I'm not even looking for a job...



  • Some headhunter (British, not Indian) found my resume in his files from some time back, calls me up, insisted that he just found it on the job boards (it hasn't been posted in 4 months), and tells me about this awesome job that's closer to home and pays a lot more (in all honesty, it was and did); but the employer wanted everyone to take one of those online tests. Usually, that's enough of a red flag that I won't bother (because 1) the tests are made up by folks who have no clue how to see if someone knows their stuff, 2) the tests usually don't tell you anything about their ability, and 3) they tell you more about the person who requires them than the person who takes them).

    Anyway, it was raining, the kids were stuck in the house and fighting, and the wife was out, so I figured it was a good time to lock myself in a room and kill some time. I started to take the test. In 20 minutes, I encountered 6 questions that were essentially the same question with different words and numbers, 4 that had no correct answer, 5 that had multiple correct answers but no way to make multiple choices, and about 8 more that were on completely unrelated subjects (if you get them wrong, it counts against you making you look artifically dumber). At that point, the progress bar indicated I was less than 5% through, so I just disconnected it.

    The next day, the head hunter sends me an email telling me how great I did on the test and that the company insists on seeing me.

    Would you even bother? (It's only a 10 minute walk from my office, and I'm kind of curious about any manager this clueless)

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @snoofle said:

    Would you even bother? (It's only a 10 minute walk from my office, and I'm kind of curious about any manager this clueless)
    Only out of curiosity, and if I had nothing better to do.



  • @snoofle said:

    I encountered 6 questions that were essentially the same question with different words and numbers, 4 that had no correct answer, 5 that had multiple correct answers but no way to make multiple choices, and about 8 more that were on completely unrelated subjects (if you get them wrong, it counts against you making you look artifically dumber). At that point, the progress bar indicated I was less than 5% through, so I just disconnected it.

    The next day, the head hunter sends me an email telling me how great I did on the test and that the company insists on seeing me.

    Maybe the only winning move was not to complete the test.



  • @snoofle said:

    that's closer to home and pays a lot more (in all honesty, it was and did);
    Use it to get a raise at your current job.



  • Post some of the test?



  • @dhromed said:

    Post some of the test?

    Sorry - didn't think to write down the questions



  • I recently had a headhunter contact me via email regarding a copy of my resume that made it into their hands in 1999.  I have no idea why they'd even retain a document for that long, but then I have no idea why headhunters do most of the things they do.  Maybe they thought I would be interested in a do-over of the last 10 years of my career?

    I'd like to believe that the online test is a Kobayashi Maru-type situation, where the goal is to see how the testee responds when confronted with a no-win scenario.  Bad candidates will spend eight hours trying to complete the entire flawed exam; good ones will recognize the futility and stop wasting their time within the first half hour.

    I'd like to believe that, but I can't.

     



  • @snoofle said:

    Would you even bother?

    Me? No, probably not, but I'm not a source of excellent WTF threads like you are. Come on, take the job. Do it for us.



  • @Rootbeer said:

    I'd like to believe that the online test is a Kobayashi Maru-type situation, where the goal is to see how the testee responds when confronted with a no-win scenario.  Bad candidates will spend eight hours trying to complete the entire flawed exam; good ones will recognize the futility and stop wasting their time within the first half hour.

    And the Kirk-types will use Firebug to change the radio buttons into check boxes.



  • @Rootbeer said:

    I'd like to believe that the online test is a Kobayashi Maru-type situation, where the goal is to see how the testee responds when confronted with a no-win scenario.  Bad candidates will spend eight hours trying to complete the entire flawed exam; good ones will recognize the futility and stop wasting their time within the first half hour.
    Nice!



  • @snoofle said:

    Would you even bother? (It's only a 10 minute walk from my office, and I'm kind of curious about any manager this clueless)

    Yes, with two things in mind:

    1) If things get too stupid (for example, giving you another test, them altering your resume, etc.) walk. Just get up and walk out.

    2) If things don't get too stupid, but you're not that interested in the job, just ask for double or triple the going rate. You never know when something like this might pay off big time... and if/when they say no, you're still out nothing.



  • You know what, it's worth a try because places like this where they ask you to write an online test (Brainbench et al) is usually because they don't have anyone in-house who would be able to assess your skills and experience properly, and they're looking for someone senior who would be able to be their go-to guy. 

    If it's close to home and the pay is better, then why the hell not at least have a look?  I've personally been in this situation and the work is usually shite, but if you can hang in there for a few years, it might be worth your time/sanity...



  • @Rootbeer said:

    I recently had a headhunter contact me via email regarding a copy of my resume that made it into their hands in 1999.  I have no idea why they'd even retain a document for that long, but then I have no idea why headhunters do most of the things they do.  Maybe they thought I would be interested in a do-over of the last 10 years of my career?

    I'd like to believe that the online test is a Kobayashi Maru-type situation, where the goal is to see how the testee responds when confronted with a no-win scenario.  Bad candidates will spend eight hours trying to complete the entire flawed exam; good ones will recognize the futility and stop wasting their time within the first half hour.

    I'd like to believe that, but I can't.

     

    Exceptional ones hack the system and make it passable?



  • @Reynoldsjt said:

    @Rootbeer said:

    I recently had a headhunter contact me via email regarding a copy of my resume that made it into their hands in 1999.  I have no idea why they'd even retain a document for that long, but then I have no idea why headhunters do most of the things they do.  Maybe they thought I would be interested in a do-over of the last 10 years of my career?

    I'd like to believe that the online test is a Kobayashi Maru-type situation, where the goal is to see how the testee responds when confronted with a no-win scenario.  Bad candidates will spend eight hours trying to complete the entire flawed exam; good ones will recognize the futility and stop wasting their time within the first half hour.

    I'd like to believe that, but I can't.

     

    Exceptional ones hack the system and make it passable?

    All overrated. The only test you need is:

    Did you ever ascend with the amulet of yendor?



  • Yes, but you must also do the following:

    Wear a bowtie camera and video the entire interview

    Request to take a step into their datacenter

    Fail to completely anonymize the video.  This step is the second most important.  The bowtie camera is the most important.

    Upload the video

    Link here

    Do a little dance



  • @Reynoldsjt said:

    @snoofle said:
    I encountered 6 questions that were essentially the same question with different words and numbers, 4 that had no correct answer, 5 that had multiple correct answers but no way to make multiple choices, and about 8 more that were on completely unrelated subjects (if you get them wrong, it counts against you making you look artifically dumber). At that point, the progress bar indicated I was less than 5% through, so I just disconnected it.

    The next day, the head hunter sends me an email telling me how great I did on the test and that the company insists on seeing me.

    Maybe the only winning move was not to complete the test.

     

    That was my thought.  Perhaps the real reason they offered the test was to weed out people who are willing to waste their time with that crap.



  • @Daid said:

    Did you ever ascend with the amulet of yendor?
     

    I did, but only once.  That was enough for me!

     



  • Back when I was on the market I had an online test that sounds awfully familiar to yours. Would the name of the company be abbreviated as RHT?

    It actually was sort of online but I had to still take it in their office. I know my stuff, but the vagueness and utter fail of the questions (some with multiple correct answers, others with no correct answers, some had enough typos in the sample code that threw me off, plus given all that I wouldn't be surprised if they had an inaccurate answer key) made me score a dismal 55%. The woman, however, was amazed at my "amazing performance" and told me I was well ahead of the curve. The average was 38%, and nobody had scored higher than a 60%.

    She asked me what I thought of the test. I called her out, telling her it was not only inaccurate and poorly written, if a 55% is "above average" how on earth could she honestly consider the test to be a good indicator of skill if even the best and brightest bulbs couldn't score higher than a 60? Isn't it possible that, I don't know, the test sucks and needs serious improvement?

    I was worried that she'd answer me with something like, "I wrote the test" but instead she just nodded and said, "We like to make the test as difficult as possible so that we can better gauge the skill of our candidates. If we wrote it so the dullards still scored an 80% that would be worse, wouldn't it?"

    A few years after that I actually got a phone call from this company, and I guess the woman wrote down my complaints about the test was passed around and they finally agreed, and asked me if I wanted to write them a better test. I declined.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    @Daid said:
    Did you ever ascend with the amulet of yendor?
    I did, but only once. That was enough for me

    Feh. Yendor will ascend with anybody!



  • @RHuckster said:

    I declined.

    How come?



    Imagine all the marvelous shibboleth you could have inserted!

    T/F : Your name is Doug Pederson



  • @Xyro said:

    T/F : Your name is Doug Pederson
     

    Actually, that kind of brings a shudder to my nerves. If he took the test, given the awful nature of it he'd probably be the only one to score a 100. Within weeks of getting hried RHT will unveil its newest product which would be bought by the general public due to a solid marketing campaign and eventually Google, Bing, and Yahoo will be unable to compete and YouTube will be replaced with videos that will be randomly played in slo-mo and will have a 30-second limit. Our only hope is that they don't accept Canadian visas.



  • Jeez! Where is my brain? I read Kobayashi Maru and Star Trek didn't even enter my mind. I thought instead of the hot dog eating champion and the most overexposed cat on the internet.

     

    Step away from the Cheezburger.



  • @rudraigh said:

    Jeez! Where is my brain? I read Kobayashi Maru and Star Trek didn't even enter my mind. I thought instead of the hot dog eating champion and the most overexposed cat on the internet.

    Step away from the Cheezburger.

    Why would you even post that without a corresponding photoshop?

    Edit: Welcome to today's demonstration of why I got into computers instead of visual arts!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Welcome to today's demonstration of why I got into computers instead of visual arts!
    False dichotomy: you're a web dev.



  • @hoodaticus said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Welcome to today's demonstration of why I got into computers instead of visual arts!
    False dichotomy: you're a web dev.

    No I'm not. But... good guess?



  • Oh - don't know where I got that misimpression.  Either way, it's a cool photo.



  • @hoodaticus said:

    Oh - don't know where I got that misimpression.  Either way, it's a cool photo.

    Well, I could see that. I'm a "back-end analytics developer (who happens to have a ton of customers who use the analytics system to track web sites) and also sometimes does some front-end work, assuming you consider UI-less JavaScript as 'front end' and also sometimes does the database work since we don't really have dedicated DBAs and also does a lot of miscellaneous 'stuff', like supervising big data imports and such." But that's not usually what people are implying when they say "web developer."



  • @RHuckster said:

    It actually was sort of online but I had to still take it in their office. I know my stuff, but the vagueness and utter fail of the questions (some with multiple correct answers, others with no correct answers, some had enough typos in the sample code that threw me off, plus given all that I wouldn't be surprised if they had an inaccurate answer key) made me score a dismal 55%. The woman, however, was amazed at my "amazing performance" and told me I was well ahead of the curve. The average was 38%, and nobody had scored higher than a 60%.

    She asked me what I thought of the test. I called her out, telling her it was not only inaccurate and poorly written, if a 55% is "above average" how on earth could she honestly consider the test to be a good indicator of skill if even the best and brightest bulbs couldn't score higher than a 60? Isn't it possible that, I don't know, the test sucks and needs serious improvement?

    I was worried that she'd answer me with something like, "I wrote the test" but instead she just nodded and said, "We like to make the test as difficult as possible so that we can better gauge the skill of our candidates. If we wrote it so the dullards still scored an 80% that would be worse, wouldn't it?"

    This is actually a very good policy, and one I would follow too were I to make such a test. If a third of your candidates scores 100%, how do you tell which one of them is the best? Multiple correct answers and no correct answers are not necessarily bad things either. Both foil candidates who just select the best-sounding choice without actually thinking about the problem. Vague questions are bad, unless you're allowed to elaborate on possible interpretations (in which case they can be used to test your communication skills). Typos in sample code may be good or bad, depending on what kind of question it is ("fix this code" or "find out what this does" as opposed to "make this algorithm faster").

    In an ideal test, the average would be 50% and a standard deviation of about 20%, which would result in about 1% scoring at either extreme. However, without a large amount of data such calibration is hard to do, so it's better to err on the side of making the test too hard.

    Of course, there's also the psychological side from the candidate's point of view - for a bright person to get such a low score can be disappointing. It might be a good idea to alter the scoring system in such a way that it tells your performance relative to other candidates instead of in absolute terms; much like an IQ test, but tailored for that specific field. That's what the issuer of test wants to know anyway, so it would serve their ends better as well.



  • @tdb said:

    This is actually a very good policy, and one I would follow too were I to make such a test. If a third of your candidates scores 100%, how do you tell which one of them is the best? Multiple correct answers and no correct answers are not necessarily bad things either. Both foil candidates who just select the best-sounding choice without actually thinking about the problem. Vague questions are bad, unless you're allowed to elaborate on possible interpretations (in which case they can be used to test your communication skills). Typos in sample code may be good or bad, depending on what kind of question it is ("fix this code" or "find out what this does" as opposed to "make this algorithm faster").
     

    You would have a point if it wasn't obvious this test was full of fail. The typos, poor sentence structure of the questions, and general suckiness seemed to indicate the test was genuinely prepared by someone's 14 year old nephew/niece who "knew stuff about computers because he/she plays lots of video games", not someone who was trying to make a difficult (or impossible) test that truly measured someone's abilities.

    It wasn't really that the test was too hard. Many questions simply didn't make any sense, and there were two questions I remember whose corresponding answers appeared to be swapped, such that the choices on question 6 belonged to question 7 and visa versa.



  • @tdb said:

    This is actually a very good policy, and one I would follow too were I to make such a test. Multiple correct answers and no correct answers are not necessarily bad things either




    Only if you can actually select multiple answers, or a "No answer" answer. From what RHuckster said, this doesn't seem to be the case. Also, typos in an official company document is pretty sad. Everyone can make a typo, but public facing documents should be rigorously checked, they represent your company. If the typo makes the question hard or impossible to answer, its even worse, you have to assume what you think they meant.



    You can make a test hard without making it retarded. Just ask tougher questions, not doctored ones.



  • @tdb said:

    This is actually a very good policy, and one I would follow too were I to make such a test. If a third of your candidates scores 100%, how do you tell which one of them is the best? Multiple correct answers and no correct answers are not necessarily bad things either. Both foil candidates who just select the best-sounding choice without actually thinking about the problem. Vague questions are bad, unless you're allowed to elaborate on possible interpretations (in which case they can be used to test your communication skills). Typos in sample code may be good or bad, depending on what kind of question it is ("fix this code" or "find out what this does" as opposed to "make this algorithm faster").

    In an ideal test, the average would be 50% and a standard deviation of about 20%, which would result in about 1% scoring at either extreme. However, without a large amount of data such calibration is hard to do, so it's better to err on the side of making the test too hard.

    Of course, there's also the psychological side from the candidate's point of view - for a bright person to get such a low score can be disappointing. It might be a good idea to alter the scoring system in such a way that it tells your performance relative to other candidates instead of in absolute terms; much like an IQ test, but tailored for that specific field. That's what the issuer of test wants to know anyway, so it would serve their ends better as well.

    Tests that bear any kind of weight like medical equivalency exams or pilot exams, don't have these BS, misguided, gotcha questions which are intentionally misleading.  In fact its quite the opposite. They have a panel of experts building questions with answers that are definite (in case of any disputes), or if there is more than one answer, you have the ability to show that.  The ones that are "wrong" only because of an intentional spelling mistake or a question which is quintuple-negated just to throw the reader off is shite and doesn't show the applicants true ability.  Same goes for those "how would you move My. Fuji" type questions...



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    Tests that bear any kind of weight like medical equivalency exams or pilot exams, don't have these BS, misguided, gotcha questions which are intentionally misleading.  In fact its quite the opposite. They have a panel of experts building questions with answers that are definite (in case of any disputes), or if there is more than one answer, you have the ability to show that.  The ones that are "wrong" only because of an intentional spelling mistake or a question which is quintuple-negated just to throw the reader off is shite and doesn't show the applicants true ability.  Same goes for those "how would you move My. Fuji" type questions...

    Mostly, yes, but also keep in mind that being able to calmly and rationally deal with ambiguities and stupidities like that is also part of the job, and sometimes a substantial part. Kind of like the "conditionally required" and "mandatory optional" fields in this one interface I'm working on right now...

    And now, an Office Space quote: @Tom Smykowski said:
    Well look, I already told you! I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?


  • @Xyro said:

    Mostly, yes, but also keep in mind that being able to calmly and rationally deal with ambiguities and stupidities like that is also part of the job, and sometimes a substantial part. Kind of like the "conditionally required" and "mandatory optional" fields in this one interface I'm working on right now...
     

    I would argue that that's what the face-to-face interview is for, not a multiple choice test that gives the interviewee the impression that the potential employer are filled with asshats.



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    The ones that are "wrong" only because of an intentional spelling mistake or a question which is quintuple-negated just to throw the reader off....
     

    Never let it be denied that I couldn't help but fail to disagree less.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @C-Octothorpe said:

    The ones that are "wrong" only because of an intentional spelling mistake or a question which is quintuple-negated just to throw the reader off....
     

    Never let it be denied that I couldn't help but fail to disagree less.


    [url=http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/p/20937/240041.aspx#240041]Oh no, not again.[/url]



  • @Xyro said:

    @da Doctah said:
    Never let it be denied that I couldn't help but fail to disagree less.

    Oh no, not again.

    Stalker Alert!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move My. Fuji"
    Move your Fuji? Pick it up and move it

    Moving [i]Mt.[/i] Fuji, on the other hand. Explosives, mining trucks and strip mining techniques. Because, really, we move large pieces of mountains all the time in the Appalachians. Same thing, bigger scale.

     

    I really want someone to ask me that stupid interview question some day just so I can give them that answer. 



  • @Weng said:

    @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move My. Fuji"
    Move your Fuji? Pick it up and move it

    Moving Mt. Fuji, on the other hand. Explosives, mining trucks and strip mining techniques. Because, really, we move large pieces of mountains all the time in the Appalachians. Same thing, bigger scale.

     

    I really want someone to ask me that stupid interview question some day just so I can give them that answer. 

     

    The answer I always wanted to give is "I wouldn't.  Any plan that requires moving a mountain is probably a bad plan."  In most online discussions I've seen, most people put forth something like your answer; it disturbs me when nobody says "Mt. Fuji is beautiful, but more importantly it's a goddamn volcano; why would you try and mess with it?"


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    "Any plan that requires moving a volcano is evil villain stuff" is now my stock answer (I hadn't realized the damned thing is a volcano before). Now I REALLY want someone to ask that question.



  • @Weng said:

    "Any plan that requires moving a volcano is evil villain stuff" is now my stock answer (I hadn't realized the damned thing is a volcano before). Now I REALLY want someone to ask that question.

     

    They'll change it up and screw up the answer.  I always heard it as "How would you move Pike's Peak?"

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    @Weng said:

    "Any plan that requires moving a volcano is evil villain stuff" is now my stock answer (I hadn't realized the damned thing is a volcano before). Now I REALLY want someone to ask that question.

     

    They'll change it up and screw up the answer.  I always heard it as "How would you move Pike's Peak?"

     

    I have a different approach towards those types of questions:

    Well, a long time ago, Jews occupied the mountain fortress Masada, and thumbed thir noses at opposing Roman generals. The generals could not lose, so they got lots of soldiers and slaves, and moved a mountain from across the way - one bucket at a time - to build a ramp to get their catapults up to the fortress wall.

    To solve your problem, I'd whip your ass into slavery to do the grunt work for me.

    This problem tells you absolutely nothing about my ability to solve technology problems, but it does tell me a great deal about what it'd be like to work with you. You've wasted enough of my time, thank you for yours. (and then I just walk out).

     



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    <<huge snip>>

    Same goes for those "how would you move My. Fuji" type questions...

     

    "Shaped thermonuclear charges."



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move My. Fuji"

    That's a stupid question. Mt. Fuji is already moving.



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move Mt. Fuji"
     

    With Photoshop and a world-wide campaign of misinformation, bribery and murder that borders on omnipotence

    Also, to prevent anyone from producing contrary evidence, I'd have to permanently evacuate any location with line-of-sight of Fuji's "old" location. So I'd meltdown a nuclear power plant (faking a tsunami to shift the blame of the plant's failure).

    To address the issue of satallite imaging, I'd first genetically engineer a charasmatic human who will appeal to a majority of the population of the United States of America. I would raise that human well, send him to law school, then get him elected to office on a campaign of hope. Finally, once in office, post-hypnotic suggestions planted decades ago would trigger, causing him to completely reverse his position on space exploration. He'll dismantle the government controlled space agency, opening the door for private space companies-- all of which I will control. With full control over all satallite imaging, I can easily remove Mt. Fuji from any imagry taken.

    Given a hundred years or so, generational memory will just adjust. Mt. Fuji will have always been in it's new location. Anyone claiming otherwise will be scoffed. I will leave behind a legacy of agents whose sacred duty is to protect the secret of Fuji's true location. Their lives will be dedicated to seeking out and "silencing" any overly vocal opponents. Travel to Mt. Fuji's new location will be heavily discouraged by a smear campaign calling it "boring" and "not worth seeing". Anyone who does make it will be intercepted by agents. They will be turned back where possible, brought into the fold if trustworthy, otherwise they will have to have a "tourist accident".

     



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    faking a tsunami to shift the blame of the plant's failure
     

    If you could create tsunamis, couldn't you just as easily create an earthquake that moves Mt. Fuji?



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move My. Fuji"
     

    No budget or schedule constraint or requirements for where you want it moved to?  Easy.  Just notify all the pilgrims climbing it that they have to bring down a small pouch of soil from the top when they come back down.  Over time, the whole mountain moves to the gift shop.



  • @RHuckster said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    faking a tsunami to shift the blame of the plant's failure
     

    If you could create tsunamis, couldn't you just as easily create an earthquake that moves Mt. Fuji?

     

    No no no, I can't create a tsunami. I just told everyone one happened, so that there'd be a "cause" when I melted down the power plant. All those phots and footage of the tsunami you thought you saw? Photoshop and paid-for journalists. I mean think about it, do you actually know anyone who saw the tsunami? (And if you do, do you really know them?)

    All that's easy, but if you think someone actually created a tsunami, man-- what the fuck are you, some conspiracy nut?



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move Mt. Fuji"
     

    First I'd offer Mt Fuji up for corporate sponsorship to the highest bidder.  It would then be known as (e.g.) Mt Sony.  The older folks would still cling to the old name but as time (and they) passed it would fall into disuse.  Once everyone was happy calling it Mt Sony the "Mt Fuji" name would be freed up and we could relocate it anywhere we wanted to.  This would have the advantages of having a lucrative sponsorship deal as well as low relocation costs.



  • I am playing From Dust like a true Dutchman which means fuck the sea land is what I want and blocking off every conceivable flood point, but man, that tides level with the constant tsunamis is really fucking up my beautiful polder.

    Luckily I found a loophole in the game mechanics for infnite dirt. So I'm basically farming muck and slowly piling it up on the entire achipelago like it's nobody's business.

    The funny thing is that I really, honestly feel a sense of victory every time the next wave doesn't wash over my new land anymore. Ocean: 0. Dhromed: 1. Shit yeah.

    I should post a screenshot of my expert diking.



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    @C-Octothorpe said:

    "how would you move Mt. Fuji"
     

    First I'd offer Mt Fuji up for corporate sponsorship to the highest bidder.  It would then be known as (e.g.) Mt Sony.  The older folks would still cling to the old name but as time (and they) passed it would fall into disuse.  Once everyone was happy calling it Mt Sony the "Mt Fuji" name would be freed up and we could relocate it anywhere we wanted to.  This would have the advantages of having a lucrative sponsorship deal as well as low relocation costs.

     

    I like your Moses-moving philosophy.

     


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