Another Good (Java) Interview Question

I'm always on the search on good interview questions as I'm doing a lot of IT recruiting. Sometimes in interviews I talk about books the candidate has read recently, to gain some insight into his interrest and enthusiasm - Amazon looks into enthusiasm as an indicator for good candidates.

Another approach to gain some insights into candidates is to ask them about the 5 best software development books, which he considers must-read-books, and why those made it into their Top 5 list. I've written about books I consider good,

My personal list would be something along the lines of:

  • Refactoring
  • Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
  • Clean Code and other books by Robert C. Martin
  • Domain Driven Design
  • All McConnel Books (Rapid development, Code Complete, Software Estimation,...)
  • The Pragmatic Programmer
  • Implementing Lean Software Development
  • The GoF book
  • The Practical Guide to Defect Prevention

(Not on the list are psycholocial books like Influence, design books like About Face, compiler or programming language books, I concentrate this post on software development books in the stricter sense.)

Getting people talking about the books they like, or the recent books they've read and don't like, gets most of the candidate emotional and involved. They show enthusiasm (or not). Don't hire those who do not read books (my opinion) or don't show enthusiasm for topics of books (positive or negative).

Bonus Point: And most of the time I learn something about books I haven't known yet.

Thanks for listening. As ever, please do share your thoughts and additional tips in the comments below, or on your own blog (I have trackbacks enabled).

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Stephan Schmidt Administrator
CTO Coach , svese
Stephan is a CTO coach. He has been a coder since the early 80s, has founded several startups and worked in small and large companies as CTO. After he sold his latest startup he took up CTO coaching. He can be found on LinkedIn or follow him in Twitter.
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