You probably don’t factor in engineering time when calculating cost per hire. Here’s why you really should.

By Aline Lerner / April 24, 2019

Whether you’re a recruiter yourself or an engineer who’s involved in hiring you’ve probably heard of the following two recruiting-related metrics: time to hire and cost per hire. Indeed, these are THE two metrics that any self-respecting recruiting team will track. Time to hire is important because it lets you plan — if a given role has historically taken 3 months to fill, you’re going to act differently when you need to fill it again than if it takes 2 weeks. And, traditionally, cost per...

Does communication matter in technical interviewing? We looked at 100k interviews to find out.

By Dima Korolev / May 18, 2022

Hey Aline (founder of here. This is the 5th post in our Guest Author series.

*One of the things I’m most excited about with the Guest Author series is the diversity of opinions it’s bringing to our blog. Technical interviewing and hiring is fraught with controversy, and not everything these posts contain will be in line with my personal opinions or the official opinions of But that’s what’s great about it. After over a decade in this business, I still don’t think there’s a...

You can’t fix diversity in tech without fixing the technical interview.

By Aline Lerner / November 22, 2016
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In the last few months several large players, including Google and Facebook, have released their latest and ultimately disappointing diversity numbers. Even with increased effort and resources poured into diversity hiring programs, Facebook’s headcount for women and people of color hasn’t really increased in the past 3 years. Google’s numbers have looked remarkably similar, and both players have yet to make significant impact in the space, despite a number of initiatives spanning everything from a points system rewarding recruiters for bringing in candidates from diverse...

Hamtips, or why I still run the Technical Phone Screen as the Hiring Manager

By Alexey Komissarouk / October 26, 2021

Hey Aline (founder of []) here. This is the fourth post in our Guest Author series.

*In this post, our Guest Author, Alexey Komissarouk, talks about how advantageous it is to have hiring managers (rather than individual members of the team) conduct the first technical screen, effectively combining the technical interview and the hiring manager sell call. At [], where the first interaction an engineering candidate will have with a company is always with another engineer (and often with a hiring manager), we’re strong advocates...

No engineer has ever sued a company because of constructive post-interview feedback. So why don’t employers do it?

By Aline Lerner / February 6, 2020

One of the things that sucks most about technical interviews is that they’re a black box—candidates (usually) get told whether they made it to the next round but they’re rarely told why they got the outcome that they did. Lack of feedback, or feedback that doesn’t come right away, isn’t just frustrating to candidates. It’s bad for business. We did a whole study on this. It turns out that candidates chronically underrate and overrate their technical interview performance, like so:


Where this finding starts to get...

Technical phone screen superforecasters

By Alexey Komissarouk / November 25, 2020

Hey Aline (founder of here. This is the third post in our Guest Author series.

In this post, our latest Guest Author looks at interviews from the company’s perspective. So much engineering time goes into interviewing… we know this firsthand, but what can be done about it? Some companies solve this problem by introducing homework. In this post, Alexey digs into some historical data to unearth a really clever, elegant way to save eng time that’s also better for candidate experience!

*If you have strong opinions...

After a lot more data, technical interview performance really is kind of arbitrary.

By Aline Lerner / October 13, 2016
image (1).png is a platform where people can practice technical interviewing anonymously and if things go well, get jobs at top companies in the process. We started it because resumes suck and because we believe that anyone, regardless of how they look on paper, should have the opportunity to prove their mettle.

In February of 2016, we published a post about how people’s technical interview performance, from interview to interview, seemed quite volatile. At the time, we just had a few hundred interviews to draw on, so...

We analyzed 100K technical interviews to see where the best performers work. Here are the results.

By Aline Lerner / March 31, 2022

At we’ve hosted over 100K technical interviews, split between mock interviews and real ones.

As it happens, we know where many of our users currently work – they tell us that when they sign up to avoid getting matched for mock interviews with people they work with.

Given that we have this data AND given that we know how well people do in their interviews, we thought it would be interesting to see which companies’ engineers are especially good at technical interviews. We looked at which...

The technical interview practice gap, and how it keeps underrepresented groups out of software engineering

By Aline Lerner / March 9, 2021

I’ve been hiring engineers in some capacity for the past decade and five years ago I founded, a technical recruiting marketplace that provides engineers with anonymous mock interviews and then fast-tracks top performers—regardless of who they are or how they look on paper—at top companies.

We’ve hosted close to 100K technical interviews on our platform and have helped thousands of engineers find jobs. Since last year, we’ve also been running a Fellowship program specifically for engineers from underrepresented backgrounds.

All that is to say that even...

Exactly what to say when recruiters ask you to name the first number… and other negotiation word-for-words

By Aline Lerner / August 16, 2018

There are a lot of resources out there that talk about salary negotiation but many tend to skew a bit theoretical. In my experience one of the hardest things about negotiating your salary is knowing what to say in tough, ambiguous situations with a power balance that’s not in your favor. What’s OK? What’s rude? What are the social norms? And so on.

Before I started, I’ve worked as a software engineer, an in-house recruiter, and an agency recruiter, so I’ve literally been on all...

The 3 things that diversity hiring initiatives get wrong

By Aline Lerner / March 18, 2021

I’ve been hiring engineers in some capacity for the past decade. Five years ago I founded a technical recruiting marketplace that provides engineers with anonymous mock interviews and then fast-tracks top performers—regardless of who they are or how they look on paper—at top companies.

We’ve hosted close to 100K technical interviews on our platform and have helped thousands of engineers find jobs. For the last year or so, we’ve also been running a Fellowship program specifically for engineers from underrepresented backgrounds.

That’s all to say that...

How much have 2022 layoffs affected engineers vs. other departments? We dug into the data to find out.

By Aline Lerner / October 13, 2022

Over the past few months I’ve seen a number of fear-mongering pieces in the press about how the recession is driving tech layoffs and how tech employees (and engineers specifically) are losing their leverage as a result. Here are a few recent examples:

We’ve raised our Series A!

By Aline Lerner / October 19, 2021

I’m really excited to announce that we raised a $10M Series A led by the fine people at M13. This round of funding is a long time coming. I don’t know what the average company age is when successfully raising an A, but it took us 6 years to get here. It was a long and windy path, and for a little while, we almost died (more on that below), but we’re still here, and we’re so grateful and excited to finally have the resources...

Announcing the Technical Interview Practice Fellowship

By Aline Lerner / July 20, 2020
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I started because I was frustrated with how inefficient and unfair hiring was and how much emphasis employers placed on resumes.

But the problem is bigger than resumes. We’ve come to learn that interview practice matters just as much. The resume gets you in the door and your interview performance is what gets you the offer. But, even though technical interviews are hard and scary for everyone — many of our users are senior engineers from FAANG who are terrified of getting back out there...

Technical interview performance is kind of arbitrary. Here’s the data.

By Aline Lerner / February 17, 2016
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*Note: Though I wrote most of the words in this post there are a few people outside of whose work made it possible. Ian Johnson, creator of d3 Building Blocks, created the graph entitled Standard Dev vs. Mean of Interviewee Performance (the one with the icons) as well as all the interactive visualizations that go with it. Dave Holtz did all the stats work for computing the probability of people failing individual interviews. You can see more about...

How to write (actually) good job descriptions

By Aline Lerner / September 23, 2021

We’ve been doing a lot of hiring at recently which means we’ve been writing a lot of job descriptions. We’ve written before about how important good copy is and how it can elevate less well-known brands, but the exercise of having to write job descriptions for ourselves made me realize that giving advice is a lot easier than following it and that even we, who make a living from hiring, tend to fall into some of the same traps that we tell others to...

Impostor syndrome strikes men just as hard as women... and other findings from thousands of technical interviews

By Aline Lerner / October 30, 2018

The modern technical interview is a rite of passage for software engineers and (hopefully!) the precursor to a great job. But it’s also a huge source of stress and endless questions for new candidates. Just searching “how do I prepare for a technical interview” turns up millions of Medium posts coding bootcamp blogs, Quora discussions, and entire books.

Despite all this conversation, people struggle to know how they’re even doing in interviews. In a previous post, we found that a surprisingly large number of’s users...

What do the best interviewers have in common? We looked at thousands of real interviews to find out.

By Aline Lerner / November 29, 2017

At we’ve analyzed and written at some depth about what makes for a good interview from the perspective of an interviewee. However, despite the inherent power imbalance, interviewing is a two-way street. I wrote a while ago about how, in this market, recruiting isn’t about vetting as much as it is about selling, and not engaging candidates in the course of talking to them for an hour is a woefully missed opportunity. But, just like solving interview questions is a learned skill that takes...

Lessons from 3,000 technical interviews… or how what you do after graduation matters way more than where you went to school

By Aline Lerner / December 28, 2016

The first blog post I published that got any real attention was called “Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data“. It was my attempt to understand what attributes of someone’s resume actually mattered for getting a software engineering job. Surprisingly as it turned out, where someone went to school didn’t matter at all, and by far and away, the strongest signal came from the number of typos and grammatical errors on their resume.

Since then, I’ve discovered (and written about) how useless resumes are, but...

We built voice modulation to mask gender in technical interviews. Here’s what happened.

By Atomic Artichoke / June 29, 2016
3059522-poster-p-1-this-interviewing-platform-changes-your-voice-to-eliminate-unconscious-bias.jpg is a platform where people can practice technical interviewing anonymously and in the process, find jobs based on their interview performance rather than their resumes. Since we started, we’ve amassed data from thousands of technical interviews, and in this blog, we routinely share some of the surprising stuff we’ve learned. In this post, I’ll talk about what happened when we built real-time voice masking to investigate the magnitude of bias against women in technical interviews. **In short, we made men sound like women and...

How do I know if I’m ready to interview at FAANG?

By Atomic Artichoke / December 3, 2020

Recently someone asked us how you know you’re ready to succeed in a Facebook/Amazon/Apple/Netflix/Google (FAANG) interview.

It’s an interesting question, and one I’m sure many of you job seekers out there are wondering.

Internally, we have our own beliefs, but we wanted to see if we could answer this question more objectively. So we set off on a journey to acquire data to try answering it.

Methodology helps prospective job candidates practice mock interviews with actual interviewers from the major tech companies like the aforementioned...

LinkedIn endorsements are dumb. Here’s the data.

By Aline Lerner / February 27, 2017

If you’re an engineer who’s been endorsed on LinkedIn for any number of languages/frameworks/skills you’ve probably noticed that something isn’t quite right. Maybe they’re frameworks you’ve never touched or languages you haven’t used since freshman year of college. No matter the specifics, you’re probably at least a bit wary of the value of the LinkedIn endorsements feature. The internets, too, don’t disappoint in enumerating some absurd potential endorsements or in bemoaning the lack of relevance of said endorsements, even when they’re given in earnest.

Having a...

Can fake names create bias? An exploration into’s pseudonym generator

By Atomic Artichoke / March 7, 2019

Hello everyone my name is Atomic Artichoke, and I’m the newest employee of the team, having joined a couple months ago as a Data Scientist.

Atomic Artichoke isn’t my real name, of course. That’s the pseudonym the platform gave me, right before I took my final interview with the company. If you’ve never used before (and hey, if you haven’t already, why not sign up now?), it’s a platform where you can practice technical interviewing anonymously with experienced engineers (and do real job...

We ran the numbers, and there really is a pipeline problem in eng hiring.

By Aline Lerner / December 3, 2019

If you say the words “there’s a pipeline problem” to explain why we’ve failed to make meaningful progress toward gender parity in software engineering you probably won’t make many friends (or many hires). The pipeline problem argument goes something like this: “There aren’t enough qualified women out there, so it’s not our fault if we don’t hire them.”

Many people don’t like this reductive line of thinking because it ignores the growing body of research that points to unwelcoming environments that drive underrepresented talent out of...

3 exercises to craft the kind of employer brand that actually makes engineers want to work for you

By Aline Lerner / May 14, 2019

If I’m honest I’ve wanted to write something about employer brand for a long time. One of the things that really gets my goat is when companies build employer brand by over-indexing on banalities (“look we have a ping pong table!”, “look we’re a startup so you’ll have a huge impact”, etc.) instead of focusing on the narratives that make them special.

Hiring engineers is really hard. It’s hard for tech giants, and it’s hard for small companies… but it’s especially hard for small companies people...

Building’s collaborative & replayable whiteboard

By Aline Lerner / September 6, 2022

Make systems design interviews not suck

Read the original article here.


During the spring of 2022 I went from being a user of to being one of the engineers on the team.

I discovered in 2021 while preparing for my internship interviews, little did I know that I would end up interviewing for via an interview conducted on to receive an internship opportunity at upon passing the said interview. Yes.

During my 11 weeks, I solved an important business problem, quadrupled my problem-solving...

Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data

By Aline Lerner / June 22, 2013

Note: This post is syndicated from Aline Lerner’s personal blog. Aline is the CEO and co-founder of and results like these are what inspired her to start this company.

I ran technical recruiting at TrialPay for a year before going off to start my own agency. Because I used to be an engineer, one part of my job was conducting first-round technical interviews, and between January 2012 and January 2013, I interviewed roughly 300 people for our back-end/full-stack engineer position.

TrialPay was awesome and gave me...

We analyzed thousands of technical interviews on everything from language to code style. Here's what we found.

By Aline Lerner / June 13, 2017

Note: Though I wrote most of the words in this post the legendary Dave Holtz did the heavy lifting on the data side. See more of his work on his blog.

If you’re reading this post, there’s a decent chance that you’re about to re-enter the crazy and scary world of technical interviewing. Maybe you’re a college student or fresh grad who is going through the interviewing process for the first time. Maybe you’re an experienced software engineer who hasn’t even thought about interviews for a...

What’s actually going on with Google and Facebook hiring freezes? We surveyed 1000 engineers to find out.

By Aline Lerner / August 1, 2022

It looks like we’re entering a recession. One of the hardest things about it is the lack of reliable information about whether companies are still hiring and what hiring freezes even mean. Arguably the two most impactful eng hiring freezes were announced by Facebook (May 4 2022) and then Google (July 20, 2022). Facebook’s freeze is allegedly partial, targeting roles below L7 and excluding machine learning engineers. Google’s freeze is allegedly all-encompassing but may only last 2 weeks. But what’s actually going on? To make...

The Eng Hiring Bar: What the hell is it?

By Atomic Artichoke / March 31, 2020

Recursive Cactus has been working as a full-stack engineer at a well-known tech company for the past 5 years but he’s now considering a career move.

Over the past 6 months, Recursive Cactus (that’s his anonymous handle on has been preparing himself to succeed in future interviews, dedicating as much as 20-30 hours/week plowing through LeetCode exercises, digesting algorithms textbooks, and of course, practicing interviews on our platform to benchmark his progress.

Recursive Cactus’s typical weekday schedule

| Time ...

6 red flags I saw while doing 60+ technical interviews in 30 days

By Uduak Obong-Eren / September 15, 2020

Hey Aline (founder of here. We’re trying something new. Up till now, all posts on this blog have been written by employees or contractors. Why? Frankly, it’s hard to find great content in the recruiting space. There’s so much fluff and bad advice out there, and we didn’t want any part of that.

The other day though, I was reading Hacker News and saw an article by Uduak Obong-Eren about how he did over 60 technical interviews in 30 days *and what he learned...

You now need to do 15% better in technical interviews than you did at the start of 2022 (and the bar will keep rising).

By Aline Lerner / December 1, 2022
Tech jobs are shrinking, and the number of unemployed engineers is growing (1).png is a technical mock interview platform and technical recruiting marketplace so we have a ton of useful data around technical interviewing and hiring. One of the most useful pieces of data in the current climate is the ever-changing technical interview bar – throughout 2022, it’s gotten progressively harder to pass technical interviews, and it’s only going to keep getting harder… because employers are gaining more leverage in the market.

One might say that because we’re a mock interview platform, publishing this post is self-serving.... is finally out of beta. Anonymous technical interview practice for all!

By Aline Lerner / June 4, 2020

I started 5 years ago. After working as both an engineer and a recruiter my frustration with how inefficient and unfair hiring had reached a boiling point. What made me especially angry was that despite mounting evidence that resumes are poor predictors of aptitude, employers were obsessed with where people had gone to school and worked previously. In my mind, any great engineer, regardless of how they look on paper, should have the opportunity to get their foot in the door wherever they choose.


I’ve conducted over 600 technical interviews on Here are 5 common problem areas I’ve seen.

By Ian Douglas / October 15, 2020

Hey Aline (founder of here. This is the second post in our Guest Author series The first post talked about red flags you might encounter while interviewing with companies. Complementarily, this post, authored by one of our prolific, long-time interviewers, explores common missteps that interviewees make.

*One of the things I’m most excited about with the Guest Author series is the diversity of opinions it’s bringing to our blog. Technical interviewing and hiring is fraught with controversy, and not everything these posts contain will be...

The definitive list of companies who are hiring engineers right now

By Aline Lerner / September 20, 2022

A little over a month ago we conducted a survey among our users to get to the bottom of what was happening with hiring freezes at Google and Facebook and published the results. The post went live on August 1st, 3 days before Google’s two-week freeze was due to come to an end, and I even called out that the post might soon be rendered moot. It looks like that did not come to pass – now, a month later, the giants still appear to...

Announcing our Pay Later Program: Don’t pay for mock interviews until you get a job

By Aline Lerner / February 9, 2022

I started 6 years ago with the mission of making eng hiring efficient and fair. In my mind as long as employers were obsessed with where people had gone to school and worked previously, instead of focusing on what people could actually do, hiring would stay broken.

So, we set out to build a better system. On our platform, you get mock interviews with senior engineers who’ve been involved in hiring decisions at top companies. If you do well in practice, you get to bypass...

People are still bad at gauging their own interview performance. Here’s the data.

By Aline Lerner / December 16, 2015
9fdaa-new_interviewer_feedback_circled.png is a platform where people can practice technical interviewing anonymously and if things go well, get jobs at top companies in the process. We started it because resumes suck and because we believe that anyone, regardless of how they look on paper, should have the opportunity to prove their mettle.

At the end of 2015, we published a post about how people are terrible at gauging their own interview performance. At the time, we just had a few hundred interviews to draw on, so as...

A founder’s guide to making your first recruiting hire

By Aline Lerner / April 26, 2016

Recently a number of founder friends have asked me about how to approach their first recruiting hire, and I’ve found myself repeating the same stuff over and over again. Below are some of my most salient thoughts on the subject. Note that I’ll be talking a lot about engineering hiring because that’s what I know, but I expect a lot of this applies to other fields as well, especially ones where the demand for labor outstrips supply.

Don’t get caught up by flashy employment history;...

Why we’re pausing our Pay Later Program

By Aline Lerner / September 29, 2022

If you’ve been following the history of then you’ll know we took a bunch of sharp turns during our journey. I’ll spare you the long version (you can find that in our announcement that we’re out of beta, as well as our Series A announcement), but the TL;DR is that we used to make money from employers, and mock interviews were free for engineers. Then hiring basically froze when COVID-19 happened, and to survive, we started charging engineers. We didn’t feel great about it,...