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Puzzles at interviews

I got an MS interview coming up. Anyone aware of what types of questions they tend to ask these days? Is it possible to attend such an interview without doing extensive study of brain-teasers, algorithms, C-puzzles etc.? In fact, are such interviews not heavily dependent on the persons familiarity with certain puzzles? For example, while it is easy to write a function that reverses a string in-place, is it not a hellovalot easier if you have already done this when practicing before the interview?
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
There are plenty of web sites with the "Microsoft Interview" type of questions. Actually they've been going away from the usual puzzles that they ask, largely due to losing people to Google and others.
QADude Send private email
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
If they've been going away from the typical puzzles, then what are they doing now?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
We have build a site to help people learn art of solving algorithms in interview ;-). Checkout
Abhishek Goyal Send private email
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I wouldn't worry too much about getting the right answer to these types of interview questions.

I would, at least, study them so you know them and can talk intelligently about them but I would not put in any extra ordinate time into mastering them.

These types of interviews tell me they are trying to figure out your apptitude to solve problems and get things done.

Even if you don't know the answer, you should at least know how to get to the answer/solution fairly quickly and on your own.

When I interview, I ask similar questions just to see if the candidate knows the topic and not whether or not he/she can actually solve the actual problem... If he/she solves the problem it just tells me they've done this type of work before -- call it experience.

my 2 cents.  & Good Luck!
Eric (another ISV guy with his company)
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Surprised no one has recommended one of the other forums here yet...
Phil Send private email
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Those puzzles are traditionally called "fermi questions" after the famous physicist who wanted to see how well/poorly you could calculate things even with insufficient data.

Go read the book "How would you move Mt Fuji" for an idea of what these sort of questions are like.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I'm guessing a big part of such puzzles is just finding out how flustered you get when it's hard (or even impossible) to arrive at the answer.  So maybe the real preparation isn't to solve a bunch of similar puzzles, but to examine how you react, under pressure, to problems that are difficult to solve.
Kyralessa Send private email
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
If you are interested in some problems to solve, try some programming contest questions.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Why spend all that effort learning how to pass the interview? Your career is unlikely to consist entirely of answering interview questions. Why not spend the time learning - gee this is radical I know - learning how to do the job that they want you to do.

Boy, my head hurts now.
IS Send private email
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
+1 to Kyralessa, that too, good point.
Eric (another ISV guy with his company)
Thursday, February 23, 2006

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