Main image of article Which Interview Assessments Do Technologists Like Least?

How much do developers hate a whiteboard interview? Or, to put it another way: Is there any kind of interviewing and skills-testing they dislike more?

The answer, according to HackerEarth’s new survey of more than 16,000 developers, is pretty clear cut: Developers are lukewarm on whiteboard interviews as a method of skills assessment… but they dislike pair-programming tests far more. Check out the stats:

HackerEarth conducted this study between January and February, before the COVID-19 crisis gained steam in the United States. As far as assessments go, whiteboarding tests aren’t really an option at the moment (at least in person), and neither are onsite interviews. Fortunately, a significant portion of respondents (21 percent) like remote interviewing using tools—they’ll definitely get their wish for the foreseeable future, as companies in need of tech talent focus on hiring and onboarding remotely.

But a much smaller portion of respondents liked the idea of take-home tests followed by remote interviews. Why is this? Some developers dislike remote interviews because they want the “full” sense of a company that only an on-site interview can provide; combine that with take-home tests that take quite a bit of time and effort, and you can see why they’d prefer this method of assessment less than an onsite interview or a remote interview without a take-home test.

Alternatively, developers might not mind the combination of take-home testing and remote interviews—they just like the other options more. The real losers on this list are the pair-programming options, especially remote pair-programming, which a small fraction of respondents seemed to want. The interview process is often stressful enough without the delicate dance of pair programming especially with a partner whose programming habits you’re not intimately familiar with.

It’s an open question whether COVID-19 will have a permanent effect on how technologists interview for jobs. Based on previous data, it seems that relatively few would miss whiteboarding: Back in 2018, when Dice surveyed technologists about what they hated about the job-interview process, nearly half—42 percent—expressed a hatred for whiteboarding tests. That’s far more than the 30 percent who disliked the time that interviews take, as well as the 22 percent who feared “feeling dumb” during the interview. 

Indeed, many hiring managers have given the practice up: For example, there’s a GitHub repo that lists the companies that have abandoned the whiteboard test as part of the hiring process. However, some companies will likely utilize it for quite some time to come—and as HackerEarth’s data makes clear, there are testing methods that developers seem to like far less.