Welcome to The Stack Overflow Podcast #92, brought to you by the The Facsimile Association of America. Since the late 1800s, faxes have solved the infuriating problem how to get a message to someone quicker than physical mail, and since the late 1900s, slower than just sending an email. The Facsimile Association of America: When Was the Last Time You Needed to Fax?
In this episode, you’ll learn how to identify fake New Yorkers from real New Yorkers by simply asking, “What is Gray’s Papaya known for?” You’ll also learn how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. Finally, you’ll learn a new word: Recruitersplaining.
Launching this week, Startup Or Shut Up, our new game where Joel, Jay, and David have to guess which one of three startup descriptions are fake. Spoiler: Jay gets a participation award for “trying.”
But what really grinds our gears? This week, the gang rants about awful recruiter questions and responses, specifically from Google’s (alleged, possibly outdated) “Director of Engineering” hiring test, such as
Recruiter: Why is Quicksort the best sorting method?
Interviewee: It’s not always the case, nor even suitable.
Recruiter: Quicksort has the best big-O.
Interviewee: “big-O” ignores data storage latencies, topology, volume, available memory, and even the computational cost of every CPU instructions involved in a given implementation – instead, it merely counts the number of algorithmic operations! Big-O can be a valuable indication when designing algorithms but the best performing and scaling solution depends on the particular constraints of any specific problem and environment.
Recruiter: Wrong, you had to give me the Quicksort big-O score.
Aside from listening to the episode, if you want to learn how to do interviews the right way, go to Joel on Software and check out The Guerilla Guide to Interviewing. And if you’re looking to apply to a similar job, (hopefully with a better interview), check out these senior software engineer postings.
More important that interviewing, however, is our future legal system. As you all know, we’re preparing the Stack Overflow Constitution week by week, amendment by amendment in this podcast. This week’s amendment: Should you hold the door for a colleague if you know it’s going to make them run? Go to Twitter and use #StackOverflowPodcast to vote Pro if you hold the door, and Con if you don’t.