When hiring the first Rust engineer for a company and if you don't know Rust yourself, what is the best way to test candidates on their Rust skills?
Let them convince you why you should use Rust.
I think that for a position involving a specific language or technology, you should ideally pick an interviewer who knows that language/technology. (If there's nobody in your company who understands Rust, then how do you know why/for what you want to use it?)
If you can't, for some reason, then you could ask questions that presumably strongly correlate with Rust concepts:
- Inquire his/her understanding of pointers and data structures involving pointers (eg. trees)
- Ask about the difference between generics/monomorphization and dynamic dispatch
- Make them explain RAII
- Ask about common reasons behind memory management bugs and how they could have been prevented; ask for famous examples (eg. Heartbleed)
- Ask them about functional-style pattern matching; interviewers understanding Haskell, ML, Erlang, Elixir, Clojure, or any number of other modern functional languages should be able to understand the Rust-based explanation of a candidate.
- Ask how the compiler can optimize certain common code patterns to turn them into zero-cost abstractions.
It's also worth mentioning that the type of questions would depend on the seniority required for the position. For junior-level positions, you want to make sure that they understand the concepts required to produce code, while for more senior positions you would want to focus on the skills of the candidate to architecture code and APIs.
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