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Technical Consultant, Professional Services Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Burlington, MA
No Offer
Positive Experience
Average Interview

Application

The process took a week. I interviewed at ClickSoftware (Burlington, MA) in April 2011.

Interview

Applied for a position, heard back from the external recruiter a day or so later. I was an unintuitive fit, but I have an interesting background, so she decided to call me. After speaking with her, the company invited me in for an in-person interview which consisted of conversations with several people (behavioral and Q&A stuff), and three programming-related skills tests.

All of these questions could be done in any language, but they preferred C-style languages. I did them all in C#, which is their language of choice (and mine).

1) Write a class that returns a list of n, non-repeating, random lottery numbers with values between x and y

In this particular instance, I had five minutes, and was literally constrained by how fast I could write by hand. The Director of the group criticized that I used an infinite loop to do this (while (true) with a break condition) which was like the end of the world or something. Given that I had *no* time to think about it, and just had to start writing immediately, I didn't think this was a fair criticism, because I certainly wouldn't do that in a production environment (or even in my own code); I just needed to get something written. He also told me in no uncertain terms that recursion should never be used in production code. (wtf)

Anyway, we discussed the drawbacks of my approach (brute force), and we/I spent 10 minutes discussing it and refactoring it on a whiteboard to have better performance characteristics. Overall, I wasn't terribly enthused about this question and the circumstances under which it was presented.

2) Write a function that reverses an integer number without converting to strings or characters.

I didn't get it completely right, but I was on the right track. I don't know if this counted against me or not. I later went home and wrote working code that happens to be quite pretty.

3) I can't remember the specifics of the third, but it had to do with creating a human-readable XML stylesheet that would be used in conjunction with XPath in some way.

I didn't get an offer, and the feedback was that while everyone really liked me, but they felt my technical skills weren't quite up to where they needed them to be. Maybe that's fair, maybe not. The feedback was too generic to be useful, but that was the recruiter's fault, not the CKSW people. I also knew going in that I would be at a disadvantage because I am not a CS person or software engineer; I'm simply a hobbyist and relative newb. That being said, all those things accounted for, I acquitted myself well, and the experience was positive overall. Everyone I met was very nice and down to earth.

Interview Questions

  • Write a class that returns a list of n, non-repeating, random lottery numbers with values between x and y   1 Answer
  • Write a function that reverses an integer number without converting to strings or characters   1 Answer
  • I can't remember the specifics of the third, but it had to do with creating a human-readable XML stylesheet that would be used in conjunction with XPath in some way   1 Answer
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