I am not very fan of programming tests on interviews, but this time I got the third time a code challenge, which is related to the business area of the company. My previous experience is following.

Company 1: I made the complet solution (2 days). I was 99% right, that this solution was of a good performance and surpassed the expectations. I supplied performance tests as well, along the source code. The company replied that I will not proceed. I think they just used me as a dirty b....h.

Company 2: I made everything from the assignement + bonus points. I provided just a performance tests and web interface to the solution. I was insisted multiple times to publish the source code but I always refused to do it so. I got an offer, but at the end I refused it.

Company 3: I would really like to work in this company. They gave me a code challenge, that is again related to the business and must be of a good performance and the source code is compulsory. However, questions from the recruiter about my experience and why I would to work there, were really superficial and she run straight to the sending of the code challenge. Weird.

I mean guys, why do they do it actually? What to do in such cases? I am not doing a free consultant to anyone, but I would like really to get this job at Company 3 and I do not want to sound anyhow rude to not publish source code.


1 Answer 1


Unfortunately I've been hearing quite a bit about companies tricking potential employees into providing free IT, or design work in this fashion.

One thing you could do is research the company and see if there's any reports of them having done this in the past. You should also go on Glass Door, or some other similar websites and comment about your experience with Company 1.

And second, is try not to provide source code, as Chad already mentions. You could try providing already compiled applications (or host them yourself), as well as key methods without some of the other supporting code so that they can take a look at your logic.

Of course this might not go over well with some people, but if you explain your rationale then I think that most companies will be willing to engage with you and provide some guarantee that they're not playing you, or at least be a little more understanding. After all, once bitten, twice shy.

Note: You should talk about this with a potential employer up front so that if they're unhappy with this approach you don't waste your time, or theirs.

The most important red flag to you should be if the company in question is asking you to solve a real problem they're facing, as opposed to a generic programming test.

  • Thing is, I have read this on Glass door about Company3. They also does it for data analyst positions. But people tend to write there too misleading things often, as they are frustrated of not getting an offer. However, now I will re-think it twice... It is not too complicated code challenge (company has already 200k customers, that's why I can get much more interesting experience from them, as they do from me). May 30, 2016 at 15:58
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    For what it's worth, I've heard more rumors about companies abusing these homework assignments than confirmed cases of abuse. I can't say it doesn't happen, but unless the task is obviously of that sort I would not assume malice.
    – keshlam
    May 30, 2016 at 21:30
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    I cannot even imagine a situation where it would be cheaper or easier to get random job applicants to solve a real-world problem, verify the quality of their work, and integrate that into your code base, rather than just doing it yourself. But I suppose some companies might be silly enough to try. May 31, 2016 at 0:28

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