CTO Think

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Are code challenges or quizzes a legitimate practice for hiring developers? We debate whether the method of filtering candidates via whiteboarding or code games is plain lazy or a necessary part of the recruiting process for engineers.

Show Notes

  • Randy is frank: taking a code quiz for a leadership or senior tech role is beneath his experience and skill-level
  • A developer's body of work speaks to their ability to build and lead, not FizzBuzz
  • Randy: Code challenges are lazy hiring.
  • What do you look at? The body of work a developer has done. What do they advertise as work that represents them?
  • Has this person been in a position for the role I'm hiring for? Will a coding quiz tell you that?
  • Look at a candidate's resume, blog, and personal website or simply ask them
  • Github repos are dumping grounds for scripts and not a great place to review someone's quality code
  • Ask the person to provide examples of project they work on
  • People can't show proprietary code from a company they work for, and you don't want them to
  • If a person has not been able to build things, then a test to show technical aptitude may be warranted
  • A green-level dev, in an audition process, must be judged with the idea that such tests are create anxiety
  • Do you really want to hire someone who spends all their time preparing for coding tests?
  • Don's team at AspirEDU brings in the developer, walks through prior experience, and then offers to pay them to come in and spend time working on a small project, and solve the issue
  • A good number of exceptional developers are already employed and have a high demand for their skills
  • If the only part of the tech pool you're looking at are unemployed people, are you missing out?
  • A developer that spends all day coding, and then needs to do a coding challenge to prove they can code, may decide not to put up with your process
  • If taking the time to hire quality people is a low priority, maybe you're misunderstanding the impact of exceptional developers vs average ones
  • Under pressure, can you solve a quiz I just found in a book, and solve it to prove you're worth my time?
  • If someone gives you a reference, take the time to call them and find out what kind of person the candidate is
  • If a developer wants to forego recruiting that includes code puzzles, they need to ask: Who has the leverage, here?

Thanks for listening to the CTO Think Podcast.

Shownotes and previous episodes can be found on our website at www.ctothink.com

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Show music is Dumpster Dive by Marc Walloch, licensed by PremiumBeat.com

Voiceover work by MeganVoices.com

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What is CTO Think?

A pragmatic podcast about leadership, product dev, and tech decisions between two recovering Chief Technology Officers.