Comment On The Prime Candidate

Some years ago, Phil B. invited a promising looking candidate for a developer role to come in for an in-person interview. The candidate in question, Boris, had a very impressive resume showing plenty of C and embedded systems experience; however, upon his arrival, it was clear that his communication and interpersonal skills left a little to be desired. [expand full text]
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Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-11-14 08:12 • by Neil (unregistered)
394801 in reply to 394532
Matt:
This smacks of someone who had too much math and not enough sense. The "beauty" of integers is that you can define an almost-infinite sequence of them recursively with only the postulates of "one" and "plus". So, naturally, that's how he tested whether the input was a member of the set of integers.
Better still, use "zero" and "increment". I won't bother linking to the Peano postulates for obvious reasons, akismet.
Vlad Patryshev:
Regarding foreigners and phone interviews, one of my favorite phone questions is "can you write a regex that checks if parentheses are correct in an arithmetic expression?" - and I know the right candidate when they start laughing. Mostly it happens if you call a candidate in Poland; they have an excellent education there.
(Disclaimer: I've never even been to Poland.)
That would be due to their experience with Reverse Polish notation.
Mikey:
Clocks use Roman Numerals? Well I'll be darned....

AFAIK most pedants consider IIII more correct (as in that's what Julius Scissors would have used), but the convention these days is IV.
Although clocks use IIII for four, they still prefer IX for nine.
Bill C.:
TRWTF is how did the prime candidate ever graduate from electoral college?

And that test of integrity, that should be illegal.
Well we got to test the prime candidate's integrity at least.

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-11-14 10:37 • by Fernando (unregistered)
394849 in reply to 394460
Phil:
My submission included both implementations with an explanation of each including a reference to Applied Cryptography which I thought would impress them (it turned out the interviewer hadn't heard of Bruce Schneier despite being in the crypto field, wtf!)


Does anyone know what algorithm Phil's talking about?
(not that I doubt him, I'm just curious)

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-11-14 19:22 • by Bill C. (unregistered)
394895 in reply to 394801
Neil:
Bill C.:
TRWTF is how did the prime candidate ever graduate from electoral college?

And that test of integrity, that should be illegal.
Well we got to test the prime candidate's integrity at least.
Yes, but that's the slippery edge of a fall into a very slippery hole. One thing leads to another and you find yourself testing the integrity of a president. That's why it should be illegal.

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-11-15 08:29 • by Jerome (unregistered)
I don't know if it's too late t comment on this...

But as a general rule, for me, if someone shows up for an interview and seems extremely nervous/edgy/fidgety, I assume they are high. (From personal experience. I am a recovering addict.)

In my case it was meth, but anybody coming across like that could be high on meth, coke or crack.

When he asked to be excused, that would have ended the interview immediately. (Don't want junkies taking hits in our company toilet, thank you very much.)

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-11-15 19:51 • by Norman Diamond (unregistered)
395034 in reply to 394943
Jerome:
I don't know if it's too late t comment on this...
Not too late, and I hope it's not too late for you to learn something from this.

Jerome:
But as a general rule, for me, if someone shows up for an interview and seems extremely nervous/edgy/fidgety, I assume they are high. (From personal experience. I am a recovering addict.)
Some of us are better at programming than at telling good stories for interviews, so we get nervous/edgy/fidgety when we are not high. Unless you count the caffeine for which we drink tea, coffee, cola, etc.

Jerome:
When he asked to be excused, that would have ended the interview immediately. (Don't want junkies taking hits in our company toilet, thank you very much.)
One of my heart medicines is a diuretic. You would end the interview not because of my heart issue but because of your prejudicial assumption. You're not alone; WTF bosses are half of this site.

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-12-03 21:46 • by SomeGuy (unregistered)
396231 in reply to 395034
Norman Diamond:
One of my heart medicines is a diuretic. You would end the interview not because of my heart issue but because of your prejudicial assumption. You're not alone; WTF bosses are half of this site.


You're old and have a bad heart? Well, you're eliminated (no pun intended...though unintentional puns are sometimes better) anyway due to other prejudices.

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-12-11 13:25 • by rlyle1179
396903 in reply to 394460
Phil:

Anyway, Boris failed miserably but I wanted to have a rock solid case against hiring him as others in the company were keen to get him in regardless so that's why I gave him a second chance. What's missing from the story is that after my response to his second submission, he asked if the work would be billable; that was when we asked him (nicely) to please go away.


I find it's a better policy not to hire anyone if anybody raises a red flag on the candidate. As our result, our engineering team is rock solid.

Re: The Prime Candidate

2012-12-13 20:54 • by AlexH (unregistered)
Is it just me, or does Boris's "checkInteger" go into an infinite recursion when $Number is -0.5?

Re: The Prime Candidate

2013-01-12 18:16 • by Rachel (unregistered)
399118 in reply to 394528
"Yeah, I'm pretty duff."

FTFY! ;)

Re: The Prime Candidate

2013-08-08 12:19 • by Teagan42 (unregistered)
414647 in reply to 394437
Please tell me this is sarcasm...

if not, then you need to realize that he is only checking if the number is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 5, and 7 - if it's not then it's PRIME. Given that 121 is not divisible by 2, 3, 5 or 7 his program would return "PRIME" but 121 is COMPOSITE (11 * 11 = 121)
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