Technical Interview Trends

Over the past year or so, I have observed a growing trend used by hiring companies early in their interview process of computer professionals. As in the past, the recruitment / interview process begins with an initial contact by a recruiter, or with a job seeker visiting a job board. Once the job seeker expresses interest in the position by clicking the online job lead, the job seeker is presented with a form in order to upload a résumé, or complete and submit an online job application. This has been the norm for many years. 

This leads to the next step in the interview process: further narrowing the list of possible candidates. This step is where I see the most change taking place, and this change, I believe, will affect the future of high tech job interviewing: Assuming the candidate’s résumé is determined algorithmically to be a goodmatch, and the candidate has shown interest in the position, the candidate will receive an email with instructions to complete a technical assignment, or an online technical challenge. The self-paced technical assignment could be short or long, but typically ranges from a couple of hours to a couple of days. In the case of an online technical challenge, these are typically time-boxed between 30 minutes and one hour in length, and focus on technical problem solving, and algorithms. Once the technical challenge is completed, candidates should expect their submission to be analyzed by software algorithms, unit tests, etc. Unsuccessful candidates will receive computer-generated decline responses, while successful candidates will receive instructions for the next phase in the interview process. While the technical problem solving, and algorithms interview style is not new to computer professionals, especially at large comanies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, the widespread use of online assessment tools and automation of results is. 

The high tech interview process is changing rapidly and successful job seekers must adapt. Your online professional profile and résumé might get you into the interview funnel, but your ability to complete increasingly complex technical challenges in time constrained, online formats, will be required to move you through the interview pipeline. Time to brush up on your computer science fundamentals!