Joey Pinto

Software Engineer

By - Joey

Pramp

I’ve been using Pramp.com for almost a year now. It is an online mock interview platform. It facilitates peer interviews. And the best part…it’s completely free.

Pramp provides you with:

  1. A peer who usually is at the same skill level as you
  2. A question to ask your peer
  3. During the interview, you will be given a text editor with basic compilation capabilities and test cases.
  4. As an interviewer, you get a set of hints and the solution to the problem you will be asking your peer to solve.

How does it work?

  1. You schedule an interview at your choice of time between 8 am and 10 pm in your own timezone. The interview slots are available every 2 hours but the interview duration is typically an hour. You can schedule an interview up to 15 minutes before a slot at the latest, else you can opt for the next slot over the time span of a week.
  2. You are then matched with a person who is usually at a similar skill level as you are.
  3. When the interview begins its either your turn or your peer’s turn to be the interviewer.
  4. After approximately 30 minutes you swap roles
  5. At the end of the session, you are asked to fill a detailed feedback form which evaluates your peer’s problem-solving ability, code quality, etc. on a given scale. You also fill out positive and negative critique.
  6. Your peer does the same and you receive actionable feedback.

Cool things about Pramp:

  1. You are never asked the same question twice.
  2. Except for the first interview, you always ask your peer a question that you’ve seen before.
  3. If your peer does not show up on time, you are matched with someone else. In very rare cases is the interview canceled. Don’t worry a no show leads to a loss of reputation on the platform.
  4. Pramp has great worldwide traffic so you don’t need to worry about finding a match.
  5. While the matching is random and the users are anonymous, at the end of the interview you can opt to ask your peer for an introduction. If both of you agree to do so, the email of your peer is shared with you.

Tips to have a great pramp experience:

  1. Be ready at least 2 minutes before your Pramp interview. If you are even 1 second late you may miss your slot.
  2. Do not use any pen/paper/whiteboard during the interview, stick to using the code editor. Create a large block comment and work inside it so that your peer can see it too.
  3. If you are the interviewer:
    1. Try to be as professional as possible.
    2. Take some time to read the question, hints and the solution before the start of the interview
    3. Give the interviewee time to read the question
    4. If you think you won’t be able to remember feedback for the interviewee at the end, feel free to take notes using pen/paper
    5. Don’t let the interviewee be silent for too long. Try to figure out what they are thinking about
    6. Don’t give out hints too easily
    7. Be acceptable to different solutions to the problem.
    8. Analyze Time/Space complexities of all solutions proposed along with your peer
    9. Do not be demotivating if you think you peer isn’t doing well
    10. Avoid speaking way too much and give the interviewee enough silence to think
  4. If you are the interviewee:
    1. Think of it as a real interview
    2. Ask if something is unclear, do not assume.
    3. Don’t use the RUN/TEST capability without doing a dry run.
    4. Create and use a comment block to try out examples before coding
    5. In the rare occasion that you feel that the interviewer does not understand the question well enough, be patient!
    6. Converse only in English.
  5. At the end of the interview, if you have time, try to give each other feedback verbally. Verbal feedback is more useful than written feedback as you can ask for more details
  6. In your feedback, use bulleted/numbered lists of items instead of blobs of text, E.g:
    1. Code structure could be more organized
    2. Manual testing is recommended
    3. Could have thought of alternative approaches
    4. Should wait for interviewer confirmation before starting to code
    5. Should have thought of edge cases
    6. Should not have been silent for long stretches of time
  7. BE RESPECTFUL OF YOUR PEERS, WE’RE ALL HERE TO LEARN!

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