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Problem solving skills interview questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Shicky, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. Shicky

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 13, 2007

    Posts: 2,393

    Location: Belfast,Northern Ireland

    I have a phone interview coming up on tuesday and of the little information we've been given, we have been told part of the interview will be dedicated to this.

    The job spec itself lists software development but from the sounds of it there is a split between testing and support roles, I imagine I am ear-marked for testing given CS degree.

    Anyway the job involves going to toronto so keen to get it and curious what you guys think problem solving interview questions would be like? I've never had these come up but also never interviewed for a testing position so that could narrow down the aim of the questions.

    When I was initially told I assumed software development cycle, project life cycle, STAR approach to problem solving. Anything else people can think of?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. scorza

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jun 22, 2004

    Posts: 26,689

    Location: Deep England

    Agile and Test Driven Development models may come up based on your post. xUnit will probably be worth reading up on. If you've done any ISEB stuff it'd be worth checking up on that again e.g. what goes in a test plan etc. I can't really help with problem solving techniques I'm afraid, I've never heard of any.

    I'm curious, what's the STAR approach to problem solving? Can't find it on wikipedia.
     
  3. Shicky

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 13, 2007

    Posts: 2,393

    Location: Belfast,Northern Ireland

    Met with the girl who is organising it early today and she was saying the questions would be based on puzzles. The example she gave, 'you have 9 marbles and a scale, how can you tell in 3 attempts which of the marbles is heavier than the others without touching them yourself' I understand how to do this but is anyone aware of a decent resource for these?

    Thanks for the list of things to check out, been refreshing myself on test driven development and worked in an agile team before.

    STAR is just the Situation/Task/Action/Result or something along those lines? Think it's used mainly for CVs and stuff? In fairness I am basically brain dead today unfortunately
     
  4. edscdk

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 17, 2008

    Posts: 6,040

    make sure you have a good internet connecting and are in front of a PC with a quiet keyboard, pretend to have a cold and cough / sneeze when you need more time to google.....
     
  5. Housey

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Feb 21, 2006

    Posts: 23,276

    Location: Staffordshire

    I stubbed my toe this morning, can you tell me why the moon is cheesy?
     
  6. mp3duck

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 22, 2011

    Posts: 1,176

    You've posted the same, unhelpful thing on 2 threads.
    I hope you enjoyed your 2 posts, as I get the feeling you'll not be having many more.
     
  7. Spenty

    PermaBanned

    Joined: Dec 14, 2008

    Posts: 3,253

    Location: Sunderland

    Stupid questions, I actually think some interviewing techniques companies use lead to them getting worse candidates through the doors.
     
  8. Semple

    Mobster

    Joined: Mar 5, 2010

    Posts: 3,577

    Location: Bristol

    I love asking oddball questions in interviews.
    Here's a few i've come across...

    "How many barber shops are there in the UK"

    "Why are manhole covers round"

    "You have 9 identically looking balls, however only one is marginally heavier than the rest, what is the minimal number of weighings required to find that heavy ball"
     
  9. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 26,417

    There is a barber in a town, and he shaves all those, and those only, who do not shave themselves. Does the Barber shave himself?
     
  10. ZombieFan

    Hitman

    Joined: May 14, 2010

    Posts: 959

    Location: Somerset

    That is an odd question, since manhole covers are square in the uk.
     
  11. Jono

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 13,225

    Location: Northallerton/Harrogate

    Some are triangular.
     
  12. semi-pro waster

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Sep 27, 2004

    Posts: 25,680

    Location: London

    It's not something I've heard of as applied to problem solving per se, as you say it's mostly useful for competency based interviews or CV writing as you're trying to set down an example of something you've done in a fairly succinct format demonstrating that you've matched up to the relevant criteria. That's not to say that you couldn't use it as a logical framework for problem solving but simply that it's not the most natural use of it.

    From a very quick search I found this short guide to puzzle interview questions. Essentially as I understand it the interviewer will be looking for demonstration of a logical approach to problem solving so make explicit any assumptions you make but equally they'd probably quite like to hear any "outside the box" (hateful phrase) thinking provided you can give reasons why it's worthy of consideration. There's another guide here but don't drive yourself crazy looking for all possible solutions, sometimes it's best just to look at these things fresh without too much in the way of preconceptions.
     
  13. Oynas

    Hitman

    Joined: Aug 28, 2005

    Posts: 546

    Location: London

    Seems like an odd thing to be asking in a telephone interview. Face-to-face/written, maybe, but over the phone seems out of place to me.
     
  14. Wizardskills

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 25, 2007

    Posts: 1,888

    Location: Bedfordshire

    I just googled that puzzle you quoted and this site came up:

    http://www.numericana.com/answer/weighing.htm

    It may be worth a read arround as it looks to have some interesting articles on it.
     
  15. Spenty

    PermaBanned

    Joined: Dec 14, 2008

    Posts: 3,253

    Location: Sunderland

    I remember an interview a few years ago where I was asked if I was a fruit which one would I be and why. Completely wobbled me as I just went blank and it affected the rest of the interview.
     
  16. KatanaDV20

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 17, 2006

    Posts: 3,182

    Location: 3rd rock...

    WTH :confused:

    Who are the bozos who come up with dumb questions like that!
     
  17. MooMoo444

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 4, 2008

    Posts: 23,637

    Location: (''\(';.;')/'')

    Banana, because you might see a bit of kinky action :D
     
  18. Spenty

    PermaBanned

    Joined: Dec 14, 2008

    Posts: 3,253

    Location: Sunderland

    Looking back on it I thought of loads of answers I could have came up with but at the time it took me back to be asked something so irrelevant. I've had a few weird questions in interviews since.
     
  19. MooMoo444

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 4, 2008

    Posts: 23,637

    Location: (''\(';.;')/'')

    Or you could be philosophical like... "I'd be an orange, because if you take the time to get to know me for whats on the inside, you'll find I'm really nice!"

    I love that question :)
     
  20. Curio

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 14, 2004

    Posts: 7,885

    Location: Brit in the USA

    Was the interview with a greengrocers? Should have seen it coming, tbh....
     


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