My favorite ActionScript interview questions to ask

I’m about to interview someone for an ActionScript-related position here at Ribbit, and in my preparations, I thought I should post my top 5 favorite sets of questions to ask candidates. I have done a lot of interviewing in my 10 year Flash career, and these questions usually engage the candidate in a unique and effective way:

1. What do you like best about Flash or Flex? What can you do with those features you can’t do in another technology?

[This first set of questions shows a general appreciation for the technology.]

2. What version of Flash Player was most prominent when you started coding? What key features of that player did you target? What features in Flash Player {current version} do you wish you had back then?

[Getting a little more technical, this set of questions reveals the candidate’s history with Flash Player, identifying their awareness of features years ago as well as with new versions of the player.]

3. What is the most efficient (or profound) code tip you’ve discovered that you always share with other developers?

[A question like this demonstrates code expertise as well as a bit of community/team orientation. I find that a developer who likes to share efficiency tips is a bit more code proficient as well as a more senior member of a working team.]

4. Have you ever coded for a project with bandwidth, file size or other performance limitations? What were those limitations and how did you accommodate them?

[Delving a bit more into the candidate’s experience, this question explores awareness of architecture and code efficiency. Although the bandwidth question is less and less applicable, most ‘seasoned’ AS developers have dealt with it.]

5. Of all the projects you’ve worked on, which one were you most proud to see launched, and why?

[This is my favorite and a great closing question. I want to work with a developer who loves what they are doing, and this demonstrates passion and focus towards their past efforts.]

Candidates find these questions refreshing, especially after being usually grilled by more 1,0 colleagues of mine. I find these questions bring out the more creative and inspiring side of a candidate. Let me know if you use these questions in the future. Expect positive results!

chuckstar

10 Comments

Keith Peters

One I always ask is beyond what they’ve done for work, what projects have they done just for fun in their own time. This usually opens people up and they really get interested in talking to you about what they’ve done. Also shows what kind of passion they have for the technology.

Mario

Very interesting questions…but every time Im interviewed I get questions like “If you declare a Boolean variable and set no value, what its default value”, “and for a String, Object “, “What class u use to load and XML file”, and so on… pretty boring, and let no room to establish an interesting and constructive conversation with the interviewer. And as KP mentioned, that’s a pretty good and fun question to ask…Whenever I get the chance to interview a possible candidate I focus more on this passion and commitment instead of knowing if a boolean with no value set it defaults to TRUE 😛 heh

Phillip Kerman

You might want to add questions that reveal whether you’ll be able to stand working with them over time–like what kind of person they are… how well they communicate etc. Sure, it helps too if they can code.

Steven Sacks

A few of my favorites:

“What’s your biggest weakness?”

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“On a scale of 1-10, what’s your expertise with the following languages…”

Michael

I usually ask them to name an existing website or web technology that they find exciting and/or inspiring… interestingly, it doesn’t need to be Flash related.

I’m keen to know where they want to take their skills, given that most are looking for a new role simply because their current situation doesn’t offer the opportunities they’re looking for. It also suggests how alert they are to current trends and how connected they are to the flash community.

Finally – if there is a meeting of minds and we find that we have common interests/goals, it suggests that we’ll be able to comfortably chat over a quiet beer… which is worth quite a lot!

Ryan Stewart

Is that why you freelance, Phillip 😉

=Ryan

Ian

Interesting questions. I remember being specifically asked in the interview for my current job how I would go about dealing with memory management. At the time, I wasn’t so proficient in the topic, so I just improvised a response.

One and a half years down the line, I still have never been approached with concerns over memory management except when I made myself aware of them, and I could teach my boss, who’s no slouch, a thing or two about it.

Blake

If only I worked in a place where people could even ask such questions! Not that I’d have the best answers, but being the only Flash guy, I feel severely limited in what I can do — mostly because I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of, and no one to spur me on to learn more; sure, I try to teach myself as much as I can, but I get so bogged down in work that I don’t even always know where to look to learn about what’s up and coming. 🙁

Although I initially got hired to do web maintenance — in 1998. I don’t think our group would have a Flash “department” if I hadn’t shown a few (easily-impressed) people some lame timeline-based animations I’d created in Flash 3!

Ralph

Anyone with half a brain can B.S. their way around those questions. You need to ask people about the actual language of ActionScript. Many people jumped on the bandwagon of Flash ActionScript development in the last 3 years it seams but they don’t understand the roots of the language and that it came from the original prototype based language. There are so many intricacies that are very specific to ActionScript that you can ask. For example how does the event system work. How can you write dynamic code in ActionScript or what’s the fastest way to do a replace on a String? What’s really funny is there are still a lot of Java, C++ programmers that don’t even know that you can do data structures in Flash and actually have, wow, performance gains. So many noobs out there.

Flash Duniya

Any one can tell me wha’t the wrong with this code:

var img:Array = new Array(‘image1.jpg’,’image2.jpg’,’image3.jpg’,’image4.jpg’,’image5.jpg’);
for (var i=0; i

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