The 2020 Interview
Gap Report

How companies are successfully reaching hiring targets amid a rapidly changing economy

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Report Overview

Software engineers are key to business growth. Yet, interviewing and hiring processes tax engineering productivity, underachieve on hiring targets, and frequently produce new hires that fail to meet technical expectations. This often occurs when organizations lack the time and expertise to conduct the interviews needed to achieve hiring goals, creating an Interview Gap.

An Interview Gap occurs when organizations lack the time and expertise to conduct the interviews needed to achieve hiring goals.

In January and May of 2020, Karat and Harris Insights surveyed more than 300 engineering leaders about their hiring strategies before and during COVID-19. This report presents the findings and explores three key areas:

  1. How the Interview Gap influences software engineering performance
  2. The impact of COVID-19 on companies still actively hiring
  3. How successful organizations are closing the Interview Gap and out-hiring competitors.

Engineers are more valuable than ever, but traditional hiring processes often fail to achieve hiring goals or accurately predict onsite and on-the-job performance.

Person smiling looking at laptop.

As of May 2020, 90% of engineering leaders agreed that "software engineers are more valuable than capital."

Graphical illustration of what engineering leaders agree a strong software engineer is worth in percentage of their compensation.

Almost half (47%) agree that a strong software engineer is worth at least 3x their total compensation, and a quarter (25%) agree that they are worth at least 4x total compensation.

Green circular graph with 50% in the centre and a star.

Despite that premium price tag, just 50% of engineering leaders are “very satisfied” with the performance of their engineering teams.

The COVID-19 downturn has increased supply of candidates, which makes it harder to find the right talent.

61% of engineering leaders now agree that “interviews are a financial drain on my company” compared to 52% in January. This number is even higher for digital companies, who agree at 72%. Furthermore, this especially on the minds of C-level leaders, 79% of whom agreed.

Those who agree Interviews are 
 a financial drain on my company

The most successful organizations are closing the Interview Gap by improving interview capacity, consistency, and measurement.


Based on our initial January findings, very satisfied leaders conduct more first-round technical interviews compared to their somewhat or not satisfied peers.

Very satisfied leaders averaged 26.9 technical interview per hire while others averaged 14 graphical illustration.
Interview gap report bar graph.

85% of very confident engineering leaders use a structured interview process vs. only 73% of others

Interview Gap Report bar graph.

73% of very satisfied companies track hiring funnel metrics vs. just 57% of others

Learn how leading companies are closing the Interview Gap with Karat

Flatiron Health accelerated hiring by 4x
Flatiron Health customer story

Flatiron Health needed to hire 100 software engineers in one year but was constrained by the number of existing team members available to conduct interviews.

Read the customer story

Stella Connect reaches hiring targets and spends less time interviewing engineers
Stella Connect customer story

Stella Connect is a customer feedback and quality management platform built specifically for customer service teams. Companies use Stella Connect to drive agent engagement and to measure and improve their service performance.

Read the customer story