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Facebook Programming

Gnarly Programming Challenges Help Recruit Coders 177

Hugh Pickens writes "George Anders writes that companies like Facebook are finding that old-fashioned hiring channels aren't paying off fast enough and are publishing gnarly programming challenges and inviting engineers anywhere to solve them. 'We developed this theory that occasionally there were these brilliant people out there who hadn't found their way to Silicon Valley,' says Facebook engineer Yishan Wong who volunteered to draft puzzles so hard that he couldn't solve them. The problems aren't the superficial brainteasers that some companies use, like estimating the number of basketballs sold every year or why are manhole covers round, but developing sophisticated algorithms — like ways of automatically seating a clique of people in a movie theater, given that best friends want to be side by side and rivals need to be far apart. David Eisenstat has compiled an unofficial guide to the Facebook Engineering Puzzles. Our favorite: 'Liar, Lair,' seems particularly applicable to slashdot: 'As a newbie on a particular internet discussion board, you notice a distinct trend among its veteran members; everyone seems to be either unfailingly honest or compulsively deceptive,' says the description of the problem. 'You must write a program to determine, given all the information you've collected from the discussion board members, which members have the same attitude toward telling the truth.'"
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Gnarly Programming Challenges Help Recruit Coders

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:34PM (#37783714)

    Well, let's see here. We have the standard interview format, where they find out what you know and how you've used it (after HR subjects your resume to the most stupid and rigorous pigeonholing known to man), there's the audition format, where they give you a task and judge your results, and then there's what I like to call the goofy-as-fuck-Google-format, where they subject you to bizarre questions that don't have any particular bearing on your actual job and instead attempt to figure out how creative or conservative you are while you demonstrate a certain level of knowledge on a topic. From lowest amount of hoops to most, you are progressively demonstrating as an employer how desperate you are to find "authentic" applicants that fit your corporate culture.

    Whether these are effective or not I leave up to your metrics. I don't play games, I get shit done.

  • Really? (Score:4, Funny)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:47PM (#37783902) Homepage

    So that's what programmers at software companies do all day? Write novel algorithms?

    Coulda fooled me, last software job I had I spent all day in meetings.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:47PM (#37783918)

    if User.NitpickeryScore > 10:
              User.LonlinessScore = User.LonlinessScore + 1;

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone