May 31, 2022

HackerNews Hot Takes With Wes Part 4: LeetCode Interviews Are Ruining the Industry

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: LeetCode interviews are scaring candidates and ruining the industry.

Yikes. Let’s hear Wes’ response to a HackerNews post where a qualified candidate loses out on a great opportunity because of this type of interview.

Full Transcript:

We have to stop with the LeetCode interviews.

On HackerNews there’s a story of an engineer who flew halfway across the world to Palo Alto to interview for an ML company. And they sprung a LeetCode interview on him.

He failed, he hadn’t been practicing, and he had already done a four-hour onsite. And they rejected him. He has to fly back.

This is something that is ruining the industry. They are engineers who are anxious, they’re stuck in jobs, but they’re scared of random LeetCode, algorithmic, not-representative-of-the-actual-work interviews. So they don’t even try.

At best, this is wasting a ton of time as senior engineers that are working on systems communication and trade-offs have to spend a bunch of time practicing algorithmic stuff that they haven’t done since college or bootcamp.

At worst, it scares underrepresented engineers from even getting started.

It’s a barrier that is not related to the ability to do the work. We have to fix this.

Key Takeaways

LeetCode tests are not indicative of a developer’s ability to succeed in a role. And underrepresented engineers are disproportionately disadvantaged by these interviews.

What we need is a more inclusive interview practice — a practice that goes beyond code to evaluate essential skills like debugging, architecture, and systems design. (You know, the things engineers are actually doing on the job.)

Here’s what one candidate said after taking Woven’s assessment:

“This was my favorite coding interview that I’ve worked through. I thought the challenges were extremely well-designed and it felt more applicable to real world work than any LeetCode type interview process I have taken in the past.”

If you want senior engineers, it’s time to ditch the automated tests.


Experienced engineers don’t want to take code quizzes. They want to show you that they have the skills to do a job. And if they have to deal with LeetCode, they might not even apply.

That’s why companies choose Woven. We provide a positive developer experience using real work simulations.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Hot Take. Be sure to check back soon for Part 5!

Hiring senior engineers? Start a free trial with Woven, the only technical assessment platform that’s worthy of their time and expertise.