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Recently, I was in a technical interview, and after that, the interviewers gave me a technical task. During the interview, I got the impression the interviewers lacked proper knowledge of the technical task and I really do not want to work in a company with a poor team lead.

I am done with the task now, and wish to ask the interviewer to give me a technical review of my tasks. I want to find out if the interviewer is able to do the task himself.

I am wondering, if it is a weird thing to challenge the interviewer?

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    What do you mean by "proper knowledge"? also how is asking the interviewer for a review a "challenge" to the interviewer? – Twyxz Mar 8 at 10:38
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    So your goal is to assess the technical skills of the interviewer giving you the task, and "review my code" is your idea of how to assess that? – Erik Mar 8 at 10:43
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    Sometimes the technical task is given to someone else to check (just to validate you), and the people interviewing are more concerned with your personal behaviour to see if you would fit into the team. Challenging them in this instance would be counter-productive. – Smock Mar 8 at 11:22
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    I manage a whole department of developers and analysts, whom I have hired. There are lots of things they can do well that I can't do well, and I am certainly not the best person to do an expert code review on all of their work. If you're trying to subversively determine the hiring manager's technical capability as a way to judge the technical quality of the workplace, you're barking up the wrong tree. – dwizum Mar 8 at 13:37
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    @UKMonkey "The reason you hire someone is usually because they can do something better than you...."* One reason. Another perfectly good reason for hiring someone (perhaps even someone who isn't at your own ability level) is because you have more work than you can get done by the respective deadlines and simply need to spool up some extra hours. Of course, in keeping with Brook's law you need to do this early enough to make a positive difference. – dmckee Mar 8 at 22:58
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Team Leads don't have to be able to do everything that their team does. My Team Lead, for example, doesn't code C# - that doesn't mean that he's poorly skilled in the least or incapable of being a really good Team Lead (which he is).

He's asking you to do a task - whether you feel that he could do the same task or not (or up to your standard) is entirely irrelevant to the interview process, as long as he or someone else can validate that you've completed it to a satisfactory level.

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    You might be right, but i want to make sure that, they have a fair judgments with people. – Salman Lashkarara Mar 8 at 10:48
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    I don't understand what you're hoping to achieve. Let's say you manage to prove the team lead isn't capable of doing the task - that still doesn't really tell you anything. You need to evaluate what you gain from that, versus the potential disadvantages. I don't feel that would tell you enough about the company's culture to really inform your decision on them technically, if that's your aim you'd be better off waiting to see if you get an offer and then asking if you could spend a couple of hours in the office meeting the team and seeing what they're working on. – delinear Mar 8 at 14:11
  • @SalmanLashkarara - regardless if they rejected you for sound technical reasons, or because they are not able to exercise good technical judgement, the outcome is still the same - you can't work there - it doesn't really matter for that role if it's because they won't let you or because they'd be impossible to work with. In terms of impact on your self esteem, look to other contexts. – Chris Stratton Mar 8 at 17:06
  • @delinear The purpose is clear. To assess if the company has capable people by analysing their feedback. OP is wrong thinking it would be interviewer's competence. It doesn't matter who does it as long as there is someone. The only missing thing in this answer is whether or not it's a good idea to ask for the feedback, whoever does the evaluation. I think it's fine, I also think code review reveals a lot about the culture. – luk32 Mar 9 at 0:53
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What is your purpose here? To score points? Prove you are cleverer than the interviewer?

Who says he's the person evaluating your performance on the task? There's a good chance he will have someone more knowledgeable looking at your work.

All "challenging" them will do is show them you're someone who likes to win. You won't have to decide if you want to work for them, because they probably won't offer you the position.

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    That closing statement is pure gold: "You won't have to decide if you want to work for them, because they probably won't offer you the position." – MonkeyZeus Mar 8 at 16:23
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    The OP said he already knows he is cleverer than the interviewers, so he doesn't need to "prove" that. On the other hand, if the interviewers haven't already figured out that he's the sort of high-maintenance employee that nobody wants to hire, whatever his technical abilities, the proposed idea is an very good way to make that obvious. – alephzero Mar 8 at 17:11
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    What is your purpose here - Interviews are bidirectional. Perhaps he wants to know if he is signing on for a company with crappy staff? Perhaps he wants to work with someone that is heavily skilled in something. I am sure it might be tricky to turn the tables as the interviewee at a technical interview, but your answer seems to imply to me that it is completely out of line for the interviewee to be using this interview to gather information about the employer. – Zoredache Mar 8 at 19:06
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    @Zoredache it is not out of line to engage in a conversation about technology, maybe even asking if it's possible to talk to the rest of the team. However, challenging a potential employer is a sure fire way to no longer be a potential employee. – HorusKol Mar 9 at 4:09
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You don't need to "challenge" the interviewer. Simply ask if they could give you feedback on how well you did on your interview, and an in depth overview on your technical question. It isn't rude as long as they don't find out your intentions, which seem to be that you're trying to find out if the person interviewing you has the same technical skills to determine if you want to work there.

Although I do believe if you already have those red flags telling you that you don't want to work there, it's best to refrain from taking the job.

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Something people sometimes forget: interview questions aren't there because they ascertain your technical skill. They're there because the interviewer believes they can use the range of outputs to figure out whether the applicant would be a good hire. Yes, they often are attempts to measure technical skill, but that's indirect: the interviewer believes that if you give A/B/C as an answer, you're not technically proficient, but if you give D/E/F as an answer, you are.

With that in mind, it's pretty clear: they know how to evaluate your output. If they didn't, they wouldn't be asking that as a question.

Let me give an example. We're doing interviews, and one of our questions is: "Write some C# code that does X with a file." Nothing complicated... except there are multiple ways of doing it, each with pros/cons. Sure, we'd like to see some code... but what we're really after is 'Does this person think through problems/issues before they start trying to crank out code? Do they try to get additional info if the code requires it? Did they weigh code simplicity vs performance?'

In our question? I have to admit, while I could freehand write code that would do a read-it-all-into-memory approach with a few lines of code, I don't know off the top of my head how to manually work with a filestream object - I'd have to google it. But that isn't what matters - what matters is, I know how to evaluate the range of outputs a candidate might give for that answer.

Make sense? It doesn't matter whether your interviewer can actually answer the question, because that's not why they chose the question. It matters whether they can use your answer to figure out whether you'd be good at the job. (Or phrasing it another way: if their goal was to always be smarter than the interviewee, they could just ask questions they all knew the answer to already. But that's not what the goal is.)

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It sounds like you have certain minimum standards you expect of the people you're going to be working with if you're going to accept the job.

This is perfectly fine and normal, indeed it's a good thing. The very point of an interview process is not just to verify that you match their requirements, but also to verify they match yours.

That being said, how you go about assessing the latter is critical. There's an accepted dynamic in most interview processes that you're the one under assessment, and deviating from this too much will be perceived as weird and put your application at risk. You therefore have to be careful about how you approach it.

The best opportunity for you to assess them is during the face-to-face interview, which is already usually conversational in nature and during which most of the time there is a section where you are explicitly invited to ask questions.

Unfortunately, that opportunity has gone and you've only managed to leave with an impression of what you wanted to know. Putting it plainly, yes it absolutely will be weird (and insulting) to now start challenging the interviewers with the very take-home task they they've asked you to complete, and doing this will very likely cost you the job offer.

Some possible good news though: I've never heard of an interview process where a take-home task was the final stage. It's likely you'll get another opportunity later to have further conversations with your future colleagues and make this assessment in a better way.

If I were you, unless you absolutely trust your gut, I would just ignore your first impressions and continue with the process in the hope that this happens. Also learn from this, and spend some time thinking about how next time you're going to properly assess the requirements you have in an interview process right from the start.

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