A more inclusive tech interview
Our goal at Neo is to identify America’s most promising CS students and help them become tomorrow’s tech leaders. This year, we’re rethinking the tech interview, making it more personalized and equitable: you choose how you’re assessed.
For decades, tech job applicants have performed a problem-solving ritual known as the “coding interview.” I still remember the adrenaline and exhilaration of my first Microsoft interviews in 1991.
Today, coding interviews are ubiquitous and are one reason for the industry’s lack of diversity. They effectively select for a certain type of candidate. These interviews are also time-consuming, inducing candidates to apply to fewer companies and favor corporate giants.
Solving puzzles under pressure shouldn’t be the only way to prove your potential. Tech is inherently a creative endeavor, and creative people don’t conform.
Choose how you’re assessed.
Are you a stellar CS student with a fascination for startups? Apply now to become a Neo Scholar:
Join our diverse mentorship community. Meet top CS students, engineering leaders, and tech icons. Get lifelong support and pay it forward by helping others.
Work at an awesome startup. Meet 1:1 with leaders of top startups curated just for you. Attend a personalized career fair and get fast-tracked in job interviews.
Start your own company. We’ll support you unconditionally. Count on Neo for funding, mentorship, connections, and recruiting support.
Last year, we tackled the wasteful redundancy of coding interviews. Our track record of identifying exceptional Neo Scholars since 2017 convinced top startups such as Figma, Nuro, Ramp, and Scale to fast-track candidates who passed our screening, saving time for interviewers and candidates alike. This changed the game in favor of entrepreneurial paths.
This year, we’ve revamped our screening process to promote inclusivity. We still conduct a rigorous technical evaluation, while letting you put your best foot forward by choosing topics and formats.
No single test is perfect, especially for forecasting a person’s potential. Standardized tests, while they equalize access and establish metrics for merit, can introduce unintended bias, miss strong candidates, and reduce diversity.
To get the benefits of standardized testing without the downsides, we let you pick between two tests, Byteboard and CodeSignal, each of which supports multiple programming languages. We also invite you to augment your test performance in multiple ways.
If you advance to a second-round interview, we let you specify your field of expertise for a problem-solving challenge. Alternatively, walk us through your prior work and explain the code to us. We’ll try to match you with a veteran interviewer, drawing from our diverse community of tech leaders.
To give you this personalized experience, we shoulder the complex burden of calibrating across many different assessments. It won’t be an exact science, and we expect to make mistakes and learn. We welcome feedback and encourage others to consider these ideas and improve on them.
Throughout my career, and especially since starting Neo in 2017, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates. While I try to attune to each individual’s unique strengths, such a personal touch is difficult to scale. I’m optimistic that our new process will bring a new level of personalization and adaptability to the tech interview, selecting for merit while promoting diversity and fairness.
If you know an outstanding young engineer who is interested in entrepreneurship, please forward this and encourage them to learn more and apply to Neo today.