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Tech interviews are stupid

The interview process for most front-end developer roles is fundamentally broken.

These days, most tech role interviews involve some sort of coding challenge, where the job candidate is asked to work through a problem either in abstract on a white board, or with actual code in a text editor.

I understand why interviewers do this. They want to get a sense for what candidates actually know versus what they’ve copy/pasted from the web. But this process is stupid for a variety of reasons.

First, developers rarely need to go from “here’s a problem” to “here’s a solution” is just 15-minutes to an hour. Sometimes, the right answer will come to you immediately. Sometimes it will take hours, or days, or weeks.

Problem-solving is not linear, and effective programming is mostly solving problems.

Second, every single developer I know, from junior to senior, looks up basic shit all the time. None of us have everything memorized. Hell, I built a whole ass website of things I kept copy/pasting from past code I’d written to reduce the amount of time I spent searching for stuff.

Coding is solving problems. A big part of that is looking stuff up.

Like, seriously, the most important skill a developer can have it knowing how to research solutions to problems. Specifically…

  • Breaking problems into parts
  • Identifying what to search for
  • Knowing how to sort good info from junk

A better tech interview process might involve presenting a candidate with a problem and then letting them actually Google stuff. Hell, don’t just let them—encourage them!