Interview Insights


Three tips for consistent interviewing

Gordie Hanrahan image

Gordie Hanrahan

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In a world where software engineering time is becoming more valuable every day, consistent interviewing is essential for hiring at scale. Improve your hiring signal with these three tips:

  1. Develop questions that accurately assess specific competencies
  2. Use structured scoring rubrics calibrated to your role
  3. Train interviewers to deliver questions with clarity and empathy

This blog post provides some basic steps for engineering leaders to get their interviewing programs off the ground. To learn more about how Karat improves onsite-to-offer ratios, check out our white paper on how consistent technical interviews drive hiring efficiency.

Consistent interviews measure specific competencies

Before developing technical interview questions, it’s critical to identify the competencies that will lead to on-the-job success. Work backward from your annual review by looking at how an employee will be measured for success after a year on the job.

For a senior software engineering role, the competencies are more likely to include specific language skills such as Java, demonstrated ability to understand and articulate business logic complexity, and ability to complete an architecture review.

It’s also important that candidates have a clear understanding of what you’re assessing. If the ability to deal with ambiguity is a key competency, you can test for it, but otherwise, inserting ambiguity or trick questions will hurt your ability to accurately assess the skills you care about. Generally speaking, if a candidate knows what you’re looking for, they will have a higher likelihood of meeting the hiring team’s expectations, which reduces false negatives.

Structured scoring improves interview consistency

After you determine what competencies you’re assessing, develop a structured scoring rubric for every question.

Structured scoring rubrics are critical for consistent interviewing because they allow interviewers to record observations without injecting their own bias or subjectivity. No matter which interviewer they meet with, the candidate and team can be assured that they will be evaluated based on an interview rubric that clarifies a set of competencies that are relevant to the job.

Using structured rubrics, the entire team can be sure that they are discussing the candidate using the same rating scale and shared language to describe the candidate’s performance so you’re not trying to translate interview writeups that have you choosing between candidates who are “great,” “awesome,” “rockstar,” and “solid.”

Interviewer training leads to consistent interviewing

This is the most intuitive part of the process, but also the most often overlooked. Interviewers should train and practice asking the questions that they are responsible for. This will allow them to deliver questions with clarity and empathy.

Also, develop a quality control process for interviews. In an increasingly remote world, it’s easier than ever to record and review your interviewers’ performance, which helps reduce the number of errors interviewers make in the long run.

At Karat, we QC every interviewer and provide mentorship based on interview reviews and candidate feedback. As interviewers gain experience and interview with greater frequency, they produce fewer errors. While it will take some time to train a full cohort of interviewers yourself, the result will be reduced errors and a more predictive process that does vary based on “hard” or “easy” interviewees. In fact, our rigorous interview QA process results in the same recommendation for the same candidate skill levels 98.8% of the time

Consistent interviewing saves time

Final round interviews require a significant investment of engineering time, often between 4 and 8 hours total across multiple engineers, so it’s critical to invite the right candidates. By adding consistency to your first-round technical interviews, you can ensure you’re inviting the right candidates into the higher value final rounds.

To learn more about how Karat improves onsite-to-offer ratios by up to 3x, check out our white paper on how consistent technical interviews drive hiring efficiency.


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