re: Stress in Tech Interviews // a recent NCSU research paper VIEW POST


To be honest if you expect candidates to produce compilable, working code on a whiteboard you deserve to miss out on great people.

Personally I like to stress multiple times that it is not about producing code but about arguing about how to get to a solution. Then write pseudocode or any code of your liking to show that you can produce a structure for how to implement your algorithm/solution.


Jonas, I agree. Expecting working code would be an absurd request.

In the study, the researcher describe the task they were handing out as follows (my highlighting):

We asked participants to provide a reasonable solution written in a programming language of their choice. We emphasized that their thought process and correctness of the solution were important while efficiency and syntax were secondary. Participants could freely use basic utility functions such as sort, if desired.

The point in the study was to measure how well people performed using the same task in two settings:

  1. either being observed by the interviewer and talking while solving, or
  2. solving the study alone, unobserved and then explain their thinking afterwards
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