Okay I wasn't going to share this until I am 100% sure, but this makes it a must.
Long story short, there is a particular niche in the Internet industry that is, by and large, composed of 95% BS. Most of the members here that work in this niche are solid and reliable, but most of the ones out there doing this dazzle the clients with technobabble, tweak their pages a little, present some stats they know Einstein couldn't make sense of, and bill them for 5K. When their business doesn't improve, "Your product is not viable, now go away lest I invoice you a second time-uh."
In my travels, I stumbled across one of the gems, the real deal, and for the first time was gravely impressed and awed at the way they did business. Long story short, I asked if they needed a developer in house, expecting a no. Turns out they had made the decision to bring one in - on the very day I asked. Went for an interview.
The reason this is relevant is that, as I drove there (800 miles) I had dreaded the potential questions and conditions, every single thing that has been suggested in this thread. "What degrees do you have, how long did you work here and there, why did you leave, what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, we need you to take this test or that test, if you were an animal which one would you be?" BAH. You know what we think when potential employers ask these questions? We think that you, as employers, don't know what to ask so you're spitting out something that some researcher somewhere told you and based on our responses, you're going to score - and pay - us accordingly. We haven't even gotten a job offer, and already we feel like a slab of meat, a number, and have no real hope of being a part of anything important, we'll just be a link in a chain.
Let me tell you what happened at my interview.
The two partners came in and showed me several of their current projects. While they were doing this, they asked, "what would you do with this?" I told them. Then they had me bring up a recent project, then had me show them the code for it, explain my logic. Then each and every member of the company came in from different "departments" (quoted, because this company is 100% interactive, there really are no "departments"), who each had their current projects. "What is this, can you make sense of this, and explain it to me?" I did.
What does this tell you? This tells you the prospect's ability to work with everyone in the company, their overall skills, and something a normal volley of questions will miss, how quick someone is on their feet in an unknown environment, with unknown parameters, how they will react to and tackle a problem. This is by far more important to you than what kind of computers they have at home.
"Asking" "what would you do?" is only going to prompt them to "give you what you think you want to hear as the right answer." Don't waste your time, do the work. Give them the situation, and observe what they would do.
Then we went out to lunch, all six of us, one rule: no shop talk. What will this tell you? This is where you find out who they are, and also where your prospect finds out who you are. L.S.S., by the end of lunch I felt like I'd known these people for years.
Like I said, none of this is in stone, but this company was voted one of the *top five* companies to work for in a major U.S. city, something I'd sensed long before I approached them. On the trip home, there was one thought in my mind. It wasn't "I want this job," or "I hope they hire me," no. It was "I need to be here, and they need me to be here."
Do you want to hire a grunt, a yes man/woman, or do you want someone who wants to be part of your team? Think outside the box. :-)
I'm giving it a month, if it works, awesome. These people are great, both in philosophy and the way they work.
It's interesting to mention that one of their questions was: what is the one most important web site resource you regularly use? You can probably guess my answer. :-)