I have a take home interview problem with a flexible time limit and the solution to the problem is available on leetcode and online. There are several different types of solutions with varying degrees of difficulty.

How should I proceed?

  1. Let the hiring manager and engineer know that there are solutions online and ask how I should proceed

  2. Submit the solution and cite the online solution and blog (where the solution is) while explaining why I thought this was the best solution. Add unit tests and package the code nicely.

  3. Submit a sub-optimal solution that I initially wrote, and also the optimal solution that I found online while citing the online blog.

  • What part of your skill set would you like to show off? The ability to research and apply already-proven solutions, or the ability to come up with a solution on your own? Which approach matches what you think the employer is looking for, for this position? – dwizum Aug 7 '19 at 13:49

This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your honesty, integrity, and ability to seek clarification before spending effort when the requirements aren't clear.

I'd contact the people who've given you the assignment, let them know about the solutions you've found and ask how they want you to proceed.

You're now on par with any rival candidates who did the same thing, and you've eliminated any who submitted a solution that they found online without communicating first.


Submit your solution but tell the Hiring Manager you found a solution online. Unless the interview problem was to figure out how good you are at googling, submitting another persons solution does not help the Hiring Manager assess your skills and proficiency at completing the given task.

By doing both you show the Hiring Manager that you can complete the task yourself, but you also have the capability to search and identify information that may assist you in addressing the problems you are given.

It will also help to eliminate anyone else who copies the already made solution because they are not show casing their skills or abilities and it would be more akin to cheating/plagiarizing someones work.

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