re: Are Technical Interviews a good measure of software engineering ability? VIEW POST


When I do interviews I get the impression that we aren't looking for great candidates, we're really just trying to route out the bad ones. So many of the people I interview simply aren't ready for a programming position. They lack either the skills, the mind-set, or something else.

Against this flood of under-qualified candidates, anybody who looks even acceptable suddenly flourishes in any process we set-up. I'm positive I could setup a test that only the top qualified candidates would pass, however, it has these problems:

  • We'd have to deal with passing near 0% of applicants, perhaps just 1-2% would make it to an on-site interview.
  • A candidate worthy of passing would rightfully expect some form of compensation for their time, which wouldn't be an issue, except you couldn't exclude the other 98% from this easily.
  • A rigid process can have the effect of scaring away good candidates that couldn't be bothered to deal with nonsense. It's a communication problem to indicate you have a strong process, and not just needless hurdles.
  • The company behind the process must be willing to pay a good compensation to those people that make it through the process. Part of the reason I suspect some companies don't attract the best is because they just aren't offering a good enough return.
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