re: Engineering whiteboard interviews: yay or nay? VIEW POST

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Some of these answers point to "new alternative live-coding environments" which solve a bit of the problem, but this still seems like a less-than-ideal way to evaluate someone's actual coding experience. It also optimizes for what they happen to know this exact moment.

I really feel like if you want them to come work with you for longer than a month or two, the gaps in their knowledge will close pretty quickly as long as they have a good approach and perhaps some relevant experience. I can't think of a lot of scenarios where I want to have my opinion be formed based on an abstract live-coding scenario.

 

I genuinely think coding challenges give no indication of actual programming skill. Programming is like 90% problem solving so I think intelligence, experience, and creativity are much more important. You can test for 2 of those!

 

Stefan, you really hit the motherload! I agree with you 100%.

But the problem is, how can you test intelligence or experience or creativity? Sure, there are some ways, but sadly not everyone is qualified to test such things. Developers surely cannot test them. Most of HR specialists are not psychologists/sociologists.

I love these talks, and I am gonna remember your answer. I really want us all work together, use our collective brainpower to solve the interview dilemma once and for all, so both interviewers and interviewees are OK with the terms of interviews.

I think we should look at how business consultant interviews are done. Some of their interview questions might sound stupid (how many ping-pong balls fit inside of an airplane?) but they do test problem-solving skills and general intelligence. What is a developer if not a problem solver, using a programming language as his tools?

 

I think part of the problem is that we are "testing" or "challenging" someone. This implies a level of distrust and hostility which only serves to heighten stress levels in what is already a very stressful situation.

You're 100% on-point. Regardless of medium (whiteboard, live-coding in a shared editor, timed coding challenges e.g., Hackerrank, etc.), these are still less-than-ideal ways of evaluating someone. Enough that there's a cottage industry of tech interview prep companies out there which I feel are exacerbating the problem.

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