In my previous post I talked about how there are still some very bad interview processes being used by top firms when hiring developers. In the last two weeks I have seen many of my former colleagues going for interviews with a wide array of firms, including some of the best technology and financial companies in the world. This has given me a great opportunity to compare and contrast the hiring process in its current state and has led me to two further observations.
The first is quite obvious – the range and quality of hiring processes is as varied as there are firms. Some are very old fashioned, some are incredibly fastidious, while occasionally, a firm will surprise me by creating a programming test that is both novel and directly attributable to the kind of real world work one of their developers might be expected to do on a daily basis. Congratulations to those companies for taking the initiative – everyone else, you’ve got some competitor research to do if you don’t want to lose out in the hiring game. Remember the candidate is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.
The second observation is one that starts to show my age. Some of the tests I’m seeing over my colleagues’ shoulders are very familiar indeed. In fact one was almost an exact facsimile of a programming test I sat over 10 years ago. Another of the tests – one that stood out from the crowd for its pragmatic approach – was almost identical to a test a friend once described to me he’d sat in Sweden. A quick dig around the wonders of social networks informed me that in both of these cases, I could directly trace someone I’ve previously worked with to these firms at some point in the last 3 years. I can only assume they took their coding tests with them when they moved, ensuring that the lineage lives on. Just please, don’t take the bad tests with you when you move on and, whatever you do, don’t let them get into the cloud else we’ll never be rid of them!