Tech Job Interviews Are Out of Control

Bock says the shift is partly resulting from mass layoffs; employers are extra in a position to flex their muscle groups in a tighter labor market. But there’s additionally a broader psychological shift. “After years of tech workers being pampered, of ‘bring your whole selves to work’ and ‘work from anywhere,’ executives are now overcompensating in the other direction,” he says.

The upshot for job-seeking coders is confusion, tradition shock, and hours of labor executed without spending a dime. Buzz Andersen, who has held engineering roles at Apple, Square, and Tumblr, just lately hit the job market once more. He famous on Threads final month, “Tech industry job interviews have, of late, reached a new level of absurdity.”

Coding Olympics

Last 12 months an estimated 260,000 staff had been let go throughout 1,189 tech firms, based on a live-update layoff tracker referred to as Layoffs.fyi. And the layoffs have continued into 2024, forcing a glut of expertise into an already aggressive market. An estimated 41,000 tech staff have been laid off to date this 12 months.

Of course, not all the tech staff dropping their jobs are engineers. Engineers are sometimes nonetheless seen as a privileged class inside tech firms and the broader economic system. Typically they’re the highest-paying class of staff under the C-suite in tech firms. Aline Lerner, who runs a preferred interviewing observe platform referred to as Interviewing.io, believes that the overall variety of engineering layoffs final 12 months was nearer to fifteen,000.

Data from Interviewing.io backs up job seekers’ claims that the bar for technical interviewing has gotten quantifiably increased. Interviewing.io connects folks keen to pay $225 or extra for interview observe with skilled hiring managers. These managers conduct mock interviews after which present detailed suggestions. Over the previous eight years Lerner’s firm has recorded 1000’s of grades from these encounters. Interview topics are graded not simply on their technical interviews, but additionally behavioral interviews, which deal with problem-solving and communication.

Since 2022, scoring a “thumbs up” on a technical interview has gotten harder by an estimated 22 %, Lerner says. “It’s a very very clear trend,” she says. “And it’s not just interviews at a few Big Tech companies. It’s happening across many tech companies.”


Got a Tip?

Do you’re employed within the tech trade and have experiences with job looking or work that you just’d prefer to share? Contact Lauren Goode at lauren_goode@wired.com.

On the app Blind, an nameless gossip app the place the reality may be elastic however trade traits typically emerge, some tech staff say interviews really feel “practically impossible.” One person wrote in early February that the bar for getting employed at one of many Big Tech companies is “two LeetCode medium/hard [tests] within 40 minutes and most of my friends failed,” referring to an oft-used on-line programming platform.

Another employee complained on Blind that getting ready for LeetCode questions requires “hundreds of hours” of preparation: “Why are we expected to do the coding Olympics for every company that wants to interview you?” An engineer who turned a supervisor at Dropbox and is now a director within the telecom trade tells WIRED that in his personal previous job looking expertise, he felt compelled to gather and write over 100 pages of coding materials and potential questions earlier than interviews.