basement blog

tech interviewing is so incredibly fucked

if you're working as a programmer, which browsing through bear blog it seems a lot of you are, you most likely have been in some stressful interviews. and the interviews i'm talking about usually involve some kind of live-coding in front of some poor shmuck developer at the company. they'll ask you to solve a solution which has absolutely zero relevance to what's asked of you when you get hired. the interviewer gives you the prompt, explains that you can solve this any way you see fit, and then proceeds to sit there in silence while you squirm for an hour.

they'll say "we just want to see how you think about the problem!" every single interviewer does this. ok fine, but my issue here is that i can't think straight about the prompt when i have some random-ass person watching me and judging my ability based on some crappy code that i'm typing when all i can think about is how stressed i am right now.

if it's not live-coding, it's stupid trivia that also will never come up during the job. i've been asked a few times about the O-notation complexity of the code i was writing by other fellow javascript developers, and i genuinely get so shocked at being asked that, i want to scream. if you're unironically asking me as a front-end developer that question, i've already made up my mind that i don't want to to work at your company. i can see you're just trying to chump me and you instantly come off like you're trying waaaaay too hard to appear smart.

seriously, the second the interview turns into a dick-measuring contest (which is a lot), you've lost me.

this post from GitLab pretty much sums up how i feel about tech interviewing. this quote especially hits hard:

But the ability to create data structures is not always the best indicator of ability. Oftentimes engineers with a very traditional background or recent graduates will shine here, but someone who is more senior and able to do a lot of great things, but is perhaps not as brushed up on data structures, may struggle.

in the article they're talking about how live-coding is inherently harder for people who have been working in the industry longer. which sounds.....not right? like why would more experience with coding make you worse at interviewing? it's because these interviews filter for people who spend their free time practicing coding prompts and algorithms for fun. and people who work 9-5 jobs and have lives outside of work just don't do that, so they're inherently going to be worse at these type of interviews.

i ask that you just stop doing these interviews. next time you get ask to do some tree traversal or create a sorting algorithm or write fucking minesweeper from scratch (all real things i've been asked in interviews), just say no and politely explain this isn't worth your time. or at least offer to do it under the agreement that you're being paid for your time.

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