Earlier this month, we asked what worried you most about the tech interview process. The results are in, and wow, do you ever hate whiteboard interviews!
A full 42 percent of respondents say the thing they dread most about the tech interview process is standing at a whiteboard with a big problem to solve. It wasn’t even close: whiteboard fear enjoys a double-digit margin over all other options.
A long interview process ranked second, with 30 percent saying they dread it. With some tech interview processes taking many months to complete, it’s no wonder we’re inclined to loathe it.
‘Feeling dumb’ ranked third, with 22 percent, while ‘poor references’ chimed in with five percent. When it came to how we act on social media, only one percent (actually lower, but we round up or down for these percentages) say they’re worried something dumb they said on Twitter (or elsewhere) would give interviewers the wrong idea about them.
Between the whiteboards and ‘feeling dumb,’ we concluded that 64 percent of us are worried about looking foolish in some way during the interview process. The ‘feeling dumb’ answer related specifically to questions asked in the interview, but whiteboards are another means of making you feel inadequate. Maybe tech pros are afraid their interview habits don’t adequately reflect their skillset; it may also hint at imposter syndrome, something many of us experience. (An alternative to whiteboards is take-home projects, which at least let you work the problem at a “normal” pace.)
We’ve suggested in the past that whiteboard interviews should be ditched entirely, in large part because they don’t relay how developers actually work. Searching the web for answers is a daily occurrence, and chances are your IDE helps you avoid a lot of the code minutiae you have to write out on a whiteboard.
There’s even a GitHub repo dedicated to listing companies that don’t do whiteboard interviews. Maybe next time you’re asked to whiteboard, just write
github.com/poteto/hiring-without-whiteboards on the board as your marker-drop moment.