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Uday Patel
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Ok, this might not look the right place for discussion for this kind of subject but bare with me, this is the right place.

So I recently come back on job market after 3 years and attended two interviews. The biggest change I have seen so far that every company wants to you take test on some testing websites. What surprises me is that all these test questions are about API and very few about concepts or OO design related. Now Java is the world with lots of changes on a daily basis and having handy IDE to provide you will those APIs, who will remember all these API methods and attributes? Oh well oh where did those good mind stimulating interviews go? I sure am missing having discussion of solving a problem or why will you use one solution verses another or why use one technologies verses another over an interview. Interviews got little harder (for me at least) if not impossible.
 
Mark Herschberg
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That sounds pretty helpful. You obviously value fundamentals over specific knowledge of APIs. (Personally I agree with you.)

When a company says "we value specific knowledge that will be dated over fundamentals" they are saying "we have different values than you." When I meet a company that has different values than me I know it's not a fit and will look elsewhere.

--Mark
 
Kj Reddy
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I agree with you Uday. I am also doubtful on online tests or written tests as most of them are prepared based on FAQs and some questions looks very unreasonable. But regarding questions on API I guess most of the tests will have multiple choices so we should know what will be the better answer. Even though you are using IDEs you need to decide which method will be best suitable to you. For me some tests looks ok but as just based on test results cant decide upon a person.
 
Jimmy Clark
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Many organizations that depend upon "testing" results from third-parties do not have the technical skills and knowledge base in-house. Ironically, they also cannot determine the quality of the "testing" that they pay for.

The result is that an organization with a strong marketing and advertising plan can offer these "testing" services as a product to organizations that have low-level human resource and recruitment processes.

It is very difficult to assess many areas of software design with multiple choice questions and answers. And even more difficult when the assessments are created by non-technical staff, i.e. those with no software design experience. The best choice for a seasoned programmer is to decline "online testing" or defer it until an in-person interview with a technical individual has occurred, in my opinion.
 
Henry Wong
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Many organizations that depend upon "testing" results from third-parties do not have the technical skills and knowledge base in-house. Ironically, they also cannot determine the quality of the "testing" that they pay for.


To be fair, another reason is that they are "busy". This is especially true for larger corporations, whose HR departments don't want to bother engineering too much with interviewing request.

BTW, it does matter too much if the tests don't do a quality job (it does matter, but not high on the priority list). HR main goal is to "thin out the field", so that engineering don't get overwhelmed. And it is expected that some poor candidates get through, and some great candidates fall through the cracks.

Henry
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Henry Wong:

To be fair, another reason is that they are "busy". This is especially true for larger corporations, whose HR departments don't want to bother engineering too much with interviewing request.


This is true, but to me it's a bad sign. The most important task for anyone in a (knowledge oriented) company is hiring. When you give up some of the control over the hiring process you give up your edge. A third party test may still have it's place (e.g. universities do use SAT scores), but I think too many companies "outsource" their hiring.

--Mark
 
Jimmy Clark
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To be fair, another reason is that they are "busy". This is especially true for larger corporations, whose HR departments don't want to bother engineering too much with interviewing request.


"Busy"? Technical recruitment is, or, should be a very important element, and a main responsiblility of the engineering department. A Human Resource department should support this process, but should not be entirely responsible. If they look at it as "bothering", they already are on the wrong foot, and their decision to use a third-party for assessment is just another continuation with the other wrong foot, in my opinion. What is the result? Mishiring, wasted money, and failed projects due to poor staffing methods.

Strategic human capital management is a critical business process that should be a focal point and proactively managed by all departments involved.

DISCLAIMER: Just my two cents. Other experiences may vary
[ May 05, 2008: Message edited by: James Clark ]
 
Arvind Mahendra
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The despicable thing that companies in India do after conducting these tests they'll come up to you and say something "well you passed but just barely or you got like a 50.2%" . All this in an attempt to humble you into taking the lowest salary they can exploit you with. I start grinning now every time I hear an interview say I passed.... but justttt barely. hmmmmmmmmmmm
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Arvind Birla:
The despicable thing that companies in India do after conducting these tests they'll come up to you and say something "well you passed but just barely or you got like a 50.2%" . All this in an attempt to humble you into taking the lowest salary they can exploit you with. I start grinning now every time I hear an interview say I passed.... but justttt barely. hmmmmmmmmmmm ;)


Why is that despicable? Certainly if they are lying that's bad, but the hiring manager has a fiduciary responsibility to get you as cheaply as reasonably possible and this is simply a negotiating tactic.

--Mark
 
Ulf Dittmer
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The despicable thing that companies in India do after conducting these tests they'll come up to you and say something "well you passed but just barely or you got like a 50.2%". All this in an attempt to humble you into taking the lowest salary they can exploit you with.

Either the salary meets your expectations and requirements, or it doesn't. If you feel exploited working for a particular salary, don't take the job.

Of course, salary is only one part of the overall compensation (and employment satisfaction) package.
 
Tim Holloway
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Testing is the process of determining whether the tester and the testee have compatible levels of ignorance. If you know too much on a subject, you'll often know that many questions really have more than one "right" or "best" answer. And if you're an uncommon thinker, you might even realize that the entire answer set for some questions is a matter of trying to pick from a set of unsuitable choices and the "proper" answer may not even be obvious anymore.

Tests, like many certifications, are beloved of HR departments because they require that the HR personnel possess little or no competence or intelligence - especially these days when all the HR person does is sit the candidate down at a testing machine.

But you can't expect to find people who "think outside the box" if your primary filter process IS a box.
 
Nicholas Jordan
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[Ult Dittmer:]   Of course, salary is only one part of the overall compensation (and employment satisfaction) package.

Yes, but who gets satisfied? The Employer, or the boss who is only making a dollar more than you are. One of the persons about whom I speak held an MBA from a prestigious university and went to work in ( airline main office ) at a weekly / monthly rate measurably below what I drew at the time for a non-degreed job. Most companies that continue are so because of a business ( that's why the call it a business ) that runs at a pace that is beyond the scope of moderated discussion.

In general, someone who can be effective in an HR is not an engineering personality, nor do they savy bitwise shifting and BASE64 transmission. A major issue in key control is demonstrative of what OP decries as below the dignity of discussion. Trying to deploy on a corporate campus without 300 copies of your software generating 3,000 help calls from hell is a design challenge I will take on for discussion any day. I just got through protecting with contemporary standards some information I want in the app,... but who to give the keys to?

For me, this hiring anomaly under discussion is something that prospective employees need to give narrowly focused attention like bees on honey. The problem is not solvable. Every time a new fighter jet is flight tested, it fails by the same failure as the Therac-25 Incident. Those of you who can run super-cooled icewater in your veins and have nerves made of 304-Stainless pm me for the title of the book from the library I had to put back called getting away with murder.

My negotiating position is emblazoned on my signature.

{ Don't tell them Mark, they'll have to be smart enough to figure it out before they can figure out what to do with outsourcing. }

[Moan Here: <input value="Problems Go Away"/>]
[ May 05, 2008: Message edited by: Nicholas Jordan ]
 
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