I’ve interviewed hundreds of engineering candidates across multiple companies. With that experience, I’ve created a checklist to help ensure my technical interviews are effective and empathetic. Read on for the list!
Before the interview
- Read their resume and any prep materials you have (cover letter, notes from previous interviews, etc).
- If it’s a videocall, make sure your mic and webcam work - and turn your camera on!
- Respect the candidate by showing up on time.
- Introduce yourself and smile when you do!
- Ease the candidate in by having them talk about an interesting project they’ve worked on.
- It’ll help candidates calm their nerves by thinking about something they’re already comfortable with.
- Always respond positively to what they say!
- Set ground rules before diving into the question: Do you need working code? Can they Google things? What languages can they use? What are you looking to get out of the question?
- Your interview question should have a clear CTA. After posing your question, candidates should know exactly what their next steps are.
The technical question
- Remember what it’s like to be on the other side. Interviews are always stressful and scary: be empathetic and do whatever you can to reduce that stress!
- Guide candidates through the question. If they’re stuck, help them out. You’ll get better signal by seeing them approach the whole problem.
- In particular - help candidates with standard library calls. Having the standard library memorized or not isn’t good signal.
- Take notes: it’s hard to remember what happened in an interview after the fact.
- Try to end on a positive note: if we end in the middle of a section, I like to connect where they are with where I wanted them to go.
- As you close the question, tie it back back to a real-world problem.
- Leave 5-10 minutes for them to ask you questions - and make sure to end on time.
- Have answers to common questions prepared. Some common questions:
- Why did you join Company X?
- What’s an interesting problem you’ve worked on at Company X?
- What’s something you don’t like about Company X?
- Thank them for their time.
- Submit your interview feedback ASAP.
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