What's wrong with tech hiring

Hiring for Tech
February 3, 2020

A piece of paper with single-digit multiplication problems and a pencil.

If you’re doing drills just to interview, what exactly is the interview testing? Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Tech hiring sucks. But before we can fix a problem, we have to understand and agree on what the problem is. Today, a capable candidate, with industry experience and the ability to solve technical problems, can fail an interview due to factors that have nothing to do with their technical ability. Maybe they never learned to solve dynamic programming problems. Or they’re simply better at working at a desk with their computer set up the way they like, instead of writing code at a whiteboard. Or they’re just nervous.

I believe the interview process should have the following property: a capable engineer should not have to study to demonstrate their competency. The interview process should allow them to demonstrate what they already know. Everything I’ll write on this topic stems from this philosophy. This has a few consequences:

Over time, I’ll go into more detail about my philosophy, but I want to set up my underlying assumptions. The caveat is that hiring today doesn’t follow this philosophy, so you’ll see content geared to the state of hiring today, like practice interview problems. Hopefully, the nature of such content can convince you these practices are widely used today, but maybe, they shouldn’t be.

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