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Discussion on: Coding Tests Eliminate Some of the Best Candidates

bytebodger profile image
Adam Nathaniel Davis Author

Yep... nodding my head to every one of your points.

I tend to take a rather fatalistic approach to most job interviews now. Before I do the interview (meaning: the full interviews, where you're doing some kinda live coding, or at least being grilled in real-time by their devs), I honestly have NO expectations whatsoever as to whether I'll actually do well or not. It's not that I lack confidence in my own skills. I most certainly do not. But I really feel that whether I do "well" has soooo little to do with my actual skills, and soooo much to do with random factors over which I have no control. Often, it feels to me like their assessment of my skills has little real correlation with my actual skills.

The last time I was interviewing, a company decided not to offer me a job because they "just didn't think that my React skills were strong enough". Now, I'm not claiming that I'm any kinda "React savant". But I've been coding for more than 20 years - and right now, React is probably my strongest skill. It wasn't that I was annoyed to miss out on the job. That stuff happens, regardless. But I was mildly irked to think that the disqualifying factor was my putative lack of React knowledge. Whatever...

xealgo profile image
Jason Welch

I would be willing to bet it had nothing to do with your knowledge in React but probably more about something stupid like you didn't use a certain library they like or maybe you didn't do things 100% in the latest cutting edge React way. It's all nonsensical. As you said, there are far too many factors in which you couldn't possibly prepare for or do anything about. An interviewer could simply be in a bad mood that day, or maybe they don't like your shirt, who knows. It's really not worth even caring about.

I know for sure I've utterly failed code tests before, like when asked to solve a graph problem in 15 minutes back when I had very little knowledge of graph algorithms.. but still, a lack of knowledge does not mean a lack of motivation, a lack of intelligence or a lack of skill. I've failed to get hired at companies where I have friends working who have told me that I'm a better developer than a lot of their coworkers, but because I simply was lacking in a certain area, I was dismissed without a second thought. It's easy to sound like a poor loser, but the reality is, not everyone knows everything and I think sometimes it boils down to luck more than qualification.