The 5-Step Guide to Creating Powerful
Coding Interview Questions

Learn detailed techniques from from experts from Google, Facebook, Interview Kickstart and more. 

It’s never binary. The nuances of evaluating engineers deepen with their experience. Some seasoned engineers have created a radical new piece of software without ever having balanced a tree in their career. Others have gained valuable leadership experience as their coding skills have begun to rust. These 5 steps help you cover your bases to ensure that your coding interview questions are surfacing the best talent for your team. 



Step 1: Before You Do Anything

But before you do anything, realize: “The questions don’t really matter. What matters first is a clear understanding of what you need,” says Soham Mehta, CEO of Interview Kickstart.


Optimize your time by spending 80% to figure out what you need and 20% to craft the challenges. So, how do you know what you need?


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Step 2: Designing Coding Challenges

Broadly speaking, we've found there are 3 facets of tech skills to test for:

  • How well does he or she know the fundamentals?

  • How deep is his or her tech knowledge?

  • How deeply can he or she think about problems?

This is the longest step of this guide because we offer detailed examples of each category of challenges.

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Step 3: The Challenge Checklist

Now let’s get down to the practical ways of designing challenges. We looked at the question banks of various companies to pinpoint the patterns of what makes a code challenge successful. Based on these patterns, here’s a checklist of 5 common mistakes to avoid and  ensure each challenge will draw the best candidates.


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Step 4: Setting Expectations

When designed and delivered haphazardly, automated coding challenges will be perceived as insultingThe truth is, accomplished engineers will scoff at a cold email prompting them to spend 1-2 hours solving a fundamental coding challenge for a company they may never hear from again. There are a couple of things you can do to mitigate this.


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Step 5: Calibrate After Screening 


So far, we strategized on the best types of challenges to tease the engineers you need. But what good is a coding challenge screening if you’re testing different candidates with different questions? Consistency can make the data you’re collecting meaningful.



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