Discussion on: What's your take on the Hiring Process in the Tech Industry?

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Alvin Crespo

My ultimate take is that most people don't know what they're doing. They might think they do, but they don't. I've been doing this for 15 years and can say that everyone is just trying something, anything to find the person they think would be right on their team.

So, with that being said - what can you do to make it pleasant for you?

1) Apply for jobs that you want
2) Look at it as a collaborative process (unless you feel they don't match what you're looking for)
3) Interview the interviewer

Do you think something better can be done?

Yes. Internally, companies and teams need to know what they want and define the criteria more explicitely. This isn't on you. It's on teams and companies to do this - and usually if the interview was uncomfortable - thats a sign they don't really know what they want.

How do you feel about Data Structure / Algorithm challenges people have to pass through to prove you know what you're doing?

Data structure and modeling is important. Algorithm's not so much. The only time you want to gauge someone (not test) their expertise in that area is if they have a need for it. Think AI, machine learning, etc...

If they toss an algorithm question and you're caught off guard - toss it back to them. Some questions I use:

  • How would this be relevant to my daily work?
  • Are you encountering issues where this algorithm is needed?
  • Why did you choose this specific problem?

If they pressure you to move forward, and you don't want to do it, be honest:

  • This isn't something I would be interested in doing. Can we move forward?
  • I would need to do research and this isn't right environment for me to be successful, can I think through it and probably get back to you on this?

If they just want you to do it, without further question: just leave. If they're not willing to be accomodating then no point in sitting through a painful interview that they have already made a judgement call on.

Care to share your experience?

Yeah totally. I can tell you one experience where the interviewer asked me: "If you could fill this building with water, how much water would fit in this building"? I straight up knew you would calculate the square footage of the building and space out the calculation so that it would take into account walls, piping, etc...

But guess what? It was a stupid question. I was going in for a Principal UI Engineering role and this question just signaled to me that they 1) didn't know what they wanted, 2) didn't take the interview seriously and 3) they might have hade some elitism issues.

As an Engineering Team Lead now, I try and avoid the regular interview process because ultimately it's a shifting paradigm that requires you to think through your current problem, future problems and if you have the capacity to really help that person succeed. It's not always successful and there is definitely room for improvement - but definitely not interested in the typical interview process.

Hope this helps! Definitely ping me if you ever want to chat on this subject.