Structured Interviews

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Structured Interviews

  • Research shows that structured interviews are better [1] [2]
    • Structured interviews reduce noise between candidates.
    • Structured interviews are better at ranking candidates.
    • Structured interviews make interviewers happier and save their time.
    • Structured interviews make interviewees happier.
  • Goal of the interview is to rank candidates. There is variance in candidate skill levels; and there is also variance (noise) in interview process itself. If interview process is kept constant, variance from the interview process is removed and ranking can be done more accurately.

Before the Interview

Below points ensure interview process variance is reduced.

  • Define criteria for each role. Write it down and make the interviewer know the criteria before the interview. Examples:
    • Is productive, fast, iterative or careful, rigorous, diligent important?
    • Is academic, math, algorithms or systems, hands-on, backend important?
    • etc.
  • Unify decision making, one person or group of people should make all final decisions based on all available information (this reduces variance).
  • Use good interview questions (that reduce variance).
    • Use questions that can be solved in many small steps and don't require big "leaps of knowledge". Don't use big questions that fail candidate if she does not have some specific insight or is required to produce a big insight.
    • Avoid questions that need specialized knowledge.
  • Ignore credentials of the interviewee: the person who conducts the structured interview should not see the CV or other credentials of the candidate.

Interview Timeline

For a 45 min interview:

  • Experience questions (15 min)
  • Technical questions (15 min)
  • Coding exercises (15 min)

For a 60 min interview:

  • Experience questions (15 min)
  • Technical questions (15 min)
  • Coding exercises (30 min)

Questions and Exercises


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