Traditional Coding Interviews Don’t Work: Five Ways to Hire Better Engineers


Traditional coding interviews. They just aren't working anymore.

Traditional coding interviews.  They just seem so one-dimensional.

Just because a candidate can code doesn’t mean that candidate will be a great engineer or team member. Most software engineers code about 20-30% of the time. The rest of the time they need to be problem-solving, brainstorming, meeting with internal teams, and even talking with customers.  Which is why, assessing soft skills for technical hires should be an essential part of the coding interview process. That's where Artifical Intelligence (AI) and live interviewing can help.

An AI-powered coding interview gives recruiters and interviewers insight into both coding skills and a candidates' personality, knowledge and experience beyond the resume. With AI, it's easier than you think to hire technical talent - whether it's for data science, QA or DevOP -  with the right mix of technical and soft skills. Isn't it time we upgrade our interview process to include both video interviewing and AI?

Here are five ways to hire better engineers.

#1. Look beyond the resume.

Blame the internet. Blame Google. A bachelor's degree in computer science isn't the first indicator of someone's coding skills anymore. It's no longer necessary to graduate with a degree to be a pretty good, or even an awesome programmer. Many of today's engineering candidates learned to code online and never took a formal coding course in their life. And why not? With a healthy dose of curiosity finding access to experts and 'how-to' coding documentation is basically limitless. And it makes candidates more marketable and well-rounded. Great coders might be a physicist or a financial analyst or even a project manager. All of these roles require logic and problem-solving capabilities, analytical skills, and highly honed organizational skills. Which is everything you should evaluate in your next coding interview.

#2. Look beyond coding skills.

Really good software architects and programmers are people persons too. And why not? It’s an absolute necessity to know how to brainstorm with others, talk with customers, build relationships, and even work with marketing & sales teams. They often write product requirement documents and interpret customer needs and show others how to test code. These are foundational skills necessary to building effective and successful engineering teams. It’s hard to train soft skills so it’s essential to measure them early on in the recruiting process.

#3. Look beyond the individual contributor.

Teamwork is essential for most engineering teams to thrive. When hiring your dream team, look to create balance– avoid hiring the ‘geek squad’.  Evaluate candidates for adaptability, sense of humor, curiosity and problem-solving skills. The desire and drive to get the impossible done is something that can’t be measured by testing coding skills alone. Personality plays a big part.

#4. Look beyond the ‘perfect’ coding interview.

It’s so easy to screen out great talent because someone missed a perfunctory coding challenge or failed to perfectly answer a theoretical, academic question. The question isn’t ‘can you code’.  The better question is ‘can you solve a problem’ and how will you do it. Learning to code isn’t rocket science these days – unless you’re a NASA engineer of course - and a technically minded individual can likely learn to code in today's environments.  So don’t overlook the candidate who missed the coding challenge.  Instead, assess whether the approach to the challenge was true, and whether there’s an aptitude for learning.

#5. Look beyond coding experience.

Experience is a great past indicator of what you’re likely able to do in a job. But imagine finding the engineer who can not only code, but also has the business and people skills to be the next CTO. You'll invest a lot of time, effort and resources hiring engineers. Make the most of it.  In the long run, you'll find measuring potential and soft skills will give you a certain competitive advantage over your competitors.

What’s your engineering dream team look like?

Whether you're hiring a few engineers, adding to an existing team, or sourcing a new project team, take a few moments and whiteboard what technical skills and personal characteristics are important today and in the future to be consistently successful. Even though everyone’s dream team looks different, a few things remain constant. A dream team is well-balanced - a group of people who work well together, play off each other’s strengths, and have each other’s backs. A dream team is smarter together rather than as individuals. Together as a team, they excel at reaching and exceeding business objectives. And as importantly, they have fun getting results.

How do you effectively and accurately evaluate these essential soft skills?  Using the power of artificial intelligence (AI) backed by science.

Live coding interviews powered by AI.

AI easily automates the screening process and delivers valuable predictive analytics on candidate potential and performance. Advanced video analytics give recruiters and interviewers data-driven input to help them make hiring decisions more confidently. Not only do recruiters and interviewers save time and effort by automating the selection process, AI-assisted live coding interviews like CodeMeet assess a candidate's code quality and state of mind. Combine live video interviewing with up-to-date IT skills tests and scientifically-validated cognitive, behavior and personality assessments, and you'll be hiring all the best engineers faster.

Let's work together and find all the new ways your team can hire better engineers.


About the author

Marianne Rocco is a passionate marketer and is inspired to help customers and potential customers get the most out of marketing - whether it's streamlining processes, creating better content, or hosting live webinars or webcasts. She is the VP of Marketing at Aspiring Minds on a mission to help grow the US market and make Aspiring Minds a 'HR' word. She is an alumnae of Duke University, Boston College Carroll School of Management and served as an officer in the US Air Force. Connect with Marianne on LinkedIn or email.

Get In Touch