April 12, 2022 | 2 minute read

Intuition Driven Interviews

#programming#career#writing

Tech interviews are for the most part broken. Everyone kind of knows it, many hate it, and many more accept it.

It seems like there's a prevailing sentiment where these sort of tech interviews are a necessary evil.

To me, the current way of spitting out algorithms and asking interviewees to solve them reminds me of the North American school system. This system rewards memorization more than it does creativity or mastery. It seems like that carried into the tech interview process.

My major gripe is that solving algorithms does not set me apart from a fresh graduate, or someone with no experience at all. Nor does it resemble the daily work of most developers.

When I hear that it requires months of preparation to pass interviews for some big companies, it makes me dread when it is time to prepare for the process all over again.

I think we can do better.

When I get the chance to conduct interviews, the type of interview I like best is asking to review some code.

I give them a piece of code that has many flaws. Many of the flaws are glaring and critical, while others are subtle. Sometimes refactors can can be done that end up improving not only readability, but runtime performance. While other times it can be done just for the sake of better readability.

My goal is not for them to turn the code into the perfect piece of software, but to see what their understanding of better software is. It allows me to put into light something that is hard to express - intuition.

Granted, this intuition will vary between roles and people, but in general I've found that it makes for very relaxed interviews - since it's something that most developers do quite often (as opposed to solving code challenges).

Intuition Driven Interviews. What do you think?