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For the lazy:

    javascript:$('div.code.plain').last().html('<form action=#>name:<input name="name"><br />email:<input name="email"><br />about:<input name="about"><br />urls:<input name="urls"><br /><p id="status"></p><button>submit</button></form>').find('button').click(function(){var f,o={};for (var k in f=$('form').serializeArray()) {o[f[k].name] = f[k].value};o.urls = o.urls.split(',');$.ajax({url:'/jobs/apply',type:"POST",data:JSON.stringify(o),contentType:"application/json; charset=utf-8",dataType:"json",error: function(d,s){$('#status').text(d.status)}});return false;})
Or is that unsporting somehow? Downvotes suggest yes, but on the other hand it'd be pretty silly for someone to expose an API intending people not to write tools that use it.

Another one for the lazy:

curl https://www.parse.com/jobs/apply -d '{"name":"somebody", "email": "me@hotmail.com", "about": "some blurb about me", "urls": ["url1","url2"]}' -H "Content-Type:application/json"


Is this really so hard that it sets the bar higher to the point that it really works as a filter?

I know software developers who wouldn't be able to figure it out.

Sadly "yes". That said, it's not "so hard" in absolute terms, but that is precisely why it works so well as a zero'th order filter.

You wouldn't want to hire based on passing that, but you certainly want to NOT hire based on failing. (Depending on what you're hiring for, of course; I can't see not taking a sales guy to do sales if he couldn't do it.)

Actually if there business is cloud services, and APIs, then it might be a good idea NOT to hire a sales guy if they can't understand the basics.

That was my thought. I curl requests like this all the time. This is like a tire obstacle course, not a high jump bar.

Yeah, that wasn't very nice of you. Now you've basically ruined their low bar filter and made the bar even lower, completely defeating the purpose.

I'm not immune to that concern, but 'ruined' seems like a strong word... it's not like I've injected that code into their page.

Really, I just thought it was a funny little hack worth sharing with the community. I doubt anyone from Parse sees it as hugely threatening to their recruitment strategy.

Well, from a personal point of view, when we did the reddit hiring, it really annoyed us when someone posted their solution to one of the problems, because there were clearly people who were copying the solution to get their cover letter to us. So then we had to read those letter to determine that no, this person isn't actually qualified, and now we wasted our time (and theirs).

So that is where I was saying the harm comes from. It's not hugely threatening, it's just annoying.

That just means that posting public problem to hire people isn't a good idea.

Don't you think that's throwing the baby out with the bath water a little bit?

I agree that it's a problem that people can easily dupe an interview by copying a readymade result, but that doesn't imply that public problems are unilaterally a bad idea.

In fact, I'd liken this to a public announcement of a security exploit. Someone has found an insecurity within the social algorithm of public problem interviews.

To me, there is little correlation between a good hire and someone who solved a public challenge. What does it prove?

Your original claim was that one bad anecdote at reddit was enough evidence to consider "that posting public problem to hire people isn't a good idea."

Do you think that all public interviewing options are unilaterally unable to defend against people divulging public problems?

A public problem is essentially just a contest. Lots of contests are considered good figures of merit. If you win a nobel prize or a fields medal, that's a sort of public problem solving exercise. Would you hire someone who won a nobel prize over someone else, all other things being equal? I certainly would.

Maybe the real issue here is that these interview problems aren't sufficiently challenging or interesting such that the barrier to entry is keeping answer-copiers out.

Unless you're Gregori Perelman, for example, you're likely not going to be taken seriously or given much credit for solving the Poincaré conjecture.

PS. I don't think it was fair to downvote me just because I disagree with the pov. Is that why I was downvoted?

I have extensive recruitment experience and I understand the idea of "let's filter out as much as we can to gain time".

My experience is: it doesn't work, you will have to crawl through resumes, do phone interview and have people come over. You can be clever about what you ask in a resume and how you do your interviews but you will somehow need a list of skills and experience and somehow you will have to talk to the people you want to hire.

Additionally, you don't want people who just "find solutions to problems", you probably want people who build systems. That's a different skill set, which is why you will not filter out the right type with a teaser.

You will also unreliably assess their skills because you cannot tell how much time it took or if they actually did it.

Have people come over. Evaluate their technical and human skill. Nothing fancy, just straightforward stuff.

If in one day of interview you think they're people you'd like to work with, hire them. If you have any doubt, don't.

Let go the idea of the exam. You're a company not an university.

The sad part is that most people who see this are also able to pass such test.

One of Parse's founders follows the repo for a Ruby script for applying[1]. </reddit_starstruck>

[1] https://github.com/albertovilla/aparse

That's pretty amusing. Perhaps then I was wrong, and it is less annoying to them than it was to me.

> </reddit_starstruck>

I think that gets us both (deservedly) downvoted around these parts. ;)

I don't know. If the candidate can find a code on the net that does what he wants, it's not bad. In some situations, even better than writing the code by himself ;)

It is unsporting. The whole point of the exercise is for job seekers to show their chops and that, for some basic problems, that they can solve it without using Google.

For fun, I posted my info using curl, vi and not one Google search. A web developer with 2-3yrs of experience should reasonably be expected to be able to do this challenge.

Maybe, but personally I'd be pretty weirded out if someone who could figure out the significance and use of the string I posted could not figure out curl.

Is that just me?

Based on personal experience, I'd respectfully say it's just you. I do see your point, though.

I've met plenty of people who could code up a simple web UI but weren't very familiar with the underlying HTTP protocol. I guess my point is that knowledge of the protocol and web infrastructure is more valuable (sometimes) than just being a person who knows how to slap something together.


A lot of devs who only know Visual Studio have never even heard of curl and other unixy utilities.

Hey team, maybe I'm wrong but I don't get the sense that this is a "test" for entry. It says more about who they are and what they're about than it does the applicants.

Agreed - more of a marketing ploy to catch the attention of their target demographic (people who use JSON).

Curl?? Real men use Telnet...

Telnet is not the best thing to use when talking to non-telnet servers since it's not a raw protocol that just passes data back and forth. For example, telnet appends an ASCII NUL to any CR in the stream. Netcat gives a truly raw socket.

Thanks, good to know.


    $ telnet www.example.com 80
    Connected to www.example.com.
    Escape character is '^]'.
    GET / HTTP/1.1
    Host: www.example.com
    HTTP/1.0 302 Found
    Location: http://www.iana.org/domains/example/
    Server: BigIP
    Connection: Keep-Alive
    Content-Length: 0

    telnet> quit
    Connection closed.

    $ curl -i www.example.com
    HTTP/1.0 302 Found
    Location: http://www.iana.org/domains/example/
    Server: BigIP
    Connection: Keep-Alive
    Content-Length: 0

- Real men type less and do more.

Of course. Abstraction is important and powerful, and the right tool for the right job etc etc. But that still means there's a certain thrill in submitting HTTP POSTs via magnetized needle.

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