So this company wants me to take a technical test to get the job
They described it as a one hour test to see how I "work under stress". That is, of course, a huge red flag. I generally assume if you're giving a tech test to a person who is a demonstrated expert in the skill set you're hiring for then you're a moron.
My first inclination was to tell them to fuck off, but then I thought about it. I replied that I'd be happy to take the 1 hour test. I also told them that I have a written test of my own I'd appreciate they fill out as well while I'm taking mine.
I haven't heard back from them yet, but if I do, I'm thinking of putting together a questionnaire together with things such as:
1) You ask a developer on the team to perform a task you think should take a week, but he/she tells you it'll take 2 weeks. Which course of action do you take?
a) Give the task to another member of the team who agrees to finish it in a week.
b) Thank the developer, but inform that that it needs to be done in a week.
c) Agree to the developer's timeline
d) Reduce the scope of requirements until it fits in the week timeline
e) Fire the developer and send the work offshore
I'm putting together a nice little list. I'm open to any suggestions you might have for questions.
January 12th, 2018 6:32am
A good question to ask in an interview is, "Do you press charges?"
January 12th, 2018 6:38am
> g. I generally assume if you're giving a tech test to a person who is a demonstrated expert in the skill set you're hiring for then you're a moron.
Is the the test the demonstration of expertise?
January 12th, 2018 6:42am
The last time I had to do a written test, it was for Enron.
Red flag indeed!
Grumpy Old Git
January 12th, 2018 7:07am
2) You interview a Java expert with 15 years of solid experience including commercial software and consulting experience. You read his blogs and notice he's the author of 2 books and numerous articles on advance Java development. He is able to answer all of your technical questions with ease, even offering extra bits of information you never knew about before.
a) Hire him
b) Make him take your stupid technical test
c) Don't call him back, he's only going to make you look bad
January 12th, 2018 7:13am
Yeah a lot of CoTers are working with guys who wrote 2 books ...
January 12th, 2018 7:19am
I've interviewed self-proclaimed experts who couldn't answer simple programming questions.
So yes, it's nice to have something to verify a skill-set, EVEN IF the person claims to have the skill-set in spades.
January 12th, 2018 8:21am
"a lot of CoTers are working with guys who wrote 2 books"
There's been a fair number of members here over the years who are published authors.
January 12th, 2018 8:48am
"I've interviewed self-proclaimed experts"
Demonstrated experts are different from self proclaimed experts.
January 12th, 2018 8:49am
"I've interviewed self-proclaimed experts who couldn't answer simple programming questions."
I fully agree. That's what a technical interview is for. I would expect no less. I'll generally sit down with the candidate and within less than 5 questions I already have a good idea what they're made of.
A written test is completely idiotic.
January 12th, 2018 8:58am
And the "Under pressure" thing is ridiculous, I agree.
Dude, I'm at an INTERVIEW, trying to get a JOB. How much MORE pressure can I be under?
January 12th, 2018 9:04am
My rule is 1 hour max for technical tests, so I'd probably do it.
Those tests don't seem to be good for more than verifyimg Fizzbuzz-level competence.
The more complex the technical test, the more likely the are to reject you for a stupid reason, such as doing it in the "wrong style".
It's a big negative signal when they give a test. Do it, but have low expectations.
January 12th, 2018 9:17am
Agree. It's a negative signal. Especially to someone who has been working in the industry for 15+ years already.
"Oh, you want me to write a couple of nested for-loops? Are your current programmers having problems with this and need help with it?"
"Oh, you want me to write a tree traversal? Is this something you do often when writing code here at Ace Accounting Software Inc.?"
January 12th, 2018 12:39pm
I'd take the test only if it's at their premises AND one of the interviewers sits with me in the same room, burning one hour of his time too.
No longer taking online automated tests but I'm not declining them, just asking for a payment equal to my hourly rate in exchange for an hour of labor. Obviously never got that but they can't say I refused the test.
January 12th, 2018 1:38pm
Since every time I got hired I got to do maintenance, the "one hour test under stress" interview is completely irrelevant.
1) There's no "hit the ground running" in maintenance. It always takes a significant amount of time to ramp up and get familiar with the abominations that lurk in the business code.
2) After I'm getting somewhat specialized in the crap, my productivity increases (time for completing a fix or change decreases), but "one hour under stress" means being very very familiar with a precise section of code that needs changes.
January 12th, 2018 1:47pm
The recruiter got back to me and said the client won't take my test and so I should be prepared for their test only.
I told him that I'm afraid I can't proceed any further, then. He tried to convince me to drop my test idea, but I explained to him why I'm declining.
Without getting into a blow-by-low account, the gist of my message was that it's a question of mutual respect. If they won't take a test from me then their test is really just a series of hoops to jump over. If I do that, then I'm starting my relationship with them from a position where they can't and shouldn't respect me.
January 12th, 2018 5:12pm
As far as I am concerned you PASSED the test with flying colors.
Your test, it didn't even matter what it was or how they scored. What mattered was whether they would agree to take it.
Good on the recruiter for at least asking them (assuming he actually did which may not be true).
January 12th, 2018 5:22pm
I like this test idea though. I think we should continue collecting questions like you proposed and make a full test for them to take. This is one of the greatest interview ideas of all time.
January 12th, 2018 5:24pm
>> make a full test for them to take. This is one of the greatest interview ideas of all time.
Yeah. Except you figured out how it works a bit before: "Good on the recruiter for at least asking them (assuming he actually did which may not be true)."
THEY NEVER DO!
January 12th, 2018 5:48pm
Expect abject rudeness and unprofessionalism of employers, managers and HR departments.
How can employers afford to be so rude to you when they’re trying to fill jobs? It’s simple. The employment system — job boards, applicant tracking systems, LinkedIn — has convinced employers there are plenty of candidates available all the time. That is, job applicants are free, so why waste time being nice to them? Why rush to fill a job when there’s a better candidate out there for a lower salary?
January 12th, 2018 6:06pm
Are you saying that you don't also believe the used car salesman when he disappears for 45 minutes to talk to the manager about your final offer and comes back and says "I really fought for you back there, really really hard, but the manager says we just can't go that low, but he's willing to throw in a set of premium deluxe floor mats and pinstriping, no charge."
January 12th, 2018 6:09pm
Another advice from this Corcodilos guy: PAY ME FOR THE WORK.
Exactly as I said above, only nicer put it. Will use his version from now on.
“Just as I’m sure you don’t charge prospective customers to do a sales call, or to provide product samples for their evaluation, I don’t charge for interview meetings or samples of my work. I’d be more than happy to meet with you. But if you want me to work solo while you attend to other matters, my hourly rate is $X. If you’re willing to invest a couple of hours of your time, I’ll invest mine, too — no charge.”
January 12th, 2018 6:12pm
Reality Check++ for the used car salesman analogy :)
January 12th, 2018 6:13pm
The Fed researchers found that most job applicants — 60% — at this one company came from online job boards. Only 6.1% of applicants came from personal referrals by employees. But the biggest chunk of actual hires — over 29% — came from those meager but incredibly powerful employee referrals.
January 13th, 2018 1:01am
Needs the whole table.
Percent of Applicants at Each Stage by Method of Applying
Sample Size: 62,127
Source Applicant Interview Offer Hired
Internet Job Board 60.1 40.0 23.6 23.5
Firm Website 14.8 10.1 9.6 10.6
Own Initiative 10.1 7.7 7.0 5.6
Other 6.9 13.9 21.3 23.5
Referred by Current Employee 6.1 21.4 27.3 29.1
Campus Recruitment 2.1 6.9 11.2 7.6
So referrals from current employees and "other" (???) are great ways to get hired.
Internet job board is the worst.
Referrals are most likely to get you an interview, followed by campus recruitment, then Other.
If you can get an interview, Other is the best. Internet board is the worst.
January 13th, 2018 7:58am
That study though uses data from a single US corporation which employs between 2000 and 5000 workers depending on the season, has been solely in the financial services industry for several decades, works only in an urban environment, and hires for a broad range of tasks with all levels of education and experience.
Sort of sounds like tax prep service, but they are more specialized I think and tax prep services like H&R work out of rural areas not just urban.
Anyway, perhaps the data is not representative of industry as a whole, but I doubt it.
January 13th, 2018 8:10am
I hate it when the author of the test or hiring manager doesn't even talk to me on phone first. No, they have the HR lady talk to me and asking me to do the test.
Or the biggest red flag of them all, they never contact you by phone, just ask you to do the test by email
January 14th, 2018 2:00am