[Tutor] Am I missing something obvious about "FizzBuzz"?

Alan Gauld alan.gauld at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Oct 1 07:04:13 EDT 2017

On 01/10/17 06:56, boB Stepp wrote:

> I definitely was *not* looking for a pat on the back.  I just could
> not believe that "FizzBuzz" (Or similar questions.) would ever be
> needed in a job interview for programming/software engineering.  

The fizzbuzz one is definitely a bit too simplistic, but the one
cited by McConnel (reverse a linked list in C) is typical of
the kind of question we used. And yes, most candidates failed.

Some of that is interview nerves so we would give them some
hints and see if they could find the errors themselves. But
some people literally couldn't even start!

Another common ploy we used was to ask the candidate to find
say 2 points of failure in a short function - say 4 or 5 lines
long. And tell me how they'd fix it.

Even fewer candidates can pass that one.

> I truly hope that the above article does not reflect reality!

I think it exaggerates (or maybe things have gotten much
worse in the last 10 years!) but I do think more than half
the applicants we got couldn't really program. (It doesn't
help that many people today think that writing HTML/CSS is

A final note. The jobs I was interviewing for were all
internal vacancies advertised only within our own IT
department. So all the candidates were already employed
by us as IT people.... If you advertised externally it
probably would be much worse.

Alan G
Author of the Learn to Program web site
Follow my photo-blog on Flickr at:

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