The Engineering Leader’s Guide to Technical Interviewing

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Why do we conduct job interviews? You might think there’s a pretty obvious answer: to find the best person we possibly can for a given job.

But in reality, our motivations and approaches are a bit more nuanced. We build our interviews as a series of “gates” that people have to pass through, and we hope that those gates will “weed out” as many people as possible. But a danger in that approach is that we’ll encourage the creation of a monoculture in our teams. By only “allowing” certain people in, we start to bias for a single type of person. For example, is a given interview intended to evaluate someone’s job skills, or is it intended to help us decide if we like the candidate or not? Both are valid things to consider when hiring someone, but when we combine them into a single interview, it makes it harder to make the interview consistent and measurable.

In this guide, we’ll go back to first principles and really define what we want from a series of job interviews such as:

  • Job interviews should exclusively teach us things about our candidates — not about our interviewers or our organization.

  • Job interviews should be as scientific as possible, controlling for as many variables as possible so that the maximum amount of remaining variability comes entirely from the differences between the candidates themselves.

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