I could not have stated this any better. For years I have been telling colleagues that the interview process is a farce. Either us geeks are too nerdy in the interview, or it’s a manager type that knows zero and he/she interviews.
An alternative to test may be telling the candidate to solve a small problem for free, 2 days before say. Then he/she can bring in the results. If it’s complex project, and not attainable in 2 days, just by looking a what they have so far can show how skilled they are. Perhaps empty methods and classes where you can prove that you know how to go about solving the task. To me, that proves a lot more of your skill. Maybe a diagram or two also. Maybe write one section to show some coding skill. People get nervous too when they aren’t prepared. I know I do. Then someone will ask a question about a static variable in a servlet or asp.net DLL and ask what is the value, in an interview ? Without any code?
The other thing to remember is if you have been doing this for 12+ years, and someone asks you a basic question say about asp.net , often we have been doing it for so long, we forget the finer details, since we already mastered it, and have been pasting for years. Yet the college graduate will know because they JUST came from school. You don’t think experienced lawyers and doctors don’t go to the books on inane details to be doubly sure? Yet we are supposed to recall the syntax of ‘synchronized’ and if you get the declaration wrong, you aren’t any good. Another example from a colleague of how flawed these companies are and the process of finding and determining talent.