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When a guy tells you his experience, and you call bullshit, it's hard to tell whether you doubt his sincerity about having the experience at all or whether the experience itself was not representative of your reality. Either way, you're telling us not how it is, but how you are, and that's simply not useful.

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.




I won't apply at, or respond to recruiters representing, those companies that have a reputation for a long and/or torturous hiring process.

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 was referred to a company that eventually handed me “6 hour” (likely much more to complete sufficiently enough to advance) take home project a few weeks ago and I still can’t bring myself to start it. I read their Glassdoor reviews and the number of folks are reporting either being ghosted or getting a negative response minutes after submitting, after putting days of effort into this exercise, is disturbing. It seems like you lose by not playing the stupid game of asking questions while working on this inane project, so correctness and effort isn’t even enough — you must also pretend to be a moron who can’t figure things out on their own.

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.


> it’s not even something I can open source if they don’t like it

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.


You’ll get hit with a DMCA takedown notice if you do that.. most companies protect interview questions they ask and solutions to them quite severely.


There is no way to copyright someone else's work. Whoever produced the solution owns the copyright.


That is probably incorrect in the United States if it is "Work made for hire".

https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf


It is mostly correct. Unless you sign very carefully worded IP assignment agreement to that effect, even work you get paid for remains under your own copyright. And frankly anyone who would sign that kind of thing on a employment test exercise is... Naive.


I doubt they paid for the interview work.


To be a work for hire, the work must be produced by an employee within the scope of their employment. Consequently, you cannot do work for hire if you have not been hired.


This is not true. If the problem statement itself is a unique creation, and the solution is publicly viewable and gives details on the question itself, the question writer may have the copyright even if you signed no NDA when solving it. Even if not, if a company wants to sue you to try to keep their interviewing IP private (as they see it), they can tie you up in court at a trivial cost to themselves but a life destroying cost to a lone developer.

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).


If it's not an original question find the original source (a source that is older than the company would be especially nice), and post a solution to the question posed by the original source. The world is a big place, a lot of question are not original.


Heads up, tomorrow is a holiday many places in the US, just do you expect at least a day of delay.


More people are getting the day off but it's still less than half at 45 percent.


Downvote if you want but according to Bloomberg 4 hours ago that's the official stat.


Downvote facts. I don't care about the fake worthless internet points. It is just pathetic that people downvote actual facts without having an actual rebuttal or intellectual counterargument. Nope just be a coward and downvote because I don't like it.


Not sure why you got downvoted, but I’m also not sure what point you are trying to convey. Facts are facts like 1 + 1 = 2, but it’s unclear what that fact brings to the conversation.


The top companies with these leetcode tests probably don't care that good people being rejected or avoiding them because of the amount of preparation required. Middle sized companies and startups doing leetcode tests are missing good people and probably can't afford the same number of false negatives as someone like Google with an endless supply of candidates. It seems like smaller companies often lazily copy these processes despite it likely costing them good engineers.

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.


This also applies to when you're actually interviewing. I once went through three rounds and they wanted a fourth. No is such a powerful and unexpected word. That they're still talking to you means they're interested but that they haven't offered you the job means they're not 100% sure. This one scenario I said No they came back with an offer. But it was rejected.


Same for assessment centers. Huge red flag.


Did you counter or flatly reject and it ended there?


I read that as "rejected by the candidate." Hey said "no," they offered, he said "no" a second time.


Would you do a 4-hr take-home assignment? What if I gave you a $100 amazon gift card?

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.


Personally, if I can get to an onsite with another company after a recruiter chat and phone screen, I’m not even going to do a “2 hour” project. In my experience, actually spending the recommended amount of time on one of these take home projects is a losing proposition when there are people who will spend more time on it.


I'd rather spend those 4h with my kids, and the gift card would be somewhat insulting.


He’s implying the author fell victim to a cognitive bias.* he’s not doubting their honesty , he’s just being harsh on the lack of discipline when it comes to battling your own brain’s tendency to lie to you.

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. :)


> Apply the “pick one to sound smart” rule. :)

Confirmation bias! :p


> "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."

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.


If management is rude and naive enough to be bad at hiring, they can be expected to be equally bad at promoting and retaining internal talent.

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.


The mistake I see __consistently__ is that when I'm discussing an opportunity / relationship with someone who is "hiring" is that they don't realize I'm interviewing them as well. Fairly often, those who don't realize this are the same ones who will hint / complain about retention and such. They want better people but that have no idea how better people think / feel and how their approach will never get them the type of people they need.


Once I interviewed at a large fashion company for a Python programmer position. I asked to see IT offices (no way, even if I had required a second interview expressly to see them; the building layout suggested some sort of overcrowded basement), I asked about salary (matching my current one would have been a stretch), about benefits like a car (oh no, only for top management!), about training (studying their software after hours, on my own time), about lunch (internal mess hall only, and nobody can leave), about their software engineering approach (overtime, and proud of it). They unconsciously went out of their way to demonstrate a corporate culture of paranoid secrecy and to show that IT had very little consideration within the company. I tried hard to find a reason to like them, and when I found none and refused their offer I got an angry call from the manager: I wasn't "motivated". He thought I had wasted their time.


Wasn't that "test" the video game itself, at least for humanoids like Alex?


This is a sendup, right? Down to quoting the last starfighter?


Ironically, Patrick, Erin, and I did a company after Matasano that was based (sort of) on work-sample hiring (really, more based on CTFs) that was called Starfighter.


(that was my point...)




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