# Comment On Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

Here's a link to the previous episode in case you missed it: Tales from the Interview. Don't forget to send in some of your own for next time. [expand full text]
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### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 11:58 • by jaymz
 Rootbeer:"And developpers have no patience for bullshit or incompetence"Developers have no patience for fools who don't know how to spell "developer".Do you exhibit the same carelessness when writing in computer programming languages as you do when writing in English?  There's no intellisense for English

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 12:49 • by mrsticks1982
 lpope187: Maurits: Anonymous:How you get to 17 is a mystery to me. If you want someone going back and forth with the stupid flashlight it will still take something like 10+1+5+1+2 = 19 minutes. And the poor "1" guy is doing 5 times the work of the rest.The procedure for getting 17 minutes was well spelled out earlier in the thread.  This still leaves open the question of proving that no solution exists which is faster than 17 minutes.  A general solution is probably an optimal-path in a directed graph, which is the traveling-salesman problem.  Anonymous:The flashlight/bridge problem has been presented incorrectly here. The real version has 4 people, who can cross the bridge in 1, 2, 5, and 10 minutes. Only two people are allowed on the bridge at once and they must walk at the slowest person's pace. What is the fastest time they can accomplish this task in? The answer is straightforward with no "thinking ouside the box" shenanigans (it's 17 minutes BTW for you wannabe interviewees).  Just to be pedantic, the solution presented was for 1 or 2 people on the bridge at the same time.  The post in question states that 2 people must be on the bridge at the same time.The answer for that case is as follows going from a to b.10 & 1 go to b                            (10s)1 goes to a, 5 goes to b              (15s)1 & 2 go to b                              (17s)  The problem and solutionhttp://www.thakur.demon.nl/index_1.html #puzzle 11

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 13:06 • by chocobot
 lpope187: Just to be pedantic, the solution presented was for 1 or 2 people on the bridge at the same time.  The post in question states that 2 people must be on the bridge at the same time.The answer for that case is as follows going from a to b.10 & 1 go to b                            (10s)1 goes to a, 5 goes to b              (15s)1 & 2 go to b                              (17s)  Since you're being pedantic ... your response is incorrect.  According to "2 people must be on the bridge at the same time", the answer is 15 seconds.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 13:13 • by shambo

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 13:13 • by zork
 donazea:And one needs top marks at Uni to get anywhere, so just MHO but it's *nothing* similar to your analogy - looks do count, as it is such a demanding and sought after position.Just MHO of course.Yes, looks count.  The point of my statement was that the specific look need not match some predetermined look.  Despite the mocking that generally goes on, one can still look good wearing a powder blue leisure suit with dress boots.If they are looking for somebody to do the job, it sounded like this was their guy.  If they want him to dress in a different manner, it's not that hard to specify the look they want.  If he then went forward with wearing the leisure suit despite being told to wear a nice Armani, then it becomes a different story. Plus, from the description given, the company looking for that guy should have been grateful they found *anybody*.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 13:13 • by zork
 Anonymous: lpope187: Just to be pedantic, the solution presented was for 1 or 2 people on the bridge at the same time.  The post in question states that 2 people must be on the bridge at the same time.The answer for that case is as follows going from a to b.10 & 1 go to b                            (10s)1 goes to a, 5 goes to b              (15s)1 & 2 go to b                              (17s)  Since you're being pedantic ... your response is incorrect.  According to "2 people must be on the bridge at the same time", the answer is 15 seconds.No, it would then be 10.

### Swapping variables

2006-12-14 14:20 • by newfweiler
 Swapping x and y in Python:   x, y = y, x

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 14:28 • by FredSaw
 Alex Papadimoulis:...personality+ with phenomenal scores on the grueling actuarial exams & open to relocation nationally... "He's wearing a powder blue leisure suit with cowboy boots." Yep, ya gotta keep your priorities straight.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 15:50 • by pinky
 I couldn't agree more.  HR departments are necessary to make sure that the company follows employment law, follows proper legal procedures and doesn't get sued.   They are not an employee advocate department.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 15:51 • by anonymouse
 I happen to be the anonymous guy. It certainly didn't feel like any sort of graceful recovery. I consider it probably the most embarrassing moment of my life.And the editor took a bit of liberty with the story. My connection was a guy I worked for as an intern, not my cousin. There were also more characters in the original writeup, which were understandably removed for the sake of brevity.I now think that I should have come clean and explained to the VP of HR that there were issues with her department that perhaps should be addressed.And if anybody is curious, it was Electronic Arts.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 16:02 • by anony-mouse
 Anonymous: Anonymous: lpope187: Just to be pedantic, the solution presented was for 1 or 2 people on the bridge at the same time.  The post in question states that 2 people must be on the bridge at the same time.The answer for that case is as follows going from a to b.10 & 1 go to b                            (10s)1 goes to a, 5 goes to b              (15s)1 & 2 go to b                              (17s)  Since you're being pedantic ... your response is incorrect.  According to "2 people must be on the bridge at the same time", the answer is 15 seconds.No, it would then be 10.  If those really are all the rules, then 10 seconds is right.  10 and 1 start going across.  one second later 1 finishes and 2 starts going across.  two seconds later 2 finishes and 5 starts going across.  five seconds later 5 finishes.  two seconds later 10 finishes.  a total of 10 seconds.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-14 19:06 • by Maurits
 The 1/2/5/10 problem is still missing a correctness proof.  I'm convinced that it's possible to cross in 17 (minutes/seconds/whatever.)  I have yet to be convinced that it can't be done in less than 17.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 00:34 • by NancyBoy
 Anonymous: Me: How would you rate your Linux skills on a scale of 1 to 10?I assume that you mentioned (1 being the novice & 10 being the expert) . if not I don't blame the interviewee :-) He was using the old Armor Class system!

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

 anonymouse:I happen to be the anonymous guy. It certainly didn't feel like any sort of graceful recovery. I consider it probably the most embarrassing moment of my life.And the editor took a bit of liberty with the story. My connection was a guy I worked for as an intern, not my cousin. There were also more characters in the original writeup, which were understandably removed for the sake of brevity.I now think that I should have come clean and explained to the VP of HR that there were issues with her department that perhaps should be addressed.And if anybody is curious, it was Electronic Arts.Given that EA has the worst employment reputation in the entire IT industry, would it have really mattered?

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 06:18 • by John V
 Got this great logic problem at a recent interview:  You have three people that can cross a bridge but they have to cross with their single flashlight.  How quickly can you get across those people that can cross the bridge when it takes them 1, 2, and 5 seconds?The answer is one second.  I don't know why the flashlight is needed, since it's broad daylight.  Even if it were dark, you don't need a flashlight for a 5 second walk. Anyway, the strongest person is obviously the one who can cross in one second.  He picks up and carries the other two. This reminds me of the perennial favorite logic problem: how do you get a giraffe into a refrigerator?  Open the refrigerator door, place the giraffe inside, and close the door.  CAPTCHA: stfu

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 08:36 • by Pete
 "The 1/2/5/10 problem is still missing a correctness proof. I'm convinced that it's possible to cross in 17 (minutes/seconds/whatever.) I have yet to be convinced that it can't be done in less than 17."Here's an informal proof...First constraint is that no more than two people can cross at once.Crossing in pairs is provably faster overall than crossing individually, since the pair will cross in the maximum of the two times, and the individuals would cross in the sum of the two times.  For positive nonzero numbers x&y, max(x, y) is always less than sum(x, y).Fastest overall time with pairs comes from pairing adjacent times together (to avoid wasted time).Therefore the absolute minimum time for the forward crossings would be 10 (10 & 5 together) + 2 (2 & 1 together) = 12.  Second constraint is that there has to be a shared object carried on all trips (the flashlight).  That necessitates a return crossing to bring the object back, as well as at least one extra forward crossing to get the person or people and the object back to the far side again. The return crossing should involve the least number of people, since the goal is to have them all at the far side.Therefore each return crossing should only involve one person. Thus, using the maximum number of people on forward crossings (2) and the minimum on return crossings (1), we get: 2 - 1 + 2 - 1 + 2 = 4ie at minimum the above two forward crossings, plus two return crossings plus one extra crossing at the end to get all four across.Absolute minimum time for the return crossings would be 1 + 1 (assuming 1 returns both times).Also, absolute minimum time for the extra forward crossing would be 2 (2 & 1). Total time = 10 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 16.Unfortunately, if 1 is returning twice, he has to cross twice, so the best case pairings of 10&5 and 2&1 can't be used in the first two crossings (since 1 would need to be part of both trips to be able to return twice). That increases the forward cost from 10 + 2 + 2 (10&5, 2&1, 2&1) to at minimum 10 + 5 + 2 (10&1, 5&1, 2&1).New total time = 10 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 19. This is greater than the known solution, so for a minimum time, 1 can't return twice.  Next best case is 1 and 2 each returning once, with our forward crossings using the optimal pairs (10&5, 2&1, 2&1).New total time = 10 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 17.This matches the known solution time.  Any other solution involves an increase in either the forward or return times or number of crossings beyond this minimum, so 17 has to be the minimum time.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 12:22 • by jayh
 Anonymous: > Agreed.  If she's cunty in the interview, she'll be even cuntier when working with her.  Good riddance! I'm not sure how many women are reading dailywtf, but I'm pretty sure they're all breathing a sigh of relief that they don't work with you  I know women who'd make that same observation.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 12:30 • by jayh
 Anonymous: We never had any problems making good impressions, and it was great to work back in the woods.  I'd take walks around the lake when working out development issues, or having meetings.  Sadly we ran out of office space, so we're in a office building now with real asphalt outside.  Still a great place to work, but I miss the outdoors...  hmmm a job requiring a Jeep to get to.... that sounds interesting

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 13:54 • by Nick A
 Phone screening for a major company. I'll call the candidate S. S has a masters in Comp. Sci. and a resume full of programming projects. Me: So, tell me about garbage collection. S: Well, in C++ and Java the garbage collect -- Me: Wait, in C++? S: Well, yes. Me: Ok, keep going S: When the program terminates, all the memory is returned to the system. Me: What would you say your strongest language is S: Java and C++ Me: So when does garbage collection run in Java S: Well, I think it's at the end of the program

### Not speaking Texan.

2006-12-15 18:58 • by moof
 Anyone who speaks Texan could readily inform you that "kicks" is short for "kickers" - the bowdlerization of "shitkickers": cowboy boots.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-15 19:54 • by woohoo
 I know I'm going to sound like a kill-joy, but even as a non-native speaker it hurts to repeatedly read things like "definAtely", "tester" instead of "testee" etc. ... :oP Back to the topic: "pants-free friday" is great and would not have been met by stunned silence but instead by great (unforced!) laughter in any company that I'd like to work in ;o)lack of a sense of humour is one of the big turn-offs in any social environment...

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-16 13:44 • by jverd
 Anonymous: The entire concept behind these sorts of questions is bogus anyway.   What are you trying to find out?  Confidence? Actual Coding ability?  Ability to do math?   Seems like such a waste of time.   I mean, who'd going to give themselves below a 7?    *shakes head*   I do, if that's where my skill is. So far my current job is all Java, and will likely stay that way--or mostly so--for the foreseeable future. However, we do have parts of our app that are in C/C++. When I was interviewed, I was asked to rank myself on a number of areas. I think I put myself at 4 or 5 in C++. I've done it, but not a lot of it, and not recently. On the flip-side, we recently interviewed a guy who ranked himself something like 10/9/8 in C++/Java/SQL, but got 50% or less on each of those sections of our tech screening. The ranking by itself is rather useless, but coupled with a decent tech grilling, it can be useful. If I'm interviewing somebody for a junior developer role, and he ranks himself in the 4-6 range, I'd be more inclined to hire him than someone with a similar skill level but an inflated self-ranking.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-16 13:44 • by jverd
 Goddamn clumsy double-posting forum. ;-)

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-17 04:59 • by Max
 Maurits:The procedure for getting 17 minutes was well spelled out earlier in the thread.  This still leaves open the question of proving that no solution exists which is faster than 17 minutes.  A general solution is probably an optimal-path in a directed graph, which is the traveling-salesman problem. No.Shortest path in a directed graph is not TSP, it is shortest path. Dijkstra can do it in O(E log V) time (better, if you're willing to implement a Fibonacci heap). Anyway, the graph is small enough to solve TSP if you wanted to.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-18 05:54 • by mistar
 "A nerdy guy throwing that out, unprompted, to a female tech writer, is probably not the best way to make a first impression."Why not? How many times did you try it?  You might find it that it actually works."The problem is that with a group of guys interviewing a woman, you have to be careful about what is said."Why???  Are women somehow special?

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-18 08:56 • by Anonymous
 This thread is dying, but I have to vent my annoyance at the "movie quote" interview question.  Quoting your favorite movies over and over in place of actual conversation and regardless of context doesn't make you look funny or smart, it just makes you look pathetic.  If someone threw Monty Python or Napoleon Dynamite jokes at me during an interview, the interview would be over and they would get the Stare of Death (tm).  If that makes me not a "team player," SO BE IT.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-18 09:05 • by Earl Purple
 shambo: I guess I should have said "Only one person got the reference, and coincidently he got the job".  Also, if it comes down to two equally qualified candidates you are going to go with the one who is a better fit.  Which is why you ask a few questions to let their personality come out.  You spend more time with your co-workers then you do your family and you want to make it as pleasurable as possible.Better fit in that they have the same culture as the other members of the team? Could be seen as discrimination.I would much rather, if you couldn't choose between them, you set some kind of technical exercise and pick the one who provides the better solution. Totally fair.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-18 09:06 • by Earl Purple
 shambo: I guess I should have said "Only one person got the reference, and coincidently he got the job".  Also, if it comes down to two equally qualified candidates you are going to go with the one who is a better fit.  Which is why you ask a few questions to let their personality come out.  You spend more time with your co-workers then you do your family and you want to make it as pleasurable as possible.Better fit in that they have the same culture as the other members of the team? Could be seen as discrimination.I would much rather, if you couldn't choose between them, you set some kind of technical exercise and pick the one who provides the better solution. Totally fair.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-18 14:58 • by Erik
 Anonymous:One question I always ask is "Do you like Gladiator movies?" If the person gets the reference, then they almost always laugh and it tells me something about their personality. If they don't get the reference, then I brush by the question, and this tells me a little something about their personality. I would get the reference, and smile and nod my head to do my best to mask my annoyance at the inanity of the question.  How's my personality?

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-18 15:20 • by El Quberto
 Earl Purple:I would much rather, if you couldn't choose between them, you set some kind of technical exercise and pick the one who provides the better solution. Totally fair. Technical expertise only goes so far.  Hopefully you're not hiring a moran that's got the basic skills.  But if they come out close to even I would pick the one with more social skills, all other things being equal.The trouble I have with a technical solutions test is that you're working in an artificial atmosphere when asking the question, and that rarely comes up during the actual job.  You'll usually have time to think about it, change some items, and find better solutions.  The interviewers probably know that so they're forced to ask simplistic questions where there's only one true answer and if you don't get it exactly then you're out of the running.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2006-12-19 07:30 • by Fred
 Morry...re: 2) PLEASE  show me a place where HR is NOT useless.  perhaps if we told them that a little more often we wouldn't have to deal with it. The point was she looked like a recptionist. But most women in IT are assumed to be the receptionist.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-01-04 09:29 • by Eric
 I never saw the best software developer I've ever known wear regular shoes.  He wore strictly a cowboy boots.I must admit that I haven't seen him since about 1982.  He could have changed since then, but somehow, I doubt it.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-01-04 15:09 • by Herbert Milhous DelVecchio
 It's a reference to "Airplane", and it's actually, "Do you like movies about gladiators?"

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-02-21 18:20 • by Silk (unregistered)
 Hey, do I know you? I happen to currently work in the Netherlands in exactly a situation like that (depending on whether you include or exclude the boss in the FTE-count). :)

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten! - Just to qualify

2007-03-10 20:54 • by Martin (unregistered)
 Good point on how we need to take the role we're recruiting for into account when we're assesing a candidate's social skills (or lack thereof). That said, in this situation they were looking to bring the candidate onboard as a consultant with a lot of client contact - no one expects to see an actuary in an Armani (although, oddly, my friend who's a senior actuarial consultant here in Boston is a freakin' _peacock_), but for a client facing role he should have had the sense to dress in something a little less... showy.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-03-19 18:52 • by s (unregistered)
 wreaks of "made-up" to me... at least that part.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-03-20 11:37 • by Sgt. Preston (unregistered)
 I worked at a foreign branch office of a U.S. company that was managed by remote control from head office. Most of the staff had never physically met their managers and worked semi-autonomously. Quarterly performance reviews, which occurred more or less annually, consisted primarily of a series of Likert scale self-evaluation questions. To my astonishment, some of my colleagues actually rated themselves honestly, or even modestly. In that kind of situation, if you don't blow your own horn, no one will blow it for you. Naturally, I was a ten in every category.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-05-07 11:26 • by Arioch (unregistered)
 [quote user="Anonymous"][quote I'd have said 5 seconds: that's the speed of the slowest person and the question doesn't say that they cannot all cross at the same time while one person holds the flashlight to light the way.[/quote]I've heard variations of this one before, and there is usually some stipulation that only two people can cross at once. I think the quote just omitted that fact.[/quote] It is not even told if it is dark out there. So i'd say that the opnly question left is if any person is strong nough to cary the flashlight. At least if the light would be on, and beam would be heading down, lighteniung the flashlight like any photon engione would do.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-06-07 09:37 • by Johnny (unregistered)
 My perfect faux pas was in the train. We were almost arriving, when one girl sitting in front of me said: Oh, I have to do the make up. We're almost there. I replyed: Why? It's going to be dark already.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-06-22 19:48 • by Dan (unregistered)
 Next best case is 1 and 2 each returning once, with our forward crossings using the optimal pairs (10&5, 2&1, 2&1). New total time = 10 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 17. Yes, we've defined the constraints. Obviously you want 1 to do all the return crossings. 10&1 A to B 1 B to A 5&1 A to B 1 B to A 2&1 A to B 10 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 19. Q.E.D. Although if you remove some of the constraints you get other interesting problems! # Now, there are two flashlights. # Keep constraint "People must walk at the same rate" 10&5 A to B 2&1 A to B 10 + 2 = 12. But I like the solution of 10 the best! # Everyone has a flashlight # No more than two can be on the bridge at the same time. # People don't have to walk at the same rate Time: 0: 10&5 (start) 1: 10&5 2: 10&5 3: 10&5 4: 10&5 5: 10&2 (2 steps on as 5 steps off) 6: 10&2 7: 10&1 (1 steps on as 5 steps off) 8: 10 9: 10 10: (end) Thinking outside the box. :-)

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-10-02 18:37 • by MrWorkerBee (unregistered)
 [quote user="zerrodefex"][quote user="Anonymous"]Got this great logic problem at a recent interview:  You have three people that can cross a bridge but they have to cross with their single flashlight.  How quickly can you get across those people that can cross the bridge when it takes them 1, 2, and 5 seconds?Like all logic problems there's a trick in there somewhere (I hadn't heard this one before).  I so struggled for a minute and told her it was 8 seconds.  No, she said, my answer was the simple one.  Uh it is the right one.  I then went on to show her that you had to have more inputs so you could sneak one of the slower people over with an even slower person.[/quote]I'd have said 5 seconds: that's the speed of the slowest person and the question doesn't say that they cannot all cross at the same time while one person holds the flashlight to light the way. [/quote]

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2007-10-02 18:39 • by MrWorkerBee (unregistered)
 How about 1 second? The 1-sec person carries the 2 and 5 second people in one hand and holds the flashlight in the other hand.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2008-01-21 09:02 • by daniel asfaw (unregistered)
 Sgt. Preston:I worked at a foreign branch office of a U.S. company that was managed by remote control from head office. Most of the staff had never physically met their managers and worked semi-autonomously. Quarterly performance reviews, which occurred more or less annually, consisted primarily of a series of Likert scale self-evaluation questions. To my astonishment, some of my colleagues actually rated themselves honestly, or even modestly. In that kind of situation, if you don't blow your own horn, no one will blow it for you. Naturally, I was a ten in every category.

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

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### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2009-01-21 23:53 • by sfsad (unregistered)

### Re: HR are useless

2009-02-17 11:22 • by George Mc (unregistered)
 Since the joke was, in fact, made originally by the guy's cousin, and it was he who dropped the candidate in the crud, I'd have happily said "Oh, Mark told me to say that, he said you'd see the funny side"

### Re: Tales from the Interview: A Perfect Ten!

2009-09-26 09:40 • by MichaelWH