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I read an article yesterday about how, now, companies are starting to have multiple rounds of interviews. Some people mentioned upwards of 9 rounds of interviews. Has anyone experienced this? I haven’t and I think would find that to be quite off-putting. I can’t think of why any company would feel the need to interview someone that many times?


I've been on a bunch of 2-stage interviews and one 4-stage one.


Depends on how you count them but at our place, it's common to have 3 rounds: HR first ("social"), engineering ("technical"), and usually management ("team").


This, I believe


Three seems ok to me. Anything beyond that is approaching excessive, though. As @U8QBZBHGD said, who wants to invest that kind of time (presumably each round is at least 30-45 minutes) only to be rejected?


The company I work for once had 3 candidates go through a phone interview, then an in-person with multiple interviews across management and senior team members, and then finally a multiple hour event on another day consisting of individual and team-based tests. All 3 were hired, only to have them not work out much longer than their probationary period. I voiced my dissatisfaction with the process. It was such a large investment for both the candidates - and us as a small company. Fortunately it lead to management getting back to a more simple approach which had always worked fine from the beginning.


I think the whole thing only became so complicated after some managers read a bunch of hyped up HR related articles on the internet


@UMJED2JHY I've experienced some all-day interviews that involved sitting down with six or seven different groups of people. One of those was an interview in Dallas, TX that they flew me out from London for. Another was my interview at Macromedia back in 2000. Well, I ended up interviewing for four different roles at Macromedia over about a six-month period, and each was several hours up to most of a day. I turned down the first three roles and accepted the fourth (and stayed there for six years -- and one more year after the acquisition by Adobe).


@U04V70XH6 I suppose if they flew you from London to Texas they were going to get their money's worth 🙂


Now that you mention it, I’ve had a couple of all-day interviews but they were similar circumstances where the companies had flown me out so I didn’t mind it so much. 9 interviews at 45 minutes to an hour each over several weeks seems much more grating to me for some reason.


I at least got the job both times.

Jakub Šťastný20:08:22

That sounds bloody awful. I wouldn't do more than 3 rounds, that's just taking the piss really. Personally I always did only 1 or 2 rounds, although often with some "homework", which I dislike, but compared to 9 rounds of interview, would much rather do the bloody homework!


Where I work, we’re constantly trying to strike a balance between our interview process being too short (meaning we don’t adequately evaluate candidates) and too long (which results in us missing out on strong candidates who have other options and besides isn’t a great experience for the candidate). I’d say that a long interview process might work for a FAANG type company that has loads of candidates that want to work for them but doesn’t work for a lot of companies that struggle to attract talent in a rather overheated market right now.

Ben Sless12:08:24

At a certain fruit company I had around 7 one hour interviews


I heard a good point the other day: the big tech companies can afford almost endless false negatives. They can discard as many talented people as their process can chew through but they will still end up with qualified candidates. Smaller places cannot afford this luxury and really shouldn't imitate the ridiculous practices at places with essentially a bottomless application pool. Don't know if its true but feels like it might have some insight

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Ah, that makes sense. The FAANG companies are doing it because they can and everybody else is misinterpreting that as a signal of success.

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Probably also related to the “hire slow, fire fast” mantra that has been going around for the past decade or so.


is "hire slow, fire fast" a good policy?


I personally don’t think so, except under certain circumstances (harassment, etc…). Why go through all the effort and expense to interview, hire, and onboard someone only to terminate their employment at the drop of a hat when they lack a certain skill or attitude without at least trying to help them rectify that?


this can go in the bin right next to "praise publicly, criticize privately"


I’m reminded of a story Jocko Willink told about one of his SEAL teammates when that guy joined Jocko’s team. The guy was having trouble physically keeping up with the rest of the team during training. They could have “fired fast” but the Navy spent a lot of money and time getting that guy to that team. Instead, that team took it upon themselves to help that guy meet the standards they had including putting together a plan and workout regimen for him. Had he then not been able to keep up, they would have had to have let him go. Now, there’s a very large difference between a SEAL team and someone sitting at a desk writing code. But it seems like fundamentally, there’s something to that, to me at least.


i think that's a great example


And lots of people get fired for reason outside of their control, like when the companies grow too much and then 'have to let go'. The thumbrule seems to forget about this.


I would prefer to see "hire smartly, never need to fire" as the norm in interviewing 🙂 As a hiring manager (since the mid-'90s), I've never had to let anyone go for technical deficiencies that I have directly interviewed and then hired. And I have interviewed and hired a bunch of folks over the past 25 years.

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> is "hire slow, fire fast" a good policy? from an employee perspective it clearly rigs the game against you... you can be fired on a whim, and then are forced to go thru interview hell again thankfully my last few job changes have been "zero-downtime" but yeah, dry spells are a thing and this prevalent philosophy partly explains it


> "hire smartly, never need to fire" Cute, but optimistic. Don't want to tell stories publicly... 🙂


I did qualify that with "for technical deficiencies" 🙂


Not sure that covers all my stories 😄

Ben Sless11:08:15

@UMJED2JHY didn't you just write down the sunk cost fallacy?


I think "fire fast" doesn't mean fire the guy when it fails for the first or second time, but when it looks someone is making things bad all the time, for a month or two, and he/she is persistent in doing it, there is no point of waiting more, hoping he can improve. I've been working once in a team where there was a person who didn't want to cooperate, he is doing stuff his way, alone, period. He knows everything, while in fact he knows a little. The whole dev team was suffering by his works. Literally, everyone knew he writes really bad code, and when he comes once again with thousands-of-lines PR it is too late to help him improve the overall solution design he crafted. That was really weird situation, because even CTO knew he is a not keeping standards, and making other people' life difficult. But what that guy had was really good self promotion. The every little thing he made, he took it and he was walking with it over the whole company, literally selling his skills very well to non-tech people including CEO. That was unnecessary suffering that could be avoided. I read Extreme Ownership at that time, and I tried to help this guy. I really tried. Other devs, including CTO, tried as well. Nothing was helping. In the meantime I left, but I know they transferred him to a separate project, and then they closed the project making his position redundant. It took a while. They lost me, then they lost a lead dev, and soon after CTO left too.

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"fire fast" means that if an employee (either dev or non-dev) don't give a sh*t to improve his/her work/relationship at work, that person might find his desk one day cleaned, which is better solution than 1-3 mo notice (while there is absolutely no incentive to do any better) or like in the aforementioned example, applying time-consuming tricks to fire the person


Right, and I can still see zero admission that most people who get fired absolutely do not get fired for reasons you seem to remember immediately when you hear this. This is why I call this pure propaganda, the idea that the managers' job is so damn hard, they need quick and short thumbrules to decide over such serious matters.


I'm inclined to agree -- and the "at will" employment rules in many US states just make this even worse. Sure, it means you can quit without having to give notice, but it also means you can be terminated without notice and then you have to fight to prove there was insufficient cause to fire you 😐


If an employee is a problem, talk to them, put a written caution on their record with actionable steps to rectify the situation including timelines. If those steps aren't taken in that timeline, talk to them again, on the record, with steps and timeline. If that fails, let them go, but it's all on the record and everyone knows the score. Be honest with employees (and be honest with your employer too).

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I've almost never needed to go beyond that first step -- although sometimes at that point an employee will decide to leave rather than take those necessary steps.


But the tech industry has a really toxic approach to hiring and firing in general. The interview process is mostly just awful and even the firing process is horribly inconsistent...

Ben Sless08:08:21

lots of times what I see is those "remidial" plans dragging on or mismanaged

Ben Sless08:08:36

where an employee could have either been salvaged or fired

Ben Sless08:08:46

instead everyone just ends up with a sour taste in their mouths


@UK0810AQ2 Aye, there's a lot of bad management out there -- often engineers who've been promoted up into that position but never actually trained to be managers. Companies seem to forget there are different skill sets at different levels and you shouldn't be expected to just learn as you go.


It seems like, at some point in the 90's, companies decided management/leadership training wasn’t useful and started getting rid of it. Do any companies do it anymore? I really think it has been a huge failure to do so.


I had a couple of management training courses while I was at Macromedia in the early '00s but I've been freelance and/or at very small companies since then so I don't know how prevalent it is these days.