I was contacted by a recruiter from a large company. He asked me to do an online assessment to check my technical proficiency. He gave me a broad list of topics to study. I did the practice assessment and it went very well, however the real assessment went terribly.
The assessment had two programming questions. You were given the method signature and a series of automated tests were applied against it. It had to compile for the tests to be applied. In the first question I got stuck at the end trying to convert the return value to match the supplied method signature, so it didn't even compile. I red over the second question and had ideas but ran out of time before writing any code.
I strongly feel I would have been able to get everything to work if I had more time.
The practice was easier and the study material was not related to what was on the assessment. I don't mean to sound arrogant but in a sense I found this to have been a bad way to spend time. Together I spent at least 4 hours studying, doing the practice assessment and the real assessment. If it had been for a job that I really wanted, I wouldn't mind but the recruiter only gave a broad sense of what the job would be doing. Is this normal for getting hired in the tech industry? Should a person bother to do a test even if they aren't sure they want the job? OTOH since I did invest time already and have thought of a solution, I would like the opportunity to complete this assessment. Should I email the recruiter asking if I can retake it? When doing an assessment is it a good idea to ask how they score it? For example is it better if it compiles but gives no right answers?
At the end of the test it asked for feedback about the assessment. Should I have included that if I had more time I could have done more?
If I am confident in something, and have done it before, I can work well under pressure and go fast. I do not work well under pressure if it involves thinking up a new algorithm. How can I use this information to target my job search?
In a certain sense I found the assessment was up to luck. The questions made extensive use of the Map and List interface. When studying I focused more on algorithms and other data structure the recruiter had said. If it had been a Vector on Queue I wouldn't have had to read the documentation and would have done much better.