Vic Fernandes, Technical Assesment Lead at Proxify

Going through a meticulous interview process helps us cherry pick the best of the best. But that wouldn’t be possible without skilled technical interviewers and assessment specialists, would it?

In this interview, we’ll introduce you to our Technical Assesment Lead, Victory Fernandes, the man who makes sure that truly the best developers from all over the world join our network.

Victory, what does technical interviewing encompass? How is it different from a classic job interview?

The technical interview occurs after the candidate had the first interview with a recruiter and had good results on the coding test.

During the interview, one of our specialists will talk to the candidate, and make general and technical questions to evaluate their professional capabilities for both soft and hard skills.

Since our opportunities are for 100% remote job offers, all our hiring process is also 100% remote too, and this by itself is totally different from a classic job interview… Candidates must be comfortable in front of the camera and able to perform well in a remote environment.

We are not only looking for candidates with senior technical skills but also great candidates must also combine great attitude characteristics and professional standing.

Can you explain to us your interviewing and elimination process?

The interview takes a maximum of 30 minutes and the very first point to be checked is the candidate's punctuality. They were the one to choose the date and time for the interview and being punctual is a must!

The interview starts with an easy talk and we usually do some non-technical icebreaker questions. And this is when we evaluate most of the candidate’s English skills in terms of accent, flow, vocabulary and grammar. Some parts of the interview are recorded and we combine the interviewer’s evaluation with an automatic evaluation done by an AI system.

During the technical questions, we will evaluate the candidate’s professional position and how they approach the problems. It is up to the candidate to decide how deep they will go in terms of technical details while they explain their proposed solutions and replies to each questio The deeper the better, and past experiences are always welcome! Basically, we need to understand if they really know how to solve the problems.

We are not only looking for candidates with senior technical skills but also great candidates must also combine great attitude characteristics and professional standing.

There are so many technologies today, and so many skills that developers might have. How do you keep up with all of them, and make sure that you have the knowledge to be able to assess the skills of candidates for each?

All our technical interviewers are senior developers, with deep knowledge of one or more coding languages, agile and SOLID principles, and experience in leadership roles.

What we do is to evaluate how the candidate approaches different problems, if they know and apply the best coding practices, if they are concerned with good performance and constant optimization of their code, etc.

We have to keep in mind that if the candidate arrives at the technical interview, it means that tjhey did well on the coding test, but most of this evaluation could even be done in a language agnostic way.

You are currently working as the Technical Assessment Lead at Proxify. But, what was your experience before you joined this team? What brought you to this position?

It was back in 1993 when my father told me that in order to give me a computer as a birthday present I would have to make computer software for him. I was only 13 at that time, I signed up for a computer course and I had 4 hours of classes every Saturday for almost one year to learn Windows 3.11, MS-Word, CorelDraw, MS-Excel, MS-Access and finally Visual Basic!

I created the software he asked me for and one month later I had my dream come true, a brand new Intel 486 PC! Three years later at age 16 I was accepted at university and signed up for Electrical Engineering.

During the first year of university, I decided to start coding professionally using Delphi under Windows 98 and I was still 17 when I got my first "big" contract to do software for a chain of 6 shoe shops in my town! During the time I was at the university I kept working during the day and having classes at night. After having many shops running my software all around my city, I decided to move and start to code and deliver software for factories... My main goal at the time was to do software somehow related to Electrical Engineering, and so I did!

During college I started my own software company in Brazil and had large software development (Delphi and C++ mostly), project and team management experience deploying multi-tier and multithreaded Manufacturing Execution Systems-MES for industrial automation, factory floor integration and logistics, delivering software solutions to do real-time integration of 24×7 industrial plant systems, communicating all kind of third-parties hardware with ERPs like SAP, PI-OSISoft, TOTVS, etc.

Right after college and for almost 10 years I was managing my own software company and also teaching digital electronics and microcontroller programming (Intel Assembler and C, PIC Assembler and C, C for Arduino and ARM) at the same engineering department I graduated from.

Many years passed, I wrote hundreds of articles for websites and magazines and finally, in 2012 I was invited by Embarcadero to be part of their Most Valuable Professional-MVP team as a recognition of professional excellence.

I was then part of the very first group of a few handpicked software developers selected worldwide to spread the word about this Silicon Valley company and its Delphi and C++ Builder products. In 2013 I became Embarcadero Brazil Training Manager, dealing with 12 Embarcadero´s partner training centers around Brazil, managing the team who designed and delivered all the official training content, proposing and coordinating strategic activities regarding the training center's increase in revenue and responding to all matters regarding Embarcadero´s training and certification process in Brazil.

The the covid pandemic hit us really hard and it was only after one year that I decided to stop fighting the impossible and change! I did some freelance jobs for almost one year and one day I met our CEO (Viktor Jarnheimer)! I was first hired as a freelance Technical Interviewer, I worked hard, proved my value, grew in the company, and here I am!

The software industry is infamous for being very competitive in terms of hiring and retention. In your opinion, how does seeking out the help of services such as Proxify help companies scale and minimize the hiring and retention issues?

Finding a good professional is not an easy task. We need a good balance between seniority, soft and hard skills, and most companies don’t even have internal people well qualified to run such a hiring process. Or maybe your company is just too small, or not so well organized.

Ok, let's say you do have the internal well-qualified staff inside your company and that you are organized enough to run such a hiring process the proper way, so now your team will need to have the time to go through hundreds, maybe thousands of applications in order to find the best fit… and this all have a very high cost!

Maybe after all that huge effort to find the best fit, when they are finally working on your projects, for whatever reason you lose them… now what?

At Proxify we only accept 2% of the 5000+ applicants we receive each month. All our developers are pre-vetted so you will have a new team member ready to start in days, not months. This way you can stop wasting time and money on bad hires and focus on building great products.

As someone that needs to keep themselves updated on all big industry changes in software, where do you see this industry in the coming years?

Covid came to completely change the way companies see and accept remote work. I must say that the software development industry did benefit a lot from this, considering that now we can see much more remote opportunities, and in my opinion, this is something that is here to stay!

Experienced software developers, with good knowledge of English, coming from countries with not-so-strong economies can now apply and be hired to work for companies all around the world, making much more money than they would do working at some local software house and even having the flexibility to work from home or the freedom to work from whatever place one decide.

I see more and more 100% full-time job opportunities in the coming years… so come to Proxify and let us find you a well-paid, remote job at Europe’s and/or USA’s most exciting startups and leading brands.

Do you think staff augmentation is a good idea for software companies? Is freelancing better than traditional employment?

In my honest opinion, there is no magic formula. No one thing by itself is better than the other, it will always depend on the scenario. Do you know all the pros and cons of your decisions considering the actual scenarios at your company? Do you really know what exactly it is your company needs? Schedule a talk to one of our client managers and spend some time sharing your problems and concerns. Let's share some insights and let us show how we can help your company.

Why should talented developers consider working for Proxify?

At Proxify we aim to find and offer remote long-term jobs for the world's best developers. Some of Europe’s and/or the USA’s most exciting startups and leading brands are our clients and you will be compensated more than you would locally.

Whether you're an experienced freelancer, well-versed in the specifics of remote work, or looking to leave the so-called stability of an office-based role in search of freedom and ownership of your work we headhunt the best tech talents going and help companies of all shapes and sizes to efficiently build their products or services using remote and distributed teams.

In the extremely uncommon event that the wrong developer is matched to your position, we’ll gladly present an alternative developer and extend the trial period accordingly. Our risk-free trial period is in place so you won’t pay if you are unhappy.

And why should companies work with Proxify?

We not only offer faster and cheaper hiring processes with zero termination costs, but we also mitigate risks that the companies would have in case they would hire the professionals directly. We even offer you a risk-free trial for one week and you pay only if you’re happy.

In the extremely uncommon event that the wrong developer is matched to your position, we’ll gladly present an alternative developer and extend the trial period accordingly. Our risk-free trial period is in place so you won’t pay if you are unhappy.

We truly believe that the future of work is remote; heck, that future is already here and so we've made it our goal to convince every company we come across to work with our devoted and senior tech talents on a remote basis.

What would your best advise to candidates that need to have an interview be?

When going to the technical interview, act as if you're going to a traditional interview. Prepare yourself mentally and also physically. Choose a date and time when you know you are going to be more at ease, sleep well and eat well, put on some nice clothes and make sure you have a good light setup, that the camera is well positioned and that you have a good headset and microphone.

Be yourself at the interview and remember: on the other side we are all nerds just like you! I always ask my technical interviewer team members some questions for them to have in mind, like “Would you like to work with the person you are interviewing?”, or “Do you think they would perform well as your colleague, as your subordinate, or even as your manager?”.

The bottom line is, that we may be on the other side now. But we all have been sitting at the interviewee side before, meaning that we owe you guys respect and we want to have the best ones as part of our team!

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