Technical interviews are a common part of the hiring process for many technology companies. However, there is growing concern that the traditional technical interview process is flawed and needs to be improved. The current process is often criticized for being too focused on memorization and trivia, and not accurately assessing a candidate’s ability to actually do the job they are being hired for. In this article, we will discuss the issues with the current technical interview process and suggest ways that it can be improved.
The issues with the current technical interview process
The current technical interview process is often criticized for several reasons:
- Too much emphasis on trivia: Many technical interviews rely heavily on trivia questions that test a candidate’s ability to memorize specific facts or formulas. However, in the real world, engineers often use Google or other resources to look up information that they don’t know off the top of their head. This means that a candidate’s ability to answer trivia questions may not be a good indicator of their actual skills and experience.
- Lack of relevance to the job: Some technical interviews ask questions that are not directly relevant to the job that the candidate is being hired for. For example, a candidate for a front-end web developer position may be asked questions about algorithms or data structures that they will never use in their day-to-day work. This can lead to frustration and a sense of unfairness in the candidate.
- Bias and discrimination: The current technical interview process can also be biased and discriminatory. For example, interviewers may have unconscious biases that lead them to favor candidates who are similar to themselves or come from similar backgrounds. Additionally, some technical interview questions may be biased against certain groups, such as women or people from underrepresented minorities.
Ways to improve the technical interview process
There are several ways that the technical interview process can be improved:
- Focus on problem-solving skills: Instead of asking trivia questions, technical interviews should focus on problem-solving skills. Candidates should be presented with real-world problems and asked to come up with solutions. This will give the interviewer a better sense of the candidate’s ability to apply their knowledge to practical problems.
- Customize the interview to the job: Technical interviews should be customized to the job that the candidate is being hired for. This means asking questions that are directly relevant to the job and testing the candidate’s ability to perform tasks that they will actually be doing if they are hired.
- Use standardized tests: Standardized tests can be a good way to assess a candidate’s technical abilities in a fair and unbiased way. These tests should be designed to test the specific skills and knowledge that are required for the job, and should be administered in a way that is fair to all candidates.
- Use diverse interviewers: To avoid bias and discrimination, it is important to have a diverse set of interviewers who come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives. This can help ensure that the interview process is fair to all candidates and that all candidates have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.
- Be transparent: Finally, it is important to be transparent about the interview process and what is expected of candidates. Candidates should know what they will be tested on and how the interview will be conducted. This can help alleviate anxiety and ensure that candidates are able to perform at their best.
The current technical interview process has several flaws that make it less effective than it could be. By focusing on problem-solving skills, customizing the interview to the job, using standardized tests, using diverse interviewers, and being transparent, companies can improve their technical interview process and ensure that they are hiring the best candidates for the job.