I'm applying for a full-stack position with a company. The interview process is rigorous and I've done two technical tests so far:

  • a simple Rails application from scratch

  • using AngularJS and the Google Map API

Unit tests were also done for both. I fully developed the required tests within the required time. Every single requirement item was implemented, using the best practices for both languages and frameworks. I passed in both tests.

By successfully finishing those tests, I had an interview and there were technical questions, considered basic. I wasn't good on this, definitely. I got nervous and I couldn't properly answer all questions (one of them including the Two Eggs Problem which I never heard about). This is the point in my career that I find myself a failure, despite doing all the work required and its positive reception.

How do companies face this problem after a successfully accomplished technical test? If I wasn't able to answer a simple question, but managed to develop an application that was way harder, how do they see this?

  • I've made (pending) edits that remove your first question. It's very broad and has been asked several times, has a plethora of answers available, and is almost entirely unrelated to the specific circumstances. The second however is good, and ties well with the situation, so I've tidied that up. – user53718 Oct 22 '16 at 0:37
  • The two egg question is not a real technical question. You experienced a riddle question. You can find the answer to said question here. Also Are puzzles an effective part of the recruitment process – Anketam Oct 22 '16 at 2:21
  • 2
    When you didn't know the answer, how did you answer? Did you say "I don't know"? Sometimes you may be evaluated for how you answer, not the answer itself. – Brandin Oct 22 '16 at 6:12
  • I tried to answer the best I could, using logic even though I didn't know the properly method they were asking for. They said my answer was partially right, but no exactly what they were looking for. Only then I said I wouldn't be able to answer that since I didn't know the method name (a Javascript method). – Anna Oct 22 '16 at 15:26
  • To expand on what @Brandin said, they may have been looking for you to answer something like "I don't know, but here's how I would go about researching the answer", but it's a bit hard to guess if that's what they want. – user30031 Oct 24 '16 at 22:22

The best way to prepare for interviews is to go online and research as much as you can about a company, what they do and how they do it. If you understand the problems they face you may be able to plan for specific problems they may ask. It doesn't hurt to be familiar with the common questions that are often asked, but in the end you can't possibly know what to expect unless they tell you ahead of time. That's kind of the point which leads into the answer to your second question.

Companies are not usually interested in the answer. An interviewer is interested in the journey you take to solve the problem. Much like in school on a math test you were asked to "show your work", companies want to see that. Even if you already know they answer, they want to make sure you understand the answer and know how to derive it. While the end solution is important, more important is understanding the path someone takes to arrive at solutions, how they organize thoughts and information, and what deductions they make from it all.

If you'd previously heard of the two egg problem and rattled off the answer it wouldn't have done anyone any good except to tell them that you'd heard the problem before. They'll want to know why that's the right answer, how to derive that answer and what makes that answer better than any of the other "correct" answers (keeping in mind that the mathematically "perfect" solution may not be the solution that is ideal for a given system).

  • Thank you for your reply. I've been studying for two weeks now, something like 5 or 6 hours per day, it depends. The tests itself took me 20 hours. I felt confident and ready at some point, but then I screwed up when I couldn't properly answer two questions. I figured out the Two Egg Problem but I struggled a few minutes to get to the point. And that made me insecure because I thought they were expecting immediately and well performed answers. But I can see more clearly how companies handles this interviews with your answer. – Anna Oct 22 '16 at 15:39

Keep reading websites that offer up these kinds of questions. Google up 'Rails Interview Questions" as well Programming Interview questions. For those oddball questions read How would you move Mount Fuji

There are some others in the category. As an interviewer I rarely see someone answer these 'textbook' and even then you have to assume they read the answer somewhere. I'd be more concerned about someone that did well on the tests and then struggled with basic programming questions. So being up on those types of questions is a lot more important in my opinion. Know your basic Object Oriented questions, O(n) stuff, the basic CS stuff.

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