You’ve probably been there as well … You apply for a new job, so the polished CV and letter have been sent. Then you start going the process of engineer hiring: you passed the first round of selection, which verifies that your skills and competences are relevant.
They Are ! So you are heading to the newco for meeting real people. You are very motivated, have learned how much EBIT the company did the 3 last years, you can even maybe recognize the CEO if you pass by him. You are an experienced software engineer, with a proven track record in the same field.
But …. you are now facing a blank sheet of paper (or a paper board) and you have been asked nasty C questions (30 of them !) and some other silly logic questions. The problem is, at that stage, chances are you will fail miserably …..
It happened to me a lot, I often succeeded, not being an emotive person, but I also failed for unknown reasons. Just cannot remember the Optimal Theoretical RTOS Task scheduling efficiency … (not joking at all). I was also a lot on the other side, hiring people or being part of the hiring process. My personal conclusion: all these tests are just crap !
Even worse, they would not tell you a clue on the Engineer you are about to hire (or not hire :(), for the following reasons:
- Emotive people will always fail, even if they are brilliant engineers.
- When you cannot remember some obscure Java Generic construct, google will always be your friend, after all !
- What kind of value does it have to ask people “Here is an Hadamard matrix, you need to diagonalize it in 10 lines” ??? (that was the favourite one of a former colleague …. nobody ever succeeded it).
- Put me in front of any engineer … i can always find a question to make him fail.
A recent talk with a colleague even showed me the most pernicious aspect of it: candidate can be reluctant to work in such a company that focus on so bizarre and peculiar problems … so basically, you can lose smart guys forever !
I personally hired skilled people which revealed to be a nightmare to manage, beginner people which proved to be real killers and self-learners, and so-so people which stayed that way all they life … Each time, I asked myself “how could I have detected that before ?” and never found a clear answer.
So clearly there must be another way for efficient engineer hiring … which I am still searching.