14/03/2016

Report from the battlefield #4 - Do not waste my and your time

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The Report from the battlefield series is based on my experience as a reviewer. The idea is simple. In order to evaluate programming skills, a candidate is asked to write a simple project. To do so he/she needs to invest some amount of time (roughly speaking a few hours). Taking this into account I assume that he/she must be interested in finding a new job. Otherwise he/she wouldn't spend his/her private time writing a project which rather isn't extremely exciting. The more I'm surprised why some people doesn't care about the first impression.

Here are some examples showing what I'm talking about:
  • A connection string used by the application referred to some server that of course wasn't available to me.
  • The database used by the application didn't contain any sample data.
  • I had to manually create a database used by the application. There was a script but it didn't work without fixes.
  • The application crashed immediately when started.
  • ...
It's wasting of time from my perspective. It is true that all these problems can be fixed quickly but they require additional effort from me. You can believe me that it is extremely annoying. Instead of making an actual review someone forces me to fix bugs. What's the worst these bugs could be avoided easily with a little bit more effort.

Please remember, the first impression is important. It'll be appreciated if a reviewer can run your application just by pressing F5 in Visual Studio (or in another IDE). You can test it in a straightforward way. Before submitting a project to a review, copy it to another machine and try to run it there. It should work without any additional actions.

Currently, if a project cannot be run without problems I don't make a review. However, I have a soft heart and I give a candidate one chance to fix them. Do you think that it's a good approach? I have my doubts because an employer probably wouldn't do so.

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