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(Business Insider)   Google realizes that idiotic questions like the number of golf balls to fill up a bus, the number of windows in the skyscrapers of your locale, and how much wood could a wood chuck chuck are a waste of time. Interviewers, please take note   (businessinsider.com) divider line 63
    More: Interesting, interview question, Google, Laszlo Bock, adaptability  
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2521 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 Jul 2014 at 10:11 PM (9 days ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-12 06:08:00 PM
FTA: "Candidates need to be able to process things "on the fly" and draw conclusions from seemingly unconnected info."

Doesn't calculating the number of golf balls that could fit in an airplane demonstrate exactly these skills?

Also, I've never been asked that sort of question on an interview, including when I had a Google phone screen a few years ago, so I don't know why people complain about it so much.
 
2014-07-12 10:07:13 PM
Bock said in another New York Times interview that learning ability is much more important indicator of whether someone will be a good fit for Google than I.Q.

That's what IQ is, you complete moron.
 
2014-07-12 10:18:59 PM
marcel-oehler.marcellosendos.ch
 
2014-07-12 10:36:01 PM

dookdookdook: Bock said in another New York Times interview that learning ability is much more important indicator of whether someone will be a good fit for Google than I.Q.

That's what IQ is, you complete moron.


Methinks he knew exactly what he was talking about, but the reporter did not.

IQ is likely a better predictor of performance than grades for some jobs, but it's always a delicate blend. If 538 is to be believed, all of the math indicated that Brazil should have been heavily favored to win their past two games. And yet.

There is no formula for finding the best people, not even for algorithm-driven companies like Google. You do your best, and you take your chances. However, in their particular instance I imagine raw IQ is better for them, because they want people who were so focused on original thinking that they could have given a shiat about grades, not people who turned in perfection but only think inside a nice little box. Let those folks go work for Deloitte; it's only money that they're interested in anyway.
 
2014-07-12 10:53:22 PM
FTFA: useless way to actual judge potential employees

no shiat, Sherlock.
 
2014-07-12 10:54:55 PM
Thanks, subby. I was thinking I'd have to wait until I get back home next week before I'd get my "Business Insider"
 
2014-07-12 10:56:41 PM
So they will be doing the lame virtual destructor and singleton questions that every other tech company does...
 
2014-07-12 11:05:19 PM

dookdookdook: Bock said in another New York Times interview that learning ability is much more important indicator of whether someone will be a good fit for Google than I.Q.

That's what IQ is, you complete moron.


No, it's not. Intelligence and learning ability are certainly related, but they are not the same thing. A genius may have serious learning disabilities (dyslexia, autism, other idiosyncratic issues), or simply be bad at learning new material outside of her area of expertise. On the other hand, a total idiot may be a fantastic mimic, and can rapidly acquire and learn new skills, even though she lacks any real understanding of what she's doing.

whistleridge: IQ is likely a better predictor of performance than grades for some jobs, but it's always a delicate blend. If 538 is to be believed, all of the math indicated that Brazil should have been heavily favored to win their past two games. And yet.

There is no formula for finding the best people, not even for algorithm-driven companies like Google. You do your best, and you take your chances. However, in their particular instance I imagine raw IQ is better for them, because they want people who were so focused on original thinking that they could have given a shiat about grades, not people who turned in perfection but only think inside a nice little box. Let those folks go work for Deloitte; it's only money that they're interested in anyway.


Again, "raw IQ" isn't much of a measure of anything related to thinking outside the box. A person with a high IQ may be a savant at application of rote rules, but be unable to come up with any new rules, whereas a person of average intelligence might be really good at "outside-the-box" solutions due to his background, or some special combination of skills and experience.

/this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.
 
2014-07-12 11:09:12 PM
 
2014-07-12 11:13:45 PM
These types of questions have been out of vogue in the industry for a decade now. When I interview for software positions, I'm looking for technical depth, passion, problem solving, and coding. Watching someone try to explain why manhole covers are round might at best give you one of those. Specific questions about past experience can cover the first two, and good coding problems can hit all four.
 
2014-07-12 11:25:46 PM
We are Snarcotech believe in hiring only the best talent. But we pay at the market average.

Snarcotech: Bright, Yet Clueless
 
2014-07-12 11:43:18 PM

Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.


The fuq you say?
 
2014-07-12 11:50:34 PM

rohar: Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.

The fuq you say?


Long and painful discussion regarding the correlation of race/culture and IQ, particularly when "raw IQ score" is mentioned.
 
2014-07-12 11:52:05 PM
So they've moved on to the even less useful questions in the bullshiat behavioral interview. Instead of spontaneous and slightly baffled replies about golf balls and airplanes, you get canned, pre-rehearsed answers
to canned, pre-rehearsed questions. Brilliant.

/I see me in five years hanging myself in the janitor closet with a USB cable!
 
2014-07-12 11:54:09 PM

rohar: Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.

The fuq you say?


The IQ test produces different results for different races, because it's an imperfect test and reflects the underlying biases of the majority population. This was the entire issue with "The Bell Curve", a book that asserted that because some races (hint, it was black people) performed worse on IQ tests than other races (hint, it was white people), that the race that performed worse was just not as smart as the race that performed better (in other words, black people are just dumber than white people).

There's been a whole lot of evidence that performance on IQ tests is strongly correlated with early childhood development, and so overall statistics are biased in favor of groups who generally have more resources, and against groups with fewer resources. Because the average person falsely understands IQ as an unchangeable and accurate measurement of general intelligence (it's neither), the use of IQ tests can be racist (especially in the hands of those who use it to make arguments that blacks are genetically inferior).
 
2014-07-12 11:55:21 PM

FormlessOne: rohar: Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.

The fuq you say?

Long and painful discussion regarding the correlation of race/culture and IQ, particularly when "raw IQ score" is mentioned.


Oh yeah, and don't get me started on the idea of "raw IQ" even being meaningful at all, since the IQ test is by definition a scaled score with a preset baseline of 100 as "average", meaning that raw scores are meaningless.
 
2014-07-12 11:58:29 PM
Google should just ask candidates if they have a thing for high priced call girls.
 
2014-07-13 12:01:11 AM

Rincewind53: rohar: Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.

The fuq you say?

The IQ test produces different results for different races, because it's an imperfect test and reflects the underlying biases of the majority population. This was the entire issue with "The Bell Curve", a book that asserted that because some races (hint, it was black people) performed worse on IQ tests than other races (hint, it was white people), that the race that performed worse was just not as smart as the race that performed better (in other words, black people are just dumber than white people).

There's been a whole lot of evidence that performance on IQ tests is strongly correlated with early childhood development, and so overall statistics are biased in favor of groups who generally have more resources, and against groups with fewer resources. Because the average person falsely understands IQ as an unchangeable and accurate measurement of general intelligence (it's neither), the use of IQ tests can be racist (especially in the hands of those who use it to make arguments that blacks are genetically inferior).


I'd suggest this isn't the case at all.  If you look at the different cohorts of IQ, you'll notice some variation.  Among any given cohort, the highest variation is among white men.  At two standard deviations from the norm, who do you find?  White men.  Don't get me wrong, middle and south Americans are pushing in on the top, Asians are doing their thing.  But that's not important.

Yes, white men are at the top of the game.  Always have been.  When you're dealing with a cohort with this level of variability, this will happen.  At 2 standard deviations from the norm we see 2/1 white men.  That's not just on the top though.  Yes, the population on the top of the heap are white men, but at IQ 70, 2/1 white men too.

Yeah, the testing might be slightly biased, but not as biased as anyone would say.  Nobody spends any time looking at the failures.
 
2014-07-13 12:03:12 AM

Rincewind53: dookdookdook: Bock said in another New York Times interview that learning ability is much more important indicator of whether someone will be a good fit for Google than I.Q.

That's what IQ is, you complete moron.

No, it's not. Intelligence and learning ability are certainly related, but they are not the same thing. A genius may have serious learning disabilities (dyslexia, autism, other idiosyncratic issues), or simply be bad at learning new material outside of her area of expertise. On the other hand, a total idiot may be a fantastic mimic, and can rapidly acquire and learn new skills, even though she lacks any real understanding of what she's doing.

whistleridge: IQ is likely a better predictor of performance than grades for some jobs, but it's always a delicate blend. If 538 is to be believed, all of the math indicated that Brazil should have been heavily favored to win their past two games. And yet.

There is no formula for finding the best people, not even for algorithm-driven companies like Google. You do your best, and you take your chances. However, in their particular instance I imagine raw IQ is better for them, because they want people who were so focused on original thinking that they could have given a shiat about grades, not people who turned in perfection but only think inside a nice little box. Let those folks go work for Deloitte; it's only money that they're interested in anyway.

Again, "raw IQ" isn't much of a measure of anything related to thinking outside the box. A person with a high IQ may be a savant at application of rote rules, but be unable to come up with any new rules, whereas a person of average intelligence might be really good at "outside-the-box" solutions due to his background, or some special combination of skills and experience.

/this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.


...which is what I was saying. A person with lots of processing power is someone with just that: the ability to do certain mental activities very well.

But there are many types of intelligence. Beethoven wasn't much of a theoretical physicist, but he clearly had a sound card on his motherboard that was a few models higher than the rest of us are issued. Hemingway was a suicidal lunatic, but he damn sure had a way with words.

Our latent vision of intelligence is very Cold War in outlook: math/physics-heavy, white, male, and losing in social skills what is gained in raw intellect. That doesn't make it the only type of intelligence, or even the most desirable.

What I was saying is, that type might well be the most desirable, for Google. They're in the sort of industry where that type of thinking might well be useful. If you're running the Food Network, you don't need an Einstein, you need Bobby Flay. If you're running Google...Einstein might be handy.

But they're not going to find him with questions like these. And if by blind chance they do, they'll have no way of knowing if he's a hard-working, highly-productive genius, or a spoiled, entitled, lazy, not-worth-the-effort genius. Every company out there is trying to sort the Peyton Mannings from the Ryan Leafs, but odd questions aren't a good way to do it.
 
2014-07-13 12:04:43 AM

zerkalo: Wait. Ridiculous interview situations? Have you heard about Mad Wade? Destroyer of men?

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140703220143-16202502- wh y-they-rejected-the-best-hr-candidate-they-d-ever-interviewed-the-shoc king-truth-revealed


Meh. Classic age discrimination, exacerbated by a tendency towards superficial assumption, made by a self-absorbed, narcissistic candidate. In general, any interview candidate who looked at an interviewer and thought, "I'm a superstar. This guy's a joke. Why the hell am I spending time with him?", should be shown the door - especially if they couldn't maintain a poker face and made that silly-ass thought apparent during the interview. I've run into folks like Wade before - hell, I'm turning into Wade - and the best response is to ask yourself, "Why did the company feel that he should spend time with me?" I've had more than one interview loop in which an interviewer that was there to see how I'd react to a specific situation, such as confusion, hostility, pressure, etc., was included. I've never sat in front of an interviewer and thought, "Why in the hell am I talking with this schmuck?", solely because of the person's mannerisms or appearance. The idea of simply dismissing an interviewer is ludicrous, at least to me.

Also, who in the hell doesn't ask questions, regardless of the interviewer or the position? I've worked in my field for a long time - I don't really encounter anything I don't understand, and most of my questions tend to be answered during the interview itself, inline. At the end of an interview, If I don't have anything relevant to the business to ask, I'll try to ask something relevant to the interviewer, just to communicate the fact that I'm interested, listening, and happy to interact, if nothing else.
 
2014-07-13 12:13:27 AM

rohar: I'd suggest this isn't the case at all.  If you look at the different cohorts of IQ, you'll notice some variation.  Among any given cohort, the highest variation is among white men.  At two standard deviations from the norm, who do you find?  White men.  Don't get me wrong, middle and south Americans are pushing in on the top, Asians are doing their thing.  But that's not important.

Yes, white men are at the top of the game.  Always have been.  When you're dealing with a cohort with this level of variability, this will happen.  At 2 standard deviations from the norm we see 2/1 white men.  That's not just on the top though.  Yes, the population on the top of the heap are white men, but at IQ 70, 2/1 white men too.

Yeah, the testing might be slightly biased, but not as biased as anyone would say.  Nobody spends any time looking at the failures.


You're discussing a different issue, which is IQ variability in different cohorts. I'm discussing the issue of average/median IQ, which is much more relevant to a discussion of the issue of the use of IQ in hiring preferences.
 
2014-07-13 12:14:30 AM

whistleridge: But they're not going to find him with questions like these. And if by blind chance they do, they'll have no way of knowing if he's a hard-working, highly-productive genius, or a spoiled, entitled, lazy, not-worth-the-effort genius. Every company out there is trying to sort the Peyton Mannings from the Ryan Leafs, but odd questions aren't a good way to do it.


Ah, so we agree completely!
 
2014-07-13 12:16:50 AM

Rincewind53: rohar: I'd suggest this isn't the case at all.  If you look at the different cohorts of IQ, you'll notice some variation.  Among any given cohort, the highest variation is among white men.  At two standard deviations from the norm, who do you find?  White men.  Don't get me wrong, middle and south Americans are pushing in on the top, Asians are doing their thing.  But that's not important.

Yes, white men are at the top of the game.  Always have been.  When you're dealing with a cohort with this level of variability, this will happen.  At 2 standard deviations from the norm we see 2/1 white men.  That's not just on the top though.  Yes, the population on the top of the heap are white men, but at IQ 70, 2/1 white men too.

Yeah, the testing might be slightly biased, but not as biased as anyone would say.  Nobody spends any time looking at the failures.

You're discussing a different issue, which is IQ variability in different cohorts. I'm discussing the issue of average/median IQ, which is much more relevant to a discussion of the issue of the use of IQ in hiring preferences.


Not when you're looking for abnormal positive qualities.  The average for a cohort become subservient to the deviation.  The hiring process requires that we hire the deviants.
 
2014-07-13 12:21:28 AM
IQ tests are biased anyway.

You really want the best candidate for a job, you leave them in a closet full of random stuff, say "Come down to the room in ten minutes." Then lock the door. The real test is 15 minutes long.
 
2014-07-13 12:27:31 AM

rohar: Rincewind53: rohar: I'd suggest this isn't the case at all.  If you look at the different cohorts of IQ, you'll notice some variation.  Among any given cohort, the highest variation is among white men.  At two standard deviations from the norm, who do you find?  White men.  Don't get me wrong, middle and south Americans are pushing in on the top, Asians are doing their thing.  But that's not important.

Yes, white men are at the top of the game.  Always have been.  When you're dealing with a cohort with this level of variability, this will happen.  At 2 standard deviations from the norm we see 2/1 white men.  That's not just on the top though.  Yes, the population on the top of the heap are white men, but at IQ 70, 2/1 white men too.

Yeah, the testing might be slightly biased, but not as biased as anyone would say.  Nobody spends any time looking at the failures.

You're discussing a different issue, which is IQ variability in different cohorts. I'm discussing the issue of average/median IQ, which is much more relevant to a discussion of the issue of the use of IQ in hiring preferences.

Not when you're looking for abnormal positive qualities.  The average for a cohort become subservient to the deviation.  The hiring process requires that we hire the deviants.


In which case, if we're looking specifically at circumstances where whites are consistently over-represented at two standard deviations from the norm, then there's a good argument that the test itself is fundamentally flawed, since the IQ test in general is  supposed to create a bell curve; operating on the assumption that both blacks and whites are equally "intelligent", a standardize test that resulted in unequal distribution is pretty much  prima facie proof of the failure of the test.

Also, you assert that white over-representation at the high ends of the IQ test is matched by over-representation at the low ends, but I'm not sure where you're getting that. Although it's quite difficult to find neutral data on this issue through Google (white supremacist sites come up in the first 10 results for a lot of searches around race and IQ), I can't find any charts that indicate what you're claiming, nor can I find the raw data.
 
2014-07-13 12:28:18 AM

doglover: IQ tests are biased anyway.

You really want the best candidate for a job, you leave them in a closet full of random stuff, say "Come down to the room in ten minutes." Then lock the door. The real test is 15 minutes long.


The Kool-Aid Man would be  great at that test.
 
2014-07-13 12:36:52 AM
They also need to be "emergent" leaders. Google isn't necessarily looking for the president of the chess club. It's looking for people who know when to lead and when to follow.

Hmm. Interesting. I'm a first-line manager at Oracle, so I do a fair amount of leading in an average workday, but I also follow when that's more efficient. All the time I see wannabe leaders pulling against each other and jamming up the gears. I didn't know there was a word for this. BRB, off to interview with Google.

Microsoft used to ask this kind of tricky, clever, get-punched-in-the-nuts kind of question in interviews too back in the day. It seems to be a phase tech firms go through and then grow out of.
 
2014-07-13 12:56:26 AM
Old news is old. Google hasn't done this - or possibly never actually did - for a long time.
 
2014-07-13 01:23:49 AM

doglover: IQ tests are biased anyway.

You really want the best candidate for a job, you leave them in a closet full of random stuff, say "Come down to the room in ten minutes." Then lock the door. The real test is 15 minutes long.


Wait 9 minutes, kick the door down, then leisurely saunter down to the interview room. Am I hired?
 
2014-07-13 01:46:34 AM
There seems to be an article every month or so about how Google's "People Ops" department has just now discovered that brain teasers aren't good predictors of job performance.
 
2014-07-13 01:55:30 AM

FormlessOne: I've had more than one interview loop in which an interviewer that was there to see how I'd react to a specific situation, such as confusion, hostility, pressure, etc., was included.


If confusion, hostility, pressure, etc. are such common aspects of the workplace that they had to devise an interview test to screen for candidates' ability to cope, it's a wonder anybody wants to work there at all.

The Wade store is fictional glurge, in any case.  You think anybody -- much less an HR professional -- is going to bring an unsuccessful candidate back to the office in order to deliver a lecture about why they aren't getting the job?  Saying anything other than the cursory and conventional "We regret we will not be extending an offer to you" only increases risk to the company.
 
2014-07-13 02:29:18 AM

Rincewind53: rohar: Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.

The fuq you say?

The IQ test produces different results for different races, because it's an imperfect test and reflects the underlying biases of the majority population. This was the entire issue with "The Bell Curve", a book that asserted that because some races (hint, it was black people) performed worse on IQ tests than other races (hint, it was white people), that the race that performed worse was just not as smart as the race that performed better (in other words, black people are just dumber than white people).

There's been a whole lot of evidence that performance on IQ tests is strongly correlated with early childhood development, and so overall statistics are biased in favor of groups who generally have more resources, and against groups with fewer resources. Because the average person falsely understands IQ as an unchangeable and accurate measurement of general intelligence (it's neither), the use of IQ tests can be racist (especially in the hands of those who use it to make arguments that blacks are genetically inferior).


Lewis Terman started a study of high IQ children in 1921. The project is still running.


wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_Studies_of_Genius



The high IQ children did not end up being any more successful in life than a random sample of children.
 
2014-07-13 03:02:21 AM
I've had 4 Google phone interviews in the past 3 months. I haven't been asked any questions like this. 
Just straight-forward job-based questions. But they do ask you about all ranges of the job & the interviewer is just a Google employee, but not always someone on the team. 

One guy told me he's given 10-12 interviews and no one answers all the questions correctly. Might ask you to explain ARP, DNS, BGP, OSPF. But also you are asked about Letters of Authority & contracts between providers too.

/network engineer
//CALL ME BACK GOOGLE!
 
2014-07-13 03:03:33 AM

Rincewind53: doglover: IQ tests are biased anyway.

You really want the best candidate for a job, you leave them in a closet full of random stuff, say "Come down to the room in ten minutes." Then lock the door. The real test is 15 minutes long.

The Kool-Aid Man would be  great at that test.


OH YEAH!
 
2014-07-13 03:04:47 AM
poot_rootbeer:

The Wade store is fictional glurge, in any case.  You think anybody -- much less an HR professional -- is going to bring an unsuccessful candidate back to the office in order to deliver a lecture about why they aren't getting the job?  Saying anything other than the cursory and conventional "We regret we will not be extending an offer to you" only increases risk to the company.

Oh, I agree! Scary that so many people on LinkedIn fell for it. Not surprising, though. Says something about HR departments that they can't teach a lesson without resorting to hyperbole and outright lies.
 
2014-07-13 03:35:30 AM
This is at least a year old

There's a better explanation here  Link

The short version is "smart arse questions have no predictive value as to employment suitability"
 
2014-07-13 05:09:31 AM
If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?
 
2014-07-13 06:41:22 AM

Delay: If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?


Lincoln
 
2014-07-13 06:59:10 AM

MontanaDave: Thanks, subby. I was thinking I'd have to wait until I get back home next week before I'd get my "Business Insider"


She didn't make the trip with you?
 
2014-07-13 08:15:53 AM
Can I send this to my boss?  He still to this day asks "Estimate the weight of the Washington Monument" during an interview.  I got that one and "Estimate how many gas stations are needed for New York City", and that was years ago.

Is FizzBuzz still an ok question?

Ok, it probably isn't since the question should be relatively well known in programming circles, or at least programmers going out and interviewing.

Whether or not it is, I dunno.  I haven't been involved in interviewing since we hired my unofficial assistant/underling.
 
2014-07-13 08:24:22 AM

Delay: If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?



THE BALL COSTS $5

 
2014-07-13 09:36:48 AM
The biggest problem with these interview questions is that there are people who go out and study them.
 
2014-07-13 10:35:49 AM

poot_rootbeer: FormlessOne: I've had more than one interview loop in which an interviewer that was there to see how I'd react to a specific situation, such as confusion, hostility, pressure, etc., was included.

If confusion, hostility, pressure, etc. are such common aspects of the workplace that they had to devise an interview test to screen for candidates' ability to cope, it's a wonder anybody wants to work there at all.

The Wade store is fictional glurge, in any case.  You think anybody -- much less an HR professional -- is going to bring an unsuccessful candidate back to the office in order to deliver a lecture about why they aren't getting the job?  Saying anything other than the cursory and conventional "We regret we will not be extending an offer to you" only increases risk to the company.


In defense, it's often not the workplace itself introducing confusion, hostility, pressure, and so on, but the customers with whom you may interact. I had to work with companies and individuals at a high level, on which a lot of pressure and expectation are placed, and you need to be able to gracefully handle anything from the pressures of last-minute triages a month before going to market with software to the customer VP that's freaking out because one of his direct reports just trashed a production database and can't figure out how to work with your software to resolve the issue.

And, yes, the Wade story would almost have to be fictional, because most HR folks realize that corporate liability (the thing that HR is there to guard) increases exponentially if they provide reasons or rationale that can later be used against them in court if the application decides that some form of discrimination has occurred. But, it did make for nice, if apocryphal, reading nonetheless.
 
2014-07-13 10:41:57 AM
I interviewed with MSFT a couple years ago and they don't ask these questions either.  While it's entertaining to watch an interviewee squirm under a question like "How many window washers are there in Seattle?", the correct answer is probably something like "Who f*cking cares because it rains all the goddamn time so they're just going to get dirty tomorrow.  Why do you poor bastards even have windows? It's grey and rainy outside. You don't need a window to see that.  Why don't you have LCD screens showing pretty scenery and sunny skies like every other place on the planet* has except Seattle?"

*you too Portland

It's much more informative to ask someone what the toughest problem was they encountered on their job, and how they solved it.  Or ask them point-blank what innovative things they've done on the job that they're proud of.
 
2014-07-13 11:01:41 AM
I went on an interview about a year ago for an analyst position.  I was a bit put off that the team leader asked two off the wall questions.  First, in the phone interview, he asked me what non-fiction book I recently read was and how I applied it to my every day environment.  The only stuff I read is news, textbooks for my BA, or technical information unrelated to work.  The only answer I could produce was my Constitutional Law textbook.  But still, what a worthless question.

They call me in for an in-person interview.  Cool.  I meet with the developer who the position is to assist; their "hot shot" developer who seems to run two businesses on the side; another higher up; and finally, the team leader.  This time, the team leader asks me a brain teaser, which once again I'm thinking, "WTF?"

The other higher up had been sent in to discuss with me why I was applying for the job because I've been working in a developer position for over 10 years.  They seem to neglect that my title is Analyst/Programmer, and he continues that they feel that, "Once someone works as a developer then that's all that person wants to do."

I didn't get the position but I didn't take it personal.  It reaffirmed for me that some employers use a narrow scope when assessing a candidate and have preconceived notions before the candidate even walks through the door.
 
2014-07-13 11:49:07 AM

oren0: These types of questions have been out of vogue in the industry for a decade now. When I interview for software positions, I'm looking for technical depth, passion, problem solving, and coding. Watching someone try to explain why manhole covers are round might at best give you one of those. Specific questions about past experience can cover the first two, and good coding problems can hit all four.


I remember reading about google interviews a decade ago and how they don't have the typical interview questions. Why are we still talking about it?
 
2014-07-13 02:53:26 PM

meat0918: Is FizzBuzz still an ok question?


So I have a question about Fizzbuzz,  I'm not a programmer and my only experience coding is an intro to Java class I took in college (I took an intro to SAS class as well if you want to count that).  Despite not knowing anything about programming, I could still pass a Fizzbuzz test.  Are there really programmers who have years of experience and want a good paying job to code who are unable to pass a Fizzbuzz test?  If so, how can I get a good paying job despite not knowing how to code if there are so many crappy candidates who also appear to be as incompetent as I am?
 
2014-07-13 02:54:14 PM

Rincewind53: /this doesn't even take into account the problem that "raw IQ" is demonstrably racist.


Rincewind53: In which case, if we're looking specifically at circumstances where whites are consistently over-represented at two standard deviations from the norm, then there's a good argument that the test itself is fundamentally flawed, since the IQ test in general is  supposed to create a bell curve; operating on the assumption that both blacks and whites are equally "intelligent", a standardize test that resulted in unequal distribution is pretty much  prima facie proof of the failure of the test.


Maybe black people are just dumb.  (Just kidding, please don't hurt me.)
 
2014-07-13 04:07:57 PM

llortcM_yllort: meat0918: Is FizzBuzz still an ok question?

So I have a question about Fizzbuzz,  I'm not a programmer and my only experience coding is an intro to Java class I took in college (I took an intro to SAS class as well if you want to count that).  Despite not knowing anything about programming, I could still pass a Fizzbuzz test.  Are there really programmers who have years of experience and want a good paying job to code who are unable to pass a Fizzbuzz test?  If so, how can I get a good paying job despite not knowing how to code if there are so many crappy candidates who also appear to be as incompetent as I am?


It's not whether someone can solve it, just about everyone can. It's how they solve it. A dumbass will write complicated methods to test for divisibility by three and five, and call both of them every time through the loop. Someone with a bit of a clue will use two repeating counters and print out at three and five respectively. And a smartass will write 100 print statements. The theory is that you weed out the dumbass and the smartass and move the other one along.
 
2014-07-13 04:28:18 PM
I have twice turned down Google (yeah, I know, shocking).

Both times I only took their call because a good friend (who worked at Google, since left) got some $$$ for recommending me.

Both times I got the exact same question which boiled down to a Fibonacci sequence (which I teach as a assignment in recursion in CS1).

One time the interviewer could barely speak English and I remember blurting out, "are you trying to describe a Fibonacci sequence?" "Yah! Yah! Fibonacci! How you program?" Sheesh.

The other time, when I pointed out that I have a doctorate in computer science and I thought their interview was insulting they replied, "we have so many PhDs in comp. sci. here we stack 'em up like cord wood!"

Both times I stopped the interview and said, "there's no way I could work for you guys, Goodbye."

Three weeks later I get a phone call from Google saying, "we've decided not to pursue your employment." WTF?!?!
 
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