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Discussion on: You're not worth hiring unless...

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avalander profile image
Avalander

On the other hand, most C/C++ developers don't spend a big part of their day writing algorithms to convert from decimal to binary and anybody can easily find the algorithm online, so I wouldn't expect even someone who's been working with embedded software in C for the past twenty years to necessarily have the algorithm memorized. I still think it's a worthless interview question.

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witalyiwanow profile image
witaly-iwanow

it's not about that particular algorithm, it's about weeding out devs who cannot come up with something as basic as decimal-to-binary conversion. A former boss of mine used questions like "What year did the First World War start?" to cut, well, not enough intelligent people off - worked pretty well actually

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walkhard13 profile image
Phillip Smith

I disagree with either of these types of questions being used to measure a person's intelligence. Lack of knowledge is not the same thing as lack of intelligence. As a thought experiment: What if Leonardo DaVinci were asked to answer either of those questions? He would not have access to our knowledge of history and most likely not the mathematical experience converting numbers to different base systems. I don't think most people would consider his contributions any less significant or that he was less intelligent because he didn't know some random tidbit of knowledge.

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skhmt profile image
Mike S • Edited

A former boss of mine used questions like "What year did the First World War start?" to cut, well, not enough intelligent people off - worked pretty well actually

Why would a history quiz be on a programming job interview and be used to judge intelligence? I consider myself pretty well versed on history and I don't even know the answer to that. Why would the year Franz Ferdinand was shot be relevant at all to the job?

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witalyiwanow profile image
witaly-iwanow • Edited

@phillip What makes you think Leonardo would be a good software developer? :)
@mike It was just a quick test if the person was actually learning something during his high school years. Also it was in Russia, for the US you might want to replace it with something more culturally relevant as people born/raised outside Europe are usually pretty hopeless at European history (unless there was a movie or music band)

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rachelsoderberg profile image
Rachel Soderberg

Oof, history was never a good topic for me. That's why I got into tech and not studying history. That'd be a great way to weed me out of wanting to work for a place, asking me history questions during a technical interview. lol