Contractor Interviews and Testing? Contractor Interviews and Testing?
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    Question Contractor Interviews and Testing?

    Any thoughts on this guys. While permanent, I used to sit thought technical tests (online and offline) 3-4 screenings with various people etc. Unfortunately, I think, the IT industry is probably one of those that is easily testable so everybody does it. In contracting I am finding that clients/agencies are continuing this pattern. It takes time, specifically time unpaid for. I personally do not like it because If I am operating as a business I can give you guarantees but I don't think it is reasonable to test. I do not test Amazon every time I purchase from there, also there is no way or opportunity for me to test the agency/client neither.
    Interested to know what people generally think about this and how to mitigate such practices. Do you think this is acceptable or not?

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    We've had numerous threads on this. Always a good idea to try searching the forums using the Google search method mentioned in the Welcome FAQ section.

    Play around with the search terms but here you go for starters.

    interview test site:forums.contractoruk.com - Google Search
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    If you claim you can do xyz, it's in my opinion ok for clients to ask to prove it. As a contractor you're a business and many businesses are asked to prove something before they get the order. See it like a pilot.
    As in the other threads about this subject, just watch out that they don't use it as free consultancy. It should clearly be a test and not a prototype of something you will have to design or develop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirikur View Post
    If you claim you can do xyz, it's in my opinion ok for clients to ask to prove it. As a contractor you're a business and many businesses are asked to prove something before they get the order. See it like a pilot.
    As in the other threads about this subject, just watch out that they don't use it as free consultancy. It should clearly be a test and not a prototype of something you will have to design or develop.
    Any tips on making that distinction or are there techniques contractors use to protect themselves like getting it in writing that the code will not be reused or something along those line?

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    I've seen two types of tests: good ones and bad ones.

    Good ones involved sitting down with an exercise that reasonably reflects the type of work I'd expect to do. Usually quite fun to do as an exercise.

    Bad ones come in the form of some lazy instructions and/or irrelevant computer science related algorithms that I usually don't understand and never bother doing.

    The tests are to help the client know a bit about how you work and - importantly - for you to get a sense of how the client works. If the test is nonsense, the work will be nonsense - walk away!. If the test is interesting and followed up by a discussion about implementation, scalability, etc, that's useful.

    I don't think that anything created in a test has any commercial value, so I wouldn't worry about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirikur View Post
    If you claim you can do xyz, it's in my opinion ok for clients to ask to prove it. As a contractor you're a business and many businesses are asked to prove something before they get the order. See it like a pilot.
    As in the other threads about this subject, just watch out that they don't use it as free consultancy. It should clearly be a test and not a prototype of something you will have to design or develop.
    There is a flip side to this: I have known of cases where an employers as you do a test based on something they want done. Now you've just given them the answer and they don't need to hire you.
    It's rare, but occasionally does happen.
    +
    Test can be good and bad depending on what you're being interviewed for. Bad in that it's a good way for an employer to get out of having any interviewing skills ( eg. are you sure the employer knows what they're talking about to start with and here they are asking you questions ?)
    Last edited by hardboiled; 1st March 2019 at 11:22. Reason: added to answer

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    I am of the opinion that if an interviewer can't tell the difference between someone who knows the job and a faker in an interview they shouldn't be doing interviews. With testing I often encounter scenario based questions which are more than challenging enough done properly.

    That said I will do a test if it is brief. Whatever you do don't do anything that can be used in the real world.

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    Having been on the hiring side, I have to admit having been hoodwinked by impressive seeming people who could talk the talk, but when I sat them in front of a computer it became clear they had no idea what they we're doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SussexSeagull View Post
    I am of the opinion that if an interviewer can't tell the difference between someone who knows the job and a faker in an interview they shouldn't be doing interviews.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauldee View Post
    Having been on the hiring side, I have to admit having been hoodwinked by impressive seeming people who could talk the talk, but when I sat them in front of a computer it became clear they had no idea what they we're doing.
    Rather embarrassingly I have to hold my hand up to this as well. Talked a great talk in the interview and as it happens he did know his stuff. He was just not at all professional or dedicated to the gig when he turned up. Not sure how I could have changed anything to spot this but had to hold my hand up when the client asked who the f*** chose him.
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