Code samples for Job Interview



  • I have a job interview on Monday.

    I have the code for an old intranet app I did a year ago that my previous company no longer uses. I've got the code working again and re-factored the worst parts.

    Should I:

    1. Leave it as is and talk about the improvements.
    2. Or fix all the things I don't like about it now, and show them the "improved version".
    3. Do a before and after?

    I have some .NET, PHP and C# example code.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Disclaimer: I have never been in the position to evaluate people for possible job offerings!

    If you have the time I'd say go with 2.
    You can still talk about how you did it before and that you improved it if they hint at it during the interiew but the company probably wants to evaluate your current skill level not your growth over time within the last company.

    If you don't have the time, only option 1 remains anyway, so there is that.

    Filed Under: Just my two cents, though | You should post the old code here and just give them a link to TDWTF.... INSTANT HIRE!



  • Definitely do before/after thing. I'd love to see that the candidate has improved over time. Would make me feel like I'm making an investment.

    One caveat. Don't spend too much time on it. Eg. maybe just do representative samples, or a single module. If I saw you'd spent days messing around with some old codebase for an interview, I'd wonder: "Is he desperate? Is he stuck in the old glory days?" I think about 4-8 hours is a reasonable investment in something like that.



  • I've been told by the recruiter that he likes seeing code samples, so I am thinking I can bring in my laptop show it to them working and burn the source onto a CD.

    This is really only 1 of 2 things I can show him legally that are in fully working state and were in production (both are no longer in production but that's mainly because they are no longer required).

    I think I am going to git branch this now, and show them a production version and spend the afternoon on some basic improvements.

    The main improvements am planning to make is that the templating system is all over the place, I have Mustache (Server side PHP port), some roll your own templating system I made up on the fly (think of a poor man's ASP.NET Razor templates but in PHP). and some iffy oldschool PHP in place, it also doesn't work in anything less than IE10.

    I see if it is easy to have a Sitecore CMS example site I made.

    Competition in this area is hot and I am fed up of doing bullshit code challenges.



  • I've never been asked to offer sample code as part of a hiring process. Live programming exercises, from my experience, are far far more popular.

    To answer the actual question, I think you can make 1 or 2 work. 1 will only work if you're a good communicator and the person judging you is actually listening-- so if this is like a "email the codez and we'll get back to you" type of thing, don't do that.

    I don't think anybody cares to hear about 3. They're hiring you as you are now. There's no point spending ages talking about how you used to be.



  • Well the interview is likely to be an hour long, and I don't want to have to do a code challenge, so I pre-empt it with some sample code.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Do #2. I have hired and fired a lot of people over the years. I don't care about how you used to be. Show me your skills now. If they wish to discuss it, then you can gladly bring up what it used to be and how you have improved it, how your skills have changed, etc.

    Above all else, make damned sure there is nothing even remotely proprietary in there. If someone tells me that this is something from a prior employer, I would be strongly inclined to not hire them as I would wonder if some of my code would end up in their next interview. If there is anything that could show it was from a prior employer, don't use it.



  • @Intercourse said:

    Above all else, make damned sure there is nothing even remotely proprietary in there.

    This. Unless your contract was sent up all kinds of wonky the code you wrote for your employer is theirs and you have no rights to show it to anyone. Especially not anything more than a snippet.



  • @Intercourse said:

    I have hired and fired a lot of people over the years.

    There is no easy way to do the later. here is a great tutorial from my life mentor
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saKRZEMqdis



  • In the end the interview went okay and I gave them my github account which has about 2 things in it and they are both me knocking something up for a tutorial or a code challenge.



  • OMGWTF and OMGWTF2, amirite?



  • Yep



  • Wouldn't entries in those contests not be the kind of thing you want to show when looking for employment? Did you explain the they were purposefully bad?



  • Just to be clear I had two iffy PHP apps in my github account that I've been working on as a set of "example apps", both are incomplete due to me not wanting to even use my desktop PC in the evenings.

    EDIT: I did get the job and I get to move closer to my friends and family.



  • @lucas said:

    EDIT: I did get the job and I get to move closer to my friends and family.

    :confetti_ball:

    Congrats, man!



  • @locallunatic said:

    Wouldn't entries in those contests not be the kind of thing you want to show when looking for employment? Did you explain the they were purposefully bad?

    I think it might, just might, have been a joke. I don't know, though - maybe he really wanted to showcase just how WTFy he can make their codebase.

    The sad thing is, I wouldn't even be surprised if some OMGWTF entries flew with some employers...



  • It was a joke.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas said:

    EDIT: I did get the job and I get to move closer to my friends and family.

    'grats!


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