The zen of interviews

  1. The goal of the hiring process is to hire people, not to eliminate them.
  2. Interview questions should be tailored for each candidate. Companies who ask different candidates for the same role the same questions are process-driven, not people-driven.
  3. Standardized interview questions lead to standardized answers which, in turn, leads to standardized people.
  4. If a piece of knowledge is easy to acquire, it’s not worth testing for.
  5. Ask questions with multiple hurdles. After giving the candidate a hint, the question becomes slightly easier, but there’s still room for the candidate to show off their skills.
  6. Ask hard questions. Extraordinary candidates can write up a simple solution within an hour, and there’s no upper bound on how much a candidate can improve the solution. Asking hard questions shows that you think about and work on hard problems, which attracts people who want to solve hard problems.
  7. A good interview is a question that turns into a conversation.
  8. For long-term hires, interviews should focus on critical thinking and problem-solving skills instead of techniques. Techniques change over time, but critical thinking and problem-solving skills will always be relevant.
  9. Both interviewers’ and candidates’ time should be respected.
  10. Interviews should be transparent. For each interview, not only the final evaluation but also the log of the questions and answers should be submitted.

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