The 2020 Interview Gap Report

300+ engineering leaders reveal strategies to reach technical hiring targets amid a rapidly changing economy and what still stands in their way.

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:


How the Interview Gap influences software engineering performance


The impact of COVID-19 on companies still actively hiring


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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