This is a quick a follow up to an article I wrote a few months ago Could your recruitment process be discouraging female developers? and what I'm doing to try to make a change in the industry.
I'm currently looking to move back into a permanent role and so I've recently been applying to jobs and interviewing. As a developer with over 11 years' industry experience, I've seen a huge shift in interview techniques and I really feel like many companies are losing out on great candidates because of their interview styles. I've decided that rather than just backing out of interviews and making an excuse, that I will be extremely honest with them so that they can then hopefully make their processes more inclusive.
I know that people will say that interviews need to be consistent, but the reality is that people are different. Some people will thrive in whiteboard interviews, others will have a panic attack just thinking about this scenario. Some people will feel comfortable spending time doing a take home test, others might have no free time to do this. Why don't we give people the choice in technical test?
An interview should be to try and get the best out of someone, not to put them on the spot and catch them out.
I've seen people post about this many times. Why are companies testing for things that will never be used in their job? An understanding of algorithms is important; solving an algorithm in 20 minutes with someone watching you on a whiteboard is not. I feel like some smaller companies just mindlessly follow the processes of those big well known corporations.
Companies seem to think that it's OK to put a candidate through multiple rounds of interviews (I've seen 5/6 at some places). That's a huge investment in a candidates time, especially if they then get rejected at the final round. I've also noticed many companies not offering expenses for travelling to interviews.
Many developers are getting frustrated because it often seems like experience doesn't count for much in industry nowadays. If a company wants to give me a technical test before even talking to me or through my technical experience then I won't proceed.
If you're rejecting candidates based on tests such as Predictive Index then your process is extremely broken. These tests are old fashioned and they'll likely reject women from leadership positions for not fitting the male leader stereotype.
If you are the one applying for jobs, don't be afraid to ask about the process before proceeding. Interviews are a two way process and if you know that a certain style of interview is not for you then be honest because if enough people say the same thing, things will change! I've brought this up with companies and they'll either not proceed or they'll take it on board and try to make the interview process work for you. Also, glassdoor is a great resource for checking out interview processes at companies and seeing if candidates are having positive or negative experiences.
If you are an interviewer, try to make sure that your processes are flexible. Be aware of the time investment that you're expecting from your candidate. If you're splitting into multiple rounds, candidates often have to prepare for each round and there are travel expenses to consider too. Take the time to talk about previous experience and consider this alongside technical tests. If they don't perform how you want in a part of the test, they might have other invaluable experience that you've missed because you've been too focused on specific tests.
I'd love to know your thoughts and any additional suggestions too.