PRE-INTERVIEW is what we call a brief conversation with a specialist recorded in an interview format for the main purpose of demonstrating the specialist's communication skills to potential customers.


Requirements


1. Format requirements: 

  • a 3-5 minute-long video,
  • 2 participants: an interviewer and a specialist whose getting interviewed,
  • the specialist should be the only person visible on the video,
  • the sound & video quality should be as good as modern times require and allow them to be,
  • please also mind the lighting, the interviewed specialist's background & overall tidy appearance,
  • we highly recommend the interviewer to use Google Meet / Hangouts / Zoom / Appear.in (now Whereby) and record the video in a browser tab using Loom's Chrome browser plugin with the following settings:
  • the recorded video should be uploaded to YouTube.com (open access) and added to the specialist's YouTeam profile:

2. Content requirements:

  • keep the conversation casual and friendly, it's just a chat ...thousands of people are going to listen to over time 😬
  • politeness: it's nice to start the video with a brief 'Hi there, Specialist's Name', say 'Thanks' after their replies & 'Thanks for your time today' at the end of the video,
  • make sure the specialist is answering in first person and speaking about their own work, saying 'I' instead of 'we',
  • the goal is to let the specialist demonstrate their communication/English skills, help them do that by letting them provide reasonably detailed answers to the questions suggested below,


3. Interviewed specialist's preparation:

  • feel free to get the specialist prepared and share questions with them in advance,
  • it's always good if the specialist speaks freely and is in a positive mood - if you don't feel they presented themselves in the best way, try recording the video again (change some of the questions) or the next morning for the best results.
  • IT'S VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO HAVE THE SPECIALIST READING THE ANSWERS OR HAVING THEM MEMORISED PERFECTLY - this overpreparation feels inorganic, is obvious and won't be accepted by YouTeam. The customers realise the developers are non-native speakers, respect that and don't expect perfect English, so keep it natural.


4. Questions. Please use 3-5 of the following questions for the pre-interview:

a) Would you please tell me about 1 of the most interesting projects you've worked on during your career? What was it about?

  • a follow-up question in case the developer focuses on technology rather than business goals of the project in their answer:
    Could you please tell a bit more about the problem that product was solving for its users? 

b) Could you please describe 1 of the most challenging projects you’ve ever worked on? 

  • a follow-up question in case the developer focuses on technology rather than business goals of the project in their answer:
    What problem did the product solve, who were its users?

c) Could you please describe a really tough problem on one of the recent projects that you solved creatively?

d) How do you behave in situations when you receive a task along with a suggestion of a solution from a customer and you think you know a better solution to that task

  • a follow-up question in case the developer's answer isn't clear enough:
    Have you ever had to argue with the product owner / customer about some product or technical decisions?

e) Would be great to know if you've developed your own startups before?

f) Are you currently learning any new technologies / planning to learn one you’re really interested in maybe?


Examples


1) Video

Check this developer pre-interview example recorded by one of YouTeam's team advisors below.

Please mind that this one has the developer's video turned off (so we could share it in this article), while you should record the specialist speaking, not the interviewer:


2) Text scenario

— Hi Alexander.
— Hi there.
— Would you please tell me about one of the most interesting projects you've worked on during your career? What was it about?
— I guess the most enjoyable one was a large marketplace for pets: we've built lots of microservices and I got to learn Flutter in the process.
— Thank you. Could you please tell a bit more about the problem that product was solving for its users?
— Oh, sure. It was a marketplace for pet owners with a wide variety of pet accessories. A fun niche to work with.
— Thanks. Could you please describe one of the most challenging projects you’ve ever worked on?
— I'd say it would be the complex medical records management software I've completed last year. A customer from Germany worked with me and my team for 2 years. We visited their offices and they've came to us a few times. That's always useful.
— Sure, thank you. My last question for you today would be:
How do you behave in situations when you receive a task along with a suggestion of a solution from a customer and you think you know a better solution to that task?
— I've been there, yes. Usually I try to find out why they think that solution is a good idea and then suggest mine. We've argued sometimes but I think it's worth it.
— Makes sense. Thank you for your time today Alexander!


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