How to actually hire candidates

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#1 xclite  Icon User is offline

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How to actually hire candidates

Post icon  Posted 17 June 2011 - 09:22 AM

I got wind of this by way of reddit, and it hit home because I've often ranted about the bullshit interview practices discussed inside. I actually interviewed with Rackspace but was turned off enough by their stupid process that I didn't care whether I got called back or not.

http://yourstartupsu...hire-developers

We've discussed some of this in the Game Design interview question of the week threads, but what are your thoughts on interview practices?

I didn't feature this because I wasn't sure if it was desirable to have that sort of language on the front page.

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Replies To: How to actually hire candidates

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 09:25 AM

That was awesome, and how my interview went with the company I'm at now. Honestly, I could hear Samuel L. Jackson saying all of those points.
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#3 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 10:05 AM

Awesome article... and the cussing really makes it personal for me. Cause that's exactly what is going on in my head.

cussing:
Spoiler

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 17 June 2011 - 10:05 AM

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#4 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 10:15 AM

There's a safe for work version as well:

http://yourstartupsu...hire-developers

I guess you could headline that one.
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#5 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 11:01 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 17 June 2011 - 10:25 AM, said:

That was awesome, and how my interview went with the company I'm at now. Honestly, I could hear Samuel L. Jackson saying all of those points.


Oh god, reading that in Samuel Jackson's voice made that SO enjoyable.


The only one I thought was weird was "Donít you fucking dare ask me a riddle.". I've never really been to an interview so I wouldn't know, but they actually ASK this?!
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#6 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 11:16 AM

Yes, they fucking love riddles.
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#7 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 11:28 AM

Yep, I've been asked many riddles in interviews.

I've been told it was to measure my logical skills.

Luckily I love riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers.

But I highly doubt it allowed them to measure my programming skills. It mostly measured how much I love puzzles, which I guess points at why I chose programming as a profession. But I bet there are a lot of programmers out there that don't like brainteasers and are still really good programmers.
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 11:31 AM

I'm one of those people. I'm not a huge fan of brain teasers, but I love problem solving. I honestly wouldn't mind if I was interviewing and was given a fizz buzz test. It would show me the company first recognized that there were hopeless cases, and second was interested in weeding them out.
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#9 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 11:40 AM

Fizz buzz is great because it weeds out the totally incompetent and doesn't do much to annoy the competent, consisting of an easy program that should be fewer than 20 lines.
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#10 Topher84  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 06:21 PM

View Postxclite, on 17 June 2011 - 12:40 PM, said:

Fizz buzz is great because it weeds out the totally incompetent and doesn't do much to annoy the competent, consisting of an easy program that should be fewer than 20 lines.


I would honestly thank the interviewer for his/her time and get up and walk out if I was asked the "fizz buzz" question. What a waste of time. I've been looking for a job for ~1.5 months since finishing my MS and I have yet to get one of these stupid questions. I've mostly gotten questions about personal or grad school projects and MAYBE to give a little bit of info on a specific language. If people are asking you these questions, you should be asking yourself if this is somewhere you want to work.
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#11 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 06:42 PM

View PostTopher84, on 17 June 2011 - 07:21 PM, said:

View Postxclite, on 17 June 2011 - 12:40 PM, said:

Fizz buzz is great because it weeds out the totally incompetent and doesn't do much to annoy the competent, consisting of an easy program that should be fewer than 20 lines.


I would honestly thank the interviewer for his/her time and get up and walk out if I was asked the "fizz buzz" question. What a waste of time. I've been looking for a job for ~1.5 months since finishing my MS and I have yet to get one of these stupid questions. I've mostly gotten questions about personal or grad school projects and MAYBE to give a little bit of info on a specific language. If people are asking you these questions, you should be asking yourself if this is somewhere you want to work.


A waste of time? Maybe to the people who can actually do it but for the company (who are uncertain of your skill), it's very useful.
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#12 AdaHacker  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:03 PM

View PostTopher84, on 17 June 2011 - 09:21 PM, said:

I would honestly thank the interviewer for his/her time and get up and walk out if I was asked the "fizz buzz" question. What a waste of time.

Seriously? That seems like a bit of an over-reaction. It's a 2 minute question. It's not like the interviewer insulted your mother's honor or something.

As xclite pointed out, the beauty of fizzbuzz is that it doesn't take any significant amount of time. It should only take a good programmer a couple of minutes to complete it, and anybody who takes more than 5 minutes should be an automatic no-hire. It doesn't waste any more time than the requisite exchange of pleasantries about the weather.

I've used the fizzbuzz question when conducting technical interviews a few times. It's usually the first technical question in the interview, right after some soft-ball "tell me about yourself" type questions. I've found it to be useful as a spot-check of competency as well as providing some small insight into the candidate's ability to quickly grasp and analyze a problem. And while I've never seen an epic failure on it, I have seen candidates struggle with it for longer than they should have. I've never had anyone act even vaguely insulted by the question, though, let alone walk out. And if they did, that's not someone I'd want to work with anyway.

This post has been edited by AdaHacker: 17 June 2011 - 08:07 PM

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#13 Topher84  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:58 PM

View PostAdaHacker, on 17 June 2011 - 09:03 PM, said:

View PostTopher84, on 17 June 2011 - 09:21 PM, said:

I would honestly thank the interviewer for his/her time and get up and walk out if I was asked the "fizz buzz" question. What a waste of time.

Seriously? That seems like a bit of an over-reaction. It's a 2 minute question. It's not like the interviewer insulted your mother's honor or something.

As xclite pointed out, the beauty of fizzbuzz is that it doesn't take any significant amount of time. It should only take a good programmer a couple of minutes to complete it, and anybody who takes more than 5 minutes should be an automatic no-hire. It doesn't waste any more time than the requisite exchange of pleasantries about the weather.

I've used the fizzbuzz question when conducting technical interviews a few times. It's usually the first technical question in the interview, right after some soft-ball "tell me about yourself" type questions. I've found it to be useful as a spot-check of competency as well as providing some small insight into the candidate's ability to quickly grasp and analyze a problem. And while I've never seen an epic failure on it, I have seen candidates struggle with it for longer than they should have. I've never had anyone act even vaguely insulted by the question, though, let alone walk out. And if they did, that's not someone I'd want to work with anyway.


[my opinion]
Well from my point of view this is what the fizzbuzz problem tells someone interviewing for a job that "I just picked up your resume 5 min ago and have no idea what to ask you. So without even looking at your qualifications, let me ask you this bullcrap question." Yes, the person who is interviewing should be ashamed for asking it and the person being interviewed should feel insulted. Especially if they have some work experience. I actually was asked a question once "Do you ever get mad?"...I almost hung up the phone. I mean don't waste my time with this crap. Either you want me to do the job or you don't. I don't need to go through some dog and pony show so you can judge me based on some left field question. I'm extremely easy to get along with and love to joke around but I honestly feel like my time is being wasted when I am asked things like this. I think that is where the author of the article the OP posted is going.

This post has been edited by Topher84: 17 June 2011 - 09:00 PM

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#14 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 09:31 PM

At an entry level position, it can weed out the shit. It's obnoxious how many incompetent people are hired because they can answer riddles but couldn't even complete a semifunctional linkedlist or counting program.
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#15 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to actually hire candidates

Posted 17 June 2011 - 10:02 PM

Not to mention it gets rid of those kids who used a whole lot of ctrl+c and ctrl+v in their classes. Remember kids: Pay attention.

Maybe in the higher up, like your programming something large for NASA, it won't matter and shouldn't be needed. But if your finding some small web developer for your small company, it can help.
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