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Behavioral Interviewing and DevOps | @CloudExpo #DevOps #Microservices

So how do you get a sense of a candidate’s core behaviors in a short interview?

Hiring the wrong candidate can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars, and result in lost profit and productivity during the search for a replacement. In fact, the Harvard Business Review has found that as much as 80 percent of turnover is caused by bad hiring decisions. But when your organization has implemented DevOps, the job is about more than just technical chops. It’s also about core behaviors: how they work with others, how they make decisions, and how those decisions translate to tangible results.

How to Hire the Right Candidate
The first step to hiring the right person is to define the core competencies for the role: What is the behavioral profile of the right candidate? Hiring managers and recruiters should collaborate with everyone on the interview loop to determine if candidates have the appropriate personality traits for the job. Reflect on past unsuccessful hires. What behaviors did they elicit, and why didn’t they fit with your team?

The following are a few excellent behavioral traits for anyone in a collaborative DevOps environment to have:

  • Communication Skills: Transparency and collaboration are big parts of DevOps. Are they going to be effective at getting their ideas across?
  • Conflict Handling: How do they handle conflict, criticism and adversity in general?
  • Leadership and Initiative: Will they spearhead meetings and projects?
  • A Taste for Challenge: Do difficult problems excite them? Or do they tend to shy away?

Behavioral Interviewing Techniques
So how do you get a sense of a candidate’s core behaviors in a short interview? Here are some interview questions and techniques that should be at the forefront of all DevOps hiring operations.

  • Focus questions on specific behavioral scenarios instead of broad questions. The more specific, the better. For example, you could ask, “Tell us about a time you failed at a team project. How did you resolve it and move forward from the failure?”
  • With DevOps in general and startups in particular, you want your employees to be comfortable taking initiative. Ask interviewees how they demonstrated themselves as self-starters in the past, and how their ideas were implemented into work tasks. You could also ask for examples of how those tasks proved beneficial to the company.
  • To gauge how well a candidate learns on the job, ask them about specific times when they needed to gather information on the fly to complete a task, and what the results were. You can also ask them how they stay abreast of industry news, and ask for specifics.
  • To understand how a candidate works on a team, try to learn about their explicit approaches to their co-workers. For example, ask them to describe a time when they had difficulty working on with others and the actions they took to resolve the situation, and what the results of those actions were. Don’t be afraid to probe them on their decision-making process and why they chose one course of action over another.
  • You want people who are excited about working for your company in particular, and aren’t just looking for any port in a storm. But don’t simply ask candidates what aspects of the position interest them. Listen for genuine emotion. If a candidate is enthusiastic about the position, they will show it through more than just their words.

Ask follow-up questions to get the candidate to drill into details if an answer is unclear. Remember that a job interview can be a difficult way to get to know someone, but by asking the right questions and getting specific examples, you’ll be able to get a good sense of whether someone will be a good fit, and whether they could end up being indispensable to your company.

Question Banks and Other Resources

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