[kwlug-disc] how would you interview potential linux employees?
unsolicited at swiz.ca
Tue Jan 27 14:58:24 EST 2009
Khalid Baheyeldin wrote, On 01/27/2009 11:40 AM:
> On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 11:32 AM, Insurance Squared Inc.
> <gcooke at insurancesquared.com <mailto:gcooke at insurancesquared.com>> wrote:
> For example, the last time I hired a developer, I presented them
> with this:
> - you have a list of 100 items in a file. how would you sort them
> in reverse alphabetical order.
> A number of folks I interviewed fumbled. Some came up with huge,
> robust technically correct answers. And the fellow we brought on
> board did a 10 line bubble sort.
> Give them say 5 minutes to do the quiz (you can do maybe 10
> questions) and assure them there are no right answers. You can then
> use the answers - and how they approached the answers - as a subject
> for further discussion. The contrast in my above example was that
> all the other folks I interviewed were struggling for the pretty
> answer, the one that uses the least amount of CPU time and so on.
> The other fellow explained that there was only 100 items in the
> list,so he'd have the bubble sort written in 5 minutes and job done
> - and it wouldn't make any real difference in terms of speed between
> having an elegant answer (except the elegant answer would take a lot
> longer to write than 5 minutes). For me, it was the correct
> 'business' answer.
> Nice assessment there and I agree. "Correctly crafted", "elegant"
> ...etc. are all nice, but getting the job done fast with minimal code is
> a virtue. More code is often worse than less code (think complexity,
> maintenance, ...etc.)
> If I was looking for the ideal non-programmer candidate, it would be :
> $ sort -r filename
> Does the trick using existing tools. No new code needed.
Our initial thoughts weren't too different. However, I assumed the
context of Glenn's question to be in the middle of a program that does
My first thought was something like 'sort (&mydata)'.
Yours was scripting.
But I do like the story. Aside from everything else, it points out to
look to see if the person fits within the organization, whatever their
technical skills may be.
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