5 Unusual Test Questions I Got While Interviewing for Web Dev Roles
jen chan Dec 28 '17 Updated on Dec 29, 2017
Update: I changed the title from “5 Questions Companies Ask To Filter For CS Degree Holders” to the current one as the title was very linkbaity and seemed less related to the content of this post. While most of the mentioned questions involve having CS fundamentals/education to solve, the greater issue was that the tasks applicants were asked to complete were outlandishly difficult or unrelated to the day-to-day tasks of the position, thus giving the impression the employers were looking for someone world class.
If you, like I, didn’t go to school for compsci, you’re probably wondering why you got the interview but never made it past the second one. On reflection after around 9 flopped interviews, I imagine the reasons are:
1) My portfolio is lacking or too full of templated projects or buggy projects
2) I didn’t answer the following questions in the tech test in time ( which have little to do with on-the-job knowledge, but hey, I want to get to the next level right?).
Lo-and-behold: curveballs I’ve seen on hackerrank, timed tests and pre-irl front end engineer and software dev interviews.
1. Find if these numbers exist anywhere in a binary tree given a set of conditions.
To revise (in the British sense... to re-read): recursion and scope
2. Write a hamburger sandwich menu, tabbed navigation or drop down menu without using the internet
To revise: media queries, DOM manipulation and event handlers
3. Animate the stars on both sizes of a bevel texted CSS button without using JS.
To revise: CSS animations and gradients
4. What sorting method do you use to find a missing number within a series of infinite noncontiguous numbers?
To revise: sorting algorithms
5. What was the (O)n factor of that?
To revise: task efficiency
Ok I thought of 2 more I’ve come across...
6. Write a radio button JS quiz that shows and hides next answers based on whether the user checks the right choice. Test in the console or editor and don’t look up documentation online.
To revise: Array manipulation
7. Find how many times a particular letter in a sentence exists or repeats itself regardless if its first letter is uppercase or lowercase.
To revise: Array manipulation and object oriented JS
I think it’s unfortunate that tech tests include unrealistic work conditions and high pressure whiteboard scenarios. It makes candidates second guess their abilities on first impression and also worsens imposter syndrome coming out of it.
The good part is that I get a sense of what companies are looking for and I guess the saturation of job hunters from bootcamps are creating a need for talent recruiters and oldschool bro-folk to separate the diehards from the n00bs. And if you have the luxury of scabbing off your partner or parents, it’s kind of interesting to read about how compilers and programs think.
So my plan is to practice doing each type of question until I get to comfortably solving it in just under an hour. I hope I will.
In the meantime, I’m reading Eloquent JS, You Don’t Know Js, and Grokking Algorithms.
Feel free to share any more you’ve come across!