Almost everyone who has interviewed for technical jobs has been
through the experience: the interviewer says something like,
this is just to see how you think. There's a man who
has to get a fox, a chicken, and a bushel of grain across a river, and he
has only a small boat that will take only one of these at a time. He can't
leave the fox unattended with the chicken or the chicken unattended with
the grain. What should he do?
(In this case, there is clearly right answer, but in a real interview, it's seldom this easy.)
There may sometimes be good reasons to ask questions like this in an interview. However, speaking as someone who -- in a twenty-plus-year career as a hands-on software developer, as a consultant, and as a manager -- has been on both sides of the interviewing process literally hundreds of times, I contend that it is usually a bad idea. There is simply too much that can go badly and too little that can go well.
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