Interviewing for Performance: Is the Leetcode Craze Worth It?

The practice of interviewing potential employees has long been a part of the hiring process. In recent years, however, there has been an influx of “this is how you hire” posts that focus on Leetcode-style interviews, popularized by companies such as Google. But are these posts really worth their weight? Can the interview process really lead to high performance hires?


To answer this question, it’s important to first define what “high performance” means. Is it making economically valuable contributions? Or getting good performance reviews? Or simply being good at writing software? Unfortunately, all three metrics have underlying issues that make them unreliable for judging engineering talent.

Google argues that Leetcode-style interviews are effective due to research indicating that those who are good at algorithms tend to be more successful at the company. However, now that Leetcode has been gamed, its efficacy is questionable and there is a need for other methods of assessing talent. Whiteboard gauntlets have become commonplace but may be indicative of a lack of critical self-evaluation rather than actual success in future job roles.

One possible solution could be paid trial weeks - allowing candidates to work on projects or tasks within the company before actually being hired - but this would require significant resources and time commitments from both parties which isn’t always feasible or desirable for either side. Another solution could involve skill tests focused around analytical hobbies; however this approach carries inherent classist bias so should not be considered without careful consideration and risk assessment beforehand.

Ultimately it is clear that there is no one ‘right’ answer when it comes to creating an effective interview process; each organisation will need to develop its own strategy based on its individual needs and goals in order to ensure successful hires in the future. However one thing remains true: data must back up any claims made about effectiveness if they are truly going to hold any weight within wider conversations about hiring processes today

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