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Why this matters:

Most experienced AI engineers agree that Python leads the AI industry. However, this question is designed to understand what they value in a programming language. Is it popular because of its simplicity? Does it possess predictable coding behavior? There’s a chance the candidate might prefer another language like Java, which is valid, but be sure to question their reasoning.

What to listen for:

  • Expertise on and enthusiasm for programming
  • Understanding of the programming industry and what led to Python’s popularity

Why this matters:

There are times when imitating human intelligence is going overboard. While it’s essential to advanced robotics, AI engineers know that weak AI, which resembles human intelligence, can often suffice for many applications. Candidates who know the importance of weighing the two can help your company achieve cost savings and efficiency.

What to listen for:

  • Examples of weak AI such as Siri and Alexa
  • Answers such as project scope, or supervised and unsupervised learning

Why this matters:

Handling missing values is one of the greatest challenges faced by AI engineers because making the right decision on how to handle it generates robust data models. There’s no singular solution, but candidates should know that domain knowledge provides insight into how to approach the problem.

What to listen for:

  • Specific examples such as value replacements or dropping rows and columns altogether
  • A recognition that most data sets have missing values to deal with

Why this matters:

In some roles, AI engineers may interact primarily with other programmers and technically skilled staff. But if they regularly need to get buy-in from stakeholders or work with interdisciplinary teams to develop a product, it’s important to ask a question like this to gauge communication skills.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to translate complex concepts into everyday language
  • Willingness to be a patient and active teacher

Why this matters:

If a candidate is passionate about AI, they should have some knowledge about current industry trends. AI is already being used in the building of applications, and this question will shed light on their awareness of that as well as their opinions on where we’re headed. Above all, this question gauges their interest in the space at large.

What to listen for:

  • Current use of AIOps and the possibility that DevOps could replace it
  • Understanding of how AI can transform infrastructure management at both micro and macro levels

Why this matters:

AI specialists often need to work as part of a cross-functional team to complete major projects. Are they leaders or facilitators? If they discuss how they used AI technology to transform collaboration for the project, that may be ideal, especially if you’re looking for a candidate who can help improve productivity and engagement.

What to listen for:

  • Comfortable working independently and as a team when required
  • Several examples of times having worked as part of a team

Why this matters:

AI engineers may require deep focus for some tasks and active collaboration with others. Knowing the candidate’s productivity preferences will help you identify if your work environment is the right fit. For instance, if they say they need complete silence and privacy, an open plan office may not be compatible with their work style.

What to listen for:

  • Telltale signs that the candidate can succeed in your work environment
  • Willingness to adjust work approach if lacking experience in the relevant work environment

Why this matters:

Artificial Intelligence will continue to outperform humans when it comes to detailed procedures, but when faced with making connections across disparate pieces of information, foreseeing future problems, and designing experiences, the human mind prevails. Candidates should discuss their own creativity rather than the technology they used.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of the value of human experience in innovation
  • Detailed description of the problem, problem-solving approach, and outcome

Why this matters:

This question reveals a candidate’s ambition. While salary is important, those who are driven by passion and a desire to make a difference in the world make the best AI engineers for any company. These attributes will likely have an impact on the new hire’s retention, so it’s worth figuring out what drives them.

What to listen for:

  • Genuine interest in programming, automation, and robotics
  • Discussion of more altruistic goals, like saving lives with the use of AI technology
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