"That's quite an impressive resume, Fred," Avi said. The phone interview had gone well so far; among the several hundred applicants for Senior Developer at BigBoxCo, Fred's qualifications put him among the top five Avi had spoken to. Fred himself was amiable, if slightly over-confident.
"Thanks, Avi," Fred replied. "I hope I have what you're looking for."
"Regarding your last position at IniTech," Avi said, "which ended about six months ago, why did you decide to leave? It looks like you'd be taking a step down working for us, since you were the project lead on their flagship software."
"Well, management didn't care for my coding style," Fred said. "I write fast, test faster, and iterate often. More agile than Agile, you might say."
"I might." Avi decided to see what Fred's "coding style" looked like. "Okay, I'm going to establish a guest session on our collaborative IDE. Just type in the URL I give you, followed with the session token."
"URL?" Fred sounded affronted.
"Yes, the address to access the session."
"I, um. . . well, okay."
Avi spelled out the URL and session token, but Fred couldn't seem to figure it out. Finally, Avi just emailed the URL to Fred's address. "Oh, got it now," Fred said.
Avi sighed. "Okay, I'd like you to write a function that merges two integer arrays of arbitrary length. Don't worry about performance for now."
Immediately, a piece of code flashed into the IDE. "Okay, done," Fred said.
The jig was up. "Fred, where did you copy this from?" Fred wasn't getting that Senior Developer position, but Avi wanted a confession before the interview was over, if just to satisfy some need for justice.
But Fred wasn't forthcoming. "I just typed it all right now. Look, you can run it if you'd like--"
"Fine, Fred," Avi interrupted. "Then how would you change this to avoid duplicate entries?"
"Oh, just change that one there to a negative one." Fred's voice faltered.
"What one, there's no--" Avi said, before he spotted a lowercase l, which looked like a 1 in the IDE, twelve lines down. "Okay, we're done, Fred," Avi said, hanging up before Fred could sputter another word.
Although he wouldn't get a confession from Fred, Avi wanted to see where the code came from. He ran a simple search with the idiosyncratic method signature. The first result was a Stack Overflow question. Typical, Avi thought, just before he opened the page and saw the truth: the code came from the question itself, not one of the answers. The code would never have compiled, much less run.