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How would you test a coin-operated Coke machine? - Wanderings and Maunderings [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
georgmi

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How would you test a coin-operated Coke machine? [Oct. 31st, 2012|08:21 pm]
georgmi
What is your favorite interview question*? Could be one you love to ask candidates, could be one you've been asked yourself.

I'm particularly interested in the real curve balls, the questions that stop the candidate short and make them think.

For funsies (did I really just type "funsies"?), I will answer your questions**, provided I see the relevance. If I don't see the relevance, I will ask you about it until I get it, and then answer it.

Because Facebook does not support message threading, please respond here if possible. Anonymous comments are enabled, but if you do post anonymously, I ask (but do not require) that you identify yourself in your comment.

Feel free to comment on other people's questions as well.

Thanks much!

* Mine is the one in the subject line. Coke machines are ubiquitous enough that I don't have to argue back and forth about the spec, they're simple enough in concept that the test planning isn't too daunting, and there's enough discoverable complexity that this one question can keep a good candidate busy for pretty much the whole hour. I learn a lot about a potential tester from how they approach the Coke machine problem.

** Full disclosure: With hopefully a raft of interviews upcoming, I'm hoping to encounter the difficult questions here where I have a chance to rehearse my response, rather than being blindsided on the day. I call this "due diligence preparation", by the way, not "cheating". :) So feel free to tell me how I did with my answer!

This entry was originally posted at http://georgmi.dreamwidth.org/231994.html; please feel free to comment below or at Dreamwidth.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: tylik
2012-11-01 10:39 am (UTC)
While I'll tend to throw a puzzle question near the end of the interview* my favorite questions often were project planning and organization ones - here's a vague outline of a project, you have just been hired in such and such a role, with such and such headcount, tell me what you do. And then I keep asking questions about various areas as they come up. (But then I was usually looking for people with project management skills in addition to their technical skills. And yet, I'd totally have them coding on a board in the middle of the question. Fun times.)

* "How would you design an alarm clock for members of the ARRP - keep in mind that a lot of people might be having vision or hearing problems, so it should be accessible without insulting them by implying they need something accessible?"
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[User Picture]From: georgmi
2012-11-01 05:13 pm (UTC)
Let's see, big numbers with adjustable brightness (and maybe an auto-dim feature that accounts for ambient light), a higher-quality speaker(s) with a decent amplifier (remembering that this is an alarm clock, not a hifi), and a volume control that goes up to eleven. Big, friendly buttons and dials. Sturdy, because alarms clocks get hit hard by half-awake people.

Then market it to the general public, not to seniors specifically. Because those are all features I was looking for in an alarm clock when I was twenty-five.
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