Blog #4: White Board: The Process of the Interview that Drives People' Insane.

 · 4 mins read


When we applying for a job, especially in the field in technology, we must consider what kind of technical and yet soft skills we have to develop in order to accomplish. The notion of today’s tech companies that implemented white board interviews to job candidates coming out of college, boot camps, or maybe self-taught has become a modern day standard for hiring the right person for the job. In the real world of software development, one must consider the reality behind the scenes of interviewer and his or her true intention. Recruiters in general wants the take the best person among the candidates applying as possible that would fit within their company’s culture and especially their assets to prove the company’s integrity and competitiveness in the tech world.

Why companies implemented these hiring tactic to get the best programmer?

With the industry constantly changing and yet adapting the course of brand new technologies over the pass decade, it is important to acknowledge that many top tier companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple wants to hire a person who can actually know how to code while being hired on the spot from the recruiter. Companies are afraid of losing their profits and especially their talent strength from laying off or firing many people who don’t know how to code. In addition, they have to spent on average about $4,000 per person to actually be hired, otherwise it would be a waste of time and resources for the company to hire this particular person in the first place. In a famous research paper from MIT from 2005, if the employee has a base salary of $50,000 per year working with the company, the employer has to pay from the range of $62,500 to $70,000 per year. However, nowadays, the salaries of those employees have to increase by 2.7% within each year for businesses to be more incentive and appealing to work for. In conclusion, the employer has to spent more than the salary of the employee in order to maintain their company for competitiveness and integrity in today’s market.

Is interviewing a job candidate from using white board an awful way to measure one’s true understanding of Algorithm Complexity and Software Development?


Job candidate who has a bad rote memorization can have a hard time to remember what the algorithm can affect the way of actually writing real-world software development. Task-wise, it is a common mistake to not remember a particular algorithm from its syntax and supposed imported libraries regarding which programming language the company or individual employer uses on a daily basis. Drawing algorithms on the white board can be very pressured, mind-numbing, and stressful for a inexperienced candidate who is trying to get his or her first real job in the real world. When big tech companies are arbitrarily inquiring each candidate one by one within each interview, the candidates who are in the white board phase of the interview are most likely to be rejected or didn’t get a response from the companies they applied to. Some cases, it is the candidate that didn’t understand the algorithm given question or in other case, it is the companies’ hidden intention of actually protecting their own assets from “ineffective developers”, even if the candidate actually understand and wrote the code right. In order to write a cohesive, complete algorithm from scratch, the first step of demonstrating the basic soft skills every applicant should have, self-confident.

What questions would the employer askes regarding to Data Structures of the Algorithm?


Let’s take various of coding examples from a fascinating book I have been reading, “Cracking the Coding Interview” by Gale Laakmann McDowell! Her examples of understanding algorithm takes us to a whole new level of comprehensive algorithm understanding. According to her excerpt, she undermines how can algorithm questions can be tasking to some people who only knows the practical applications of coding rather than the theoretical approach of writing code. The idea of her books gives us the idea that we programmers have to comprehend not only what the algorithm is telling us, but to acknowledge what kind of attributes it applies in the real world scenario.



Hadzima , Joe. “How Much Does An Employee Cost?” Maritime Theater, 2005,

Hill, Vanessa. “Average Cost-per-Hire for Companies Is $4,129, SHRM Survey Finds.” SHRM, SHRM, 19 May 2017,

  1. “Why Is Hiring Broken? It Starts at the Whiteboard. –”,, 29 Apr. 2016,