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And yet when a company tries to reduce a candidate to a consistent set of objective criteria as best it can--meaning, the ability to understand programming problems and solve them in a structured interview--people get upset because it doesn't account for the "big picture" of the candidate and unfairly excludes people who'd otherwise be a great fit.

The reality is that any interview procedure is bound to have some false positives and some false negatives, and there will always be people who see themselves as false negatives (correctly and incorrectly) who'll complain loudly about any procedure.




If it were only true or false negatives complaining, that would be one thing. But lots of the complaining also comes from true positives. I've gotten every tech job I've interviewed for since college, and have usually been quite successful in the companies I've worked for. I think all of those interviews were evaluating me on the wrong metric. They evaluated something I also happen to be relatively good at - I have a CS background and I'm ok at contrived little programming problems - but I believe the companies just got lucky that I'm actually even better at the kinds of things that are important in my work - problem analysis, solution design, consensus seeking, teamwork, communication, writing, debugging, research, detail orientation, automation, process definition, etc. etc. etc. - none of which has any real overlap with writing little code snippets.


All of those things, though, are inherently hard to test in a way that's fair, representative, and not easily cheated. Anyone who had a reproducible, consistent way to evaluate which candidates are good at those things would be able to make a whole lot of money.


I don't disagree, but that also doesn't mean coding interviews like we do them now are the best alternative.




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