Ben Gips
July 25, 2023

Three reasons why consistent context interviews make for better hiring

While inconsistencies and surprise twists can make for a great Christopher Nolan film, talent teams and recruiters should cultivate an interview process with consistent context in order to better predict a candidate’s on the job performance. 

Just think about the last interview plan you put together:

  • How many interviewers were part of the hiring panel? 
  • What type of technical interview questions or prompts were candidates required to answer?
  • What was the context of each technical interview? 

A real work environment is built on consistent context, which is why a good interview process should reflect the same.

For both behavioral and technical interviews, a consistent question or prompt context facilitates a candidate’s ability to think about and build on the same general problem space. Instead of one interviewer asking about the number of windows in Manhattan, another asking why potholes are round, and another on {insert random-and-disconnected-rote-style question here}, you can build familiarity with a candidate in a relevant context across multiple conversations. 

Why does technical interview consistency matter, and how do you build a shared context into an interview process? Check out three reasons why prioritizing consistent context in interviews makes for better hiring. 

Better Skills Evaluation

In the vast majority of our daily work, we are building from an existing knowledge base and context rather than approaching a problem from scratch. While interviews are consolidated versions of work, asking about an entirely different problem space in each 30 or 60 minute conversation takes a real working environment to an unnecessary extreme. It’s like going from Barbie to Oppenheimer without time for an outfit change.

Interviews with consistent context reflect the way that work happens. A candidate is given a question in a specific context, and then proceeds to build on their thinking in that same context with additional, related conversations with other individuals. Putting the candidate in a realistic environment gives you the best chance to evaluate their performance accurately and completely.

Happier Candidates, Higher Offer Accept Rates

Unfamiliar, start-from-scratch interviews haunt candidate nightmares. You may have even had a nightmare like this yourself: showing up to a test for a class you’ve never taken, hearing an interview question that you completely blank out on, and so forth. Presenting a candidate with different scenarios in each conversation is more likely to turn them off of your company than give you an accurate read on their skills. One recent Byteboard candidate summed this up well:

In a typical interview, I get really nervous because I have no idea what to expect. That's extremely intimidating and rarely provides a great read on what to expect from a candidate on a daily basis.

We’ve heard from thousands of candidates who value the opportunity to dive deeper into a topic area in the Byteboard Interview. With the interview experience often serving as a candidates’ primary exposure to a company pre-offer, consistent context interviews offer you the best chance to not only find, but ultimately hire the best candidate for your role.

Dive Deep While Maintaining Trust

The internet is rife with stories of ideas “stolen” during job interviews. No matter whether these situations are genuine larceny, innocent coincidences, or a mix of both, candidates are understandably hesitant to dive into the specifics of their ideas or plans for a role they are interviewing for prior to an offer. Since getting an accurate picture of a candidate’s skills requires a deep dive, this creates a challenge.

Consistent context interviews offer a solution: select a context that is parallel to the problem area that the role focuses on without being an exact match. Candidates can share detailed ideas, thoughts, and reactions over the course of multiple interviews. You see more of the candidate’s thought process without fear that what they are sharing might later show up in a company press release.

How do I build consistent context into my interview processes?

Adapting an interview process to a consistent context in-house can be challenging. It often involves writing new interview questions, training interviewers, and even developing take-home challenges.

Byteboard is an end-to-end technical interview platform that features a library of interviews that build on consistent context. Candidates familiarize themselves with the question context in an independent interview, including both a technical reasoning exercise and a code implementation section. You can pick up from that interview live, allowing candidates to elaborate on their work and learning more about their role fit.

Bottom line? Your interviews should complement and build on each other. 

Byteboard works with companies to ensure they are hiring the right candidates for their roles — both through interview consistency and measurement of the right skills. Interested in improving your technical hiring?

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