Brainbench perl test?

Simon Wistow simon at
Tue Aug 28 21:50:36 BST 2012

On Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 08:41:14PM +0200, Joel Bernstein said:
> It's a red flag of lack of clue if a prospective employer tries to use 
> this to weed out candidates.

It's very possible that you're right but I'm going to wade in anyway and 
put forward a contrary view.

Hiring is really expensive. It was one of the things that most shocked 
me when I started getting involved on that side of things. 

Not only that the quality of people you get through the pipeline is 
really crappy - even with phone screens and and checking peoples' open 
source contributions.

I've literally had people who were "Senior" programmers (whatever that 
means) who, when given the instructions "Given that fib(n) is equal to 
fib(n-1) + fib(n-2) write a fib function in any language" didn't even 
get to the 

  sub fib {
    my $n = shift;
    return fib($n-1)+fib($n-2);

let alone dealing with base cases or turning it into an iterative method 
or memoizing or ... 

Now it's possible they just got really nervous (perhaps be idly 
sharpening a Marine issue K-Bar knife whilst they coded was a little 
intimidating) but either way giving someone a quick test, even if "good 
programmers" find it trivial and inane is going to be cheaper than 
having them come in.

I believe last time I heard about the test it was about $25 (back in 
2001). Let's assume they have now quadrupled, or even octupled, in price 
then that's *still* worth to me as an employer if it weeds anyone out.


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