We had an engineering candidate come in for an interview yesterday. My coworker asked the following programming question:
Write a function that calculates the angle between the hour hand and the minute hand on a clock for a given point in time.
It’s a straightforward problem, but the kid didn’t know how an analog clock worked. Half the interview was spent teaching Junior how to tell time.
I’ve been on both sides of a lot of interviews. None of my questions ever involved analog clocks. The experience made me realize that tech company interviewers implicitly bias against qualified older employees when we fail to use relatable references.
Age discrimination is unacceptable. From now on, I’m framing all my technical interview questions in a way that demonstrates equality in employment opportunity:
- David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust is 38:37 minutes long. You depart San Francisco in a Chevette, traveling southbound on 101 at a speed of 55 mph. Using a pencil, how long will it take to rewind Ziggy Stardust by hand because your tape deck doesn’t have a Rewind button and Ziggy’s B-side sucks?
- Write a function that computes the subset sum of an array in polynomial time. Present your solution in Hollerith Card Code.
If you excel at these questions, please consider applying for a job at Abra, an equal-opportunity employer.