Recently, I interviewed for a leadership role that left me bitter over my decision not to move on. While I wasn’t sold that I was the right fit for the role, I felt the decision was made ahead of time considering how the role was advertised. I will not name the company but I will generalize it being the company Moonlight pedigree with a very unique And forward thinking The business problem is being solved.
what went wrong
Key technologies were not included in the job description
As an interviewer, I rely on job descriptions to self-assess and prepare for interviews with various stakeholders. In my most recent experience, I found myself doing top-level searches in both the hiring manager and in technical interviews, leaving me unprepared to speak with regards to those technologies. If you know you need to build a data lake with a strong abstraction layer, or you need to scale a technology stack component that is more unique to that industry, it is helpful to describe it with an ad . It’s also helpful to stack-rank your priorities in the job description, as it intuitively emphasizes what you need most.
Simply put, Scheduling a meeting without an agenda is disrespectful in business. This opinion applies equally to the interview process, as it does not enable one side of the meeting to be adequately prepared. As an interviewer, I would proceed Ask for agenda for each meeting, This will enable me to ask follow-up questions if I am unsure about what a certain topic will be and be prepared.
The test did not reflect the role
The aptitude test is a common (and controversially necessary) part of the interview process, as it acts as a filter around the competencies needed to be successful. But a lot of companies get it wrong and measure a candidate wrong, which is how I felt after this interview.
The test itself (application architecture design) is a perfectly valid type of test when you’re evaluating one individual contributor Like a Senior or Principal Engineer. But as a leader? I’m not being hired to dig trenches, I’m being hired to build successful teams that solve company problems. Yes it is important that I have a . Is base level of merit, but when the role is not that of an individual contributor, this type of test is not a golden sign for evaluating a candidate.
How would I have done it differently as the interviewer?
To start, I’ll update the job description to reflect what topics are going to be discussed during the hiring manager and technical phase interviews, and the stack ranks the priorities of each bullet point.
Second, the agenda. They also don’t have to be complicated agendas, something as simple as the following tasks:
1. Introductions 2. Pair session - Application Architecture Diagram 3. Q&A
Third, I will create an aptitude test where the candidate will pitch a solution and plan to implement. This would be a more appropriate way of quantifying a leadership role with a vague problem and budget to build a team. This will not be a synchronous test but an assignment which will be issued after passing the Hiring Manager stage and submitted after the completion of the Stakeholder Interview.
Last but not least, I would rearrange the technical interview phase into a round robin where a candidate meets 2-3 stakeholders in person to evaluate merit. Preferably, the stakeholders will be from different teams/departments, enabling different perspectives and providing a more comprehensive assessment of a candidate, reflecting the fact that the job is not a single task.
Do you sympathize with my experience, do you have your own experience, or a different opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, but please keep it civil and agree to disagree 😉