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Discussion on: What's Wrong with the Tech Interview Process?

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daedtech profile image
Erik Dietrich • Edited on

I like the turn of phrase "interview/hiring system is failing a ton of unit tests."

Anyway, here's my controversial take of the day: maybe the job interview itself isn't an effective way to scale.

I actually, in writing a book, did a bunch of reading up on the history of the job interview, and it's surprisingly unchanged since emerging randomly as a management fad 100 years ago. Google did some internal research and found that the most effective interview-style, simulating the actual work in the role, was only something like 25% predictive of future performance. (IOW, any given single interview style would be the worst game in any casino for achieving good results).

The job interview is so iconic that when I bring this up, people think the idea abandoning is akin to a suggestion that they stop drinking water or something. But I can't help but wonder if, someday, the job interview won't look a lot in the rearview mirror like waterfall software development: "why did it take us so long to stop trying to predict the future and start adapting to the fact that we're not very good at predicting the future?"

FWIW, we've been building a business with an informal fundamental principle that we don't do job interviews. And it's worked quite well, so far, bringing us to 4 salaried staff and something like 100 engaged contractors. So, it might be possible to scale talent without conducting interviews at all.

/end food for thought

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remotesynth profile image
Brian Rinaldi Author

That's super interesting. I will say though that I have had a number of good interviews and interview processes. Often those focused on my working style, how I interact with other, my critical thinking skills, etc. rather than trying to decipher specific coding skills. Point is, I think there are better alternatives that focus on getting to know the person and how they fit into your team and culture.