Technical Interviews Are Pretty Terrible. You Could Help Them Be Better.

This past week, I got to have a great conversation about technical interviews with Chris Hodge of Kinkor Consulting (thanks for hosting me, Chris!). We were, of course, in total agreement: whiteboard interviews suck, they always have, and why anyone is using them in this era is a complete and utter mystery.

That said, you can’t just poke fun at bad interviews (enjoyable as it is – and more relevant than ever with work from home / interview from home as the norm). With both the pandemic and the massive (and much needed) push for racial justice, there’s a special urgency to finally (!) getting this right. We all can make technical interviews way less biased through some simple fixes. We must do it, without excuse or delay. We’ll get much better talent in place as a result - and, you know, it’s the right thing to do.

Just think about how easy it is to let bias creep in as early as the interview process, despite our best intentions. If we…

So what’s the action plan then? The tweaks aren’t that difficult to make. In fact, they’re pretty straightforward.

If you really want to win, give the candidate more control and ask them what their preferences are as far as interview format. The whole point is to put candidates at ease so you can accurately assess their skills; asking if someone prefers a phone call over video or projects vs live coding assessments is a courteous gesture that costs you nothing.

Ultimately, we need to move from a technical interview model that prioritizes a candidate’s ability to answer esoteric CS 101 questions; measures prep time over ability; and exposes a candidate’s ability to manage stress versus showcase real skill. __Now is the time to rethink your technical interview. Welcome to the world of measuring skills and fit - which is what the technical interview should be. Doing so will help your companies stand out at a time when everyone is stretched and developer fatigue is real, when everyone’s chasing the same candidates, and most are short on time with lots to juggle.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions - hit me up at amanda@coderpad.io and, of course, would love for you to check out CoderPad here.