Why Coding Interviews Are Broken And How To Fix Them?

Why Coding Interviews Are Broken And How To Fix Them?

RahulJuly 29th, 20214 min read

As we live in a world full of modern technologies, the demand for the technical team in every organization is at its peak. To get the right team on board, a live coding interview is imperative to assess the candidate's technical skills.

However, most candidates say that the interview is not related to the role or skills required to do the job. Today, the process of hiring a technical team is broken, and the much-criticized coding interview is the primary reason behind it.

Unfortunately, live coding interviews at big tech companies aren’t scientific. Whether to hire a developer usually comes down to the candidate walking up to a whiteboard and regurgitating algorithms that haven’t changed since the decades.

4 Reasons Why Live Coding Interviews Are Broken

It’s true – coding interviews are broken. Even they are based on an old mentality of how a technical team has to be and based on unrealistic expectations.

Apart from this, there are 4 reasons why live coding interviews are broken. Here’s how:


Whiteboard interviews ask coders to work in an unfamiliar environment without resources like an IDE or code editor. Developers often consider whiteboard interviews as meritocratic.

The problem with whiteboard interviews is that it has nothing to do with modern software development aspects. Also, candidates are supposed to use an actual library, which has its test suite and has endured the analysis of other candidates.

Whiteboard interviews are bad for those candidates who don’t have a computer science degree or finished theirs so long ago that they’ve forgotten most of the algorithms.

Live Coding Interview

A live coding interview is one of the most challenging parts of technical recruitment, and most candidates often hesitate to give such interviews. It is a daunting task for candidates. Just imagine – writing code on the spot while someone monitors you via remote session using the coding interview tools.

Most of the time, these coding interviews are to be completed in an IDE or environment that the candidates are unfamiliar with. These live coding assessments use an auto-grading system through which the candidates are selected based on their rank for the next interview round.

More than 80% of candidates fail in this round as they are unfamiliar with the algorithms and the environment.

Coding Challenges

Coding challenges are best for passive candidates who are working in an organization and seeking a job change. However, these are not the best to assess a candidate, but they are not as bad as whiteboarding and live coding interviews.

Passive candidates didn’t have time to solve all the questions as they are currently employed in an organization. Coding challenges allow them to solve a particular set of questions at their convenience and use extra resources to look up.

These challenges are conducted using a coding interview tool such as HackerRank, CodeSubmit, etc. This test requires you to complete some short coding questions within a given timeframe, and some of the tools can even track your every input and have automated tests that are not visible to the candidates.

Take-Home Challenges

In take-home coding assignments, the potential candidates are given some particular coding questions, which candidates can solve as per their convenience, mainly with a max time limit.

These take-home coding challenges are much better than whiteboarding, live coding interviews, and coding challenges. However, these are still time-consuming, and if you are applying for multiple jobs at once, you will spend a lot of time completing these assignments.

How To Fix Broken Coding Interviews?

Now you have a glimpse of why coding interviews are broken in some big tech companies. There might be a question spinning in your mind that – how to fix these broken coding interviews? Yes, you can fix these broken coding interviews in three effective ways, which are as follows:

Ask Relevant Questions

As we have mentioned above about candidates saying that the coding interview has nothing to do with the day-to-day responsibilities in an organization, the recruiters must ask the relevant coding questions for a particular job role they’re hiring for.

For example, suppose you’re looking for a web developer for your organization. In that case, you must ask coding questions related to web development and not about android development that the candidate is unfamiliar with. Asking irrelevant questions can encourage the candidate to step out of the recruiting process, and you might miss out on opportunities to hire the right candidate.

Use An Easy-To-Use Coding Interview Tool

Use a coding interview tool that has a friendly environment or IDE with which a candidate is familiar.

For example, you can use Intervue, which has an easy-to-use interface, friendly IDE, and environment. It also uses a code editor + code execution functionality to easily collaborate with candidates using the simplest and fastest possible interview. Through Intervue, you can also ask better questions to the candidates without leaving the interview session.

Know The Skills You’re Hiring For

Most recruiters are often confused about hiring for the following positions:

  • Coding
  • Programming
  • Engineering
  • Architecting
  • Developing

All these positions differ from each other, so is the hiring process. For example, you can’t ask coding questions related to Java or Python to the candidate applying for architecture. So, it’s imperative to identify the appropriate skills needed for the specific role you’re hiring for.

Summing Up

Coding interviews should be blamed because most companies are still doing interviews that aren’t scientific.

To fix broken coding interviews, you can:

  • Talk to senior management and explain the issues related to coding interviews.
  • If these practices are hindering your company’s growth, then bring a solution immediately.

A company that treats its interviewee well can treat its employees better.

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