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I don't necessarily expect candidates to have perfect syntax for a given language. (there's a presumption that they would be able to look up correct syntax in practice) At the same time, if you're unable to express your ideas in something close to real code, it is a signal that you're not sufficiently familiar with the language you chose.



Excepting declaring funky things like arrays of pointers to functions in C, what competent developer doesn't know the syntax to his or her own best 2 or 3 languages?

There is a difference between forgetting to put a semicolon at the end of a line (totally harmless on a whiteboard interview), and not knowing that semicolons end statements in C.

Of course, not knowing say, part of the standard library, say the semantics of rand(), without a man page or Google search is much more excusable.


OR you can hand the applicants a laptop and allow them to write code, which is what they are going to be doing on the job presumably. or does Google develop their applications on whiteboards now? I'm thinking a Minority Report-esque digital screen that programmers drag/drop with voice activation to "code".

In all seriousness, I really don't get whiteboarding in interviews.




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