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Let's discuss hiring practices

citizen428 profile image Michael Kohl ・1 min read

Yesterday I posted the following on Twitter, which seems to have struck a nerve with people (not sure why the embeds don't update their counts):

Previously I had expressed similar concerns in another discussion:

For context: I almost never experienced a process like this myself, since I often was directly approached/poached so the potential new employer either skipped or shortened it.

That said, I did work at companies where I was part of such practices from the interviewer side (review coding challenges, do all stages of the technical interview, bar raisers) and I'm not at all convinced that the outcomes justify the effort. Yet I notice that elaborate interview processes are becoming the norm and I can't help but feel that a lot of that is like everything else in tech, i.e. smaller companies/startups just copying what the tech giants do.

How do you feel about the current hiring practices in tech? Are you intimidated by them? Do you think the are useful? What's your favorite approach?

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Michael Kohl

@citizen428

I dev @ DEV. Your friendly neighborhood anarcho-cynicalist. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻) are my two natural states. Tag mod for #ruby, #fsharp, #ocaml

Discussion

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I was lucky the last three times I changed jobs the one hiring me either worked with me before, or they knew the projects I worked on.
I do work as a contracter often, so then you also have some kind of intake, but less complex. It's very much depending on the people / assignment. It can be fun, but it can also feels a lot like work.
I think a proper interview, mainly about each other's expectations would be much more useful then some test or whiteboard interview.

 

I'm scared of whiteboard interviews and quizzes about stdlib quirks. I find them pointless and not really bringing any value to the table. Luckily, my last two interviews were without tech assignment - they were supposed to have one, but apparently I convinced interviewers that there's no point in doing that.

But yeah, tech hiring is seriously broken. I think that people doing it, regular programmers by day, just somehow feel challenged and need to show that they are supreme to a person being recruited. Once I've heard this told directly - a guy in my company responsible for technical interview advised me to always have one or two ridiculously difficult questions at hand, just to "completely destroy" the interviewee in case he or she looks too good. Despite the advice, I never did such thing. But I'm aware of more people living by this principle.

 

I find them pointless and not really bringing any value to the table.

I agree. This is something my current company actually does right, we ask candidates to design — in broad strokes — something that is relevant to our daily work. It's just as much about the answers they give as the questions they ask.

I think that people doing it, regular programmers by day

IMHO one of the biggest problems. Interviewing is not just something you're good at because you're a good developer. We don't let people interview until they shadowed between 3-5 interviews. We also have standardized questions and a guideline as to what to look for in the answers.

That said, while I think a lot of our process is decent, it is still too long and has too many rounds (phone screen, coding challenge, pair programming session, 2 rounds of tech interviews, a "bar raiser"). I'm not sure I would have bothered with the full process if they hadn't shortened it for me and I know of several people who did drop out because they ran out of patience/got offered another role in between. Sometimes I think a lot of companies haven't realized that in the current markets developers are interviewing them just as much as the other way around if not more.

 

This seems unique to geography, because out in the Philadelphia area I have never had a tech interview that sounds like these horror shows.

Maybe it’s a supply/demand thing, but out my way developers are treated very, very well even in interviews. I don’t think anybody can afford a bad Glassdoor was /LinkedIn review.

I have had some strange interviews in my day, for sure, but the idea of being put through the pieces for 4/5 rounds is very foreign to me and not something I would tolerate.

 

Not sure. I’m not from the US, never lived or worked there, but have seen this in both my main geographical areas, Europe and SE Asia.