Great piece. Thank you. Very true. I’m a very privileged software engineer, but I’m working at a toxic job [lots of after-hours weekend unexpected work and soul-crushing management]. One cycle in my current job search, I was addressing 3–4 take homes in the same 2 weeks! Suffice it to say, I had decent work on 3 of the 4. That was the best I could do working exhausting weekend work, getting home from a terrible job with a 1.5 hour commute each direction, and tending to my actual life. I can’t imagine doing this as a parent.
I one time completed a 4-hour assessment and just barely completed it, only to discover that 3–4 other people had posted the problem that the company uses for their challenge on Glass Door. Other applicants who looked at Glass Door might have solved the 4-hour assessment gracefully ahead of time while I looked like a disorganized mess who almost had a working solution to a very difficult challenge.
I actually advocate hiring on 2 hours: one hour is a resume review which makes sure the person isn’t just completely lying [or even lying about important parts — I lie about nothing], and one hour is a general problem solving hour which discusses a generic software engineering problem and asks the person to discuss how he or she would handle it. This absolutely should be weighted for experience, but grit and determination should factor in heavily.
It should be mandatory the person can defend his or her resume [and off-the-job learning], can solve the technical discussion in a way which represents good engineering practices, not specific solution buzzwords which can be picked up on-the-job.
If the person does well relative to other folks in the same cohort on both of these, hire the person and don’t look back. You made a good move.
Maybe what we need is a 6-month trial period: if the job doesn’t work out for either the applicant or the employer after 6-months, it can be terminated without being a “fire”or a “layoff”. After 4-months, the employer should be helping the employee find another job if a fit hasn’t been established.
This would help both applicant and hiring team, I believe, and help resolve the anxiety of the hiring process.