Skip to main content

Creating an Effective Developer Interview Process

Lesson 6 of 16

Decision Making

Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Creating an Effective Developer Interview Process

Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

6. Decision Making

Lesson Info

Decision Making

other side of this is in the next guy thing is how to actually make decisions. So Google is known for having hiring committees. So it happens that Google is, uh, interviewers do not get actual authority to make a decision. They interviewers right. Feedback that goes off the hiring committee who actually makes us makes the decision. There's a number different hiring committees. I was in the Seattle office Google. There was just one hiring committee for all of Seattle softer engineers. But product managers did not go to our suffering during antiquity. Selfishness. And so, in my case, when I interviewed candidates, can I interviewed, I would often see their packets in higher committee. But that was just a numbers thing. Uh, interviewers were generally not on the heart and committee seeing their own candidates. That's not the assumption. So you can get final to higher committee not without with their without their interviewers generally on it. So what I do recommend with you whether you go...

down the hard model or not, please get feedback in writing. Every company can do this. You don't necessarily have to do it in a super super detailed people manner, but can. It should Never. Interviewer should never be discussing a countess performances each other at all in any way before they've written down something. It doesn't mean they have to write three paragraphs telling the story of the interview. But at least a score ideally have a score for, like algorithms. This that may be a one sentence thing. The more you can get, the better. But they always have something. Never have people discuss it beforehand. So what you should be looking for, what you actually do. Want to train the interviewers on feedback? The amount of detail you want is going to depend on how you make decisions. Hiring committees needs a lot of decisions. Data. If interviewers are making the decision, you don't need quite as much data. But this is one the common thing to talk to companies with. They're not doing the recruiters anyway or frustrate by the feedback. The mentality of feedback should be analysis backed by evidence. So sometimes when people give a story of exactly what happened interview And if I even I'm reading this and I know more about interview questions and the vast master of people and even question I've asked dozens of times. I can't look at the story of what happened and really say a whole lot about the person performance. We're just very hard without being in the room and knowing exactly what hints were given this and that. So you the story of what happened is not enough. I need to know the context. I need to know this person struggled and try to give them a chance and things like that. So it's not just evidence, but also not just analysis. A lot of times, interviewers will get feedback. That's like, Oh, they, you know, seem like a bright person but struggled a little bit, but I think we should hire them. I don't know to make that. So the trainer interviewers in this analysis, backed by evidence That's the kind of the mentality when view back should always list the questions being asked. You know, kind of a. I want to say no brainer, but often just happening. Eso asked. You explain what the questions being asked are and then air on the side of mourner in information. So I there was a time remember, I interviewed somebody and are is shadowing an interview and I got to see this candidate's entire interview. And so every single interview and every interviewer had a little bit of a I don't know. This person just seemed a little bit defensive, and nobody could quite say I said this And then they said this enough clear, defensive And so nobody said anything and you look written feedback into nowhere in there. But everybody had that. You feeling when you see four people in row have that feeling that's meaningful. Maybe one person, you might say that my biggest issue before people have that little bit of feeling. That's that's something. But nobody wrote. Right wrote down this, and it got very much dismissed until I kind of was like in the hard discussion, like I'm not supposed to say this, but you guys noticed this like and every did. But nobody said I think so. Teacher interviews, you err on the side of information, giving more information, giving me like I'm not sure about this, but here's something. Then they need to frame it accordingly. They do say that they're not sure, but err on the side of giving that information. Greater precision is good, so I encourage you. If you have a lot of times you'll have a scoring mechanism. That's good. If it's a to 4 mechanism, don't push it. I don't like when interviewers that pushed to give a one or two or three or four. I just don't think that's realistic. I know it's a nice from hiring perspective to be able to have very crystal clear decisions, but that doesn't mean that they're actually reflecting the reality. People are between thieves or force. People are between twos and threes. I encouraged the greater precision. If you're hiring, Tool supports that. And then again, as I said really, really important, no discussion till written feedback, no discussion, chills there. Some written feedback, according of some sort. At the very, very, very least, you can have people jot down a score that's very simple. Takes some 10 seconds. Do that before they even open their mouths. Just very useful to do and easy hiring committees, though, if you want to do this so you're talking about If you wanna have actual committee, you're talking about meeting weekly at least if not more than once a week to make it make a decision. The reason I say more than once a week is that if you're hiring committee meets on Wednesdays and your Candid interviewed on Wednesday, you're not If they only meet once a week. You're talking about a full week till they get a decision. In fact, longer than that. Well, we can tell you decided, begin offer. And then you have to pull everything together and might belong in that. Eso you you're talking about probably meeting more than once a week or at least having a procedure in place. Maybe it's you meet one day Mondays and then you have, ah, Wednesday or Thursday like no online quick feedback checking. Uh, and you can do one of two things here. You can either implement these instead of having interviewers so stupid ways of doing it. One is the Google model of life interviews right up the back that goes to higher, including they make an actual decision. Another way of doing that is the standard interviewers meet together, discussed, make a decision and make a recognition. And then that goes to hiring committee, who then makes another decision. The you know, the nice we hired is that you know, they offer a lot of consistency, visibility, and you take a lot of work. But it makes it so that teams can't drop law. The same stuff that pulled hiring does exist. What teams can't drop the bar if they really need to hire somebody? Uh, and also, you know, much like pulled hiring. Often these things go hand in hand. If you have pulled hiring who often do hiring committee, it makes it so that it's really much easier to prove the process. Another way you can implement it, though. That said, you know there's a Google model of few interview on and then that goes to committee makes decision all by themselves. There's another way of doing that. I've seen where you have essentially two levels. People have to pass the interfere decision, and then it goes to hiring committee to make a decision. My feeling on that is, you know, it's good if you can't go all the way to hiring me to a full hiring committee making the old decision it adds a lot of frustration. I often see this happen when they already had interviewers making a team based decision and then the adverse hiring Committee thing and after the fact and it, it's hard to roll out. But, you know, it might be better than nothing, but it can frustrate teams a lot because they don't know they don't understand why they're hiring. Decisions are now getting rejected. It's very, you know, disempowering for teams. But it does offer until the benefits something to be aware of. So higher committees offer require a lot of overhead talking a whole bunch more time for everybody, right feedback or for every to make decisions. But then the feedback becomes a lot more burdensome when I have to write up feedback just to kind of lock my mind in gear. But lock my mind in before I discuss it. That's much shorter feedback who I have to give enough data to actually make a decision. So at Google it waas, I'd send our interviewing somebody and then our writing up feedback. But it's a lot of extra time you're spending to have a hard body. It also adds delays I talked about, you know, you can have talk about you know if it's a weekly hiring. When you talk about a week delay potentially, that's that's annoying disempowering for teams. It's also frustrating for them because not only are their decisions getting over ruled, but they don't know why. So often times there is enough visibility with hiring committees, and teams don't understand why people getting rejected. And I've seen I saw one company who'd world on hiring committees where they were. My ex was there, and the recruiters were saying, Can you have to change out to this score? It'll make it easier for the person to get hired. You know, it's not good, right? Like the score should be the scored. I understand that the recruiters perspective a bit with like, Hey, you decide to hire this person. Let's go higher them But now they're changing the feedback and they're doing this basically work around the hiring committees issues, and that's you know that's a problem. And so if you're gonna be rolling this out, if you're gonna have this higher committee process, make sure that you make it very, very transparent. One thing you could do here is actually invite interviewers to even ones who are not going to go higher equity, invite them to just sit in, observes they know what's going on. It just adds a lot of transparency, then send feedback becomes really burdensome. That's that's honest. I think one of the biggest downsides of having hiring committee is that he was talking a lot of extra time to write up all that written feedback. So they work well. If you have a lot of cannons, if you're such if you're doing pulled hiring, you really need at least like five cancel week toe. Have something for hiring me to do? Probably, uh, so if you really want to prove the process or great, they work best. If you're hiring for the company rather than four team when you're hiring for the team, the hiring committee is now making decisions for team without really the context as much so it works. Best was hiring for a company. If you are doing team based hiring, uh, then you probably want to implement more of a system of teams, make decision, and then it goes or Hard but realized all that. All the pushback you're gonna get now on hiring when he pushes back, and it just overrides a team's own decision of their own employees. That's why it works. Also works best when a company is not super focused on actual skills on actual like knowledge. So I've seen hiring committees where the members of the hiring committee were not possibly educated enough to actually look at the person's responses and understand if these were good answers or not. They did not have that skill set because the company was a very, very skilled base. There are very focused on each team had their own list of skills and languages in this and that, and the higher committee couldn't be useful there. So it works best when you have much more when you're hiring more generalists and you're not more not so focused on this language with this language, this language that said, You know there's even when you're not falling into the same, even when you're doing more team based hiring. If you want to make changes to a process or you want to give yourself the value, the option while you're doing that, the hiring committee can make that easier to do. So does the bar way, too, though that's easier to pull off. So you're gonna be doing this meat ideally two times a week or have a process for me in two times a week. If you have, you get big enough and you have multiple higher equity ISS Be careful of Barkley. So I remember my high included Google. We just exercise where all the, you know, the everyday had every candid gotta score in every interview from 1 to 4. And so somebody wrote up all the interview scores. What road up? different packets just on the white board. Just the actual, like, scores himself. So he didn't get the actual data, but, uh, and were asked to vote by some scores alone, who we thought we'd hire out of these 10 people this time example candidates and we vote end of voting to hire 30% of them. And then the person who did this awkwardly told us actually, these were the hiring packets of of the 10 of us, So we actually rejected w percent of ourselves. Uh, and his point, which was absolutely Allen was our standard had just crept up and up and up and up, and we're starting to be too rigid. Eso be aware of this issue that you can get hiring committees that have their own group dynamics and the Samaritan start having higher standards. Other companies, other, other. Hardly. So you wanna be aware of that that interview is observed? Cape keep that more transparent, and then you're gonna have to really encourage thorough feedback. Eso that's and that's a big time waste. So my gentle recommendation is if you're big and can hire for the company, go the Barbara to go with the hard money. If you're smaller, get a lot of can. Two companies hiring you get a lot of the same benefits by just doing of our razor, and it's much easier to roll out. Doesn't offer all the same values. That's much easier, and it's fresher. It's teams a lot left to do that.

Class Description

In this workshop led by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, former Google software engineer, interviewer and the author of the bestselling book Cracking the Coding Interview, you'll be hands-on, covering all the specifics you'll need to know about coding interviews. It will start with an overview of the hiring process and dive into more detail about types of interview questions (behavioral, knowledge, algorithms/coding, and design). You will learn how to create a hiring process that is efficient, sets a high and consistent bar, and attracts strong candidates.

Although sections of the workshop will be highly technical, non-technical people are encouraged to attend. You will learn:

  • Differences between assessing senior candidates and junior candidates
  • The goals and limitations of technology-specific questions
  • Selecting and asking appropriate algorithm questions
  • Mechanisms to evaluate coding skills, including whiteboards, laptops and code assessment tools
This class is your comprehensive guide to hiring the right developer for your company. 

In Partnership with Greylock Partners 



What an awesome opportunity to learn from one of the best on the topic! This course has value for anyone who's looking to hire or work with technical talent! I've attended tons of talent conferences and this course succinctly and tactically address how to effectively interview engineers. Highly recommended.

Kevin Scott

Terrific class with unique eye opening content. This class applies for any Dev. hiring team, whether startups or large, established companies. I recommend this training tool to anyone wanting to help others improve their own interviewing skill set and build dynamic hiring processes / plans.


This class was exactly as billed - I received in depth knowledge of how to create great developer interviews. Gayle was very organized and presented her info in a dynamic, inter-active environment. It was really great to be part of the studio audience.