Photo by Branko Stancevic on Unsplash

The first time I was involved in a technical interview I was asked to present and grade a coding question: “What does this script do?” The candidate was then handed a print out of a (relatively) simple VBScript that changed the computer name of a Windows PC.

Only one candidate answered correctly. Every other candidate failed the question with an “I don’t know.”

On first glance, this seems a reasonable question. Part of the job they were interviewing for often required working with scripts to deploy computers and software. I told them that we weren’t looking for a specific answer, just a general idea of “What does this do?” The candidate failing to even make a guess seems like an interview fail. They couldn’t think on their feet. They couldn’t think creatively.

But was it really a failure of the interviewee?

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