Before I dive in to my question, a bit of background on myself. I'm an automotive engineer with 5 years of software development experience. I'm looking for a job as I'm going to complete my master's degree in september. I mostly program in C and I rate myself as an easy 8/10.

Recently, I gave an interview and one of the part was an easy (**TIMED**) competency test. I was confident enough but also overly cautious as I really need a job, so I permitted no mistakes to myself.

So fast forwarding to the technical assessment, I was given a link and I had to do it in one sitting. For every question asked, I was able to answer, IMO correctly but sometimes I had to check the solution on my system before submitting (just to be sure that my answer is correct... no mistakes permitted) and the question timed out and I wasn't able to answer. Finally, the last 2 questions of the assessment were small programming challenges. In one of the questions (find a number in a binary search tree), my solution crashed while running the given test case but when I tested it on my own system, it worked perfectly. I mean, it is a standard question and in fact, I already had my own code on my computer (I swear that I did not copy paste from the internet) that I copy pasted as a solution.

I have sent an email to the team manager, who sent me the technical assessment, explaining him my situation. So my question is, how is it going to affect the recruitement process? Will I be judged based on some silly questions that in no way reflect my competency?

  • 3
    We can not know the answer to the question because we do not know the people who assess your performance and make the hiring decision.
    – Philipp
    Aug 6, 2020 at 11:13
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    It's perfectly possible to write a C program that crashes on one system and not on other with same inputs. It's called undefined behavior and someone who's rated 8/10 should know about it.
    – ojs
    Aug 6, 2020 at 12:10
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    What does "an easy 8/10" mean exactly?
    – guest
    Aug 6, 2020 at 15:41
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    And on silly questions: those tests are just as silly as the Olympics who won't give a medal to the fourth runner, just for being behind a tenth of a second. How silly is that? The fourth fastest runner on the 100m sprint is still faster that 7000000000 other people. It's [expletive] harsh, but that's how it is.
    – Jeffrey
    Aug 6, 2020 at 16:06
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    I would not look upon 'but it worked on my machine' highly when coming from a C programmer.
    – Bwmat
    Aug 7, 2020 at 7:00

2 Answers 2


It is really up to the recruiter

I had this happen when applying for a different government job. They just tossed out the Hackerrank challenge entirely. Another company never replied when this happened. When it happened to a friend, he was told to redo it. There is certainly no consistent standard.

  • Exactly this. This happened to me once, I just sent my answer/solution to the question via email (instead of the web form) to the interviewer with my explanation of why I didn't make it in the designated time and they accepted this as if nothing happened. Keep in mind that such tests are usually not designed to give correct answers, they test how you approach a problem and work towards a solution.
    – Stefan
    Aug 6, 2020 at 9:50

Will I be judged based on some silly questions that in no way reflect my competency?

Most likely these "silly questions" will form just part of the basis on which you are judged.

Unless the interview stage consisted solely of this technical assessment, then certainly other factors will be considered.

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