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Discussion on: What's your ideal interview process?

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Sophia Li Author

Thanks for your thoughtful answer! Do you cap a time limit on the take home assignment? For example, something like, please don't spend more than 2 hours on this project.

Also for recent grads, if the "test" interview format is not good (I agree), would you suggest the approach you've outlined above as an alternative?

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Mike Bybee • Edited on

It depends on the role, but typically 2 for a junior and no more than 4-5 max for more senior roles (again, with a week to complete either way).

And yes, I'm saying from a hiring perspective that I learn absolutely nothing useful about any dev, at any level, from any other challenge format (and it blows my mind that this isn't obvious to more devs in a position to hire; again, they should know better).

Perhaps even worse from a management perspective (but then, there are a ton of bad managers out there, tech or otherwise) is the message you're sending devs (whether you intend to or not) if you do put them on the spot like that in the hiring process: That you and/or your company foster a culture of micromanagement; that the dev is "free" to find their own solution, but you'll be watching their every move. I think the biggest, largely still unacknowledged business lesson from COVID (with the sudden shift to remote) is just how many terrible micromanagers there really are out there. I would warn every job candidate to be cognizant of this, because the impression a company gives when hiring is likely the best you're going to get from them.

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Sophia Li Author

Thanks for your insight! I'm on the more junior side and am trying to gauge what's an appropriate amount of time to spend on a take home assignment.

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Mike Bybee • Edited on

Just remember this above all else: Everyone assigns and judges them differently.

Boil it down to how you will meet the requirements first and foremost. There is a temptation to go above and beyond to stand out, but some will count that against you for going out of scope. If you do this, make sure you do it as separate from the stated requirements (separate directory, entry point, branch, whatever, as long as the assigned solution can be run on its own). More important is to ask about edge cases you need to consider, if not provided.