Our recruitment team contacted the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). Fancy title. They provide intense six month 24/7 training in various programming concepts, languages, and platforms to gradates from an engineering background.
We supplied the Tic Tac Toe programming challenge to their students. Within a week the Centre had “short”listed about 65-70 candidates who returned Tic Tac Toe implementations.
Quickly I rejected 85% of the submissions because they were copies of each other or copy pasted from online resources with little to no modification or explanation. So those were a waste of time as they don’t show me anything about the candidate’s skill. Doing this initial culling took about two days of mind crushingly repetitive labour. The thought of writing an automated script to search for plagiarism crossed our minds and might be implemented still.
Then a round of telephonic interviews followed. Out of the eleven candidates I called over the span of three days, only one was selected for a personal interview. All the others did poorly on some or all of the following:
- Tic Tac Toe implementation was extremely poor. Further discussion with the candidate did not reveal any understanding of fundamental concepts like OOP or patterns.
- Zero track record of self-improvement and independent learning. They don’t read books, magazines, websites, blogs, or attend local tech conferences.
- Absolutely no personal interest. Programming is seen purely as work and not something to enjoy as a hobby at home. None of the candidates had programming pet projects.