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We can argue about the extent to which an employer should balance hiring for existing skills and hiring for potential to learn, but you can’t claim the latter unless you can point to prior success at learning new skills.The punchline is that the interviewer hires a car salesman who’d sold brown cars with walnut interiors. Our hypothetical carpenter was effectively arguing that even if he’d only ever hammered together pine stud walls he could easily learn to do finish carpentry with walnut for a client very particular about his browns.The main premise of this complaint about programming interviews is that a programmer is a programmer is a programmer, and the details don’t matter, and that’s straight-up bullshit. If the overall software system will be distributed, then the architecture needs to take rollout into consideration.Shrugging off context is only a professional qualification for field-goal kickers. I don’t think it’s used much (if at all) for stud wall construction, but it is occasionally used for post-and-beam construction, which involves either metal brackets or traditional cut joinery, and for nonstructural finishings.In this hypothetical, we’re talking about a job building houses. Any real carpenter would know the differences between varieties of wood, between the two major types of wood construction, and between the different roles wood can play in a project.Houses are most commonly built using platform framing of stud walls made from spruce, pine, or fir. And he’d definitely know which projects he’d worked on that involved which.Among other things: I’ve never met anyone in the software industry who is happy with the hiring process, and that includes everyone who’s designed the process.Nobody seems to have a solution to separating the potential stars from the mehs, and anyone who claims they do either doesn’t have enough perspective to understand the difficulty of the problem (young interviewers who have been trained in one particular hiring style seem to be blessed with the arrogance of blind faith), or they’ve perfected the art of hiring the mediocre (a sufficiently rigorous process can probably rule out almost all the disastrous hires, but will likely also lose a few stars…and it’s finding the stars that is the problem).
I have no doubt that the industry is full of coders banging out one CRUD app after another, but their work bears a lot more relation to architects customizing a house design to a particular site (or, a better analogy, 19th-century railroad engineers applying the standard truss designs to design bridge after bridge) than it does to contractors framing house after house based on the designs they’re handed.Pouting that interviews suck without suggesting any improvements is just childish, and doubly so if you’re complaining not about the bizarre “puzzle question” or “culture fit” interviews, but about being questioned on knowledge and experience.Technical interviews can be annoying and they can be done badly, but I’d still much rather work in an industry that does tech interviews than one forced to rely solely on CV reviews and personality-driven poking at “soft skills”.When Apple made a phone, it turned out it wasn’t really competing in the handset business; it was competing for the next dominant personal computing platform.The more I think about an Apple car, the more I think that it might be the basis of their future “computing environment”: a space that is completely aware of and responsive to its occupant(s).