Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I am responsible for hiring developers, and I do find online programming tests very useful.

They serve as a relatively simple early-stage screen for applications from people we've never met. Ours costs each candidate 1-2 hours. But we do not require cover letters, which in the good old days might have taken about half that time, and been thrown in the bin.

Some may think no CS graduate would fail a test that let you choose any popular language to implement some basic string parsing. But in practice about half the candidates fail this stage of the hiring process, which saves us quite a lot of time. Yes, it costs each candidate an hour or so, but that's a feature, similar to the oft-proposed idea that sending email could cost one cent to reduce spam.




If you don't mind sharing, what size company and how often do you hire devs?

>Some may think no CS graduate would fail a test that let you choose any popular language to implement some basic string parsing.

I don't see anything wrong with basic screeners like that, but I have experienced some really silly stuff. Recently I was given a test that asked ~10 questions (some trivia, some paragraph type response), a few small simple questions (reverse a string, etc.), create a class to handle card games (poker, blackjack, etc.), and create a user repository... in 30 minutes. I felt like a dog at a dog show.


45 person office, hiring developers gradually and continually. But what I wrote also applied when I was at a 6 kiloperson firm and we hired a hundred developers a year.

Some tests will seem impossible to complete in the alotted time. Often that's intentional. It saves time for the candidates and gives a better spread of scores (very few will get 100% in some test batteries). But it can be disheartening. For these initial online tests I try to give enough time that most people won't really run out of time unless they get stuck.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: