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Python Interview Questions

 
 
Chris Angelico
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      07-10-2012
On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:34 AM, Steven D'Aprano
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Of course, if they try to sell themselves as having
> five years experience with Python 3.2...


.... then they've been borrowing Guido's time machine for personal purposes.

ChrisA
 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      07-10-2012
On Tue, 10 Jul 2012 11:29:24 +0200, Jean-Michel Pichavant wrote:

> Why would you want to hire someone that knows something pointless as the
> version where feature X has been introduced ? Just tell him that feature
> X has been introducted in version Y, costless 2.5sec training. Don't you
> want to hire someone that knows things you don't and benefit from each
> others abilities, learning from each others, improving the company
> global skill range ?


The reason for the question is to get some idea of how well the candidate
actually knows Python. If you ask them questions that you don't know the
answer to, how will you tell if they're right?

I certainly wouldn't disqualify a candidate if they didn't know what
version introduced (say) decorators. If they said "what's a decorator?"
or "version 10", that would be a hint that they don't actually know much
about Python. If they said "I don't know, I'm still stuck on Python 2.3",
they would get a point for honesty and lose a point for being way out of
date. If they said version 2.3 or 2.5 (it's actually 2.4), well, that's
close enough.

Of course, an acceptable answer would be "buggered if I know, but if you
give me a minute, I'll google it for you".


--
Steven
 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      07-10-2012
On Tue, 10 Jul 2012 10:11:22 +0200, Christian Heimes wrote:

> Am 10.07.2012 09:33, schrieb Steven D'Aprano:
>> This is why I hate job interviews. You have like 30 minutes, or even as
>> little as 30 seconds, to make a good impression on somebody who may or
>> may not be capable of telling the difference between a cheese sandwich
>> and a box of hair -- and even the *good* interviewers are probably
>> making their judgement on the basis of subjective factors with no right
>> or wrong answers.

>
> IMHO one category of answers is always wrong: lies. You may oversell
> yourself a bit, you can (and should) keep private matters to yourself
> but don't lie.


If only that were true. I know quite a few people who looked the
interviewer straight in the eye and told the most bare-faced lies without
a trace of shame, and got the job. Ten years on, at least one of them is
making something around $300,000 a year, based entirely on his ability to
smile and tell customers plausible lies.

I can't lie to save my life, which is why I have trouble in interviews.
But of course all good liars would say the same thing.



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Steven
 
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Chris Angelico
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      07-10-2012
On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:51 AM, Steven D'Aprano
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> If only that were true. I know quite a few people who looked the
> interviewer straight in the eye and told the most bare-faced lies without
> a trace of shame, and got the job. Ten years on, at least one of them is
> making something around $300,000 a year, based entirely on his ability to
> smile and tell customers plausible lies.


So he's either a politician, a salesman, a lawyer, a counselor, a
manager, a thespian, or a venture capitalist. And maybe a few other
possibilities. Professional liars, all.

ChrisA
 
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Ethan Furman
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      07-10-2012
Chris Angelico wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:34 AM, Steven D'Aprano
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Of course, if they try to sell themselves as having
>> five years experience with Python 3.2...

>
> ... then they've been borrowing Guido's time machine for personal purposes.


Reminds me of a job posting a few years ago where the prospective
employer wanted three plus years experience in some language, and that
language had only been created a year and a half before.

~Ethan~
 
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Jean-Michel Pichavant
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      07-10-2012
Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Tue, 10 Jul 2012 11:29:24 +0200, Jean-Michel Pichavant wrote:
>
>
>> Why would you want to hire someone that knows something pointless as the
>> version where feature X has been introduced ? Just tell him that feature
>> X has been introducted in version Y, costless 2.5sec training. Don't you
>> want to hire someone that knows things you don't and benefit from each
>> others abilities, learning from each others, improving the company
>> global skill range ?
>>

>
> The reason for the question is to get some idea of how well the candidate
> actually knows Python. If you ask them questions that you don't know the
> answer to, how will you tell if they're right?
>
> I certainly wouldn't disqualify a candidate if they didn't know what
> version introduced (say) decorators. If they said "what's a decorator?"
> or "version 10", that would be a hint that they don't actually know much
> about Python. If they said "I don't know, I'm still stuck on Python 2.3",
> they would get a point for honesty and lose a point for being way out of
> date. If they said version 2.3 or 2.5 (it's actually 2.4), well, that's
> close enough.
>
> Of course, an acceptable answer would be "buggered if I know, but if you
> give me a minute, I'll google it for you".
>
>
>

Must be a cultural thing. We don't question people experience that much
here. They'll be challenged anyway during the trial period (6 months
during which the contract can be cancelled anytime without any reason).
Actually I think it would be considered quite rude to challenge someone
with questions right after he told you he worked 5 years as technical
leader on a software developped in python for instance.

I've never been asked nor did I asked to go into such technical details.
Interviews are more about years of experience, projects, working with
teams, carreer expectations, distance between home and workplace,
willingness to work weekends when required.

I'm no saying one way is better than another. I'm making an observation
on how different can be an interview from one location to another.

JM
 
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Dennis Lee Bieber
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      07-10-2012
On 10 Jul 2012 07:33:59 GMT, Steven D'Aprano
<(E-Mail Removed)> declaimed the following in
gmane.comp.python.general:


> may not be capable of telling the difference between a cheese sandwich
> and a box of hair -- and even the *good* interviewers are probably making


They are both containers holding samples of protein
--
Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber AF6VN
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/

 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      07-10-2012
On Wed, 11 Jul 2012 02:59:15 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:51 AM, Steven D'Aprano
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> If only that were true. I know quite a few people who looked the
>> interviewer straight in the eye and told the most bare-faced lies
>> without a trace of shame, and got the job. Ten years on, at least one
>> of them is making something around $300,000 a year, based entirely on
>> his ability to smile and tell customers plausible lies.

>
> So he's either a politician, a salesman, a lawyer, a counselor, a
> manager, a thespian, or a venture capitalist. And maybe a few other
> possibilities. Professional liars, all.


Actually, he's a senior software developer for a major international
software company whose name Might Seem familiar to you.

To be honest, I can't tell you too much more about his job, as I've made
it a practice not to learn too many details.


--
Steven
 
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Mark Lawrence
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      07-10-2012
On 10/07/2012 18:12, Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:
> On 10 Jul 2012 07:33:59 GMT, Steven D'Aprano
> <(E-Mail Removed)> declaimed the following in
> gmane.comp.python.general:
>
>
>> may not be capable of telling the difference between a cheese sandwich
>> and a box of hair -- and even the *good* interviewers are probably making

>
> They are both containers holding samples of protein
>


Does the hair contain much more roughage?

--
Cheers.

Mark Lawrence.



 
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Demian Brecht
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      07-10-2012
I also judge candidates on their beards (http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise...beard-gallery/). If the beard's awesome enough, no questions needed. They're pro.
 
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