April 15, 2022

HackerNews Hot Takes With Wes Part 2: Senior Engineers Don’t Want to Take Code Quizzes

By Casey Higgins

Welcome to Hot Takes With Wes, a video series where Woven Founder/CEO Wes Winham Winler schools us on all things recruiting, assessing, and hiring software engineers.

Today’s Hot Take: Senior engineers don’t want to take code quizzes.

Should they have to? Let’s hear Wes’ response to a HackerNews post where a candidate is feeling burnt out from the interview process.

Full Transcript:


On HackerNews we have a senior engineer with 10 years of experience complaining about the job market.

He’s being hit with algorithmic code quizzes everywhere he goes. He’s been focused on code review and system design in his role for at least several years, and really doesn’t want to go study Leetcode to get his next role. So he asked about what he should do.

I think the important lesson here is what you can do as an engineering leader to take advantage of folks like this.

There are not enough senior engineers. There are missed hiring goals all over the world right now. Experienced folks are hard to come by, and this is one of the last untapped areas. If you can find a way to attract the folks that don’t want to study for a code quiz, but can do the design, the code review, and actually build some software, there’s an opportunity here.

Some companies are building interview processes that don’t have the kind of traditional algorithmic code quiz, but do have code review where you review some code asynchronously. They do have system design where you might take a design and edit in a Google Doc. And that is a way to find folks that really can contribute to your team right away that are being overlooked.

It helps you hire faster and build your team with senior engineers, instead of, “Well, I guess we’ll hire another junior engineer, cause this is what we got in front of us, but I’m worried it’s going to bite us.”

Eventually you’ve got to hire those senior engineers, and building a different interview process is one way to do it.

Key Takeaways

Experienced engineers know how to code. And they don’t want to spend hours studying for code quizzes or solving puzzles to get their next job.

Think of it this way: if you were hiring a dancer, you’d ask to see them dance. So why not assesses senior engineers on their actual skills (like code review, debugging, system design, etc.) instead of making them jump through hoops?

It’s important to remember that candidate experience matters. High-level developers have options — if they feel burnt out from your interview process, they’ll go elsewhere.

Create a process that’s worthy of their time.


Code quizzes aren’t the only (or best) way to evaluate senior engineers. Use this to your advantage by offering a technical assessment that focuses on their actual skills and gives them real-world work to complete. Not only will you end up with a better team, but you’ll also attract top talent that might have otherwise been turned off by a traditional interview process.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Hot Take. Be sure to check back soon for Part 3!

Hiring senior devs? Start a free trial with Woven, the only technical assessment platform that goes beyond code.