On the Software Engineering Interview

When I'm interviewing a candidate, I'm asking these questions in my head:

  • Are they nice and friendly?
  • Will they work well on my team?
  • How do they handle a complex, frustrating codebase? How do they handle poking around in the codebase they'll be working in?
  • How do they handle not knowing something?
  • Are they a great teacher? A great listener? Open to new ideas? How do they react when someone doesn't know something they do know?
  • Are they excited, passionate, and curious?
  • Do they have experience related to the type of project they'll be working on?

Notice that that the whole set of questions isn't easy to find out through a coding test.

In my latest peek into the world of job opportunities, I was lucky enough to have enough offers that I could pick and choose who to interview with a bit.  Some companies focused on taking coding tests and whiteboarding and puzzles, others focused on meeting me and me meeting the team. At first I didn't judge the company on the interview process, but I started to notice a correlation: I liked the teams that focused on meeting me and me meeting the team so much more. Eventually I started turning down anyone who required a coding test before they took the time to talk with me. I didn't regret that decision at all.

Lots of people have written great pieces on this. This is a favorite of mine:

The Best Candidate or the Best Team? by Brie Code


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