Why are multi threading/concurrency questions not asked in senior level position interviews?

CA Technologies ainmosni
Dec 20, 2018 23 Comments

Asking for Backend Engineer. At least in my team, we deal with it on a daily basis, sometimes more often than advanced data structures. I don’t think it would be any different for any giant shop. I would definitely include that in the interview criteria, but most, if not all, don’t. Why?

Same goes for memory management, stack overflows, etc.

How else would you see interviews changing in the next 10 years or so?

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TOP 23 Comments
  • Facebook FireSJWs
    Because knowing how to print a binary tree per levels is apparently more important...
    Dec 20, 2018 5
    • Microsoft do_needful
      I print binary trees for living.
      Dec 20, 2018
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      @do_needful what kind of software is it?
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Microsoft do_needful
      Binary Tree Printer Studio
      Dec 20, 2018
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      Very original
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Marin Software xOCX31
      Yo MS guy. MS names their products like dis:
      Microsoft Windows Binary Tree Printer Studio Pro Series 10 Desktop
      Dec 20, 2018
  • Microsoft / Eng Tier 1
    Senior engineers don’t code. They go to meetings.
    Dec 20, 2018 0
  • LinkedIn / Eng voyager
    Dropbox asks them for even intern interviews, and all the way to senior and further.
    Dec 20, 2018 1
    • Akamai Technologies olo
      Whats the sample question looklike? Diff btw process & thread?
      Dec 20, 2018
  • Apple fu manchu
    My favorite questions to ask have to do with concurrency. Totally catches everyone off guard because they’re usually not the standard leetcode grind stack. But they’re very relevant to the work my team works on.
    Dec 20, 2018 4
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      What kind of questions do you ask?
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Apple fu manchu
      Various problems that appear straight forward but are simply producer consumer problems. Sorry not going to give you the actual questions.
      Dec 20, 2018
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      If some one is quickly solving pro/con problems and if you want to level up, what kind of question would you ask?
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Apple fu manchu
      Usually we talk scale. Apply the same problem in a large distributed system. It’s different every time.
      Dec 20, 2018
  • Airbnb
    jim.hodlen

    Airbnb

    BIO
    kindly doing the needful
    jim.hodlenmore
    knowledge tests are difficult to calibrate across candidates. coding interviews are so much easier to judge
    Dec 20, 2018 3
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      This makes sense. How did you arrive at this conclusion?
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Airbnb
      jim.hodlen

      Airbnb

      BIO
      kindly doing the needful
      jim.hodlenmore
      there are many more shades of grey to answering a knowledge question, and the more experience a candidate has, the more nuance that should come with how they answer. to evaluate a senior candidate properly you’d need someone on similar levels or higher. coding interviews can be given with clear guidelines on how to evaluate. they’re more efficient for bulk operations consistently.
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Airbnb
      jim.hodlen

      Airbnb

      BIO
      kindly doing the needful
      jim.hodlenmore
      due to the difficulty of evaluation, there won’t be as many experienced interviewers as you might need unless you’re goog/fb
      Dec 20, 2018
  • Apple / Eng Marijuana
    The arbitrary 40-60 minute timeframe makes it hard to ask good concurrency questions. There are also usually multiple correct answers and they are hard to verify.
    Dec 20, 2018 3
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      *cough* System design *cough*
      Dec 20, 2018
    • Cruise Automation ._.
      Do you have a good system design question that deals with concurrency?
      Dec 20, 2018
    • CA Technologies ainmosni
      OP
      I meant that System design is just as ambiguous and open ended as concurrency, but System design is included in the interviews. System design is definitely important, but IMO, so is concurrency.

      If I were to ask, I would start with a simple message relay/proxy design. It will be open ended, but I would see how far the discussion can go.
      Dec 20, 2018
  • Cruise Automation ._.
    I don’t like asking about it, because usually any multithreadeding I do beyond simple locks demands a reference up to make sure I have the semantics down.
    Dec 20, 2018 0