I had postdoc at a top 10 university in the world. The email of the first interview said I should expect questions around the job description. The first interview was very smooth and I felt very good about it.
A few days later, I received an email in the afternoon, the email said I have a second interview tomorrow morning and I should expect questions around the job description (I think these are just automatic emails).
The second interview however, was a bit different. In order to decide between me and another candidate, they said they needed a technical interview which they presented a problem I needed to solve in 10 minutes, the problem required a lot of programming skills and classic concepts. I haven't programmed in a while now and nothing in the job description not in the email says "programming skills".
I gave okay answers and played it safe a lot in my problem solving approach. I couldn't solve the problem in the given time because I simply needed to refresh my memory and remember some concepts, but I did get a "thumbs up" from the potential PI when I was explaining some stuff. Unfortunately, I wasn't selected and I think the other candidate gave better answers.
Now days later, I can't stop thinking about that whole process. Normally, if the panel expects a presentation, they mention it in the invitation email. It's very weird and a bit unfair to do that to candidates they clearly liked in a very short amount of time. I truly believe that the interview could have been way better if they mentioned anything about a technical interview. Just because one candidate performed better (obviously, people are different), doesn't make the evaluation process fair. What do you think about the situation, is this a normal routine for postdoc interviews?
PS: The postdoc was in the UK and I live in north Africa. I am saying this because perhaps it justifies why the HR send an email and didn't call (perhaps they can only call candidates within the UK). The field is Computer Science.