Live Coding Interviews Need to Die

Live coding interviews and whiteboard interviews, in which a candidate is asked to solve a programming problem in real-time while being watched by an interviewer, are a popular way for companies to assess a candidate’s technical skills. However, there are a number of reasons why live coding interviews are not an effective way to evaluate candidates, and there are better alternatives that companies should consider.

One of the main problems with live coding interviews is that they do not accurately reflect a candidate’s real-world coding abilities. In a live coding interview, a candidate is typically under a lot of pressure to perform, which can lead to nervousness and mistakes. This makes it difficult for the interviewer to accurately assess the candidate’s skills and potential.

Another issue is that live coding interviews often focus on trivia and algorithmic problems, rather than the candidate’s ability to solve real-world problems. This can be misleading, as it does not accurately reflect the skills that are needed to succeed in a professional software development role.

Addutuibakktm live coding interviews can be biased (if unintentionally). Research has shown that women and people from underrepresented groups often perform worse on live coding interviews due to the added pressure and anxiety of being watched. This can lead to discrimination and the exclusion of qualified candidates.

As a disabled woman, I’ve experienced this myself. Coding interviews are, to put it bluntly, a special kind of hell. They often also force me to disclose my disability far earlier in the hiring process than I would like to, due to the accommodations that I require. If it is illegal to force a person to disclose a disability on their job application, then it should go without saying that requiring them to perform tasks during the interview that force disclosure is also unacceptable, provided that the job is one which can be performed with reasonable accommodations.

So, what are some alternatives to live coding interviews that companies can use to assess a candidate’s technical skills? Here are three options:

Take-home projects: Rather than having candidates solve problems in real-time, companies can give candidates a project to work on at home and evaluate their work later. This allows candidates to work at their own pace and in a familiar environment that accommodates their needs, which can better reflect their actual abilities.

Pair programming: Pair programming involves two developers working on a problem together, with one acting as the “driver” and the other as the “navigator.” This can be a more realistic representation of the collaborative nature of software development and can give the interviewer a better sense of the candidate’s communication and teamwork skills, as well as better insight into their thought processes and problem-solving abilities.

Portfolio review: A candidate’s portfolio of past projects and work can be a valuable tool for evaluating their skills and potential. Companies can ask candidates to share their portfolio and discuss the work they have done, which can provide a more comprehensive view of their abilities.

In conclusion, live coding interviews are not an effective way to evaluate a candidate’s technical skills. They can be biased and do not accurately reflect a candidate’s real-world abilities. Companies should consider alternatives such as take-home projects, pair programming, and portfolio review to get a better understanding of a candidate’s potential. By using these alternatives, companies can more accurately assess a candidate’s skills and make more informed hiring decisions