[nycphp-talk] Questions to ask at a job interview?

Ben Sgro (ProjectSkyLine) ben at
Sat Jul 7 19:13:55 EDT 2007

Hey again,

So, I had a string of interviews over the last two weeks.

I have just hired one candidate that I believe will be a good addition to 
our company.

I ended up using the Joel Spolsky (or whoever coined this) question:

I have two variables and I want to switch their values.

Some candidates totaly froze, and other's got it quickly.

I also showed some source code, a *small* 150L script, and asked them what 
it did.

Not only was it commented, but the function & variable names are extremely 
Some looked in awe and said, "this is a small script?" while some took a few 
and looked over the code, then attempted to explaint to me what it did.

Overall, it was a great experiance. I look forward to finding new talent to 
add to our growing

Thanks for all the responses and feedback!

- Ben

Ben Sgro, Chief Engineer
ProjectSkyLine - Defining New Horizons
+1 718.487.9368 (N.Y. Office)

Our company:
Our products:

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individual to whom it is addressed.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Manes" <smanes at>
To: "NYPHP Talk" <talk at>
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: [nycphp-talk] Questions to ask at a job interview?

> Ben Sgro (ProjectSkyline) wrote:
>> Now, the position being filled is that of an entry level programmer.
>> I do not expect this person to be well trained in PHP/MySQL,
>> but they must have a pretty strong understanding of programming
>> methodologies in general (they are a college grad - CIS).
>>  So, again, what are some good metrics I can use to test these 
>> perspective employees?
> Start with general logic tasks at the white board, like reversing a string 
> in place.  Then inverting all the words in a sentence like "I really hate 
> taking tests", then reversing the letters in all the words in a sentence. 
> This should be done language-agnostic (no strrchr() or reverse()).  What 
> I'm mostly interested in learning is how the applicant problem-solves.
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