Tech interviewing is fucking broken. I have over 20 years of software engineering experience and I have shitloads of code on my GitHub that people can look at. I can talk peoples ears off about the solutions I cane up with for solving tricky problems, and how I wish they could have been better or what I’d do in retrospect with more time and resources available.

So why is every interview still starting with solving some abstract Project Euler problem on a whiteboard?

I mean I can do them and I’m generally really good at them. But it’s not actually measuring how good I will be at the job or the aspects of software engineering which matter. Algorithms are important but systems design is way more so.

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I can only think of two tech interview questions I’ve ever had which had any bearing on the job.

One was “determine if these rectangles overlap” and I have that memorized because I’ve derived it from first principles many times.

The other was how I’d make ebooks work from scanned books without relying on shitty OCR and that ended up being what I worked on for the original Kindle, and now there are a dozen patents with my deadname on them as a result.

So anyway I have a phone screen Thursday morning and it’s going to involve an online whiteboard and a “coding challenge” and I’m already pretty sure I’m going to hate it.

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What I need out of a tech interview:

• will I like working there
• will the problems be interesting
• will my compulsively-thinking always-learning ADHD brain work well or do they need a faucet they can open and code flows out

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I also still need to write that article about how the three-pronged hiring map (front end, backend, full stack) is a fucking ridiculous thing for the industry to be focusing on. If those are the only three things you’re looking for you should probably just be using someone else’s turnkey solution.

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Oh and then there’s the whole “devops” thing which usually means “the thing Amazon calls devops but is in no way shape or form devops.” SWE and SRE are entirely different disciplines that take different temperaments and a functioning software company needs them both. Even if (heck, especially if) the SREs are only there for internal tooling.

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ugh I'm in a lot of pain right now and I'm not expecting to magically feel better by tomorrow morning. I really hope this fucking phonescreen coding section is just like "hey you seem really experienced so could you write FizzBuzz just to make sure you're not bullshitting about being able to code?" or whatever.

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Wellp so far they’ve given me a shared code editor that’s prefilled with some C#-based “Rextester” thing so, this is gonna go well. 🙄

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and I need to shit REALLY BAD and it's starting in 5 minutes

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okay wow that actually went really well. The "coding challenge" was just a basic "can you follow and implement a spec" exercise and the rest was just talking about projects and development philosophies, and it actually sounds very compatible with me.

So, that turned around nicely. :)

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@fluffy Hear, hear! That whole style of interviewing is basically a sign that something is fundamentally broken at the company (and I don't want to work there).

We warn people who interview "we'll ask you a few technical questions about code but we're not trying to trick you or be clever." It's mostly just giving you threads to pull and see how they work, see if they'd like working on our problems, etc.

(Having said that: one person who passed phone but couldn't identify a pointer in code!)

@fluffy PHONESCREEN coding? If that's what it sounds like, it sounds like they've managed to make whiteboard coding even worse.

Good luck on it and feeling better and then not being jerks about it, at least.

@azure yeah there's going to be screen-sharing involved. but Amazon does this too

@azure ... y'know, given that this is a Seattle-based company I bet they picked up their shitty interview practices from Amazon in the first place

@fluffy I wish I knew how to figure out the last one

@fluffy oh heck. realizing that what's wrong with my current job is the ADHD point. I work at extremely variable pace, and they put me with a mentor that's a total code faucet. it's kind of a bad combo

@fluffy God. Have we really not stopped doing “reverse a linked list on a whiteboard” to people yet? We don’t do that at my company and I don’t remember it being like any big deal not to. Or my previous one.

We have a take-home exercise that you discuss in person and the. White board some system or service design stuff. Both of those are more real and closer to the actual work. There’s also sections about collaboration and communication etc (which I normally end up on because I think they’re so important).

@benhamill this interview is at a Python shop so hopefully it won’t be that asinine

@fluffy One interview question that I've always liked in theory (for a *senior* web developer) is "describe everything that happens when a user types in 'google.com' in the URL bar of a web browser until the page loads, in as much detail as possible". Within some time limit since it's possible to go all day on this one

@darius also thanks to PWAs it might even take a week now

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