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Twitter was failing me badly so I quickly wrote down a random list of reasons why I think (of course, that's just my opinion) code challenges hurt diversity:

  • A lot of people performed badly at exams at uni (or any other form of exam). I can correlate to this very well as I was getting really nervous when taking an exam. I think it's kinda of normal to see code challenges as an exam. I know of people that wouldn't apply because of this reason. After seeing a lot of bad usages of this hiring tool, I wouldn't apply in most cases either.
  • I think it's safe to assume code challenges acts as a filter. All our hiring techinques do and that's fine. My "problem" with this one is that it brings a lot of false negatives. The challenge may be badly written, the person may not have the time to commit to it. And junior developers can get really scared by this.
  • Code challenges are generally meant to hire the bar of seniority and I find that highly counterintuitive. Based on my experience, the more senior a person is, the more likely she is going to avoid writing the code. There are a lot of ways of solving a problem in a real word context and code challenges generally fail to capture that kind of context. It would show the reviewers how a specific problem, artificially constructed by the reviewers, has been solved. That may be a good data point but I can hardly justify it given the problems it carried with itself in the situations I've seen it.
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