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How we interviewed engineers

Looks like a recursion – Interviewstreet using interviewstreet to screen candidates at the 1st level. While that’s a good check to get an idea of his algorithm skill ( his motivation level too ) and filter candidates, we were contemplating on how the further rounds of interviews should be.
We got tired of asking complex hash / Trie problems, etc. when he isn’t most likely going to encounter those. We decided to ask the challenges we really face!

  • DDoS attack: Two of our articles have been in the home page of HN, we got 10K+ hits to our blog and of course a DDos attack with it! While the right way to deal with this seemed to take quite a lot of engineering effort which we couldn’t afford at that time, we managed a workaround. Nevertheless, this served as a good interview question 🙂 – ‘How do you prevent DDoS attacks?’ – think logical, wild and come up with a solution
  • Secure codechecker: Anything on the web is bound to be hacked, ethical / unethical doesn’t really matter! In our case, the user actually submits a code! People have submitted a lot of hacky code – system(rm -rf *); while ( 1 ) { fork(); } and even a kernel hack! – our codechecker stood strong! The interview question dealt with the type of precautions one must take to secure the filesystem from such malicious code snippets.
  • Scaling up..: Simple techniques to reduce load on server and faster retrieval of data – memcache, cdn’s, etc.

This helped us understand the how feasible are the solutions to the problems we encounter. Finally, we hired a rockstar and a hacker in the right sense – Anand Narayan. He even wrote a minimal version of the codechecker during the interview! Excited to have him. It’s just been 3 days and we can already sense his huge value add to the team. You can follow him on twitter here

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