Think smart! (a professional interview at BlackBelt)


“There were cases when after our client personally met some of our people that we’d selected for him reacted like this: now you just give me the names of the rest of them. There is no need for interviewing anymore, they are just right for us! ” says Gábor Privitzky, the Technical Director of BlackBelt Technology, proudly. He explains that the strict professional filter introduced by the company might be resource-intensive but is beneficial in the long run. It builds trust and closer business relationships among their partners. “If our consulting service customers see that we always delegate work to skilled and well-prepared professionals for joint projects, they will call us again.”


Like on Who Wants to be a Millionaire

Privitzky Gábor

Based on his many years of experience, the director of BlackBelt has insisted on taking the professional recruitment process seriously. In his former workplaces there were several cases where professional communication didn’t work well with some of his colleagues, which obviously affects efficiency. “There are companies where the selection goes only by CVs. Are you good at C++? Are you familiar with Linux? Awesome! You’re hired! The problem is that this way the filtering process is left to be done by the client. Which is not fair. We have to make the selection.”

Naturally, not only does technical knowledge count but professional aptitude and attitude too. How much the candidate would like to work here, and what their professional interests are. Privitzky stresses, they are testing how much attention the candidates have paid at the university. “Those who do not pass our interview stage usually say that it was like a college exam. Why, yes! That’s how I do an interview. Candidates often get algorithmic tasks. I often don’t even care about the solution itself, only the way the applicant thinks. Do they know how complex the algorithm in question is? Do they realize the exponential, polynomial, square, or linear nature of the problem? If they have learnt something similar at university, or if they were thinking about questions like that, then their answer will be good. It has happened of course that someone showed us not only his thinking, but he gave us a concrete solution. That person is working with us right now.”

On the other hand, it also matters how the candidate will handle a task that is too difficult for him. It is not good if they speak confidently but vaguely, but it is not good either if they just give up. Thinking loudly about how to approach the solution is much more advisable. “It’s a bit like playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? You can go around the topic or ask for help”, notes Gábor Privitzky.


Knowing it

Balázs Stasz has worked at BlackBelt for two months now after a successful job interview. Although his solution was not perfect, it was a good approach to the task. “I didn’t feel too overwhelmed in general. I think a lot of the answers to the questions asked would fit every developer” said the graduate student of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics who is currently a Java developer.

Based on the experience of higher education, Gábor Privitzky sees good training courses where students are preparing for the use of acquired knowledge and thinking instead of teaching to incorporate the details of technologies that are currently considered important.

“However, you also have to have language skills, it is extremely important if you want to work with us” says Privitzky.


Dizzy pace

Of course, no interview is without a professional filter that will have to go through the riff raff as well. Senior Developer Ákos Mocsanyi has recently selected the best candidate for DevOps Engineer (Developer and Operator). “I was curious about personality, operational experience, and how confident the candidate was. It was important not to get caught out when I asked at a point in the interview: write a program, and I’ll be watching it. The task was not too difficult but you’re interested in how the candidate handles an unknown machine and tools. Yet there were a few who were thrown by it. ”

Not like Levente László, who proved to be the best during the contest and started work a few weeks ago at the company. “At first, it was not very comfortable – on a ten-point scale I would say the experience was a five – it made the situation a bit unnerving, and I was even a little shaken. At first, people were nervous, as the environment was new, but then we were able to change a few things and solved the issues. The atmosphere here is nice. My experience is that when it comes to customer care and our interests BlackBelt are all about communication.

This is not a coincidence, of course. Knowledge gained in the IT sector five years ago is already obsolete, so strong professional interest is important. “Anyone who doesn’t keep up will not be able to fulfil their job within a few years,” says Ákos Mocsányi. That is why it is important to find out how open the candidate is and whether he or she is interested in the latest technological trends, whether they are able to keep up with current trends, as changes happen at a dazzling pace in this profession – only the best keep pace.

They’re the black belts.