Why we interview


Karat's product design lead talks about the candidate interview experience

Last night I had the privilege of joining leaders from around the Seattle tech community at the 12th annual GeekWire Awards—the first one to ever be conducted virtually.

It was great meeting the other nominees in our UX Design of the Year category, and congratulations to the team at Skilljar who won!

We were honored to be recognized for the user experience in our candidate product—not just because of the high caliber of work from our fellow nominees—but because it was a reflection of a much larger effort across our organization. It began with the vision of our founders Mo and Jeff 6 years ago, and continues today with everyone here who’s built a piece of it and continues to improve the experience every day.

Interviews change lives

At Karat, we’re obsessed with the interview because it’s such a pivotal moment in people’s lives—it’s what connects us to jobs—and in the tech industry, in particular, there’s a huge amount of economic empowerment that comes with a career in software engineering. But that opportunity has historically been out of reach for so many underrepresented groups, in part because of how traditional interviews are so sorely lacking.

Too often interviewing suffers from poorly trained interviewers, biased questions, or simply a set up that doesn’t allow a candidate to demonstrate their true ability. Most people in tech have had at least one experience like this. It is a waste of time for everyone involved.

So at Karat, we put empathy for the candidate at the center of how we designed this flow. We wanted to help them show up as their best selves through 24/7 interviewing. We developed useful prep resources and more powerful coding environment tools that put accessibility and candidate comfort firstwhich was a big reason for our nomination.

Karat Studio interview screenshot
Karat Studio features the same capabilities of the IDEs  that software engineers use every day—code execution, autocomplete, custom keybindings, and more—so each candidate can focus on the interview and not learning new tooling.

An enjoyable, human interview

What we’re most proud of however, is that we connect each candidate in a real, human conversation with a qualified Interview Engineer. We equip every Interview Engineer with fair, predictive questions and they treat interviewing as a serious discipline in and of itself. It’s their job to make every interview enjoyable, and that is our defining product feature.

We’ve seen incredible results for both candidates and our partners by implementing simple enhancements to the interview, and so I’d like to challenge everyone in tech who plays a role in hiring: there’s so much that we can do better if we just bring more intentionality, creativity, and structure to the way we interview. You might not have a Karat partnership with your organization yet, but there are tangible steps you can take right now to make your hiring process more fair and equitable for candidates, and you as a company will be better off because of it.

So on behalf of the product team at Karat, I want to express our gratitude to GeekWire, Blink, and the judges for our nomination and for recognizing why the interview is so important.

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