What kind of interview questions should a non-technical person ask?

  1. Do you use a WordPress theme or build your own?01:55
  2. What languages do you know? And what proficiency levels? (Scale of 1-10)02:46
  3. Examples of Sites you have built, plugins you’ve coded, etc03:59
  4. How long have you been building/coding?05:15
  5. What does you typical workflow look like?05:27
  6. Do you work locally or online?06:03

Read the full episode transcript below:

00:28 David Blackmon: Hey everybody welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast brought to you by WP Gears. I’m David Blackmon.

00:35 Tim Strifler: And I’m Tim Strifler.

00:37 David Blackmon: Today we’re gonna discuss what kind of interview questions should a non-technical person ask. Me for example, not a developer, I’ll be the first person to admit that. And sometimes it can be a little tricky. I’ve got these technical projects that come up, maybe a website that’s a little bit above my head, E-commerce for example, and I wanna outsource it. Well, I need to find somebody who can do that. I’ve had to learn over time what the best questions are. How to evaluate these people. So we felt like this might be a good topic to cover. Because there’s a lot of people out there using WordPress that aren’t developers, because it’s open-source, it’s a do it yourself kind of platform. There’s lots of YouTube videos but what happens when you do need that extra technical someone, and we thought we’d just cover it a little bit. So Tim?

01:33 Tim Strifler: Definitely. And some of these questions here are questions from learning the hard way. Where outsourcing and I don’t wanna say fully getting screwed over, but in a way, almost like not … being taken advantage of I guess is a good way to put it. And so then the next time around, okay, I’m gonna make sure that I ask this question so I get that out of the way so that doesn’t happen again. These are questions that have been based off of both of our experiences. The first one here is do you use a WordPress theme or build your own? Not that, if someone’s using an existing framework or an existing theme is necessarily a bad thing but asking that question you’ll get a feel for what their skillset is. What level they’re at. Because someone that, if you’re looking for someone to build a website for you or outsource, you want them to build it, you already have the designs, you want them to build it. Well you wanna know what their capabilities are. Because if they’re someone that can only use a page builder, and they don’t really know beyond that, well then they’re probably not a good fit. So that question can, right away, how they answer it, really give you a good idea of where they’re at in terms of their skills.

02:46 David Blackmon: The next question that I like to ask is what types of programming languages do they know and what is their skill set? I ask them to, on a scale of 1-10, where would you rate your CSS for example? Scale of 1-10, PHP. jQuery, JavaScript. And this kind of gives me a basic good idea of how good of a programmer they are. And my experience is is, most people aren’t gonna lie on this question, oh, I’m a 10. Because they’re fearful that the very next question that’s coming is, good. I have this little test prepared for you. And can you take it for me? So if they tell you they’re a 10, and you give them a quick quiz, it’s in the back of their mind. I’ve never actually given a quiz or a test, but I’ve found that 99.9% of the time if not 100% of the time they’re very truthful on their skillset levels. Because they feel like that’s gonna come out sooner rather than later.

03:59 Tim Strifler: Yeah, absolutely. Another one, this is a very obvious question that you definitely should ask is for them to show you some examples of websites that they’ve built. Plugins that they’ve coded if you’re wanting them to do some advanced functionality. And figure out okay cool, this is the site that you built, what was the task, what were you given, what was the starting point, were you given a PSD MockUp? And so kind of get a feel for how they got from point A to point B. And that’s gonna show you exactly what they’re capable of. For example if, I’ve had to do this when I’m looking for people to help me build my Divi Child Theme templates. I want someone that can follow a PSD MockUp that my designer designs, and make it look exactly like that PSD MockUp. And so when they show me sites, and I can see that oh hey, this is like a lot of default Divi styling, it looks just like Divi out of the box with some images added. Well then they’re probably not a good fit. I wanna see someone that’s able to take a theme like Divi and take it above and beyond because of their coding abilities. And so seeing examples of what they’ve accomplished and where they started from to get to there will kind of tell you that story.

05:15 David Blackmon: Absolutely. Next question you may wanna ask is how long have they been building websites? How long have they been coding? What is there experience and stuff, and just ask them and let them tell you.

05:27 Tim Strifler: Yeah, and then another good question is what does your typical workflow look like? You wanna know that they’re organized, that they have a workflow, that they’re not all over the place. Because a amateur developer, they might have some basic skills, but they’re not gonna be efficient because they don’t have a good workflow. But someone that has a lot of experience is gonna know not only what to do and how to do it but the right steps to do it and have a really good workflow. They’re gonna be efficient, they’re gonna catch mistakes before they happen, and so that’s really important is to hear what their workflow looks like.

06:03 David Blackmon: And one of the things with workflow you wanna ask them is do they work locally, or do they work online? My experience is is the majority of true developers, they prefer to work locally. They don’t wanna work online. If they say, “Oh, I work online.” Potential red flag there, I’m just gonna throw it out there. Might be a less experienced person, because coders, true coders and developers, they don’t need to inspect element, they don’t need to do all of the tips and tricks like a do-it-yourselfer like me need to do, they know how to do things already. So they would prefer to work locally on their own machine and it’s faster, it’s quicker, and they know what they’re doing. That’s the last question that we have. Tim you look like you’re wanting to say something.

06:53 Tim Strifler: I was just gonna add to that, if they don’t see the benefit of locally, then that means they’re really slow. Someone that’s really fast doesn’t wanna have to wait to upload to the server, and so locally is just so much faster because they’re able to be really fast.

07:09 David Blackmon: Yeah. Tomorrow we’ve got another great topic, the different types of website caching and how to clear them. Tim, until tomorrow, we’ll see you then.

07:20 Tim Strifler: Take care, bubye.

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