DEV Community

Alan Friedman
Alan Friedman

Posted on


Interviews without riddles?

Would you guys be interested in a job board only for companies that do take-home assignments (build something that does X) instead of live coding challenges/riddles/puzzles during the interview process?

I'm considering building it but wanted to gauge interest first.

Top comments (3)

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I've mentioned this on other comments, but consider this: (1) take home assignments can be easily faked, so live coding relating to that take-home helps verify the person probably wrote it themselves. (2) There are other reasons for live coding challenges, including watching how someone approaches an unfamiliar problem (nerves are an intentional and important factor).

Done wrong, live coding is horrible. Done right, it is absolutely imperative to effective hiring in the programming industry.

Therefore, this would in essence, serve to drive a LOT of experienced and conscientious coders away from the companies you list. Coders who understand the above would wisely hesitate to work for such companies, as their co-workers may not actually know how to code effectively, if at all.

So, in short, the idea has a good intention, but such a board would ultimately serve to harm the companies listing on it.

alanfriedman profile image
Alan Friedman • Edited

Aren't live coding exercises easy to fake too, given that they often involve the same questions (nested loops, matrices, recursion, graph traversal, etc)?

In other words you could (and people do) just learn common coding challenges and ace the test without demonstrating you can do the actual work required at the job (Building user interfaces, migrating DBs, standing up APIs, writing unit tests, etc).

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Well, first, that assumes that all live coding exercises are the same, when in fact they aren't.

Second, generally if someone doesn't know how to solve a problem in coding, that will be evident in how they work the problem. We aren't necessarily looking at whether or not you can implement a linked list on a whiteboard, we're looking at how you approach implementing a linked list on a whiteboard. (And, for the record, my own live coding questions are things you definitely can't study for - linked lists is NOT one of them.)

Whether or not the company is using the live coding questions intelligently or not is ultimately their problem, the same as whether they ask stupid Freudian questions like "if you could be an animal, what would you be?" But interviewees don't know what the interviewers are actually looking for. If you were to interview with me, for example, you can bet you'd be doing live coding, but whether or not you knew some arcane or trivial technical algorithm is really the last thing I'm looking for. ;)

Timeless DEV post...

Git Concepts I Wish I Knew Years Ago

The most used technology by developers is not Javascript.

It's not Python or HTML.

It hardly even gets mentioned in interviews or listed as a pre-requisite for jobs.

I'm talking about Git and version control of course.

One does not simply learn git