I’m still looking for a new job. Here’s some more stupid things I observed.
One place gave me a multiple-choice C++ test. I didn’t pass. My policy should be to refuse to do these things. They’re probably thinking “HAHAHA!! We screened out that loser FSK with our test!” Actually, their test was defective.
Here is a sample question.
if (a = 5)
Does the above C++ code compile? True or false?
Well, that’s a trick quesiton. It is legal to use assignment equality in an if statement, although it’s generally a stupid idea.
However, any decent compiler will give a compiler warning. If you aren’t a clueless twit, your policy should be “All my code compiles and runs without warning messages.”
What answer do I give? I have to estimate the intelligence of the test-writer and what they’re measuring. Do they want me to know that assignment-equality in an if statement is legal C++? Do they want me to know that it gives a compiler warning?
When employers say “Our policy is that everyone takes a technical skills test.”, I should reply “My policy is to refuse to take technical screening tests. It’s an insult to my experience and background.” It’s generally a stupid idea and a waste of time, but I’ve got nothing better to do. I’ve been doing it. It’s astonishing how often I take their stupid test, and don’t make the next round of interviews. I know that I know my stuff. The test is usually defective.
It’s pretty amusing. These technical tests usually measure obscure language features that I don’t normally use.
For example, at my last job, a coworker got stuck on the STL. The code didn’t work and he couldn’t figure out why. I responded “That’s why I don’t use the STL. It can be impossible to debug. I always write my own templates.” It might seem foolish for me to write my own template classes, but I only have to do it once and I know exactly what they do.
Here’s another excerpt.
Idiot: Have you worked with Java and Spring?
FSK: Yes, I have.
Idiot: What tool did you use to edit the framework code?
FSK: I manually edited the XML and source.
Idiot: We want someone who will edit the code with the GUI tool. Therefore, you are unqualified.
That was pretty foolish. Manually editing the code is harder than using the GUI tool. I had to manually edit it, because the code had become not-synchronized with the GUI tool, and that was the only way to do it.
I wonder if he just was a jerk, and didn’t like me for other reasons but gave that as the excuse.
It’s pretty frustrating. I never noticed that in my previous jobsearches. All the employers and recruiters seem nearly completely clueless. It’s a symptom of a dying economy. I wonder if the cluelessness factor is increasing, or my overall awareness is increasing. I suspect it’s both.