Joel Spolsky publishes a great blog on software management entitled Joel on Software. One of my favorite articles there is his piece entitled The Guerilla Guide to Interviewing, which is full of great advice on what to look for and how to look for it, particularly for technical staff.
His key points are that you're looking for someone with two characteristics (and he offers advice on how to evaluate those characteristics):
- Gets Things Done
and that the key thing you need to do after an interview is make a decision. The key thing here is being unafraid to say "no hire". If you're not sure, it's "no hire"; if you think "not in my group, but maybe in yours", it's "no hire"; if you think "maybe, but I can't tell", it's "no hire". As Joel points out
An important thing to remember about interviewing is this: it is much better to reject a good candidate than to accept a bad candidate. A bad candidate will cost a lot of money and effort and waste other people's time fixing all their bugs. If you have any doubts whatsoever, No Hire.
Anyway, it's a great piece on interviewing, and I strongly recommend it.