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Developer pairing session during hiring

A non-exhaustive checklist for things we might want to think about and ask about in a developer pairing session during hiring. (The CTO may ask about other things in a separate meeting.)

This is a public list, so a developer that reads the devbook beforehand may get a well-deserved advance notice :)

Preparation on our part

  • Check what editor and languages they're comfortable in, so we can use those.
  • Hook them up with whatever other tools we'll use for e.g. remote pairing and stand-up.

Setting expectations

  • We don't need to complete any task. We just want to get a feel for how they are to work with, and for them to get an idea as well.
  • Questions are very welcome, especially about our conventions, our domain model and so on. It's also fine to Google, phone a friend and so on, just like you would in day-to-day work.
  • Please think aloud.


  • Have video turned on during pairing so we can see each other's faces.
  • Don't jump straight to code; the social part is important too, and may make the interviewee more comfortable. (But be sensitive to the fact that for some people, it may make them less comfortable.)
  • Take breaks.


  • What parts of the stack do you enjoy the most and/or feel you're best at? E.g. backend, JS, CSS, visual design, UX, DB, tooling.
  • Pets? 🐈🐕
  • Any programming languages or front-end frameworks you're interested in outside of Ruby/Rails/React? What do you like about them?
  • Thoughts about, and experience with, automatic testing?
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