Candidate screening can be counter productive . . .

Incompetent telephone interviews persist

Conrad Weisert
May 22, 2017

NOTE: This article may be reproduced and circulated freely, as long as the copyright credit is included.

"Google's representative stated that both management and up-to-date coding skills were required (a rare mix). But having exercised the former for more than 2 decades and the latter for almost 4 decades was not enough: I failed to give the 'right answers'. Is Google raising the bar too high or is their recruiting staff seriously lacking the skills they are supposed to rate?"

Pierre Gauthier: Google's "Director of Engineering" Hiring Test

Pierre Gauthier echoes a frustrating experience that competent professionals undergo. I reported a similar contact1 fifteen years ago, and the experience still recurs from time to time. But in 2017 we're surprised and dismayed to see that practice associated with a company that we respect and that ought to know better. If Mr. Gauthier's report is fair and accurate, then we must revise our opinions of Google's professionalism.

Mr. Gauthier stuck with that insulting quiz longer than many of us would have. I would have terminated the conversation after the first or second condescending "right".

Computer programming is a dynamic field. We apply many of the same principles year after year, but we use new tools to do so. A candidate who has mastered principles of good software structure will usually be far more valuable to an organization than one who has memorized details of some popular currrent product.


1"Thoughts on Interviewing a Programmer Candidate", October, 2001.

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