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Toxic tech interviews still rampant

Man sitting in an office chair looking at a woman writing on a white board
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

A tweet that is burning up my timeline today:

If that seems outrageous, wait until you read the avalanche of similar experiences in the thread's replies.

Why is this so common, still, in 2022? The tech industry has always enabled jerks and it hasn't changed despite frequent calls for reform over the years. I have collected a folder full of bookmarks about similar issues for over a decade, and, yet, it doesn't seem to end.

Almost as stark as the calls for our industry to do better, are the "Top 10" articles about how you might be a bad programmer, which neglect to mention any human relationship skills at all, such as Signs that you're a bad programmer.

It's rare to find an essay that pushes back on technical skills in favor of "soft skills" like Austin Tindle's You need better programmers.

I don't know how engineering managers and directors aren't fighting this invasive problem more. People shouldn't be in senior-and-above roles in engineering orgs if they are asshats. No one should have to write an article like Tricks for Dealing with Toxic Colleagues but, in fact, we have many of them.

About interviews: the format of the typical tech interview itself sets up a power dynamic that is not productive. Not productive at all. If hiring is the goal, why is it that we put people in the stressful, alienating position of going into a strange room with no windows, that they've never been in, and then send a series of pairs of people in to grill them with questions and problems that don't even resemble the day-to-day work for a person in that position?

Something needs to change.

Dear tech industry: Do Better.

Top comments (3)

mrmatthogg profile image
Matt Hogg

Emphatically agree! And when it comes to interviewing, I just wrote about this myself! This kind of toxicity often begins at the interview, sadly.

eleven83 profile image
Ryan Hoffman

"People shouldn't be in senior-and-above roles in engineering orgs if they are asshats."
Couldn't agree more. I'm lucky where I'm at right now with very supportive Senior Devs however, as a junior dev who follows the 'always be interviewing' belief, it's getting really frustrating to be asked random theoretical non-business related questions that take me back to University algo class.
To get my current position I applied to over 150 different postings and interviewed with roughly 15 of those. The 14 other companies that didn't hire me thought my technical skills were not up to par for a junior software developer. (Should I laugh, cry, or ???)

jwp profile image
John Peters

No problem, there's still a major shortage of Software Engineers.

In the meantime thank the good Lord you weren't hired into a toxic team.

The work environment always starts at the top and infects the entire workplace.