Recurse Center

Alumni interviewers

Starting this month we’ll be paying alumni to interview Hacker School applicants on a part-time basis. Hacker School facilitators and founders will also continue to do interviews, but our goal is to transition to 100% alumni interviewers as soon as practical.

The only change for applicants should be a greater and more varied number of interview times available. We’ll now have interviewers across nine hours of time zones, and we hope to have more interview times available on weeknights and during weekends. We think this will make it easier for applicants to find times that fit their schedules.

Our admissions process will otherwise remain the same: A short written application, a conversational Skype interview, and a brief remote pair programming session. During the conversational interview, we typically ask questions about why people want to do Hacker School, what they hope to learn and get out of it, how they want to improve as programmers, and questions about their programming backgrounds. For the pairing interview, we use screen-sharing software to write code together, with the applicant as the primary driver. Applicants may choose to work on a task suggested by us ahead of time or their own project, and may use whatever language they’re most comfortable in.

We don’t have any trick questions or gimmicks in our admissions process. Our goal is to make our process as low-stress as possible, and ideally enjoyable. We also don’t want to surprise anyone, which is why we’re blogging about this so that applicants know ahead of time they may interview with alumni.

Since we moved to rolling admissions early last year, interview shifts have eaten up more and more facilitator time. Having alumni do interviews will free up facilitators to focus on what they do best: Making Hacker School a better experience for current Hacker Schoolers. As such, we hope that this change will both make our admissions process more applicant-friendly and improve Hacker School itself.