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Technical Interviewer's Checklist

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.

Intros

  • 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.
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