What Was Your Last Salary?

So you’ve successfully passed your technical job interview and now you’re talking with the HR of the company (or maybe the CEO himself). All of a sudden this nice girl asks how much did they pay you at your last job.

I personally find this question inappropriate and rude. When I answer it honestly I always feel like they want me to justify myself. At the same time I suspect that my employer is afraid to pay me more than the bare minimum.

Here’s an image to illustrate the point. The HR knows the salaries of all the people in the team you’re applying:

Happy HR is asking about your previous salary
Her job is to minimize the costs for the company while minimally satisfying you with the number.
You, on the other hand, have different set of numbers in mind, like your dream salary, the “median salary in the industry” you’ve read on some website, the minimal salary you’re willing to work for.
 Sad person thinking about his previous salary
In that moment you feel that this question is even worse than the question about your weak sides. If you think logically, there’s not so many options for you to answer it.

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Why do companies ask algorithmic questions on job interviews?

First of all, not all of them do. In your local outsourcing company nobody cares about pyramidal sort, they just want to be sure that you can do your job. This is why they are not likely to include algorithms in the list of interview questions.

However if you read books like Cracking the Programming Interview you will see that they are full of algorithmic puzzles.  If you want to be hired in Google or Facebook you need to be a super-geek and you need to be prepared to dedicate around half a year to learning algorithms. Otherwise you’re likely to fail at the technical interview.

For some reason they love algorithms and they give algorithmic questions to all the potential employees, even the frontend developers. Why do they do that?

There’s a huge debate about how useful the algorithms are in your everyday job. I personally think that they are not useful at all for the frontend developer but I maybe wrong. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

Imagine that you’re Google and you’ve opened the position of Javascript developer. And suddenly you have 1000 candidates from all over the world trying to get in. Can you afford to spend two thousand hours of your employees to interview them all? Of course not.

That’s why you need to filter those guys, and you can use statistical methods for that. Imagine the world in which people with big ears tend to be better developers. In other words the probability p that the developer is good is higher if you have big ears.

Two programmers with different ear sizes Continue reading “Why do companies ask algorithmic questions on job interviews?”