I went for a Software Engineering interview earlier which in my opinion was unique in a bad way(s), but in this post I want to highlight only one thing that I observed.

Before going to the interview they shared with me the Agenda through email, which was :

  1. Technical Face 2 Face interview, 45 to 60 minutes.

  2. Coding challenge using my own computer. 45 minutes.

  3. Meeting with Product owner. 45 minutes.

Upon my arrival, they told me that they are in the mid of interviewing another candidate for the same position, and they just finished with him on the first part, and because of that they conduct my 2nd part at the same time with him.

So, They put me in the same room with the other candidate and asked both of us to solve a programming challenge separately using our computer.

I didn't like how they treated us. It made me feel inferior by interviewing me and another person (both of us are so called Senior)for the same position at the same time.

Am I being biased about it? or this is a common practice which I haven't seen before?

  • no, the other candidate did not feel superior, Joe. as I mentioned in my other comment, just like how I dedicate few hours of my valuable time and come to your office for interview, I am expecting you to the same as the potential employer. But I can understand not everyone feel this way. I know for sure it is not a common practice in my industry to put 2 candidate in the same room and ask them to write code, and then lets see how write better and hire that one! It just doesn't feel alright to me. – comxyz Jan 22 '19 at 21:16
  • I did close my laptop and walked out of the room and the interviewer didn't expect that at all. He asked me why? and I told his I am not a fit for this company. – comxyz Jan 22 '19 at 21:20
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    Did they actually interview you at the same time (as in, ask you questions) - or did they just have you both sit in the same room while silently working on your own computers, at the same time? – dwizum Jan 22 '19 at 21:24
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    At any point when you were talking with a person, did they have you and the other candidate together? Sounds to me like the did reserve/dedicate time just for you when a person needed to be involved. Did you expect that there would only ever be one activate candidate in their interview process? – cdkMoose Jan 22 '19 at 22:32
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    To be clear (since the top-voted answer has misunderstood your question), this was two people taking a coding test in the same room, not a "group interview" - your interview was separate and individual. Having 2-30 people take a coding or written test in the same room is common and pretty normal, also sensible (only need one employee to proctor/ answer questions). But you wrote "they conduct my 2nd part (coding test) at the same time with him.... interviewing me and another person for the same position at the same time". (Didn't that mean "on the same morning, at different timeslots"? – smci Jan 22 '19 at 23:13

It's called the "group interview", and while not as popular as it once was, it's not uncommon.

That said, I don't like it, and I wouldn't want to work for a company that pulled that nonsense.

Remember, the interview is where you see the company at it's best. Things only get worse from there.

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    I really like your last sentence. – comxyz Jan 22 '19 at 19:48
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    Read opening joke: thesalesblog.com/2013/06/10/go-on-a-charm-offensive – Wesley Long Jan 22 '19 at 20:14
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    The OP is unclear whether it was two people taking a coding test in the same room at the same time, or interviewing two people on the same morning, at different timeslots, or together ("group interview"). If the OP means just two people taking coding test in the same room, that's perfectly normal and sensible (only need one employee to proctor/answer questions). – smci Jan 22 '19 at 23:16
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    @Abigail: then it's not a "group interview", hence this answer is wrong. – smci Jan 23 '19 at 1:47
  • @smci define group, then – Old_Lamplighter Feb 5 '19 at 15:44

Am I being biased about it?

If for #2 they put you both in the same room to solve a problem at the same time, I don't see why this would bother you. Since you aren't interacting with anyone, I think #2 would be the same experience whether the other person was there or not - am I missing something?

I would find it offensive if they shoved me in with the other candidate on the tech interview (#1) or the product manager interview (#3).

Maybe be they were just multitasking.
Maybe they had planned for you to do the tech interview at that time but the reviewer had a production issue or something.

I don't think what you describe (same room for #2) would offend me.

is this a common practice which I haven't seen before?

"Common" in the sense that interviews are often done differently than they were planned, yes.

If I have missed something and you were with the other candidate during #1 or #2, then no I would not say that is common... especially for a senior position.

  • Interesting thought, Chris, Although,from candidate perspective, I would feel more exclusive if you allocate sometime for me (and only me), just like how I allocate some time for you and come to your office for the interview. – comxyz Jan 22 '19 at 20:43
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    @comxyz Right, I agree... it would feel better if you were in a separate room and you didn't even know they were interviewing someone else. I'm just saying it wasn't insulting in my opinion that they did this for #2. Would be insulting if they shared you on #1 or #3. – J. Chris Compton Jan 22 '19 at 20:48
  • It would be a deal breaker for me, and I can understand why it's insulting. It puts the candidate in an awkward position, which means they won't hesitate to do so when he's an employee. – Old_Lamplighter Jan 22 '19 at 21:00

I didn't like how they treated us. It made me feel inferior by interviewing me and another person (both of us are so called Senior)for the same position at the same time.

To me that sounds you think yourself to being special. Do you really think they'll interview only one person? They may interview dozens -- and they're not going to take weeks by doing this in sequence. And perhaps, they want to hire more than one person. At my current employer, we often have a whole row of meeting rows occupied at the same time, with all candidates interviewing for a developer position. (We hire more than a 100 a year).

We don't put candidates together in a room and have them solve coding tests though: you first have to pass the coding tests before being invited for the in-house interviews.


You can bet this company will also have no problems pitting you against your colleagues.

If they are treating you with this much disrespect before they hire you, imagine how many more opportunities for mistreatment they will have once they 'own' your time?

We tend to love our jobs more than our jobs love us.

Most of us spend more time at our jobs, with our colleagues than we do with our own families and friends. Do you really want to spend your 'best hours' with people who have such a problematic way of dealing with potential hires, especially at the senior level you are in?

"When someone tells you who they are, believe them." -- Oprah

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    How are they disrespecting OP? We give similar coding evaluations to all of our candidates, sometimes at the same time unbeknownst to them. Is using the same open work space really disrespectful? They are also likely being "pitted" against candidates who may have interviewed the previous day or are coming in the next. Is it disrespectful to ask all candidates to solve the same coding challenge? – cdkMoose Jan 22 '19 at 22:36
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    How exactly would you propose an employer narrows down a field of candidates without having "pitted" them against each other in some shape or form? Sorry to be frank, but this answer reads as unfounded and paranoid to me. I don't see the connection with coincidentally having had two candidates sit in the same room while performing a written exam, to labeling the employer as one who would broadly disrespect and mistreat employees. – dwizum Jan 23 '19 at 0:42

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