During the past few years, I have interviewed numerous software engineers. While the interview processes varied from formal to informal, one commonality was the lack of focus on hiring the best candidate. In this blog post, we’ll examine the current state of technical interviews and question the effectiveness of the prevalent emphasis on algorithmic problem-solving.
The Importance of Identifying Quality
As a hiring manager, it is essential to identify candidates who will thrive within the company. To achieve this, a hiring process must focus on evaluating both technical skills and personal qualities. While algorithmic problem-solving can demonstrate a candidate’s technical proficiency, it ignores other crucial aspects, such as their work approach and compatibility with the team.
While I admit to conducting algorithm and data structures-style interviews, I have realized their limited value. Instead, I advocate for a technical interview process that emphasizes character assessment, work methodology, and collaboration skills. Practical scenarios that mirror real-world challenges can provide a more accurate reflection of a candidate’s abilities.
Embracing Pragmatic Problems
Pragmatic problems are a valuable gauge of a candidate’s suitability for the company. We can effectively measure the candidate’s problem-solving, adaptability, and collaboration skills by presenting practical challenges. Challenges that require fixing a bug in existing codebases or extending features based on specific requirements. An alternative technical interview approach focuses on a realistic code problem in collaboration with the interviewer. This approach aims to evaluate the candidate’s understanding of core concepts and their ability to apply them in practical scenarios. This will provide deeper insights into their technical proficiency.
It’s time to rethink the traditional conventional approach to algorithmic problem-solving as the only measure of interview success. Technical interviews for small companies should not revolve around algorithms and data structures; instead, they should emphasize an individual’s capability to tackle practical problems. Hiring managers can more accurately predict their potential contributions to the company by assessing candidates in situations that closely reflect everyday scenarios. This approach supports stronger teams and encourages a work atmosphere that prizes practicality, flexibility, and successful teamwork.