Profile Picture

Technical Interviewer's Checklist

December 11th, 2020

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.

Closing out

  • 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.
Enjoyed this post? Follow me on Twitter for more content like this. Or, subscribe to my email newsletter to get new articles delivered straight to your inbox!

Related Posts

63 Tips for Better Workplace Communication for Software Engineers
The Buck Stops With You
Infrastructure & Business Monitoring
Scroll to top