I think that can totally work, but it's also true that some people are much better at talking the talk than walking the walk. Having a session where you can spend an hour or so working with someone to see how they organize their thoughts and solve problems can be quite illuminating. If a person you're considering hiring already has a decent amount of experience, and maybe they can point to a body of code that they've written, it may be less crucial to actually do a coding interview, and just a get-to-know-you session is good enough.
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