So, You Want To Work Here

My current activity in job seeking has gotten me thinking about the interview process.  It’s something I’ve written about before – in anger – but my recent thoughts have been more antagonistic.  These would be more suited for a prank skit, since you just couldn’t get away with jokes like these in a real situation.

My first idea, which has a slight bit of validity, is to give a coding challenge that has a task to be accomplished, but the results don’t have any bearing on the required task.  For example:

Write a small application that tests a number to see whether or not it is a prime number, then output that number to the screen.  Use values 1 through 50.

The candidate would probably be confused, because as requested, the output would be a list of numbers from 1 to 50, with no indication of whether each is a prime or not.  That’s exactly the point.  Two things would need to be verified: that the output only had numbers 1-50, and that the code to check if the number is a prime does exist.

What this could establish is how the developer deals with odd requests.  Are they going to fight you and say the prime test is irrelevant (which it seems to be)?  Are they going to skip it and output 1-50 and expect that the end justifies the means?  You could learn a lot about an employee this way.  After the arguments, you could say that there is an actual reason for the test, like you have to measure CPU usage in a standardized way and the prime calculation provides that.

The other idea I had was to use a really offensive statement as industry jargon and then act disappointed when the candidate doesn’t seem to understand it.

“Ok, then.  So, do you shave your balls?”

“Excuse me?”

“When you’re done coding, do you shave your balls?”

“I’m not sure I can answer that.”

“Sigh.  When your code is all done and working, you go back and clean up the whitespace and format it all nicely.  You know… shave your balls.”

“Oh.  I do clean my code up afterwards, yes.”

*shakes head and writes down a brief note*  “Very well, then.”

“I’d never heard that term before.”

“I see.  Well, moving on.  When in the coding process would you say it’s time to stick a dick in it?”

Female candidates would be especially fun to deal with.

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