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Re: Code Samples and Previous Employers

by dws (Chancellor)
on Mar 20, 2005 at 05:03 UTC ( #440986=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Code Samples and Previous Employers

He explained that, "for future reference" it was "expected" of programmers to keep real-world samples of their code from proprietary jobs, and that he had stuff he had worked on for a number of large companies.

I'll bet his company lawyer wasn't in the room when he said that, or he'd have gotten taken out and spanked.

I spent many years as a hiring manager. If someone brought proprietary code into an interview, they'd get flunked on the spot. And it did happen a few times. You don't start a trust-based relationship by demonstrating how easily you'll break legal agreements.

At my current job, we ask candidates for a code sample for a generic problem we pose. That keeps things safe and neutral, and helps prevent misrepresentations over authorship. (And we follow-up with some problem solving at a whiteboard for candidates who make it through written screening.)


Edited to add: A lot of people never get training on the legal and ethical aspects of recruiting and hiring, which is a shame, since some people have odd ideas about what's appropriate, and in some places the lines are drawn seemingly arbitrarily (at least in the U.S.). If you find yourself interviewing candidates and you're not sure what's legal to ask, track down someone in your HR department and ask them. If they don't know, work your way up the department until you find someone who does know. Getting a synopsis of the rules shouldn't take more than an hour (in the U.S., at least).


Comment on Re: Code Samples and Previous Employers
Re^2: Code Samples and Previous Employers
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 20, 2005 at 05:27 UTC
    You don't start trust-based relationship by demonstrating how easily you'll break legal agreements.
    That's assuming you are breaking legal agreements.
      You don't start trust-based relationship by demonstrating how easily you'll break legal agreements.

      Unless it's a government spy agency,(or a company fronting for the mob ) interview. :-)


      I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh

        Even then, there is always an "unwritten code" of conduct that one is expected to follow for *any* organization, it's part of what keeps an organization distinguishable and coherent over time.

        It is easy to nitpick over what constitutes a "legal agreement" but common sense would seem to dictate it is a good idea to check before giving out any information that might not "belong" to you.

        =oQDlNWYsBHI5JXZ2VGIulGIlJXYgQkUPxEIlhGdgY2bgMXZ5VGIlhGV

      Regardless of what you sign when you start working for someone, any code you write under an employer belongs to the employer unless explicitly stated otherwise. What the interviewer in the OP was asking was likely illegal in just about any Western country.

      "There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.

      ... leave out the word legal, and it's still valid:

      You don't start trust-based relationship by demonstrating how easily you'll break agreements.

      Unless you have permission of the employer of course :)

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