Perl Skills Test

Peter Edwards peter at
Mon Sep 26 09:18:13 BST 2011

On 22 September 2011 22:13, Piers Cawley <pdcawley at> wrote:

> > On 22 September 2011 14:14, Dave Cross <dave at> wrote:
> > At an interview with Auntie a few years ago, they gave me a Perl script
> and asked me to highlight all the problems/errors in it. Not sure if they
> were flattering me, but I found quite a few they didn't seem to be aware
> of......
> I've been on the other side of that interview. I was astonished by how bad
> the script was.

I remember that, the Future Media Perl test. And a related database design
test based on some shockingly poor Access DB schema.

The idea was they would give you 30 minutes to scribbling down increasingly
irate comments on your bit of paper on each.
I think, though I could be wrong, that when they asked you to comment on the
code and design they had a concealed sound level meter under the table and
would give you a score based on how loud you ranted...

More recently I did a good test which was basically a pair programming
exercise where you are given a spec, some partial code, and a unit test you
could run but not inspect.
Then using your editor of choice go and make the code pass the test and
discuss with the technical director your thought processes and why and what
you are doing.
That seems to me a very reliable way of working out whether someone can
deliver the goods. And also whether they can work in a team.

Regards, Peter

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