Everything you need to know to get the job. Great! Do they encourage others and help them improve contributions? If you don’t continuously touch base with fundamental, you’ll eventually be the fat cat that can’t waddle its way to the bathroom anymore. This applies even to commercial software, which you buy as if it were like a product. Video solutions to the following interview problems with detailed explanations can be found here. Not only do you get practice interview questions and answers, but we create detailed explanation videos for each solution, showing you how to solve it in an interview. Coding interviews are often entirely unfair. You can ask them questions about code and technology all day. I have also taken the questions test, less stressful and maybe more to the point, seeing as the 2 well known developers (me and a friend) finished in 20 minutes and everyone else took 1h30. A fantastic test might represent their place now, but it doesn’t represent their ability to adapt to changing … Most of them, however, can be directly attributed to me not following my own rules. Examples of good and bad interview techniques. Programs are a disposable artifact on the way to delivering the programmer’s knowledge of the problem and how to solve it. Code tests aren’t the interview. In fact, the recruiting process is quite demanding on the part of the candidate. These sample Coding interview questions are customized for different programming languages and can be used to test candidates on general coding and language-specific criteria. Only a moron memorizes php.net, and only a bigger moron thinks by doing so makes you a good programmer; being able to answer these types of questions demonstrates no programming skills. Ain’t that the truth. And certainly the “you do not seem to understand programming” comment is in poor taste. A fantastic test might represent their place now, but it doesn’t represent their ability to adapt to changing environments. While the format and length of tests are debatable, I have yet to find a better way of discerning a good developer from a bad one than to look at their actual work. Two good free preparation courses dedicated to helping you succeed in coding interviews are: If someone were interviewing to make a career move for the better I can see them being picky and having some leverage throughout the interview process. They send a bad message — Just as you know that you’re not principally hiring a senior engineer to code, they know it too. Then he asked me a question about a random class in the programming package, (one class out of thousands), which happened to be one that I would never use. We even allow access to the PHP manual, after all they’ll have it under normal conditions. Unless an emergency came up and the company explained this, it’s usually a very bad sign if the interviewer is shorter than the scheduled time period. Decisions as seemingly trivial as “do I use MD5 or SHA?”. Having the primary interview be a team one, means that the entire team can play off each other, making sure, as you said, that they aren’t snowed over. Ask questions (but not leading questions). Totally agree. Since we’re planning to hire you for at least 5 years at a $65k floor or higher, then invest substantially more in training, we _WILL_ want to see for ourselves that you can do the job. I have a hard enough time writing working code on a computer *with* unit tests :). For example, you state that you had that person spending an hour. It’s an odd and somewhat dated process, but these interviews aren’t structured this way in order to optimize for modern implementation. Just because you have been code for 10 years does not mean you are an architect or senior developer. To Cal: *high five* I agree completely that team interviews are crucial. These days, books on their own are somewhat of an uncommon choice as far as preparing for coding interviews goes, since grasping the intricacies of algorithms from a book (without practice) can be quite challenging. Businesses who think it is and try to treat programmers as tradesmen do so at their own peril. In my experience, it rarely happens. Finally, it’s worth stating that you can also treat your first interviews as initial groundwork. Coding interviews are a love/hate relationship with most software engineers. Contrary to what some people seem to believe, I have no trouble submitting proof that I’m capable of developing, and I’ve gotten up during interviews and headed to the white board to describe something, or to write a function. Ivo – a 30-45 minute test is acceptable – a 5 hour to several day “coding test” is not, Anything that would take over an hour is just ridiculous. However, all of them were fired for reasons unrelated to their technical skills. I made it and am now working with 100% competent colleagues, with which I learn new stuff every day. Whether it’s “correct” or not doesn’t matter. Seriously, what a waste of time. It talks about language features. “I had a bad head cold and was coughing a lot. That is, until you get good at getting un-stuck. It has to be rewritten, not just to support new operating systems and hardware but because the problem changes or our understanding of the problem changes. Imagine everyone doing this? I too have walked away from an interview when asked to do basic coding examples ‘on the spot’. Rob… So, what does that mean? I asked the candidate, where the incoming emails stored on the server. Therefore, when you find that a hiring process especially easy, it’s likely the company has weaker engineering. The test that irritates me the most is a list of questions on paper: what does the PHP function X do, what PHP function would I use to do Y? “It’s disingenuous to the value of their time, and disrespectful, especially to mid- and senior-level candidates, because it assumes that they don’t have an understanding of the language and they must prove to you otherwise. Getting stuck in a coding interview is not game-over. But when I was walking in w/ almost 15 years experience, and interviewing for ‘Big Picture’/Architect/’Direction Setting’ type positions, it really had no bearing (or shouldn’t have) on how well I was going to perform my tasks. There’s so many weird gotchas in PHP, and various bad ways of doing things, that *not* addressing some of those in the ZCE would be ignoring a practical component of day to day work which most people have to deal with, if only in ‘refactoring’ or ‘cleanup’ mode. Each new interview is a learning experience, and there is no ‘magic bullet’ solution that works for every interview. After answering the questions, I was asked to come in to take a coding test that consisted of: creating a database, stored procedures, designing web services and a web front-end. You want to hire people smarter than you. Teaching them something new on the spot – “here is the class we use to access the data store for our system – this is the general way we use it – write a short script utilizing the class to store/retrieve and validate data” is far more useful then wanting a “mini-application”. I do agree that asking the candidates to write full fledged applications isn’t the best thing to do. Are they the type to completely overengineer a simple task? We made it clear to the candidate that there was no need to build an enterprise class mail server. Now if only this ease could be tied up to the hiring process, it would be a worker’s economy, not the feudal system it is today. I’ll probably try that with our next dev hire too. Personality-wise, it’s hard for me to be like that, but I’m growing to accept it in others, especially depending on the work environment. Whiteboard coding has nothing in common with normal, day-to-day coding. Asking someone to build you an application that stores information in a database, emails it, validates it, etc. However, reading the blog of someone who seems to come across some unfortunate circumstances, I would have expected to see a bit of humility and some willingness to jump through a few hoops potential employers present in order to get back on his feet. If I were to go into a long term contract with a restaurant to supply us with lunch and diner, I definitely want to have eaten their food before I’d even consider it. Maintainer - Kevin Naughton Jr. Translations Seriously though, if you have no clue about the technologies you are hiring for, your company has bigger problems than coding tests. Frankly, at the time I was looking for a job, I went to a dozen interviews where skill assessment took to the form of an HR person looking me straight in the eyes and asking me if I was good. Not just any code sample, but a fully functional, complete application. I agree about ZCE. To Daniel: Agreed, and that’s why to me, ‘coding test’ and ‘provide sample’ are very different things. I’ve worked/talked with a number of companies where the people (even the team leader) were clueless technically. I’m not going to give you a problem that takes too long. Usually, I end up asking them to clarify the test to the point where nobody can give an answer and they say, “oh just do anything”. Asking someone to write a recursive function, for example, is an acceptable technique to weed out programmers from non-programmers. You can see some of how they’re involved in the project. The most they need to do for any given question is about five lines of code. by Aline Lerner We analyzed thousands of coding interviews. We’ve had candidates spent half a day and delivering it with design documentation, unit tests and api documentation, but that’s up to them. I know, I’ve seen it happen. They're looking for: Metacognition about coding. However, for a second round interview or the last-step-before-hire; I think it is acceptable. Brandon, Few months ago we interviewed a handful of Red Hat certified engineers. And if they can’t explain more than (oh, it works) on a tech decision, odds are a) they didn’t make it b) or don’t understand it and c) can’t communicate it. Does the applicant start a good debate on how he designed the solution? Are you feeling a little nervous because you have a coding interview coming up? Of course a code test won’t tell us how well you learn, but that’s why an interview is an interview and not an exam. To fully prepare for your technical interview, you should always know the company, give a good first impression, understand body language, learn to talk about your projects, and be ready for a coding assignment. Coding interviews are often entirely unfair. The only way we can tell is from their actual work. For a first round- yeah it is as horrible as writing a 2,000-line method without comments (bad on many levels). But more importantly everyone on the team sees the same interview. How to Get Better at Approaching Coding Interviews So you want to get better at interviewing? How the test is used in the recruiting process is different in some of our countries. Just because of that fact, you will get alot of applicants who simply aren’t qualified in the slightest. They're a bad way for candidates to evaluate companies. If they are, they can ask better questions. At least once, I sent in a half-finished “test” with a note that I had another offer, so here’s what I have done so far. In the incident I mentioned, the candidate correctly answered most of the questions I asked prior to the test. It also makes the company look bad. Mr. Savage, when you’re offered the brass ring, I think you will prostrate yourself. See why coding online tests and online whiteboard interview platforms are a better choice instead of in person whiteboarding interviews. Hopefully, the developer you are trying to recruit will have more impact on your company than the plumber will have on your home. PS. Applicants use these terms too loosely. How? Just something that they had written once. Once you evaluate both, the code and the answers to the questions in the interview, you get a better idea of the candidate’s capabilities. Why do ask about the mistakes/areas you would change ? Here’s what we learned. Collabedit), white-boarding, paired-coding, or a variety of other styles. They have to look at the demo, see how the feature works, and re-implement the computation. > I don’t know about Zend PHP certification yet. You are now gonna tell THEM how to do their interview process? I’ve posted it here: http://www.ibuildings.co.uk/blog/archives/1578-Its-not-a-job,-its-a-challenge.html. The interviewer decided their thought process was good enough. Only recently have I started seeing companies use “code tests”, which I find a waste of my time and an insult as I’m being hired as a Lead Senior Developer and Architect. You will also here if they take responsibility, or blame others. Every hiring manager wants to pick the best of the best candidates available in the market. The team interviews are generally a good filter, as Cal suggests, because you can’t easily BS an entire group of people. Every engineer's dream. 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