- Technical interviews used by companies to assess applicant tech skills are a better fit for detecting whether a candidate has performance anxiety, according to a study from North Carolina State University and Microsoft published Tuesday.
- Researchers held technical interviews with 48 undergraduates and graduate students in the computer science program — half accompanied by an interviewer, half in a private room. The results found candidates who took the traditional whiteboard interview "performed half as well as people that were able to interview in private," said Chris Parnin, co-author and assistant professor of computer science at North Carolina State University, in a press release.
- Technical interviews, as they're performed today, could allow interviewer bias to affect the process. In the study, all of the women who took the public test failed, while the women who took the test privately passed. Though more studies are needed to reach definitive conclusions, Parnin said it was troubling that the format of the interview could "exclude an entire class of job candidates."
A reckoning on the racial and gender diversity issues plaguing the tech industry has unfolded in the past decade. Leaders have put thought and resources into diversifying their workforce, though progress is slow.
Improvements to talent attraction and development processes in tech are necessary for diversifying the workforce. It's also essential to combat scarcity in high-demand areas of tech, such as cybersecurity.
"The technical interview process gives people with industry connections an advantage," said Mahnaz Behroozi, first author of study and Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University, in an announcement. "But it gives a particularly large advantage to people who can afford to take the time to focus solely on preparing for an interview process that has very little to do with the nature of the work itself."
Though not yet a widespread practice, tech companies have begun to add alternatives to the technical interview component of their hiring practices, such as take-home assignments and pair programming exercises. Improving the hiring process will let players in the tech industry become more competitive as they draw from bigger, more diverse talent pools, said Behroozi.