Pay For the Coding Interview

How much money are you expecting out of the coders you interview?

I recently got asked to do an 8 hour project as a coding demonstration for a potential job. Against my better judgement, I took the time out to build and deploy their project, a very basic API built with Tornado and Elasticsearch deployed on Amazon using Chef and Fabric.

In deciding to take on the interview question, I realized I could potentially end up more financially invested in the interview process than the actual interviewing company. And things actually ended up worse than I’d anticipated:

8 hours @ $125 / hr (coding demo)            = $1,000
2 hours @ $125 / hr (interviewing)             = $250 


1 hr @ $125 / hr (writing and posting job) = $125
1 Post on Stackoverflow                            =  $350
2 hours of Interviewing  @ $125 /hr          =  $250 


This is why hiring is so broken. You’re asking me to invest $1,200 in proving to you that I’m actually capable of delivering code. I have no problem with you verifying that I can, in fact code, but don’t expect me to do it for free.

With multiple interviewees, the investment differential grows even worse. The cost of posting a job goes down, and the value of the code written by the interviewees goes up.

You can easily see $10,000 worth of wasted code time in a typical interview process, spread up amongst 10 people being interviewed under your code test. 

This is the reason your company can’t find talent. Because talent isn’t willing to pay $1,200 worth of coding time to prove that they’re not full of shit.

Again, against my better judgement, I wrote the code anyways.

When I submitted my code, I was told I would receive further instructions within 24 hours from the lead programmer.

Instead, a full 2 days later, I was let know the coding position had been filled by someone who started the interview process two weeks ago. There was no dialogue with the lead developer, and no feedback on the code I had written.

At least I learned something.

If you want to interview me, you’re going to pay for my time.

Why Facebook Will Destroy Google

First off, I know technical people love Google. They love the idea of all that intelligence and capital all flowing together and creating really exciting technology. However, I’d say that Facebook has been beating Google strategically for the past year.

The Internet’s Dirty Secret

The internet doesn’t run on top secret algorithms, or cool server technologies. Instead the internet runs on good old commerce. Five years ago, Google really innovated in this market, and created a new advertising that was extremely effective called Adwords.

Now, the market within Adwords is becoming too competitive. It simply isn’t the best bargain for advertising. Instead, Facebook has become the advertising innovator. They now give the best value for advertising dollar spent.

They have disrupted the market with their advertising solution.

Customer Building for Dummies

Facebook has built a platform for businesses to build customers, and permission marketing. Rather than paying to simply have people see your page, Facebook has innovated by letting you pay to have people “Like” your page, granting you access to start having a conversation with your potential customer.

In simple terms, Facebook is selling you a relationship with their marketing, and Google is selling you eyeballs with their marketing. You can guess which is more effective.

Technology Fragmentation On Google’s Side

Think about coming to the internet for the first time from a small business’ perspective. What tools would you need to get your company online?

For Google, you need  the following fragmented, painful tools:

  • Adwords – Pay to get people to your site, hopefully set up some way of capturing their information
  • Google Sites Build a website, get your information up
  • Google Analytics Test your advertising, see where your visitors are coming from, where the action points are at
  • Google Apps – Manage your online points of contact

And this is just a bare minimum to get up and running for a small business owner who has very little time to spare on technology. The fragmentation here is a real pain point.

Contrast this with Facebook’s Fan Page System:

  • Set up a Fan Page
  • Pay for Traffic
  • Use the Fan page to have a conversation with your customers

There is almost immediate entropy built in to Google’s Advertising Solutions if you’re not very sophisticated. On the other hand, Facebook’s platform is built to spread your business. Everyone who likes your page shows up in all their friend’s feeds.

Big bang for your advertising buck.

The Eyes Are Worth Less Every Day

My internet marketing friends are seeing this happen every day. The old reliable people who still clicked on Myspace ads are becoming more sophisticated. Everyone is becoming blind to the barrage of ads, even the basic web surfers.

Facebook’s advertising model is most certainly the way of the future. Only listening to the people your friends already trust.

Google’s Billion Dollar Mistake

Google’s strategy in advertising has been to track everything you do, and target ads at you based upon what pages you’ve seen, and what you’ve searched for. This does not create a better experience for the end user.

This creates paranoia for the end user.

But again, Google’s solution for everything human is a better algorithm, so damned if I don’t really need to see ads on every site I visit for my last search.

But Search Is Everywhere!

Do you know any women between the ages of 18 and 30? How many times do they check their Facebook profile on an average day?

I’d say Google is only providing on sort of information stream, one that isn’t targeted to our personal lives. Guys may be interested in searching algorithms all day, but girls are more interested in information streams from their social contacts.

And women are the future arbiters of commerce.

When All You Have is a Hammer…

Google’s only hammer is algorithms. Algorithms will solve every conceivable problem. But for their main customers (business owners), algorithms aren’t what they need. They need to start building relationships with new customers.

Google is ignoring their customers, and hasn’t been solving their needs very well for a long time. Instead, they try to let algorithms solve the problems of dealing with humans. And that is the last thing we humans want.

A world where you speak and the only thing that talks back is the algorithm.