A few years back, RJ was hiring developers. Besieged by pretenders, he had devised an online coding test and hired a recruitment firm to subject candidates to it in hopes of weeding out the lower-quality developers. Since RJ and a teammate had to assess each candidate by themselves, the test was an important time-saver: if the candidate's code wouldn't even compile, refused to run, or obviously didn't work, that was an easy write-off. But this story wouldn't be much of a WTF if it were merely about some feckless applicant.

One day they received a submission from a Mrs. Qiu Jiang. Her code not only compiled and ran, it actually worked. It passed RJ's test cases quickly too, which meant Qiu hadn't simply brute-forced her way through. RJ had high hopes for their face-to-face interview.

Qiu's first language was Cantonese, and she spoke English well enough, but mere language barriers couldn't account for her inability to answer even the simplest of RJ's technical questions. He rephrased and repeated even led a little, baffled by how at-odds Qiu's apparent knowledge was with her coding submission. In the end, RJ thanked Mrs. Jiang for her time and sent her on her way. RJ briefly considered reaching out to the recruitment firm to find out how this had happened, weeks went by, candidates came and went, and he mostly forgot about Qiu.

Then came the submission from John. John was a gem of a developer - his code was close to perfect and he was even better in person. After shaking his hand and letting him know they'd be in touch, RJ hurried to his colleague's desk to let him know they at long last had a winner. However, while he was walking his teammate through John's submission, something nagged at him. It seemed...familiar. He went back to John's résumé and all the pieces fell into place.

It was right there at the top bold and center-aligned: John Jiang.

RJ dug through the pile on his desk until he found Qiu Jiang's submission: sure enough, the code was almost identical to that of her husband. Now her poor showing in the interview made sense: there was only one developer in the family.

Wondering how they'd let this slip through the cracks, RJ called the recruitment firm. They didn't seem surprised when he described the Jiang Problem, though. The recruiter drone told RJ this was standard procedure: they got a substantially higher commission for placing a female candidate. Especially if English is her second language.

RJ had a few choice words for the company he'd partnered with. But the RJ Test had proved its worth yet again: this time, teaching him something about the quality of his recruiter.

[Advertisement] BuildMaster allows you to create a self-service release management platform that allows different teams to manage their applications. Explore how!