@rhinocratic I have the same reaction as you. You're not alone! I abhor them, and only ever experienced one okay session, at a company that worked very hard to remove any intimidating or unhelpful dynamics. Every other session I've done was horrible, primarily because the person interviewing seemed to have no empathy toward the inherent power dynamics.
Glad to hear it's not just me, @carladrago, although sorry to hear that you also suffer! It really feels like a debility.
even more conventional programming-on-a-whiteboard sorts of interviews are fraught. I've done many interviews where it feels like the candidate was failing to do themselves justice by a wide margin because the whole stressful situation was driving them to panic.
I had a pair programming interview in Clojure once. It was my first time doing it, I found it really stressful and unproductive. The interviewers weren’t clear on how much they wanted me to explain. So I found myself overexplaining as I went through the exercise, which took time away from me solving the actual problem. I ended up not getting very far, though the problem was fairly trivial. It just wasn’t representative of how I would normally code and the added stress of having two people watch me code did not help at all. The engineers interviewing me didn’t ask any questions outside of the simple exercise, like anything related to my career or interests. They didn’t ask any technical questions outside of the pair programming exercise. When I asked if they did pair programming like this normally, they said not really. So I’m not sure how much either of us got out of the interview really. I didn’t learn much about their company and I didn’t really get to demonstrate what I’m capable of.
I’ve had much more positive experiences with whiteboard interviews. But I think maybe it really depends on the person interviewing.
Coding with people watching is a skill to itself, even with really friendly interviewers.
Yeah, definitely something I’ll need to work on when I job hunt again. I was told I had a good understanding of the basics but they were looking for someone more experienced. Considering the whole interview was about “the basics” and not much else, I just figured they wanted someone with more years on the resume.
🤷 I've done several take home projects and pair exercises with only positive feedback only to get bumped for number of years working under scrum or hair length. I think it's all easier if you don't try and read too much into the noise that semi-random processes produce.
(Yes I cherry picked the most frustrating examples 😉 )
Ouf, that’s good advice.
The status quo, as ever, favours the extroverts. I'm sure that my previous employers passed up many bright, capable and affable individuals in favour of those who had the gift of unshakeable self-confidence.
Our industry's interview process is horribly broken in so many ways. That is certainly one of those ways. It's why I avoid adversarial approaches in interviews (the whiteboard stuff, the "technical test", even sudden and enforced pair programming), in favor of much more conversational approaches.
It can be reasonable to have a "probation" period where you bring new recruits up to speed and see how they do in the context of real work with their teammates -- which is a much better way to evaluate this sort of stuff is going to work for them. Pay them, train them, but if it really isn't working out, have a cutoff date before they become full-time engineers on payroll. That is, if you must evaluate them post-hiring.
But my general position is: if you do the appropriate conversational interviews, you'll know whether you will be able to integrate them into your team and your workflow -- good candidates can always be taught/trained to follow new workflows, with new people.
(and if you can't figure that out from having conversations with candidates, you probably shouldn't be interviewing anyone in the first place!)
Quite so - thank you. On the isolated occasions when I've been in the position of making a hiring decision, I've already had a pretty good idea of whether or not the candidate fulfilled the technical requirements of the post or possessed the ability to acquire the skills in short order. The interview is mainly to confirm whether or not a) we can work with them and b) they will be happy working with us.