C# – Programming hire test – Test a developers knowledge in C# / ASP.NET


We're hiring a .NET developer soon, and I was assigned to create a test, which would take aprox: 1h to solve. A test which would test the programmers knowledge in (mainly) C# and ASP.NET.

This is what i've come up with so far:

  • Use project #1 to read data(HTML) from the specified URL and output all links(anchors) containing anchor name “xxxxxxxxx”. You are free to use 3rd party libraries. My main thought here was to test how the developer would go about solving the problem. For example:
    • Create a regex which would parse all the data needed.
    • Create a DOM-tree and use XPATH to find all anchor nodes.
    • Iterate the whole string and perform manual string compares.
  • Create a new solution where you demonstrate the usage of .NET masterpages.
    • Connect the solution to the ******** database. And output all customers from the “********_customers” table.
    • Create a new button which refreshes all users using AJAX.

      Pretty basic stuff. Though, I also added the one below. Mainly to test the developers OO knowledge. Do you think this is too "overkill", or what kind of test would you suggest? If you were to hire a ASP.NET developer, what would your main focus be? ADO.NET? IO? string handling?

  • Create an interface/abstract class implementation demonstrating the functionallity of either the Factory, Factory Method, Command or Decorator pattern. You wont need to implement any functionallity, just use comments in your abstract class.

Thanks in advance!

Best Solution

The task you gave is essentially a day or two worth of coding if you want to have reasonably readable code. Within an hour I guess I would do it, but you'd have to read code that has cryptically named methods, unreadable regexes, weird callbacks, no error handling and overall is pretty darn ugly. Looking at it you would not hire me.

Before you give your question to candidates, first make sure that your peers/programmers can do it first. And that you can code it in less than 60 minutes in a way that would satisfy you.

That said, I do not know if test is the best choice for hiring anyone. A few interviewing bloggers wrote about their experience coming from conducting tons of interviews:

I totally agree with them. Having conducted about a gazillion of interviews myself, I find that asking basic technology related questions is not nearly as good as asking to implement a bit of recursion or pointers (if someone claims to know C/C++).

By hiring someone who understands recursion/algorithms you get a smart guy who can learn new technology. When you hire someone who knows how to connect to a database, who knows how to connect to a database but not necessarily qualified to do much more than that.

There are a few sources of good programming questions that are somewhere between coding and algorithms that may inspire you. They do not test .NET at all, but are very good indicator of smart programmers.