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You can always preempt the whiteboard issue by bringing a laptop along. "Hey, I'm a lot more comfortable writing code on a keyboard and with an IDE. Lets program this together in a text editor instead of a whiteboard".



As a candidate, I feel that it is fair to stand up for this as well. If the interviewer wants psuedocode, I'm happy to whiteboard it. But I've been whiteboarding before and had the interviewer say, "that code wouldn't compile, you're missing a bracket." So I said, "If you want code that compiles, bring in a laptop and I'd be happy to put it in to Visual Studio [it was a .NET position] and have it be syntactically correct; but if I'm whiteboarding, it's going to be psuedocode."


"This organization uses whiteboards as their Code Editor?" - did not get the job.


But be honest....by that point did you really want it?


good point.


Some places I interviewed did mostly whiteboarding, but had a problem that required producing working code. One place had a standard desktop setup aside for me - with the most popular IDEs pre-installed. Another had me bring my laptop.


What was their response to this? I think it's perfectly valid to state this, and may even throw the balance of the interviewer/interviewee dynamics but I can also see other people seeing this as obtuse. But pointing out a missing bracket (in a nonconstructive manner) on a whiteboard is pretty obtuse too...


It was the last interview of the day, and I was tired and had already decided I was almost certainly going to decline any offer, if given. So, honestly, I probably said it with a little bit of an edge and that was inappropriate on me.

Nevertheless, the interviewer was gracious and replied, "Fair enough" and stopped nitpicking my brackets and semicolons.


I got asked to find the intersection of two squares for a Django cosing job. I pointed out that it had absolutely nothing to do with Django (after getting a solution).

I was told they thought I might be difficult to work with.


Nice! Worth doing these things even if to personally experience the boundaries of good/bad interview practice.


Cool, since you opened <preferred text editor> and you have a dev environment. Write compiler/parser in BNF for the editing commands your editor supports. Assume non-standard encodings are possible for the key presses. Here are the examples for vim/emacs. Should work with both.

That could go horribly :)


Indeed, having the candidate use their laptop gives the interviewer a valuable signal, too: whether the candidate has a coding environment they are comfortable and fluent in. Are they stumbling on their editor, or is it an extension of their mind?


So, what about those who only have a desktop? If you want candidates to code on a computer, provide one. Although that had its own issues as well.


Speaking as an interviewer, don't do this to me without prior discussion.

Being able to discuss things on a whiteboard is a necessary skill for working in a co-located office. This includes pseudocode.


That's a double edged sword. Now, your code has to compile...


Ok, but being effective at getting it to do that is an actual thing that every programmer has to do all the time.




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