In (weak) Defense of Algorithmic Tech Interviews

Yesterday, I wrote about my preference for work simulation tech interviews. There was one place I worked where we did more algorithmic tech interviews. Here’s why

  1. We were hiring almost exclusively people that had just graduated from a CS program. They were actually pretty good at these kinds of questions and didn’t really know much else we could ask them.
  2. The company made an image processing toolkit. There was a lot of data-structure and algorithmic code. There were a lot of optimization tasks. You really did need to know big-O for your code because all images had millions of pixels.
  3. All of our code was in C# and basically no one knew that already. So we hired people that could program in any language and needed questions that worked for anything.

So, the questions I asked were not too far removed from the kinds of problems we did need to solve, but they were technically algorithm/data-structure questions. At that job, with that codebase and with the strategy to hire new CS grads, I would do the same thing.