puzzle interviews

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puzzle interviews

Postby TerraFrost » Thu Apr 24, 2003 2:35 am

kinda an interesting read about interviews... the good things, the bad things, etc. it's neat :):

http://books.slashdot.org/article.pl?si ... 127&tid=98
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Postby Evlfrost » Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:20 pm

O.o I always knew that microsoft was kinda screwy but O.o
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Postby Nyufrost » Fri Apr 25, 2003 12:11 am

That is ridiculously long to read and I wish you would have posted a summary, including your own thoughts. Terra .... otherwise, there is not much to discuss ... as Evl's comment proves.

Microsoft is not the first --or only-- company to do this but --as per usual-- has attracted the most attention and drawn the most fire for doing so. I assume that is not only due to their size but also due to all the anti-Bill Gates people who are always scraping for any tidbit they can find.

When I applied for a job with PacBell it included all sorts of sneaky psychological testing and analytical/logic testing which really has absolutely nothing to do with the job I was applying for. :|

Is the monkey and the circle more closely related to the elephant and the square? The sealion and the hoop? A man wearing a ring? I mean, what the heck does this have to do with PacBell, ya know?

I think trying to make a psychological assessment of a potential employee or judge their powers of logic by use of these tests should be outlawed. What does it *really* prove and isn't it discrimination?
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Apr 25, 2003 12:22 am

sorry... i'll try to sumarize now...

Microsoft uses what are equiv. to mensa puzzles as hiring critieria. Microsoft's point is probably that these tests, as you, yourself, said, Nyufrost, that these tests judge "powers of logic", which for computer programmers, is quite essential. They are attempts to make employees demonstrate their creativity.

The article points out that people who conduct typical interviews, such as "what do you hope to get out of this job", etc, really aren't good questions, themselves. People can adlib good responses, and... as the article again points out, hehe... most employers make the decission in the first 15 sec. of the interview. in fact, they cite experiments which demonstrate this.

they then go on to say that despite microsoft's attempts to put an end to this, it isn't really working. they cite an example of some college kid who steve ballmer liked after 2 seconds, and wanted hired.

further, the article points out that such "logic tests" aren't really the best indicator of intellegence, anyways. some people may just not like them.

another point made is that inspiration often comes at random times. someone who doesn't have any inspiration come in an interview (when they are on the spot light) may yet be able to find more inspiration than people who can solve the puzzles. sometimes it's percervience, not your ability to get it on the first try, that counts, but... microsoft's tests don't account for this.

i think the end conclusion is that these interviews just aren't very good. of course, it doesn't say traditional interviews are any better, heh, but whatever :)
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Postby Javafrost » Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:43 pm

This is sorta long, but the really interesting thing about this very long read was the entertaining answers to a couple of the questions. (Warning: this includes some MS bashing...)

How would I move Mt. Fuji?
• In true Zen fashion... it is not the mountain that must move, but you.
Or was it one spoonfull at a time?
• I'm lazy. I'd just pick another mountain and swap names. Voila!
• "I don't know, but I'm sure there's something in MS Word that will do that..."
Am I hired?
• I would tell it a very poignant story.
• Wait five seconds. ... What? You wanted it moved somewhere other than 15km down the earth's orbital path? You should have specified that in the original problem!
• If asked to move Mount Fuji relative to myself, I could just walk.
Double Pluss Good! You have simply convinced yourself that it moved. Fuji is Fuji but you are ours. Other correct answers involve name changes and crossing your eyes.
• If you need to move by only a small amount relative to some other mountain, and movement is judged according to the centre of gravity, then moving one rock from the side of the mountain to the other side would shift the centre of gravity a little and so count as moving.
Again, you see clearly the Microsoft spirit, do nothing and say it is changed! Once you have decieved yourself, you can lie to others as well.
• I would use photoshop to move mt. fuji. put it right in my back yard.
• I suppose something like...
umount /dev/fuji
• That would be the answer to "how do you flatten Mt Fuji?".
I recommend
mv /mnt/fuji /mnt/barji
• You forgot that these are Microsoft answers...
copy \mnt\fuji \mnt\barjii
del \mnt\fuji
or better yet
open My Computer
browse to \mnt\fuji
right-click copy
right-click paste
select copy of fuji
right-click rename
type barjii
select fuji
right-click delete
close explorer
select recycle bin
right-click empty recycle bin
Who says Windows isn't simpler?
• Actually, if this was a Microsoft question, you would just drag and drop the file...of course...since this is M$, you would probably get the blue screen of death.
• Detonate a large explosive on the sea floor offshore from Mount Fuji. When Godzilla wakes up, deploy large inflatable monster of choice in front of Mount Fuji. Fuji moved (though not intact).
• The first thing to realize...is that there is no Mount Fuji
• Why, I would move it with a teaspoon, naturally. How much more Zen can you get than that?
• Make everyone that sees it sign an EUSA (End User Seeing Agreement) that prevents anyone from disclosing the current location of Mt. Fuji. Put out statement with new location.
• Easy. Just say "Mt. Fuji is in Wisconsin," until people start believing it...
• Chop it horizontally into a load of slices, drill a big hole in the middle, build three poles big enough to stand it on, then execute the recursive Tower-Of-Hanoi algorithm, thus reducing the problem to one with a known solution.
• Pffff... I'll sit back on a lawn chair with some beer and let plate tectonics do all the work.

Why are manhole covers round?
• Manhole Covers are round so they can't fall down the manhole. Simple.
• ...My guess is that a variety of factors (shape of manholes, ease of manufature, ability to roll the covers) lead to round manhole covers.
• Manhole covers are round because manholes are round.
• In the UK, at least, they aren't.
• I always thought they were Round to prevent streets from cracking. When they are round, the manholes are round, and there are no corners or structual weak points for cracks to appear.
• Manhole covers are round so that they don't fall in -- the round shape prevents them from slipping down the whole if someone sets it down at an incorrect
• Manhole covers are round to fit the holes.
• You know, I heard a story about a guy being interviewed at MS and asked "Why are manhole covers round?". His answer: "They're not", followed by a gesture out the window. It seem's manholes at Microsoft's campus are square.
Can't for the life of me remember where I read that, but I can testify that Microsoft's manhole covers are square... :)
• No no no, it's a trick question, the answer is that they AREN'T round... They just look that way because you are ignoring the 4th dimension... They are actually hyper-round columns extending out into infinity along it's time axis.
• Oh, and manhole covers are round because Hollywood lobbied the sewage industry to make them that way, so that they could have movie characters like Hulk or Superman throw them at people. Somehow a spinning square piece of metal isn't as cool as a round one.
• manhole covers, when they are round, are round because the manhole is round. manholes are often round because its an easy shape to make, is structurally sound, and is a nice shape for a person to crawl down.
There are other shapes [google.com] that won't fit down the hole they're covering.
And there are pleanty of non-round manholes [google.com], which means that manholes aren't by definition round. So the question is akin to 'why are cars red?'. ... They're not red. Some of them are red, and the reason those ones are red is because they're red. Round manholes are round because they are round.

What is Linux and how would you kill it?
• Easy, start a website and get lamers to waste their lives bitching about Microsoft.
• It's easy.
Be the first to create new software technologies and algorithms and patent it or buy the patents from the original owners. Vigorously enforce these patents, especially against open source projects, and especially against Linux. Within 10 years, Linux will either be sorely out-of-date because they can't use these new technologies, or it will be driven into the underground. Either way, businesses will stop using it because of legal problems.
I think the more important question is: How do we stop Linux from getting killed this way?
• Microsoft could easily kill Linux simply by slashing the prices of their own software. Microsoft has plenty of profit margin to burn. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that particular answer would make Wall Street very nervous, and since most Microsofties (from top to bottom) are more concerned with the MSFT stock price than the actual health of the company, cutting prices is a no go.
The real question is how does Microsoft kill Linux while still growing revenue in a saturated market?
Bonus points awarded for answers that don't include getting in a patent war with IBM.
• I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify Linux as an operating system. I realized that it is not actually a operating system. Every operating system on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but Linux does not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every user is converted. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Linux is a disease, a cancer of this planet, Linux is a plague, and Microsoft is the cure.
[Lefty says: hey! I saw that movie!]
• Sue the biggest high-profile commercial entity investing in Linux for 1 gazillion bucks?
Threat the two most decent Linux distros that they are next?

How would you reprogram Windows so it won’t crash?
• Download a copy of Linux and rename it Windows?[/b]
"Endeavor to persevere." -- Lone Watie, The Outlaw Josey Wales
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