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2011-02-23 03:37:05.111544+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Fabulous Adventures In Coding: What would Feynman do? On the stupid "interview questions" style of job interviews.

[ related topics: Software Engineering Heinlein ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-24 16:57:37.429088+00 by: TheSHAD0W


That's easy. Feynman would hack it.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-24 12:34:34.77765+00 by: meuon

And now, we've hired Cameron and Eric (oh my gosh, another Eric) as programmers. If ya'll hear of me being a pointy haired manager type or doing something stupid, please slap me.

Eric's "hiring point" in the interview was when he relaxed and went ranting across various platforms and languages about likes and dislikes of each, and then stopped himself. It showed he understood the differences in philosophy and structure in good ways. I like it when interviews become dialogues.

Another recent interviewee, with a MS degree in comp-sci, claimed he liked all languages equally and could do a good job in _______. Including Java. I'll contend that is possible, but unlikely that a Java/OO/MVC guy would be happy doing "Procedural" PHP code with little elegance and a lot of functionality.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-24 01:14:40.273712+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'm in the Bay Area game for the long-run (and I think we're not as far away from "someone seeing your name in a venue and asking if you'd come talk" as Eric thinks, but that venue isn't Usenet any more), but for everyone who wants to work at Google I'm pretty sure there's a Google person with their eyes open for an opportunity to kick-ass at a small startup with big potential.

And, yeah, I'm really glad to have gotten the Pixar experience, and I've been asked if I'd come back, but I'm on to other things now.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-24 00:44:05.211006+00 by: mkelley

right now, in chatty, I'm working with Ex-Novell, ex-Microsoft, ex-Google summer of code. At one point, maybe they all wanted to work at the 'top' then the 'I wanna work at Google" folks get disillusioned. There's bullshit at every job, sometimes once you get what you want, you realize, you really don't want it at all.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-23 17:59:53.892733+00 by: meuon

All true, but it tells me what/where a person is interested in. Adam (the 20-something) is very sharp, will be going back to school, and is the kind of person that will probably leave Chattanooga as he gains some experience and funding to work in such places and mingle with the Google and similiar crowds.

Interviews are a two way process. I was impressed in interviewing Cameron (and we just hired him as well) is that he interviewed us as much as we interviewed him. the Pseudo-Feynmann comments at the end of the article above were beautiful, and reminded me of some of Cameron's questions and thought process.

What I really liked was the Pseudo-Feynmann questions had little to do with the job at hand, and the interviewer was not capable of properly interpreting the results well. The answers Pseudo-Feynmann had were not in the "check the box options"

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-23 15:26:26.181505+00 by: ebradway

Meuon: If you have people saying "I want to work at Google" and they are interviewing for a job in 'Nooga, then they really don't understand how to get to where they want to go. Essentially, there are no jobs in Chattanooga that are a career path to Google. There are 100s in the Bay Area and even dozens in Boulder.

The thing is, it's not hard to get hired at Google. The trick is letting them know you are really interested. Showing up at their weekly presentations in Mountain View, having beers with Googlers at conferences, etc., is much more effective than submitting a resume.

The days of posting a great response to Usenet (or an email list) and getting a request for a resume and salary requirements are long gone.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-23 14:05:39.343617+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I don't know enough about Feynmann to say if that fits, but it was a great read.

I've been interviewing a lot of people lately, a favorite Q/A:

What is your long term goal: "I want to work at Google."

It takes balls you tell a prospective employer that you want to work elsewhere. He reminded me of some that wanted to work at Pixar.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-23 12:20:29.543858+00 by: DaveP

Funny back and forth, but it doesn't strike me as particularly Feynmann-esque.