Ugh, Nick’s post linking to 37 Signal’s post about not using puzzles and and riddles to hire people reminded me of the time I interviewed at [redacted].

I was awful. Embarrassingly awful. I can’t even describe how ridiculously bad I was at talking through a problem on paper. Looking back I probably should have just said, “Oh hey, can we try something else?” But I wanted to prove I could do it and just ended up getting it all so wrong I wanted to just get up and walk out of the room.

A friend went through the gauntlet of hiring and he was hit with all the puzzles and algorithms you hear about. He studied really hard for them and did really well; he had his pick of jobs to take. But talking to him now it seems that he ended up at a company lacking any culture and a few odd people he doesn’t care to interact with.

I think I do pretty good hiring people. I tend to do much more talking and challenging ideas than I think most people do. Yes, reading their code is probably the most important thing you can do before hiring, but if you can’t hold a conversation with someone and can’t see having lunch with them, then why even get to that point?