I'll soon be completing studies. So, I have been applying for jobs. Generally, I'm able to cross the initial pre-screen assessment test by HR personnel, in which they typically ask the
tell me about yourself? question.
For the technical round, the company will give a dataset and will either ask a specific problem to solve or will ask to explore the dataset and then conjure up a problem to solve it. Generally, the dataset size is quite small and easy to process.
Recently, I interviewed in a company for the role of a data scientist. I crossed the pre-screen HR round. For the technical round, they gave me a real dataset whose size was over 200MB! They said,
The following challenge asks you to work with a data set of loan repayment. It is intentionally meant to be open-ended. The point is not to arrive at a predetermined answer or search for the lowest possible standard error. Rather, the hope is that it will force you to ask relevant questions about the data, do some preliminary exploration, perform the necessary manipulations or aggregations, generate visualizations, and reach conclusions or insights. The most important thing to remember is that we are evaluating your thought process and ideas! The more you explain your thinking, in a clear and succinct manner, the better. If you get stuck, describe what additional information or data you might look to collect, and trying a different idea is highly encouraged.
I provided a comprehensive 50-page report in which I formulated a problem, using the given dataset and explained in great depths on how I solved it. I also explained the given data anomalies, how to eradicate them in future. In short, I think the report was so rich in content that it can be accepted for publication!
The company rejected my job application and did not provide any valid reason for rejection (Note: I wrote back to the company post the application rejection seeking feedback and they have since not replied). Now, I understand they are not bound to provide a rejection reason, but what really hurts and baffles me are the following questions;
In future how to deal with such open-ended technical round interview questions? Should I provide a detailed report or not?
Is it a red flag to be given huge datasets and open-ended technical problems to solve? How to determine the company is not exploiting a prospective candidate in terms of acquiring a free end-to-end solution?
For future technical round interview, is it appropriate to ask something like,
Will you provide a feedback post completing the technical exercise?. If the company is reluctant or refuses to provide feedback, what should I do?