I’ve had the chance to interview a few people lately. It’s just getting started, my calendar includes 3 interviews this week.
There are 2 parts to the interviews I give. In the first part, I like to talk about general interest in what’s going on in our field. In the second part, I ask people to code for me.
First Part: Passion
I ask about tech news websites that the applicant is using, if any. I ask about blogs that are read. I ask about RSS feeds that are reviewed.
I also like to ask “what’s going on right now in the industry? what’s the buzz?”
Another one I’ve been using: “what’s the next programming language you want to learn?”
I’ve been wanting to ask about portfolio. If you have been programming for a few years, I’d like to think you could show me something you’ve done. If we expect artists to bring a portfolio of their work, can’t we expect the same from programmers?
Personally, I’ve got 3 webapps up and running that I’d like to show and talk about. The thing you see in my glittering eyes and my wide smile is passion. I’m looking for that in others.
Second Part: Skills
At this point of the interview, I probably already made my opinion.
But I’d like to see some code too.
What I used for the last 2 interviews was: any or all. Let’s just say that the results were not… productive. The problem with ‘any or all’ is that you either get it or you don’t. I needed better resolution.
One of the problems is that function pointers are just not part of the repertoire of most of the programmers I know. Thank you Javaschools!
I decided to change my approach. I decided to combine bullet-in-the-brain-easy programming with elephant-in-the-room function pointer enlightenment.
Here is the coding test I came up with. I’d like to get some honest opinions. Also, feel free to use it for your own interviews.
*** If you want to have a go at the test, everything that follows could be considered a SPOILER. (Thanks Fred) ***
Now, I believe there are 3 outcomes out of the questions in this test.
- brute-force code all 3 questions (worst)
- brute-force code all 3 questions but realize that there’s something wrong (better)
- abstract away the act of summing from what is being summed up (best)
I’m going for reactions, insights and skills.
I want to believe that I don’t have to resort to FizzBuzz.
I submit my own answers. I spare you the inner private class magic that would be required in Java.