Human-first engineering interviews

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2 months ago

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If you are designing engineering interviews – don't forget to put humans first. 👩‍💻 I had a chance to explore the concept of async interviews, where you record your screen with a camera&voice on and try to crack the algorithm exercise within 30 mins. Don't do it, not worth it.

The guidance goes as follows: it's a "real-life problem", but basically it's a leetcode-like thingy. You are allowed to google and do whatever you would normally do. But would you dare to google the exact problem? Would you use Github's Copilot? 🤷 I doubt it, but in a real life.

The whole experience is basically based on you having a monolog with yourself during the attempt to solve it along with recording it to Loom, and staring at the ticking clock. There's no one to discuss it with, no one can save you from the misery of exploring dead paths.

I'm not saying all algo interviews are crap, but I would at least let people lead them. It's a bit of a depressing experience to wipe yourself from the process way before you hit on humans.

If the candidate has relevant code on Github, I am highly suspicious this would tell you something extra. It kinda aligns with the false promise that a good engineer is someone who can write Dijkstra from the top of their head. Oh boy! There's much more of it, right!

I know it's tempting to optimize every bit of the interview – I fell into the same trap as well. If you care about a culture you build I would recommend not optimizing on human aspects. Otherwise, as you sow, so shall you reap.