Nick Cleaton nick at
Fri May 11 08:17:46 BST 2007

On Thu, May 10, 2007 at 10:50:54PM +0100, Stig Brautaset wrote:
> No, I was not intending the xor-trick. I don't like those types of  
> questions. Rather, I'd try to see if they understood pointers enough  
> to get rid of the index variables. Something like the following:
> #include <stdio.h>
> #include <string.h>
> int main(void)
> {
>     char s[] = "hello world";
>     char *h = s;
>     char *t = strchr(s, '\0');
>     while (h < t) {
>         char c = *h;
>         *h++ = *--t;
>         *t = c;
>     }
>     puts(s);
>     return 0;
> }

When I'm the interviewer, I'm always tempted to take the
questions as far as I can, so I'd be asking the candidate for
a way to make that code run a little bit faster, and giving
hints if they don't know.  Even if the job is unlikely to
revolve around speed critical C coding.
Sometimes I think this is a mistake, because some candidates
can get frustrated when asked stuff that they don't know, and
start to get annoyed if they think the question is irrelevant
or too artificial.

I suppose being evaluated on technical ability can be quite
emotionally charged, for someone who takes pride in it.


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