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These are excerpts from a blog post on Anderson Frank’s NetSuite Blog examining the best practices for interviewing a NetSuite developer. Originally a panel interview format, we’ve only included expert insights shared by Sean Gillespie, COO At SuiteCentric, an innovative NetSuite Solution Provider and CAP Partner. For the full blog post, please visit this link.
Asking questions about a NetSuite developer’s technical skills
Programs: NetSuite/One World ERP/CRM implementation (including customization and custom development, integration, and post-implementation support activities).
- Databases: Oracle 7/8i/9i/10g, IBM DB2, MS SQL Server, MS Access.
- Operation systems: Windows, Linux.
- Reporting tools: Crystal Reports 7/8.0.
- Office tools: MS Office.
1. How many years of NetSuite development experience do you have?
- Ideal answer: 3-4 years of experience
- Question explanation: With three or four years of experience, you can likely assign them meaningful projects from the beginning. They will have a working understanding of NetSuite development and will not require much training. If the candidate is lacking NetSuite development experience, then at least five years of development experience is a good number. As a result, they are senior enough to understand development basics and can probably learn NetSuite fairly quickly.
2. Do you have experience as a NetSuite user? If so, how much?
- Ideal answer: Yes, 1-2 years of experience
- Question explanation: Real-life NetSuite user experience can be incredibly important, especially in NetSuite consulting. The candidate will be able to take a more comprehensive approach to different issues because they can leverage their own experience as a NetSuite customer.
3. How can you tell when the SEO page generator is broken on a NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced webpage?
- Ideal answer: You can tell the SEO page generator is broken when the raw page HTML contains a).
- Question explanation: Our company, SuiteCentric, started by specializing in development and customizations for NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced. This is an example of a technical question for that platform. Questions like this will test the candidate’s working knowledge of the platform which they claim to have previously worked on.
4. What are some of your favorite updates in NetSuite 2019.2 and why?
- Ideal answer: I’ve worked with SuiteFlow, and I like these updates. The Workflow actions and sub-lists are more flexible, simplifying the process of creating complex workflows for automation. Also, the interface is more intuitive, so it’s easier to switch between edit and view mode. That makes it easier for the end-user to automate processes like transaction approval for custom or standard records.
- Question explanation: This is a good question to help understand if the candidate has experience with NetSuite’s latest release and to see if they keep up with current developments. Any NetSuite developer should have a vested interest in the latest NetSuite releases and, at a minimum, will likely have read the 2019.2 release notes.
Assessing a NetSuite developer’s Soft Skills
Although a NetSuite developer’s technical skillset is an essential part of the role, you should still utilize a significant part of the meeting to discuss their soft skills.
To hire the right developer, you need to be looking for a candidate that has adept communication skills, can demonstrate their the ability to adapt to any situation, show how they can manage their time and, finally, how capable they are at working independently as well as in a team.
The NetSuite specialist at SuiteCentric has suggested some essential questions to ask your next NetSuite developer applicant.
1. How well do you work in a team?
- Ideal Answer: I work very well in a team. I have led several teams on specific development projects, and I have served as the direct point of contact for the customer. I have also worked in a more junior capacity helping to support team projects.
- Question Explanation: Candidates who have experience working in teams in different roles are valuable. They have been there before and will feel comfortable collaborating with other colleagues regardless of their seniority.
2. Do you prefer working in a team or do you prefer working alone and why?
- Ideal Answer: I can do both, but I enjoy working in a team. Collaborating to solve problems can be rewarding.
- Question Explanation: Knowing this preference will help interviewers gauge how the candidate will fit within the company or a specific division. It can also influence the types of projects the candidate will be assigned.
3. Was there ever a time in your career where you were asked to do something that you’ve never done before? How did you handle it?
- Ideal Answer: Yes, I had to create a customized connector between the NetSuite ERP and a customer’s mobile app. Because I had never done this before, I met with one of our more senior developers for insight into this process. She had just finished completing a similar project for a different customer and was helpful. I also looked in the NetSuite developer forum for related notes. The connector worked out well.
- Question Explanation: Understanding the candidate’s ability to handle these types of situations is critical. They must demonstrate the capacity to learn and manage up if the situation calls for it.
4. Has there ever been a time when you felt you needed to change or adjust your behavior while at work? If so, how did you accomplish this?
- Ideal Answer: Yes. Early in my career, I had a habit of being 1-2 minutes late to meetings. I realized that it was disrespectful of other people’s time. To fix this, I set a calendar reminder 10-15 minutes before my meetings to ensure I would arrive early. I quickly realized that arriving early gave me time to settle and review any notes or talking points before the meeting.
- Question Explanation: This is a chance for the interviewer to get a sense of the developer’s emotional intelligence. Being able to read a room or a situation is a great skill to have in the workplace, especially if the candidate will be customer-facing.
Why are they applying for the role?
It is important to gain an in-depth insight into why the applicant would like to work for your business. This is an excellent time for you to benchmark how much research a candidate has done on your company and whether their personality would be a good fit for the company culture. Here are some suggestions the experts at SuiteCentric recommend you ask in your next interview with a NetSuite developer.
1. Why do you want to work for this company?
- Ideal Answer: I’ve been following your company for a while. I’ve always been impressed with your customer list and the awards it has received. My values align with the company, and I’m ready for new challenges.
- Question Explanation: This will help gauge their interest level in your company. The candidate should express genuine interest and eagerness to join your team.
2. Why are you the right person for this position?
- Ideal Answer: I have a proven background in NetSuite development over a five-year career. I worked as an end-user for several years and several more as a NetSuite consultant, so I know both sides of the customer-consultant dynamic. I also have leadership experience as I’ve led several projects from start to finish, and all were successful. I believe I will be a great fit for your team.
- Question Explanation: This question will help the candidate highlight a handful of notable takeaways about their background and what they bring to the table. They should be the items the candidate is most proud of and, ideally, will present an honest assessment of their accomplishments.
3. What collaborative workplace tools have you used? Have you used Slack, Jira, and BitBucket?
- Ideal Answer: Yes, I’ve used all of these and I also have experience with HipChat.
- Question Explanation: Gaining an understanding of collaborative workplace tools can be important. Candidates with little-to-no experience of working with Jira or another similar tool will require additional training. The training might not be too complicated, but it will be another thing that has to be learned before they are fully ready for the job.
Red Flags in a NetSuite developer’s interview
It is important to remember that some applicants may be better at interviewing than they might be at the actual job. Even if a candidate has answered everything correctly, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should hire them.
To limit your chances of employing a bad hire, you need to understand which red flags you should be looking out for. Here’s what some experts say on spotting red flags in a NetSuite developer interview.
Sean Gillespie, COO at SuiteCentric:
“I am suspicious if a candidate demonstrates a lack of research into the company before the interview. They should have an understanding of what the company does, the mission statement or values, and, at the bare minimum, interviewers should be able to tell if the candidate reviewed the ‘About Us’ page. Being able to discuss the industry or current or past clients is a positive sign, as well.
“If someone lacks passion and personality during responses to questions, that is a red flag. I understand people being nervous, but the candidate has to show at least a little liveliness during your conversation with them. It can help you understand how they feel about the position and if they are ambitious.
“And finally, If a candidate doesn’t admit to a weakness or they seem to display a victim mentality, then I take note. Honesty is everything, and no one is perfect. A company works best when its employees are honest. Through honesty, they will understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so they can cover any skills gaps or pick someone up when they are down.”
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