Should candidates be paid for time spent interviewing?

Everyone seems to agree that the way we interview people is broken.  I’ve heard the analogy that an interview is like asking someone to marry you after you’ve dated them for an hour.  I agree with this.  It’s a big commitment for both sides and there isn’t much time to figure out if you’re a good fit.  In an effort to avoid bad hires, a lot of companies are using longer interview processes:

  1. Some companies will give candidates an at home test to work on in their free time.  I’ve heard stories of these being side projects that take up to 2 weeks.
  2. Some companies want you to take a day off for a full day interview.
  3. Some companies want you to take a day off to actually work at the company for a day as a trail run.

Should a company pay for the time that a candidate spends interviewing?

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You can’t hire away your quality issues

I work with a lot of companies that have more work than they can handle.  Actually, almost every company is in this boat.  But some companies handle this scenario very poorly.  When there is too much work to do, they work harder to get it all done.  As a result, they are often desperate to hire new people to take on the work load.  In the mean time, it seems that quality suffers everywhere as a result.  People are assigned more work than they can handle and that becomes an excuse for why everything’s broken.  Eventually you might get into a situation where it seems like you’re spending more time fixing problems than working on new features.

Hiring more people is not going to fix the problem because the problem is the company culture.  If your team sacrifices quality when they are asked to do more than they can handle, then your culture is telling them that quality isn’t important.  You’ve already lost.  If you hire more people, the only thing it will change is that you have more people in the exact same situation.

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How to vet a software engineer’s skills if you are not technical

I go to a lot of networking events where non-technical people have an idea, but they don’t have the technical know-how to build it themselves.  They want to hire a CTO or a developer, but they don’t know how to evaluate their skills.

I am going to provide some ways you can vet these people.  None of these methods will be perfect because the best way to vet a software engineer is to work with them.  But it can make you more confident in your decision.

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