Why Stop at Half-Clever?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

An amusing, if lengthy blog post speculates on how renowned physicist Richard Feynman might have reacted to a popular job interview question. The renowned physicist concludes his interview with the following:

Then why would you ask an interview question that tests my willingness to abandon industry-standard, well-established techniques that use common electrician's tools to determine continuity of a portion of an electrical system? And why is the solution you were clearly driving me towards one which takes advantage of an undocumented and unreliable epiphenomenon? Does your team usually write code whose correctness relies upon undocumented and unreliable correlations, correlations whose magnitudes can vary widely as a result of implementation details?
One senses that he won't get the job.

I have to admit that I have felt clever about coming up with the "correct" answer to that question and others like it in the past. I will also concede that the question might be useful in determining how well someone can think, armed with common assumptions. But the implicit question is very good: Why not look for more from a potential collaborator or hire? The extra effort will almost certainly be worth it.

-- CAV

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