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Pair Programming as an interview tool

Jeff Langr talks about his experiences in Pair Programming Observations. Some interesting perspectives on pairing developers of different skill levels, the benefits to different stakeholders and best practices when pairing.

At Thycotic, we practice pair programming on a daily basis. I have also used pair programming as an interview technique as Jeff describes – this actually ties in well with Nick Corcodilos’ philosophy on job interviews, where he emphasizes to ‘do the job’ in the interview.

The benefits of pairing as an interview tool:

  • Verify the person’s experience (How well do they know the development tools? Do they know the quirks? Can they setup a new project?)
  • Lots of opportunities for informal questions as you work through some code. You can also dig deeper to determine their level of understanding in critical areas.
  • The code being worked on provides context for any questions that come up. This gives thecandidate a better understanding of the question you are asking. Nothing worse than crazy interview questions that make no sense!
  • Get a feel for their personality when coding … are they team compatible, etc.

The disadvantages:

  • Requires a strong developer (interviewer) to lead the pairing session.

What is your experience with pair programming as an interview technique?

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