Inside Karat


Interview engineers are raising the bar, one technical interview at a time.

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The Karat Team

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“The software developer job interview doesn’t work. Companies should stop relying on them. The savviest teams will outcompete their peers by devising alternative hiring schemes.”

— Thomas Ptacek, founder of Matasano Security and writer for Krebs on Security

Our data indicates that Mr. Ptacek is right — the typical technical interview and hiring process fails to get companies to their hiring goal. It also fails to empower the candidate or the interviewer to do their best. Poor interview experiences are inconsistent, unreliable, and can negatively impact employer brand.

One role has the power to influence all of these things: the interviewer.

Meet the professional interview engineer.

Is it possible that the role of the technical interviewer can really address so many issues with the standard technical hiring process? Once they’re set up for success, yes.

Interview engineers are trained software engineers, recruited and equipped to conduct first-round technical interviews with software engineering job candidates. While they’re handling skills-based assessments, scoring the candidate using a rubric set to a specific bar, and quality checking their peers, your software engineering team can be focused where they add the most value — building and shipping product. Not only can interview engineers help you achieve your hiring goals, but they’re capable of up-leveling your entire technical hiring process.

Interview engineers increase the bandwidth on your team.

“Let your engineers focus on coding. Companies are short on engineer time. That’s why they’re hiring engineers, right?”

— Senior Interview Engineer at Karat

Let’s say your recruiting team has four software engineering team members, a technical recruiter, and a hiring manager. They could spend as little as 40 and as many as 100 hours between them interviewing candidates for a single role. According to our data, about 60% of those hours are dedicated to first-round technical interviews. Interview engineers can give them that time back. As a result, you’ll have the bandwidth to achieve your hiring goal, no matter how audacious, without ever sacrificing candidate experience or jeopardizing the timely completion of revenue-generating projects.

Your software engineers might not be that into technical interviewing, but interview engineers are.

“The typical interviewing situation doesn’t lead engineers to be excited about interviewing. Maybe you’re being asked to do interviews, but you’re down a teammate, working hard to meet your deadlines while taking on an additional workload, and now you also have to find time to interview.”

— Director of Interview Engineering at Karat

Software engineers and companies generally don’t want to dedicate precious engineering hours to interviewing. This is less than ideal because there are deadlines the engineering team may fail to reach or it might simply be that they don’t like or agree with the technical interview and hiring process. There are dozens of articles across the internet on the topic of software engineering interviews and the less-than-positive feelings about them.

Interview engineers take the pressure off of software engineers that have deadlines to meet and projects to complete. Dedicating engineers exclusively to technical interviewing ensures that companies can optimize the time of their existing software engineering team.

Interview engineers ensure that technical interview outcomes are driven by candidate skill and nothing else.

“An interview engineer makes sure you’ll interview for skills which are predictive of job performance.”

— Senior Interview Engineer at Karat

Technical interviews are notoriously inconsistent, especially across large organizations with many locations. Achieving truly consistent technical interviews, capable of identifying whether or not a candidate meets a company’s bar, is often a goal, but it is rarely achieved. A few of the best practices required to create a consistent, predictive, and reliable technical interview include:

  • Questions that are battle-tested for outcomes that are predictive of onsite performance.
  • Technical interview guides that are constantly updated based on interviewer experience, candidate feedback, and best practices derived from aggregated data on candidate performance. These should be living documents.
  • Technical interviews should be recorded in order to provide a reference point for others involved in the hiring process. This will also help the interviewer learn from and improve based on the most teachable moments in the interviews they’ve conducted.

Of course these components need to become part of the technical interviewing process. That’s where the technology comes in. Interview engineers are equipped with a platform that actually guides the technical interview, eliminating opportunities for bias, and limiting the number of variables influencing performance just to the candidate and their skills.

Interview engineers can help protect your employer brand.

“It’s great to have a real person ‘next’ to you, helping with the ideas, hints and simply cheering you up! My interviewer was simply great, super-nice, calm and polite.”

— Anonymous candidate, September 6th, 2018

These are the kinds of candidate reviews recruiters dream of seeing. But for most companies, this kind of feedback is rare. According to a 2016 survey, nearly 60% of candidates surveyed said they had a poor candidate experience. 72% of those candidates shared feedback on that experience, either online or directly with a personal or professional contact.

As anyone who has spent any time on the internet knows, a bad reputation can spread like wildfire. To prevent negative candidate experiences from occurring, candidate feedback is a key input to interview engineers’ performance reviews. Additionally, this feedback is reviewed in real-time to catch any potential issues.

To learn more about working with Karat and our network of professional interview engineers, visit


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