Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Interview with the Sociopath

Mr Ed, from the Hacknot blog, has written a very humorous essay on the dysfunction of the technical interview process. I don't always agree with Mr. Ed but this one's dead on. I've encountered many of these techniques during my career and I'm guilty of using some too. Interviewing is certainly an art form.


One convention he mentions that I've never encountered is that of the unsolvable problem. He lists a few as examples:


  • How would you count the number of gas stations in the US?
  • How would you measure the number of liters of water in Sydney Harbor?
  • How would you move Mount Fuji?
  • How long is a piece of string?


I've been trying to think up some funny responses in the event that someday I encounter them.



Interviewer: "How would you count the number of gas stations in the US?"

Pete: "long integers."



Interviewer: "How would you measure the number of liters of water in Sydney Harbor?"

Pete: "I would measure it in gallons first and then multiply the result by 3.79."



Interviewer: "How would you move Mount Fuji?"

Pete: "I would read it a poem."



Interviewer: "How long is a piece of string?"

Pete: "It depends on the font."







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