Game Development

New interview technique

I got another bad hire a couple of days ago. One thing I noticed is that even though I spent 2 hours carefully interviewing him, it only took me 5 minutes of working with him before I started seeing red flags and warning signs. Among other things it took him 5 hours to compile, download, and run the game, when I’ve had others in the past do it in 30 minutes. That’s raw experience right there.

I’m going to try a new interviewing technique, which is to give a real programming task that

1. Interfaces with a larger system, so you have to work with someone else’s code
2. Has multiple solutions, some of which are better than others
3. Takes enough time to require real though and design, but not so much that it would take someone competent longer than an hour, and designed such that a great person could do it in minutes.

I’m trying to think of some good problems. Right now I’m partial towards giving an assignment to extend RakNet in some way. I have a guy scheduled for an interview tomorrow and will see how this goes.

4 replies on “New interview technique”

I can only second this. The way I got my current job was like this: I came in for a “game jam”, sat down with lead programmer and in a day we wrote a code for a small game from scratch.

It takes time (in this case the whole weekend for the game jam), but it’s a very exciting “interview” for the job applicant, and I believe sitting down and watching how a person actually codes in real life reveals much much more than traditional “we’re gonna ask you a bunch of tricky questions” type of interview. You get to see how fast can they grasp the concept/structure behind unknown game engine/framework/tool, can they come up with their own ideas on how to solve some problems, how do they actually write code, can they actually debug (it’s surprising how many people can’t) etc. etc.

In short, highly recommended.

A game jam as an interview tool – brilliant! What did you guys build? And what were the problems? And what worked really well?

I tried it with one guy. I thought the problem was too simple to even bother with. All he had to do was change a class from using my list class to using my ordered list class. About 10 lines of code in total. I gave him 15 minutes. An hour and a half later he gives it to me, totally wrong. Obviously, he didn’t get the job.

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