates and managers but also directly with clients that don’t have deep knowledge about programming. In today’s networking environment, being able to transmit your ideas is a requirement for cooperation and creativity.
Get to know their weaknesses and areas of improvement
At a certain point, everyone has to deal with feedback on their performance—and sometimes things don’t go as well as we would’ve wanted. In the case of Java developers, the ability to process critical feedback determines how much they will be able to grow. Asking candidates about their weak spots can give you a lot of insight on their initiative to become better developers.
Some common struggles are keeping up with deadlines, maintaining code organized, working seamlessly with different frameworks and tools, and staying up-to-date with new Java classes and technologies. Whatever the weakness, being honest about it and actually doing something to improve shows how big people can be about their work.
Try to ask about any challenging experiences they had during a project. The best Java developers are molded when projects get frustrating and the pressure is on. If your candidate went through any kind of trial-by-fire and survived, it means that they were able to act on their limitations and make things happen. It is often wiser to put your bets on the quick learners.
All in all, the goal of this article is to help you get a sense of your candidate’s experience and soft skills related to Java development. This programming language is extremely popular, so you will likely receive a fair amount of applications, but only a few will match your company’s requirements and culture.
Even though we didn’t talk about measuring technical skills here, it is highly recommended to do so, since that will heavily influence your final decision. Becoming familiar with the basics of Java development will go a long way during the interview—and if you don’t know the first thing about coding, this is the perfect excuse to take the first step. Best of luck!