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No More Whiteboard: Hiring Processes that Don't Waste Time

Austin Putman (Omada Health)
Average rating: ***..
(3.12, 8 ratings)
Slides:   external link

I will talk about:

What makes a good candidate? This is a conversation you should have with your team, but here’s what I look for:

  • Experience with your key technologies
  • Solid communication skills
  • Takes joy in learning and solving problems
  • Wants to work on your team/project
  • Empathy

How do we find them?

Traditional methods:

  • Contingency recruiters
  • Phone screens with brain teasers
  • Whiteboard coding
  • Mega-man style sequential interviews that end with a Boss
  • Gang-up interviews where the goal is to make the candidate sweat

I will detail why these methods cause you to miss out on great talent and bring in people who don’t collaborate well. Also these processes are a drag for the engineers that do them, so you are losing potential productive time AND your team is not put in its best light.

Recruiting talent is hard enough that you should optimize your interview process so that great candidates will feel welcomed and appreciated for each phase of it.

Better alternatives that I will detail, with notes on how and why:

  • In-house or Contract Recruiting
  • Sanity Check Phone Screens
  • Kata Screens
  • Pairing Interviews where actual work is done
  • Use the Rooney Rule to improve diversity on your team

If I’ve got time, I’ll also talk about salary negotiation for the hiring managers in the audience.

Outcomes for Audiences:

The target audience for this talk is hiring managers everywhere and engineers who have some input into hiring processes.

I am hoping to elicit a collective gasp of relief as each person commits to never again inflicting a whiteboard coding session on another human being, and gains hope that going to their next technical interview might actually be a treat.

People who love brain teasers will ignore me or dismiss me as a crank, but these are the first steps to winning.

Photo of Austin Putman

Austin Putman

Omada Health

I empower people to make a difference with appropriate technology. Currently I’m working to turn around the diabetes epidemic.

I was a founding partner and lead dev at Radical Designs, a tech cooperative for nonprofits, and a team anchor for Pivotal Labs, training and collaborating with earth’s best agile engineers.