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Discussion on: Top 5 Things NOT to Say in a Job Interview

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Jason C. McDonald • Edited

We're aware of all of that, and yes, learning how others solve it is fine. We see some similar techniques, and certainly plenty of developers use libraries or common patterns, especially for the more predictable components. It is smart.

We're mainly on the lookout for two problems in that area: (a) people who copy/paste someone else's code โ€” we've only ever had two candidates ever do that, mind you โ€” and (b) people who copy/paste together code with no concept of what it's doing. Neither is amenable to coding-as-a-career. Situation (a) is easy to check with a web search, and situation (b) is exposed with the live coding that expands on the code they submit.

(P.S. We also know how to factor in nerves. They're actually a good sign: it means there's a human being there, who knows they're not perfect. It's the people who blaze through live coding with nose held high that worry me, and needfully so, as I learned the hard way over the years that they are always unteachable and toxic.)

But, returning to the original premise, there has been many an interview where, as they fix a bug live in their coding challenge submission, I'm quietly hoping they'll remember some built-in component that handles something for them. Often I will even give them a hint to that effect after giving them a few minutes to think of it themselves. After all, the entire purpose of both the take-home and live coding is to demonstrate how they work through a problem, handle natural roadblocks, and accept suggestions. I don't even expect them to necessarily fix the bug or finish the change in the live coding. I just want to see them try; it tells a lot about them.