Wednesday, August 21

2:30 pm - 3:10 pm

The Mental Impact of Tech Interviews

Inline Stage

About the event

Lengthy technical interview processes frustrate tech workers and can impact one’s mental health. From high-pressure whiteboard coding that feels more like a Broadway audition, to reciting encyclopedic knowledge found in computer science textbooks, it is no secret that technical interviews are broken. While these practices are well-known and have significant debate surrounding their accuracy and efficacy, the hidden and deleterious effects they have on tech workers have gone unrecognized. Unnecessarily difficult technical interviews can create imposter syndrome which can cause new mental health issues, exacerbate existing ones. Long-term, this can affect productivity, morale, retention and drive people to abandon their tech careers or even halt tech careers before they’ve begun. With sites like OSMI Forums, and many others, tech workers are increasingly speaking out about mental health issues. While companies seek to uncover the source of these issues, they often ignore a very basic component; the technical interview. As evidenced by the existence of They Whiteboarded Me ( and Hiring Without Whiteboards ( there is substantial frustration around these interviewing techniques. This talk aims to unpack and discuss the intersection between mental health, job hunting and technical interviews. Interviewers and hiring managers will learn how their actions affect candidates before, during and after an interview. In addition, candidates will be empowered to say no and learn how to drive change from within. Together, lets refactor tech hiring!


Zachary Zlotnik

Zack Zlotnik has performed several varying roles at a variety of companies ranging from a sysadmin for a small family-owned manufacturing business, a 7.5 year stint as a Corporate Operations Engineer at Google and most recently, a DevOps Engineer at IBM Watson. His diverse background has been molded and shaped throughout years of professional curiosity and self-learning. Zack has interviewed over 100 candidates and has himself been an interview candidate too many times to count. When not writing Dockerfiles and speaking at tech conferences, Zack may be found at local autocross events or in an underwater cave in Mexico.