Are Interview Assessments Brutal? (they’re not)

Launch School Assessments can be stressful, but stress isn’t the point.

Beat eggs ’til smooth

Before my first interview assessment at Launch School, I had heard how effectively it could prepare me for the stress of a industry job interview. The assessment is also a thorough interrogation of how well you have developed your proficiency of the course material. It is appropriate that emotional factors (e. g. stress, anxiety) are a central part of the discussion about what it takes to preform well in a programming interview.

After completing the course work, and mastering your precision of language explaining code for the written assessment. The hurdles left to performing well in the interview are: be confident in your problem solving process, and figure out how to perform under pressure. However, it’s good to keep some perspective when looking forward to an upcoming assessment.

It’s not called The Gauntlet or, The Code Beat Down. It’s called exactly what it is: an Assessment. Preforming under pressure may be a factor, but adding pressure is not the role of the interviewer. From the Launch School FAQ page:

Every assessment will have an extensive study guide to set expectations and explain the process, so you’ll know exactly what and how to prepare. You won’t be set up to fail, but at the same time, there’s also no place to hide in assessments.

I would describe the tone of the interview to be professional and even friendly. The launch school staff are empathetic about stressful elements of the interview, even taking them into account when they give feedback on your performance (although this does not mean leniency in grading).

Taking this topic one step further, a brutal assessment would go against Launch School’s principles of mastery based learning. An assessment is a chance demonstrate your peak performance at that level of learning. The interview environment is one where you can achieve your best. Not one in which you will endure abusive responses to mistakes.

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Your performance is not scrutinized until after the interview is complete. During the interview, the interviewer may give small amounts of help. Such as: pointing out if you made a typo, answering if you explained a step clearly or, asking a leading question to help you get back on track to a solution.

Hopefully I was able to give you a better perspective on how Launch School interview assessments are conducted. Although assessments can be difficult there is no reason to consider them scary.