What is a whiteboard interview? A comprehensive guide

May 12, 2023

    Whiteboard interviews

    What is a whiteboard interview?

    Whiteboard interviews are a common part of the hiring process for technical positions, particularly in the software development industry. During a whiteboard interview, a candidate is presented with a coding problem or system design challenge and asked to work through the problem on a whiteboard. The goal of the interview is to assess the candidate's technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills.

    Whiteboard interviews can be nerve-wracking for candidates, as they are often put on the spot to solve a problem in real-time while being observed by the interviewer. However, they are a valuable tool for employers to assess a candidate's abilities in a practical way. By observing how a candidate approaches a problem and works through it, an employer can gain insight into their problem-solving skills, creativity, and ability to work under pressure.

    While whiteboard interviews are not without their criticisms, they remain a widely used method of assessing technical skills in the hiring process. As such, it is important for candidates to prepare for whiteboard interviews by practicing their coding skills and problem-solving abilities, as well as their ability to communicate their thought process effectively.

    What is the purpose of a whiteboard interview?

    The purpose of a whiteboard interview is to evaluate a candidate's technical skills, problem-solving ability, and communication skills. It allows the interviewer to assess the candidate's:

    • Ability to think critically 
    • Break down complex problems into smaller components 
    • Explain their thought process in a clear and concise manner
    • Coding skills 
    • Ability to write clean and efficient code
    Whiteboard interviews are commonly used by tech companies, particularly in the software engineering and computer science fields. They are often used as a screening tool during coding interviews to narrow down the pool of candidates and identify those who have the technical skills and problem-solving ability required for the role.

    What are the benefits of a whiteboard interview?

    For employers

    Whiteboard interviews are a valuable tool for employers to assess the technical and problem-solving skills of potential candidates. By presenting a coding challenge or problem, employers can see how candidates approach and solve problems in real-time. This can help employers identify the most skilled and knowledgeable candidates and make more informed hiring decisions.

    Whiteboard interviews also allow employers to evaluate a candidate's communication skills. By asking candidates to explain their thought processes and reasoning, employers can assess how well candidates can articulate complex ideas and collaborate with others.

    For candidates

    Whiteboard interviews provide candidates with an opportunity to showcase their technical skills and problem-solving abilities. By demonstrating their ability to think on their feet and solve problems in real-time, candidates can make a strong impression on potential employers.

    Whiteboard interviews also allow candidates to demonstrate their communication skills. By explaining their thought processes and reasoning, candidates can show their ability to articulate complex ideas and collaborate with others. This can help candidates stand out from other applicants and increase their chances of getting hired.


    Overall, whiteboard interviews can be a valuable tool for both employers and candidates in the hiring process. By evaluating technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills, employers can make more informed hiring decisions, while candidates can showcase their abilities and increase their chances of getting hired.

    This post was written by: Alicia Edwards, Digital Marketing Assistant