Tech Hiring Misperceptions at Different Companies

July 22, 2016

I’ve seen many companies’ technical interview processes and I feel many of them are wrong. For almost any advice about technical interviewing, you’re likely to hear the opposite advice from a different person. What people don’t realize is that different types of companies need different types of engineers, and that you can’t select the correct type of engineer if you’re interviewing for the same qualities.

Many people, especially those firmly in the Silicon Valley Blogosphere, opine that you should only hire ninja rockstar jedi engineers (nobody calls them that anymore, but the mindset is still there) for your startup (because you obviously work at a startup, right?) whether your startup is trying to sell a static program analysis engine or be an Uber for X company. The fact is that for most companies, good software will not save a failing company and bad software will not sink a successful company (case in point: Yahoo and your typical government contractor, respectively). Therefore, if you’re in the category of companies whose success doesn’t depend on the strength of your engineering organization (which is most companies), I think you should stop trying to attract really good engineers - they’re going to get bored writing yet another CRUD app and you’re going to be paying a lot more money.