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I had a pair programming interview in Clojure once. It was my first time doing it, I found it really stressful and unproductive. The interviewers weren’t clear on how much they wanted me to explain. So I found myself overexplaining as I went through the exercise, which took time away from me solving the actual problem. I ended up not getting very far, though the problem was fairly trivial. It just wasn’t representative of how I would normally code and the added stress of having two people watch me code did not help at all. The engineers interviewing me didn’t ask any questions outside of the simple exercise, like anything related to my career or interests. They didn’t ask any technical questions outside of the pair programming exercise. When I asked if they did pair programming like this normally, they said not really. So I’m not sure how much either of us got out of the interview really. I didn’t learn much about their company and I didn’t really get to demonstrate what I’m capable of.


I’ve had much more positive experiences with whiteboard interviews. But I think maybe it really depends on the person interviewing.

Michael J Dorian18:04:46

Coding with people watching is a skill to itself, even with really friendly interviewers.


Yeah, definitely something I’ll need to work on when I job hunt again. I was told I had a good understanding of the basics but they were looking for someone more experienced. Considering the whole interview was about “the basics” and not much else, I just figured they wanted someone with more years on the resume.

Michael J Dorian18:04:18

🤷 I've done several take home projects and pair exercises with only positive feedback only to get bumped for number of years working under scrum or hair length. I think it's all easier if you don't try and read too much into the noise that semi-random processes produce.

Michael J Dorian18:04:57

(Yes I cherry picked the most frustrating examples 😉 )


Ouf, that’s good advice.