In "The Last Starfighter", the recruiter/hiring manager Centauri is constantly accused of using "the Excalibur test" with derision, and which he denies. While I've never seen it explicitly defined, I'd imagine an on-the-spot work sample test to be what it means. "Pull this sword out of this stone and you get the job."
What proponents of the Excalibur test fail to realize is that their methods often spoil the data. Treat me with enough derision and pressure off the bat and I guarantee I'll fail your test even though I do fine at other companies.
While I have no interest in being interrogated with high-stress puzzle solving, it is not the interview process itself that causes my disinterest; it is the understanding, from experience, that how a company treats its potential candidates is often reflective of its general culture.
I also submitted one of those exercises for a different employer — that one took me about 6 hours but of course they estimate it at “about two”. I submitted it a week ago. They acknowledged receiving it immediately. And that was the last time I heard from this employer.
I’ll follow up tomorrow, but I’m kind of ticked as I was pretty happy with my code, and it’s not even something I can open source if they don’t like it. I also just got an offer elsewhere and I bet mentioning that fact will expedite their process more than me putting in effort into dancing around like a monkey.
Anyway, I’m done ranting, and I’m done doing take homes. I used to be a fan, but only because I preferred them to whiteboard algorithm puzzle questions.
What? Of course you should... make sure you create a repo with the company name and people can create issues to collaborate on a better ToDo sample code.
Source: I once had a dragged out legal dispute with a company that used a GitHub DMCA takedown to tell me to remove a public repo in which I solved their takehome challenge (I had signed no NDA or otherwise any type of agreement of any kind prior to solving it).
Having gone through the process recently I avoided companies with puzzle solving hiring procedures because I was confident that I could find well paid, interesting, work without jumping though those hoops. As you get more senior there are more people you have met and worked with with employment opportunities. It gets easier to find work by asking around and finding someone who will hire you based on recommendations or having worked together before.
There's a big difference between making someone jump through countless, one-sided hoops and asking for a little effort. The challenge IME is finding the balance.
Avoiding biases is hard and painful work, which goes well with being resolute and non compromising. When this accidentally bleeds through to others, because you’re human and you forgot to throttle back, it can seem blunt and disrespectful. But it’s often not meant that way, at all.
I think it’s fair to give him benefit of the doubt, here. From what little I know, Thomas is a man with great respect for data. :)
* Selection bias? Whatever, it’s a bias. Apply the “pick one to sound smart” rule. :)
Confirmation bias! :p
If only more companies realized who they are able to hire is a function of how they hire. And it starts with the job / opportunity / role description.
As a side note, it seems to me, all this friction in hiring (senior level talent) makes a good case for developing and promoting from within. I realize it's not that simple. None the less, taking a known and grooming that person isn't rocket science either.
For example, there's the simple pattern of ignoring employee careers and expectations until, after the least patient ones have left, suddenly there's a lack of personnel, and the best remaining people are needed in their current dead-end role.