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Brainbench tests | Reply
A company is interested in my resume and want me to take a Brainbench C++ test before a face to face. (Note, they are aware that C++ is not my primary skill but I guess they want to find out just what I do and do not know)

I have done a bit of quick research and read mostly bad things about Brainbench tests and the companies that use them to screen candidates.

Does anyone have any experience with either Brainbench tests or companies that use them for candidate screening.....

Cheers.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Stroker_Ace) | Reply
I have some experience with taking them :-)
(http://duleba.net/brainbench/ , and that's not all :-) )

The tests weren't that bad. Some companies (I know about MS) use Brainbench to look for candidates among people with good scores in C++/Java.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
I took the test.

There were a lot of very contrived questions but it wasn't too bad.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
Thats quite interesting. I heard that some companies prefer to have BrainBench cerified professionals but I was surprised to note that even MS uses it.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by sb99) | Reply
Why? Companies are trying really hard to find new candidates. Recruites are browsing through any available source of resumes or even contact information and Brainbench is no different.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
The companies I have come across in India don't rely on Brainbench statistics rather their focus is on cerifications taken at authorized test centres and hence I was surprized to see MS in list of companies, which go by Brainbench statistics.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by sb99) | Reply
I'm not saying that MS is relying on Brainbench results - I don't think they are. All I know is they scan through test results looking for *candidates*. You still have to go through normal recrutation process.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
Thanks that helps.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
I'm curious about Brainbench tests. I've always heard that the tests are much more language specific (c++, etc) and less in the line of measuring your ability to actually generate effective code to solve a problem. Was this your experience? Am I way off base?
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
That is exactly what I thought after taking the test.

I suppose it depends what you are looking for in a candidate.

The test was harder than I thought it would be and was more of a test of the language specification.

Assuming familiartity with general programming concepts my guess is that if you read through a decent C++ book a couple of times you would do very well.

If you had spent a year or two working on a system implemented in C++ but not been exposed to every aspect of the language you could do very poorly.

Who would make the better employee though?
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Stroker_Ace) | Reply
The latter guy, of course, unless the company forbids their programmers to use any kind of help documentation.

I have a hard time seeing any scenario when the first guy would be the better choice. Possible exception would be if you only hire someone for a specific projects for just a few weeks.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
The programming tests are basically factoids and riddles (where's the bug, will this code compile, what's the output, etc.) You have to know the language well to do well and vice versa.

They also have general aptitude tests, which are less language specific and measure general problem solving skills. Level of these tests is lower than language specific ones - it's much easier to fix incorrect factoid question than a completetly wrong aptitude test. Having said that, still their tests are one of the best aptitude tests I've seen so far.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
So, once it's time to write a resume for some company? Do you think it is useful to mention your Brainbench results?
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by griffon) | Reply
It depends how your resume look like, how good scores you had and what kind of job are you looking for. It might help you get a mid-level job, but top employers won't be impressed by it.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
Is it possible to know from the Brainbench site, what employers are interested in people, who are good at Brainbench? I'm a novice there and there site is too complicated...
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
You're right on that count, except I'd go one step farther. Brainbench tests, for any top employer, are only helpful for the most junior candidates, and even that's questionable. A resume, as a headhunter knows, is not a marketing tool. It's a summary of experienced tailored in such a way that it won't put the candidate out of contention for the job. That is: A resume may get a person an interview, but it's rare. Most often, it's connections that set up that first round. If a potential employer sees Brainbench scores on the CV, it looks like the candidate is trying to sell his/her abilities. There is a perception in this industry, whether right or wrong, that a great programmer should have that swagger that says "I've got nothing to prove that an interview won't prove for me."
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by SCohn) | Reply
A resume may get a person an interview, but it's rare. Most often, it's connections that set up that first round.

Maybe for more senior people.. but straight out of college when you have no connections? I've been through at least 7 company interviews, and I only got 2 of those interviews because of referrals by people I knew working at the company. For the other 5, I did no more than send my resume.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Minilek) | Reply
I agree. Especially coming out of college, you don't really know anyone, so the connections things doesn't really play any factors.
Sending my resume got looks for getting interviews for Google, Microsoft, Amazon, HP, Intel, and Lehman Brothers, to name a few. Not that I am good, but sending my resume did initiate an interview like Minilek said. Also, I did not attend a school that was even close to a Top 10 school as others. That's possibly the reason why the looks are hard to get, but you tend to get them.

Would anyone like to comment on the latter part of my statement? I'm not even in the top 50% of Topcoder members, though for most of the interviews, you don't really have to be that great...maybe that speaks for the lack of intelligence in the CS fields nowadays? (Well except MS and Google)
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
Anybody else recently got emails like "My name is XXX and I am a recruiting representative at Microsoft. I recently came across your name on Brainbench and would like to consider you for technical positions at Microsoft." ? I already got several this week - it seems that Brainbench is getting even more popular among Microsoft recruiters than I originally thought.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
I got one a few months ago.
Re: Brainbench tests (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
Well, as a headhunter named XXX myself, I take great offense to the person at Microsoft who is trying to cut in on my racket.
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