Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Interview puzzles

Techinterview-style questions seem to be basically mathematical-based puzzles or logic problems.  What I wonder is whether the ability to solve such puzzles reflects on actual job performance as a software developer.  It reminds me of using the SAT to predict college performance -- it turns out to have a rather low correlation.  I know that as a software developer, a very small percentage of what I do is puzzle-like, but I suppose that it varies based on the type of software one's working on.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

As far as I get it, it is more about the way people deal with a problem than a correct solution. Just to see their minds at work. Like when Joel asks, how many fuel stations there are in NY...

And hey! It's fun!

BTW: This kind of questions are very uncommon in Germany. I was never asked such questions, nor programming or technical questions at all. I wonder why...

Gerd Riesselmann
Saturday, October 16, 2004

Yeah I agree with Gerd there, one point though, Gerd.
You said "I was never asked such questions, nor programming or technical questions at all."
So what type of questions do they do ask in Germany? :)

Christian Kamel
Saturday, October 16, 2004

@Christian: Well, at least from my experience, they ask you to introduce yourself and after that ask you questions like

"Where do you see your strengths?"
"What kind of tasks would you like to do?"
"Where do you see your place within our company?"

And stuff like that.

While I would expect questions like

"There is this and this problem. What kind of design solution you would use for implementation?"
"Propose a test strategy for this component"
"As a team mananger you will develop quality strategies. What would be your proposals?"

Gerd Riesselmann
Sunday, October 17, 2004

Yeah well, that's too bad... How do they manage to hire good people with these questions?
I've seen these questions being asked around here (Egypt) a lot, but never without at least a couple of technical questions....

My company uses an IQ test (one that was specially developed for IT related careers) and then a couple of interviews all technical... like basics of OOP and misc. questions about what's in the CV to make sure the applicant is not lying and then they may get an interview with these questions and other "personality" question.

I've also had a couple of interview at Microsoft US (a phone interview and a real one)  they had very very few personality questions, and they had <b>lots</b> of technical and coding questions... I am actually preparing for another round of interviews at MS next january, wish me luck ;)

Christian Kamel
Sunday, October 17, 2004

As I know from friends in Belgrade, in Yugoslavia interviews are quite like you said they are in Egypt.

Good look for your MS interviews!

Gerd Riesselmann
Sunday, October 17, 2004

There is actullay a good book on the subjected titled " How would you move Mt. Fuji."  The author, William Poundstone, does a great job of looking at the history of math/logic puzzle use in in hiring, and comes to some interetsing conclusions. 

Amazon has the book

Thursday, November 18, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home