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Interviewing someone when you don’t know anything about their role

It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a position of having to hire someone for a role you know little-to-nothing about. Perhaps the most common occurrence of this is when engineering managers have to hire their first DevOps Engineer. Hiring for a role you don’t know personally know about can be a daunting proposition, but thankfully, it’s not too difficult of a challenge with a little bit of work.

My tips:

  • Go heavy on behavioral questions.
  • Focus on past experience when it comes to tech. Ask them to explain past projects. It’s okay to admit you don’t know much about what they do (and that’s why you’re hiring someone). Ask them to explain why they made certain choices over others, how they came to their decisions, etc.
  • Pay an outside person to do the technical bits of the interview. You can probably find someone in your network that knows this role (such as someone on a colleague’s team). Pay them (and pay them well!) to do some interviews for you and provide feedback on candidates.