4.2. Interviewer: Debrief and Bartendering

The more comfortable you make a candidate during an interview, the greater chance you’ll have of gaining valuable insight into who they are and ensuring you hire the best fit for the job.

This Part is for interviewer.

Interviewing candidate is a very important and serious process. Without good hiring, the company is doomed. To be objective and fair for all the candidates, a strict process is needed to make sure the hiring process smooth and effective.

4.2.1. Pre-Interview

Before the intervierw, a recruiter and HR will schedule time and interviewers for the candidate. As a bartender, you should ensure:

🔵 The candidate’s resume is attched.

The resume is very important. From the resume, you can see a lot of the information about the candidate. And you can do initial fact check and think about what questions to ask based on the skills and past experience listed in the resume.

🔵 Every interviewer has been assigned different tasks for his/her round.

For onsite interview, there are normally 3 to 5 interviewers for the same candidate. To avoid asking duplicated questions, or missing important signal we want to check on the candidate, it is very important to assign different interviewer different task so that we can have a full spectrum of the understanding on the candidate.

🔵 Is there any special requirements for this hire?

Sometimes, the team need to hire domain expert with special requirements. The hiring manager normally have the insights, so the bartender need to make sure all the interviewers aware of the special requirements so and they are covered in the interview. If it is not clear, the bartender can send an email to the hiring manager as follows.

📧 Sample Email:

Title: Pre-Interview checkup


Could you please send out the competencies list you want each interviewer to cover for candidate XXX? From his resume, I see the candidate XXX is a domain expert in YYY. Could you please let us know if you have any xpectation on this role in particular?


4.2.2. Interview

Every interviewer has his/her own interview style. The following is one sample schedule of one interview round.

  1. Self-introduction to each other with questions from resume [5mins]

  2. Problem-solving questions(coding/system design) [45mins]

  3. Behavior questions [7mins]

    • Can you tell me about yourself?

    • Why would you like to work for us?

    • How would you describe your working style?

    • What are your strengths?

    • What is your biggest weakness?

    • Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?

    • Why do you want this job?

  4. QA session for candidate to ask question [3mins]

4.2.3. Post-Interview

After the intervierw, the bartender should send an email to all the interviewers. The following is a template.

📧 Sample Email:

Title: Interview Feedback Request for candidate XXX

Hello interviewer,

Thank you for interviewing XXX(target level: IC4, role: SDE). Please send me your feedback before the debrief on Thursday morning if you haven't done so. At minimum, we expect to see a vote and a list of positives and concerns observed during the interview.  A detailed feedback is optional as you can expand on your points verbally during the debrief.

You can use the below template if you want:

Coderpad/Hackerrank link:


4.2.4. Debrief


Figure 4.2.1 The Interview Debrief Setup

Bartender is to maintain the minimum bar of the hiring. It is totally fine to flip on the second round.

The following is a sample debrief: 🎥 Case 1 - BT/HM On The Fence

BT: Can you guys hear me? Let’s check if we have everybody here. HM, You are the HM for this candidate, right?

HM: Yup!

BT: So everybody is here? Awesome! Let’s get started.

BT: Btw, we have shadow BT KKK here and she is here just observing this debrief.

📢 Announcement

BT: We are here to do the debrief for candidate X, his/her role/title is Y, and the level is IC3/4/5.

We will the debrief following this process. We will do two rounds of voting.

First I will count from 1 to 3. When I count 3, please use the reaction button at the right bottom of your zoom window to cast the vote if you are inclined or not inclined to hire this candidate like I am showing.

If you are on the fence, if you are weakly inclined or weakly not inclined, it doesn’t matter, please just cast a vote. Your vote is based on your own feedback, and please do not consider the feedback from others.

After this round, we will do a second round. We will ask everybody to provide more details about the candidate. You can express your opinions and observations and the reasons why you are inclined or not inclined. Also, we can discuss the level of the candidate then.

When you do the first round voting, please only vote based on the performance of your round for the role SDE and level IC3. Later if you think he can be promoted to higher level, or downgraded to lower level, you can raise your voice in the second round. You can also flip your vote based on what you hear from others in the second round.

OK. Let’s get started for the fist round of voting. I will count to 3! 1…2…3! Please let me know your vote(by clicking the reaction button yes or no).

🔵 Round 1 Voting

So we got x inclined and y not-inclined! The 1 not-inclined is from ZZZ, (sorry if I mis-pronounced your name).

Given ZZZ is the minority of the panel, let’s start with ZZZ and see what is your experience with the candidate.

ZZZ: …

BT: Thanks for your feedback. Let’s discuss more details about it later. Let’s move to CCC and collect some feedback from him/her.

CCC: …

BT: Did the candidate eventually come up with some working solution?

BT(Optional): It seems all of our interviewers covered coding skills, but nobody asked about system design. Did anybody focus on system design interview in his/her round?

HM: …

BT: I will give my feedback now. I am really on the fence. …I ask him/her a question which has a difficulty level between easy to medium….and based on his performance, he does(not) meet the bar of this level…. My bar for IC2 and IC3’s coding skills are almost the same. I will consider this as a yellow flag…

My main concern for this candidate is the way he understand the project from the high level. He spent ….

I would like to hear some other interviewers to have some strong-hire feedback to push me through the fence. I do have some concerns as I see the yellow flag signals. 1…….2…… I will give this question to the hiring manager: How do you think of this candidate? Do you have any plan to help him to grow? Or do you see any risk/red flag you don’t want to take?

HM: My expectation is a candidate of senior level 3 or even higher like level 4, even level 5, but it seems everyone agree this candidate is between level 2 to 3. Considering this candidate is very passionate about our company, we may need to see if we can find a level 2 position for him in other teams.

BT: I wan to point out, during the interview, he complained about his CTO and teammates, but he didn’t take any initiative to fix the relationship with his teammates and the CTO, which is at least a yellow flag and a concern of the team fit, and for other teams, I also need to recommend a system design round for the new team because this is missed in our interview. In that case, it may be too much trouble to consider him elsewhere?

HM: Agreed.

BT: So this candidate is not a strong IC3 we are looking for for your team. Does everybody agree?

HM: I want to hear KKK’s opinion since he is the one with the most positive feedback. I wonder if his opinion can change others’ opinion.

KKK: I don’t know how others interacted with the candidate, but for me, it was good and I didn’t see any red flag. I would like to give him a high IC2 or starting level of IC3.

BT: As a BT, I can be persuaded, but your HM need to be persuaded first and then I can be persuaded. I cannot offer something more than HM would like to offer.

HM: Here is the thing. For my team, it is definitely a NO. I am really looking for a senior IC3 or IC4 with potential to IC5. For this candidate, either put him to other team, or ….Hi BT, what is your opinion here? Should we simply reject the candidate or recommend him to other teams?

🔵 Round 2 Voting and Summary

BT: Since this is a strong NO and everyone is on the same page, we don’t have to vote for the second round. I will mark this candidate as CONSIDER ELSEWHERE AS IC2 and I will keep it under my name. We need somebody to take initiative to advertise this candidate to other teams. So I will talk to the recruiter and see if she can find another opportunity in our company for this candidate. I would suggest them to do system design round for this candidate so we can understand his system design capability. Also you HM can also help. If you happen to know other HMs are looking for some IC2, or IC3, please let me know so that I can recommend this candidate to him/her. Or if any other manager is interested in him, would you like to provide the overall feedback to him/her?

HM: Definitely. I got the overall feedback today. For our Org, we don’t hire IC2 for now. If there is any manager who wants to hire IC2 or IC3, and interested in him, and want his feedback, I will be always happy to provide mine to him/her.

BT: Thank you very much. We are 2 mins over the time. Does anybody have anything to add, to change this decision?……….OK, if nothing else, I will move forward with the candidate as what we have discussed. Thank you everyone for the time to interview the candidate for our company CCC. Byebye.