The Grass is Always Greener: Being the Interviewer

Interview_techAt Jana our interview process is open to all engineers. As a brand new engineer I was clueless as to what an interview looked like from the other side of the table so I decided to join a few interviews as a secondary interviewer. Before joining my first interview I tried to do some research to get an idea of what my approach should be. A quick search revealed very little in the way of advice for new interviewers in the tech industry. Luckily, the senior staff I interviewed with are spectacular and I learned a lot from observing them and from the pointers they gave me.

1. Learn about the candidate’s experience and interest. Asking them questions about their resume and previous projects is a good way to break the ice and gain more in depth knowledge about the candidate’s interests and skills.

2. If you have access to code examples from a coding challenge or portfolio you should review them before the interview to get an idea of the candidate’s coding style. You can also ask a question about the choices they made in the challenge. If you don’t have code examples asking questions about design choices they might have made in past projects can also provide deeper information about their technical knowledge.

3. Coding questions are the meat of the interview. They give you a chance to observe the candidate’s problem solving process and communication. I like two part questions that allows iteration on speed, space or problem complexity.

In short, you should prepare for the interview in much the same way as the candidate does. Study their resume and code examples as well as the coding questions you intend to ask and the things that make your company special. Finally, relax and get excited to meet a potential coworker.


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