1. On Secretly Terrible (Old) Engineers by Danny Crichton
  2. College Examinations: Is Anything Significant? by Ruofei Du

Traditional tech interviews are terrible to both employers and potential employees. It is not merely a waste of time, but also a great pressure to both. Almost everyone attended interviews agreed such points, but the fact is: we are continuing current form of interviews.

My suggestion is: reject such tech interviews and explain projects and talk.

No other discipline like software engineering regards potential employees like this: One of my friends, Liuli Chen, was arranged to attend another round of coding “exam” after she was offered a coding job at Google.

We insist on using white board / online coding board for interviews given the following reasons:

  • Just like written exams, such whiteboard based interviews are repetitive and measurable and open: everyone knows the process of the interview. And most importantly, almost every formal employees can act as hosts of the interviews.
  • The company would like to get rid of the inapplicable employees as soon as possible so they ask as many tech problems as possible.
  • Instead of tech interviews, everyone knows a better approach: give a homework (mini project) to potential employees. However, it is very hard to find significant mini project that won’t take too much time. In addition, the company would worry about cheating: what if someone outsourced the project?
  • For now, personal recommendation is still the favorite approach for recruit.

The revolution in tech interviews should be like:

  • The interviewers spent 30-60 min to be familiar with the interviewee’s projects.
  • Both spent 1-2 hours to discuss the project including decision made in the framework, potential other solutions, functionality, creative algorithms, coding quality and usability…
  • The interviewers let the interviewee to add a little function to the project.
  • If necessary, the interviewers could allow the interviewee to work with a test project of the company to see whether the interviewee is qualified or not.