RE: [Upside] Lessons in survival

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From: Mark Day (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 09:42:50 PDT

> Karl Anderson wrote:
> > I'm leery of an interview that doesn't give me a puzzle or tech
> > problem to solve, or at least ask me about my opinions on tech
> > issues. The thing about logic puzzles, or programming questions that
> > are more puzzles than real problems, is that it's not the answer that
> > matters, it's getting to the answer.

Joachim Feise wrote:
> Exactly. It is the problem solving process that is checked out here, not
> your knowledge of some algorithm.
> Knowing when you're stumped, and having no problems asking for help
> if you're stumped are important things. A clueful manager does not want
> you to spend a day figuring out some problem that could be solved in
> minutes just by asking the guy in the next office or cubicle.
> My experience, anyway.

The reasoning being put forward for "logic puzzles" in interviewing is OK,
but I've seen some bad implementations of this idea. People who like this
technique probably underestimate its hazards.

It's really easy to come off as asking smug, irrelevant,
I'm-smarter-than-you questions. I'm told that somewhat before I joined the
company, SightPath had to ratchet down our use of these questions because
candidates were telling recruiters that they hated us and wouldn't want to
work here. A famous interview question (immortalized at a subsequent company
meeting) was "how far is it to the moon?"

Personally, I've never wanted to work for a company that wanted me to solve
logic puzzles in an interview, so I don't ask them.


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