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Potential employer gave me homework

This is a discussion on Potential employer gave me homework within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I had a job interview several days ago. They have now asked me program a small puzzle game. Although I ...

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    Post Potential employer gave me homework

    I had a job interview several days ago. They have now asked me program a small puzzle game.

    Although I anticipate that it will be less than 1,500 lines of code, it is still a substantial amount of work. They asked for a full application. While I do think the excercise is useful, it requires far more effort than any other interview I've been on. Is 1,500 lines out of the ordinary for a job interview? Certainly, if I had a job, the assignment would never get done.

  2. #2
    Epy
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    1500 lines? I hope they're paying you in gold bars.

    50-100 lines would be more reasonable for a job app IMO.

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    If the effort exceeds what you are willing to expend, that is probably a good sign the employer is not for you. That is true whether the effort involved is large or small.

    Apart from providing an opportunity for you to showcase whatever skills you have, the exercise also gives the employer an idea of how motivated you are. The request could also mean you did not provide significant evidence of your skills in the interview.

    I would suggest, if you write the code, you put appropriate copyright and licensing terms on it.
    Right 98% of the time, and don't care about the other 3%.

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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Did they say 1500 lines or is that your guess? That's maybe a weekend of effort if you're good at it. For an awesome job, I'd do it. Assuming they don't seem like sleaze bags.

    Don't give away for free anything that could be worth serious money, though.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    The job interview wouldn't perhaps be for a small puzzle game production company would it?
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Wow. Well, if it were something I could do in < 20 hours (as in total time, eg, 2 ten hour days), and it was a job worth having, I'd do it. But I'd definitely put a copyright and no-reuse, no-distribution licence on it. I assume they would respect that and even give you points for being shrewd. If not, maybe they are not such good people to work for.

    I really like projects that size. They are big enough to be interesting and small enough to avoid serious commitment.
    Last edited by MK27; 01-14-2012 at 10:32 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    If they require a significant amount of your time before employment, they should pay for it.

    It's just like if they decide to fly you in for an interview, they should pay for the plane tickets.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    If they require a significant amount of your time before employment, they should pay for it.

    It's just like if they decide to fly you in for an interview, they should pay for the plane tickets.
    This is a good point, because otherwise it opens the door to employers just telling as many people as possible to do X for nothing, then chucking half of X in the bin without looking because it doesn't cost them otherwise.

    OTOH, it's a crass analogy, because it equates your time as an unemployed person with money. You have time to do a test. You don't have money to fly in for an interview. Apples and oranges. On this logic, are you going to ask them for bus fare or gas money to get to the interview? How about: "My going rate for interviews is $50/hour" because you have such a busy, albeit unemployed, schedule?

    I guess the "market force" at work is: who will say f__ you, and who won't. If they are excluding too much talent with the former, I guess that is their problem. Which means, if you really want the job and are willing to meet the criteria, it's your winfall .

    Worst comes to worst, you spend the time, get the job, then realize they are jerks and quit within two weeks. That is a very bad scenario for employers if it becomes a pattern -- I don't think you will see anyone make it a practice even for burger flippers. So, let's say they aren't so bad and you like the job -- those couple days doing whatever will seem irrelevant by the end of the month.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say my going rate for interviews is $X dollars - that is too cute - but I would remind them that I write programs for that much. If they take the comment the wrong way don't work for them.
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  10. #10
    The superhaterodyne twomers's Avatar
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    Heh. I'd do it.

    It is far more informative to them than any interview could be. Imagine looking at 1000 lines of code as a perspective to employing someone? From their point of view it's pure gold. So give them 48 carrots.

    On the other hand, time is money. But by that reasoning would it not be wise to invest your time to this project?

    I like the idea.

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