Just bombed interview homework


#1

I’m in tears after two grueling days of going to work and then coming home to spend my entire evening working on a homework assignment for an interview. I feel hopeless and dumb, and on top of it all my boyfriend still is working and it’s a quarter past midnight. I could really use some support.

I had a frustrating time with the homework assignment because I had to do all of the setup and learn a new tool and write tests for it in the hours I had after work, when I’m already exhausted from my workday. I’m a tester who writes automation code and does manual testing. It was really frustrating because I know I can write automation code and my current manager praises me for my work all the time, but I feel dumb because it took so long for me to setup the tool and to get started in the first place. I ended up submitting scripts that didn’t work and couldn’t run any of the tests successfully. It took me until the second day to figure out how to integrate everything to run a script without using the tool’s interface and to find any examples that were worth modeling after. Even if I had been allowed to use the tool directly – I found it exceedingly difficult to use and I’m not sure I would have finished either.

I did well in the previous non-technical portions so I guess I should really work on preparing for technical interviews. I just wish they weren’t so grueling.

Not sure if I’m really looking for any interview advice or just wanted to rant. Thanks for reading.


#2

That sounds exhausting, @sylphiae. That’s a lot to juggle at once.

I don’t have any tech interview advice other than I’ve been there: sweaty palms, frustration & feeling dumb as a pile of bricks. You know you can write the necessary automation code and that’s what matters moving forward.


#3

Thanks for the sympathy! Yeah, I also felt better after telling my story to my best friend, who is a developer, and he said he wouldn’t be able to finish the interview homework I had to do and that it was a heavy burden for an interview.


#4

Sometimes I feel like tech tests can be more of a test to see how you fail rather than thinking you can actually complete it, if that makes any sense. (insert me rolling my eyes here about how little that makes sense in the grand scheme of things, ha)


#5

Sorry to hear about your experience, I hope things work out for you and that you have better luck in the future.

I’ve never interviewed for a testing position, but it seems to me like they wanted to do a substantial amount of work for a interview. The coding interviews for programmer positions I’ve done in the past typically only took an hour or two. If you spent a lot of time doing setup for their system, maybe you can recommend to them that in the future, they provide a pre-configured VM, or some such to make things easier and faster for interviewees?


#6

I feel for you having been in similar position - last year I flunked a load of interview tests from home because I was so exhausted with other stuff, including current job. Not a fan of home work tests. I know that nerves can get the better of people in interviews, but generally you can tell in a half hour test someone’s thought process enough to know if you’d get on working with them.

Assuming it’s still relevant, I wonder if it’s worth doing one of these things?

  1. explaining that due to current work demands you may need an extension and maybe even then scale it down a bit?
  2. asking to come in for a face to face chat + do the test on their machines, rather than doing a home test without the right environment
  3. reaching out for advice from other people who have used the tool - e.g. stackoverflow/forums etc.

good luck


#7

A few years back I did an interview for a data warehousing position. The interview consisted of 3 hours of data transformations and report generation. Each one had a trick to them. The only laptop I had was a $500 wonder that was a couple of years old and I was required to use my own laptop. And, while I could have done it in MySQL, which I was more familiar with, I decided to use SSIS because that’s what they wanted in the job.

After an hour I still didn’t have the data loaded. The laptop was woefully inadequate for the data sets and since every one had some gimmick to it, I realized I was toast and walked out. I don’t regret it.

I hate technical interviews.