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Discussion on: Let's face it, we have a broken technical interview process in our industry

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Well, I'm glad you've apparently been lucky to only ever get qualified, honest candidates and work for companies with boundless time and money, who can take on the significant costs and legal risks of "test hiring" all these candidates. Count your blessings; very few (if any) people in hiring get to work under such perfect circumstances.

Meanwhile, I've never gotten a complaint from anyone, including from the diverse set of employees who later got to participate in and give feedback ON the hiring process, nor from anyone in the career services departments of the universities I work with. Seeing as the way I'm doing things was developed over years, with exponentially more care, compassion, and attention to the interpersonal components than you imagine (read "accuse"), based on what worked and what profoundly did not, I'll stick to what actually works.


For everyone else reading: I urge everyone NOT to take Matthieu's advice about what is acceptable in hiring into account when job hunting. From someone who fights long and hard for compassion, communication, and diversity in tech, I assure you, the hypothesis he forth is based in utopic ideals, not the daily realities of business. Burning a bridge at one company can close many good doors elsewhere. Don't burn opportunities just because you don't want to put in a couple hours of unpaid effort into the process (the company is already spending a lot of time and money just to consider you), or because you're paranoid they'll "steal" your take-home work (baseless: we already have a solution long since written for it, and you're probably not Donald Knuth). It's reasonable to set boundaries for yourself, but the hard reality is skills must be verified somehow, out of respect for you AND the rest of the team!

Job searching is hard on both interviewers and interviewees. Hiring managers are not automatically malicious bad-actors. We don't know you from Adam. Expect to prove yourself, to the same degree you expect us to prove ourselves. That's how this works in any skills-based industry, and tech is no different.

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phantas0s profile image
Matthieu Cneude • Edited

For somebody who speaks about compassion, your post seems a bit... aggressive. I'm sorry if you misinterpreted my opinion, I was just saying what I was thinking.

I'm an idealist for sure, but, as John Lennon was saying, I'm not the only one..

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Compassion doesn't mean that I'm not going to be passionate.

As someone who has been in charge of hiring for the same company for many years, I've seen some excellent candidates...as well as some absolutely horrific displays of behavior from some candidates. Both ends of the spectrum are only consistent with what other hiring managers I'm acquainted with have seen, I later learned.

I've also watched a pervasive attitude of sheer entitlement creep into the job-hunting process, whereby applicants are beginning to feel that they should never have to prove anything, should be paid for their time (not accounting for the money and time the employer already spends on the process), and should be somehow given a sort of "consolation prize" if they're not hired. And after venting that attitude freely, they can't figure out why no one, not even the gentlest interviewers, will give them a job.

So yes, I do get passionate about this topic. Job searching a difficult process on both parties. Typically, when people start representing employers who use, say, live coding and take-homes as somehow malicious bad actors, that's because they are failing to account for the reasons those things were introduced into the process in the first place.

You can say what you think to a point, but you absolutely must think about how a young developer is going to take it, and what the worst possible outcome is. Just venting your opinion in a public place where it will mislead someone with less experience than you is socially irresponsible at best.

To put it frankly, no one has ever died (or, I'd wager, even suffered long term harm) from live coding; I'd even defy anyone to provide a single provable instance of a reputable employer "stealing" the "free work" from a take-home assignment.

In the end, it's because of my compassion that I get angry about this. I'm thinking of all the people who may read your post and be misguided into a treacherous and career-stalling path because "that one guy says employers shouldn't be vetting my skills, so I guess I'll just walk if they do!"

P.S. I've learned that 98% of situations where an opinion was "misunderstood" or "misinterpreted", the correct word is actually "miscommunicated". This is precisely why I seldom use the former two words when I feel like my point isn't understood; I instead take responsibility to clarify. It's not my job to read your mind, it's your job to be clear.

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phantas0s profile image
Matthieu Cneude

You look very sure about yourself, and you conclude many things I've never said.

I'm not as sure to be right as you are, that's why I experimented a few things in the hiring process, and I will continue to do so if I have the occasion. Because if I stay convinced in a set of ideas and I'm ready to fight for it blindly, I will never experiment, learn and bring new knowledge to improve the situation.

If you think I'm dangerous, I'm sorry you feel that way.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I have experimented, too. As I've said before, the process I follow is based on years of trial-and-error, with a strong emphasis on compassion and communication. I've experimented extensively, and only adopted live coding and take-home assignments after discovering the necessity for them. I'm only more confident in my stance by nature of those years of experience, experimentation, and learning.

I'm sorry if you actually believe I meant "you are dangerous." I absolutely believe that how you stated your opinions is dangerous, but I can't find where I said you were. Just in case that separation between person and idea wasn't clear, I am only debating the validity and wisdom of your idea.