18 yrs of experience of programming.
His fizzbuzz solution for an interview

  • 6
    There was a whiteboard under the pad that he could've used, he chose the paper
  • 8
    @adorkable rotflmao. Could you really not spare a computer for the guy? If I went to an interview and you ask me to hand write code I'd seriously think about walking out.
  • 5
    @Jonnyforgotten I think if someone asked me to write fizzbuzz, I might walk out.

    How about a real business problem?

    20+ legacy system where users want price calculation to include costs ... sometimes. Include shipping fees.. sometimes, but only charge the fee to the total order ...sometimes. Oh, by the way, you can't change *anything* in the old system to make it work.

    I'd hire the one guy who knows how to serve people and understands business processes over 20 devs who can write fizzbuzz.
  • 0
    Kind of hard to read, does it even work? It seems like it would just be more sensible to use for(if/elseif/else)... I mean you could throw it in a function declaration and provide and point to count to if you wanted to go the extra mile but this seems excessive and from what I can tell, nonfunctional
  • 1
    Lol did you make him code using a pen? How cruel
  • 3
    now I am going to receive rants from you all, but wth is fizzbuzz?? never heard that term in my whole life...
  • 3
    I've been programming x language for x years, but if someone asked me to it directly on paper/board I couldn't save myself, how fucked am I i? Is this a common thing on interviews? I need autocomplete and shortcuts, it's just a part of me.
  • 0
    Plz stop with the coding on paper bullshit
  • 1
    @Eqb8 that's my point, I think if you asked me to write a simple function on paper I would fail every time. Given laptops are everywhere these days, there isn't much excuse for not making one available in an interview.
  • 0
    You guys are missing the point.
    This is a NEW problem for many. It's a surprise.
    If a person can't handle an easy new problem, what good is that person?
  • 5
    @2erXre5 you might get a better explanation if you google it, but basically its a common interview test, where you are asked to write some code which loops round an array of numbers and prints them, but replaces the numbers which are multiples of 3 with the word fizz and numbers which are multiples of 5 with the word buzz. It's to test how good your handwriting is on a whiteboard.
  • 7
    @AndSoWeCode I'm fine with the problem, my argument is about asking people to hand write code. You don't test someone's driving ability by asking them to push a toy car round a table.
  • 3
    @Jonnyforgotten sure, but in this case if you give them a toy car and they start smashing it violently into pedestrians or throwing it into the wall, you might think that there's not a good driver material in that person.

    Same here. I know devs who are devs because they were forced to dev. They learned by heart to do specific tasks, and they do them with little flexibility, but do it well.

    If you want that kind of dev - go ahead and hire such a person, with lots of experience but stumbling in new problems. In this case you'd be getting more than you pay for.

    But if you're faced with different problems all the time, failing this test in such a way is a clear indicator that this is not the right person to hire.
  • 2
    I was just: "what the Fuck?" And after reading it a second time: "what the actual fuck?"
  • 5
    Well I agree that whiteboarding interviews suck, if you can't solve fizzbuzz, you can't code.

    It only takes 7 lines, including function definition and trailing curlie. (Maybe a few more in java)

    I would never hire someone who can't write something that bloody simple.
  • 2
    @AndSoWeCode I can guarantee that this person was nervous and was working under pressure and I don't understand why.

    Of course someone with 18 years of coding can write a fizzbuzz under normal conditions.
  • 1
    thx for explanation @Jonnyforgotten

    sounds like it should really be solvable on a whiteboard ✌
  • 2
    I agree that paper is not the best medium for coding and the person was likely nervous.

    However it isn't a hard problem to solve and is usually one of the first problems you solve in a CS course.

    Finally though, even if he had given the absolute perfect solution, what would his ability to solve the fizz buzz problem tell you guys about his programming ability or suitability for the job?
  • 2
    Yup, exactly my experience. *NEVER* trust the CV, *ALWAYS* let the candidate code in the interview (unless he/she has Open Source projects and you can check the code)
  • 2
    I get the intent, but I hate this kind of interview. You're intentionally created the worst imaginable coding experience. For what?

    When I was interviewing people, I'd ask them to walk me through any "free time" project they had lying around. Preferably in a similar tech stack, by that was only half the point: having them explain problems they had ALREADY SOLVED was 10x more insightful than any battery of contrived questions I could cook up. And yes, you can still surely tell when someone's BS'ing it.

    - Don't have a "free time" project lying around? Wrong candidate.
    - Can't even explain the basic architecture? Wrong candidate.
    - [Dig into a function or two] Can't convey the intent of your code in plain English? Wrong candidate.
    - Can't admit mistakes? Uninterested in ideas for improvements? Wrong candidate.
    - Don't have a "next release" wishlist? Wrong candidate.

    Yeah, it was time consuming, but also a lot more human. And I, the interviewer, learned something new -- every time.
  • 0
    Sorry, I think I just ranted on your rant...
  • 1
    He may not realize it yet, but he's glad you didn't hire him.
  • 2
    @zourtney With an interview process like that, I'll bet you employ a lot of great people and have a lot of funny stories about those individuals who you didn't hire :)
  • 0
    @theuser "can't handle stress". Also bad.
  • 4
    @zourtney I don't agree with the "don't have a free time project = wrong candidate" sentiment. I don't have a free time project because I give 110% to my current job (makes me a loser I know) and I have a family, which I probably don't give enough % to.

    If someone tells me I didn't get a job because I don't spend my weekends doing my day job, I think I'd be glad I missed out.
  • 0
    @Jonnyforgotten I realize that came out wrong. I agree... I mean, I have family too, and make a conscious effort to put them above all else. And honestly, I have put very little effort into coding in the "off hours" lately.

    Anyways, the point was to seek self-motivated candidates. And ones who could adequately convey their knowledge. I'm not saying I knew what I was doing, but it worked out ok.
  • 0
    Actually I would go for something that involves a little more craftmanship than fizz buzz. Why? Because no one really says "oh boi, look at how amazing this fizzbuzz implementation is" yet they will reach a point in which they will say "wow, reduce, map and filter are amazing" and it would show me that they really look into a craft. As an example, have someone write down the application of the add operator into a reduce function over a vector of integers. If they code it the old fashioned way they are good thinkers and value their studies, if they use reduce they value comp sci as a whole. Although this would be with a combination of business proceadures and what not.
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