Our 10th Anniversary Is In



Hiring Wrong in the Era of AI: How Outdated Processes Are Costing You Top Talent

Hiring Wrong in the Era of AI: How Outdated Processes Are Costing You Top Talent

Jun 15, 2024


In today's fast-paced tech world, artificial intelligence (AI) has drastically changed how we code, making traditional hiring methods for software engineers obsolete. As someone who's tested hiring practices multiple times this month for Vets Who Code, I can confidently say that if you're still relying on coding challenges in interviews, you're hiring wrong and losing the talent war. Our tests have shown that our recommended approach for software engineers to navigate the old-school process works, but it's not the best use of their talents or time.

The AI Revolution in Coding

AI tools like GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT have revolutionized our approach to software development. For instance, with the proper prompts and some experience, creating fully functional features in less than 90 minutes is a reality. These tools assist in generating code, debugging issues, and optimizing performance, making the development process more efficient and productive.

The Problem with Traditional Coding Interviews

Today's coding interviews still depend heavily on outdated online coding challenges. These challenges aim to test an applicant's problem-solving skills with algorithmic problems. However, this method has significant flaws:

  1. Limited Real-World Application: Coding challenges often involve problems rarely encountered in daily development tasks. They must reflect the practical skills to build, test, and deploy real-world applications.
  2. Time-Consuming and Exhausting: Preparing for and performing well in these challenges requires much time and effort. For those proficient in using AI tools, this time could be better spent demonstrating our ability to deliver high-quality software efficiently.
  3. Overlooking AI Proficiency: The current interview process does not adequately assess a candidate's ability to use AI tools effectively. This is a critical oversight in an era when AI is integral to software development.

The New Norm: AI Proficiency and Software Engineering Fundamentals

As AI integrates into software development, the skills required for success are evolving. Here are the essential skills that should be prioritized in the hiring process:

  1. Communication Skills: Communication with team members and AI tools is crucial. This includes articulating project requirements, providing clear feedback, and collaborating efficiently.
  2. Software Engineering Fundamentals: A strong understanding of software engineering principles remains essential. This includes knowledge of design patterns, testing methodologies, version control, and agile practices.
  3. Prompt Engineering: Crafting effective prompts for AI tools is a new and vital skill. This involves understanding how to quickly guide AI to produce reliable, high-quality code. In other words, it's about setting the right context and parameters for the AI tool to generate the desired output.
  4. AI Tool Management: Proficiency in managing AI tools like Copilot involves knowing how to review, edit, and refine the code generated by AI. This includes integrating AI-generated code with existing projects and ensuring it meets quality standards.

A Call for Change

The tech industry must rethink its hiring approach. Instead of clinging to outdated coding challenges, we should evaluate candidates based on their ability to use AI tools effectively, understanding software engineering fundamentals, and communication skills. This shift will ensure we hire engineers leveraging AI to produce high-quality software efficiently. To facilitate this change, we can start by incorporating AI-related questions and tasks in our interviews, and by providing training and resources for candidates to improve their AI proficiency.

You're not just hiring wrong; you're losing the talent war. In the highly competitive tech industry, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for success. The best engineers today embrace AI, and they don't want to go backward. They want to work in environments that recognize and reward their ability to use the latest tools to deliver outstanding results. If we don't adapt our hiring practices to this reality, we risk losing these top talents to companies that do, which can significantly impact our competitiveness and innovation.

The tests we've conducted at Vets Who Code have proved this point. Our hiring practices, which focus on AI proficiency and software engineering fundamentals, have not just shown promise, but have allowed us to build a team capable of leveraging AI tools to deliver exceptional results efficiently. This success story should instill confidence in the potential of these new practices.


The future of software development lies in the synergy between human expertise and AI capabilities. By updating our hiring practices to reflect this reality, we can build stronger, more capable development teams ready to tackle tomorrow's challenges. Your role in this evolution is crucial, and your understanding and adoption of these new practices will be instrumental in shaping the future of our industry.