Laurie Voss, CTO of npm, nailing it over on Quartz: technical interviews are seriously hard, for both sides of the table. Here at IK we’ve put a lot of time and thought into how we screen engineering candidates, and our process is constantly evolving, but a few highlights that match up with Laurie’s thoughts:
- No algorithm quizzes. Ability to memorize trivia answers, while possibly indicative of intellectual passion and capacity, just doesn’t convey enough information about useful engineering skills – and quizzes like this can make an otherwise-fantastic candidate nervous and uncomfortable.
- No on-the-spot white boarding or over-the-shoulder code sessions. Again, stress and time constraints that are artificial and don’t give you an actual picture of engineer productivity. Especially short-sighted are exercises that intentionally limit access to Google or Stack Overflow: how productive would you be on a daily basis without access to both?
- Hiring for fit: Laurie does a great job of calling out what this doesn’t mean, which is hiring for friendship. Cultural fit is hugely important and difficult to define, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of hiring people that “look like they belong”, instead of finding people who bring something new to the table – while still fitting around it.
I’ve worked on a number of engineering teams throughout my career, and happen to have been involved with interviewing on every single one of them. (It’s pure coincidence that this has frequently involved a free lunch with the candidates, I swear.) Growing your team is one of the most important – and most difficult – tasks you face as a company, as it literally reshapes who you are and how you get things done. We’re constantly working at improving our own process, but I’m proud to be a part of such an awesome team of talented folks – something that’s only possible because of how much work we put in to our engineering interview process.
Want to see for yourself just how awesome our technical interviews are? We’re always looking for smart people who get things done.
P.S. Laurie’s piece is seriously great. You should read the whole thing. -> http://qz.com/258066/this-is-why-you-dont-hire-good-developers/