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Discussion on: Love Them or Hate Them, Coding Exercises Are an Essential Part of Software Engineering Interviews

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Tyler Hawkins Author

Absolutely! There are trade-offs with each medium you choose.

For take-home assignments, I think having really clear criteria for what the graders are looking for is important. And equally important is communicating that criteria to the candidate. I once completed a take-home assignment during an interview that was supposed to take four hours, and they clarified that they don't care how the end result looks and not to focus on styling it up to look nice, and that was incredibly helpful to me.

For the online editors, I've run into those same problems as well. As an interviewer I think you need to decide what you're trying to evaluate here: either the pseudocode and problem solving, or the actual code and whether it compiles. If the exercise is something like a test-driven development exercise, then the immediate feedback and the tests running in real time is actually really helpful! But if you're just trying to see how the candidate solves problems and if they can think critically, then I agree, the code shouldn't need to compile.