System design interviews are an integral part of tech hiring and are conducted later in the interview process. System design interviews help you assess a candidate’s ability to design complex systems and understand their thought process for creating real-world products. While coding interviews tend to be a pass/fail system, design interviews are graded on a spectrum as they’re more open-ended.
What are system design interviews?
Systems design is the process of defining, developing, and designing systems that satisfy the specific needs and requirements of a business or organization. It involves designing elements of a system, such as architecture, modules, components (and their interfaces), and data.
Some examples of system design interviews include:
- Flowcharts: A step-wise and schematic representation of an algorithm.
- Unified Modelling Language (UML): Helps system and software developers specify, visualize, construct, and document software systems as well as used for business modeling and other non-software systems.
- Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN): Used for creating a flow chart model that outlines the end-to-end steps of a planned business process.
- Systems Modelling Language (SysML): Supports the analysis, design, and verification of complex systems, including software, hardware, information, procedures, personnel, and facilities in a graphical notation.
- Architectural design: Describes the views, models, behavior, and structure of the system.
- Logical design: Represent the inputs, data flow, and outputs of the system. For e.g., entity-relationship (ER) diagrams.
Why are system design interviews important?
Today, most tech companies invest in building scalable, high performant systems. Hence, it’s essential for candidates to have impeccable design skills. The purpose of a system design interview is to go beyond the standard data structures and algorithm questions. You can see what candidates think about operational scenarios, edge cases, limitations, and assumptions.
System design interviews are intentionally open-ended. Through system design interviews, an interviewer can evaluate a candidate along different dimensions. It also helps to analyze a candidate’s overall thought process, thinking, knowledge of end-to-end systems, and communication skills. However, we all know how hard it can be to conduct system design interviews even on a video call. While one can use a collaborative document like Google Docs to create diagrams and flowcharts, the process can be extremely tedious and result in poor candidate experience.
Integrating draw.io in HackerEarth FaceCode
To help you migrate to a completely remote hiring process, we have integrated draw.io to FaceCode. This allows you to effortlessly conduct system design interviews by letting developers create block diagrams and architecture designs in a live interview. Thus, interviewers can evaluate a developer’s system design, problem-solving, and role-specific skills.
The draw.io editor provides a large variety of libraries to choose symbols from. Candidates can draw ER diagrams, network diagrams, mindmaps, wireframes, Venn diagrams, flowcharts, etc. You can select any category based on your requirement for candidates to answer system design questions.
Let’s consider an example: you want to test your candidates on AWS/Analytics using the draw.io. editor.
You can go to the general set of shapes on the left, collapse it, and expand the AWS/Analytics set of shapes.
The editor will provide your candidate with a complete set of tools for drawing AWS/Analytics diagrams.
The candidate is required to drag an entity shape on the drawing canvas at the center and streamline their thought process into diagrams or system designs.
The draw.io interface is well-designed and easy to use, which adds to positive candidate experience. Additionally, it is collaborative, which means that the interviewer and interviewee can work on the same design simultaneously from different systems. Once an interview is over, the final diagram is saved for interviewers and admins to preview later.
Try FaceCode to refine your remote hiring process. If you need any help using this feature, write to us at email@example.com. If you’re new to HackerEarth and want to create accurate coding assessments, sign up for a 14-day free trial.