Blog of Rob Galanakis (@robgalanakis)

What if candidates controlled the interview process?

The software engineering interview process at most jobs is similar- phone screen, some programming work, a bit of architecture or systems design, cross-functional (aka “culture fit”) interviews. Companies are all over the place on how well they execute this formula, but the general formula is the same.

Not only is the formula consistent, but it’s even more common that there is “the hiring process” (singular), sometimes varied by the specifics of the role or title, even if “the hiring process” is an inconsistent dumpster fire.

This is strange to me — there’s compelling research (and at this point hopefully general acknowledgement) that we’re really bad at predicting success of candidates. But we seem to all be marching down this path of having a singular process. As if success is just around the corner.

My most famous solution is to hire randomly, but that’s for a future discussion.

Short of that — what if we allowed candidates to design their own process? Make it a “choose your own adventure” type of experience. They can choose from a menu of sessions, topics, and interviewers. Let the candidate design a process that shows their experience in the light they want; let them show you their strengths; let them be comfortable and confident.

What if we had a process designed for cultivation and strengths, rather than one designed around weeding and finding weakness? It would select the people who could truly thrive and add to the whole, rather than selecting for those who could just survive in the sterile, synthetic world of the interview.

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