Technical interviews are essential for a company’s hiring process and are designed to gauge a candidate’s ability to tackle real-world problems. Hiring Managers devote significant time to assess a potential employee’s experience, knowledge and personality and to try and gain comprehensive insights into their technical skill set and their long-term potential.
However, interviewing, testing and onboarding technical employees can be tedious, especially when there’s limited knowledge about candidate assessments, which further exacerbates the hiring challenges.
So how does one sift through a massive pool of candidates whilst streamlining the technical interview process and improving hiring quality? This is where Pair Programming could come in.
WHAT IS PAIR PROGRAMMING?
Pair programming is a software development practice in which two Developers collaborate on a single workstation at the same time, either in person or remotely.
Each Developer has an alternating role to play. One acts as the driver who writes the code, and the other acts as the navigator who reviews the code and provides information and instructions. Both then switch at regular intervals from anywhere between 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Whilst there are many approaches to Pair Programming, the goals are usually the same:
Two brains are better than one – When two people work together, the code quality will increase and fewer mistake will be made than if it was one person alone.
Sharing is Caring – When two people are responsible for building a specific feature, it’s easier to for them spread the knowledge of how that feature works to the rest of the team, meaning more people understand how it works and how to rebuild or refactor it in the future.
It’s for these reasons that Pair Programming could be the answer to a streamlined technical interview process.
ITS ROLE IN THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
During any interview, you want to be able to analyse an individual’s suitability for the role and culture. Not only does Pair Programming provide those answers, it also enables you to gain a technical understanding of their ability and the unique opportunity to see how they work in situ.
The key skills that you’re able to analyse are:
Collaboration – Working alongside someone else gives you the opportunity to see how they operate in a team environment, how they communicate and to see if their personality is suitable. It also gives you the opportunity to provide feedback and see how they deal with criticism.
Problem solving – Development is all about solving problems and it’s what a Developer will be doing in their job every day, so you need to know how they approach the problem, why they approach it that way and the rationale behind their choices.
Code quality – Ultimately, you want a Developer to produce code to the best quality, relevant to their skill set and level. Pair Programming gives you the perfect opportunity to see this, as well analyse the clarity, testability and readability of their code.
Learning – Pair Programming can also be a great platform for more junior Developers to learn from those with a lot more experience. Whilst the premise can seem daunting, those with the openness and eagerness to gain knowledge and ask questions show an important trait if you want to create an office environment that breeds creativity and innovation.
By no means is Pair Programming the only solution and it will no doubt have it critics, however it does offer many benefits that can help speed up the technical interview process. Technical Tests are becoming outdated and can often put candidates off altogether, so providing a platform that puts an interviewee at ease whilst benefiting the interviewers might be a step in the right direction.