I founded a company called Parabol (https://parabol.co), and we’re in the middle of a hiring cycle now. My last job was at a Organization Strategy & Development firm called Undercurrent. All prospective employees are required to conduct a “batting practice”—or short project—on a area they know nothing about before an offer is made. It tests for two things:

Can they unpack a problem they aren’t familiar with?
Can they work along with teammates?

We’ve carried that practice into our company, except we pay folks for the time spent on their project.

It used to be that one’s job required us to do the same sorts of things, day in and day out. Mastery was achievable. Now, new methods and technologies are coming up so quickly, evaluating whether or not an employee can train themselves by pulling on technology and other people is an essential skill. It’s remarkable how so many hiring processes haven’t caught up to this new reality.

The ill considered emphasis on mastery is why I’m so disdainful of “coding quiz” evaluations (and they people who hire based on those scores) or certifications. I don’t care a prospect knows Python, what I want to know is if I can stick them in a corner and they can teach themselves Rust, or Swift, or the next great tool or system.