“To Rush too Much” – the one mistake you must NOT do in interviews

Luckily, I got a chance to conduct the interviews of the fresh engineers for the recruitment phase of our company recently. Since our company is a hardware design house, so it was mandatory to check logical as well as technical acumen of each applicant. During this encounter, I observed that there is one grave mistake which most of the interviewees were doing continuously, and that was rushing too much to give the answers.”

In logical kind of interviews, the interviewers grant sufficient time to the interviewees so that they can think about the answer from different dimensions. And obviously, those questions have various possible dimensions and, thus, also have various possible solutions, out of which the most optimized or the best solution is correct. The purpose of such questions is to evaluate the thinking capability of the interviewee. But as a matter of fact, I noticed that most of them give the answers as soon as they get one, without focusing on other angles. And ultimately they end up giving the wrong answers.

Just for the sake of example, consider this problem.
You have 8 jars of the same size and shape. Seven of the jars weigh 5 ounces while the eighth jar weighs 6 ounce. What is the minimum iterations to find out which is the heavier jar? Given that you have a ‘physical balance’ available.

The normal thought process, or what we call common sense, breaks down the problem in symmetric fashion. Most of the interviewees weigh the jars in a pair of 2 and hastily provide the answer as 4 iterations. Some even go to the next step of pairing 2 jars together in such a way that you put 2 jars on each side of the balance. This way the iterations are reduced to 3. But at this point, most of them rather give up. And thus don’t compute the possibility of breaking it in group of 3 jars which would yield the correct answer of 2 iterations.

The purpose of this post is to bring the attention of the interviewees to this particular point. So that if anyone reading this article is preparing for an interview, then he/she should try to avoid this mistake. I would suggest that you should take reasonable time to think all possible dimensions and once you are quite sure that you have the best solution available then answer it. Don’t be shy to ask for paper and pen to solve such questions. This particular tip would, hopefully, be quite helpful to you in your next interviews.

Please share your valuable experience with us in the comments section below.

Author: Saad Riaz

The author is a Hardware Design Engineer by profession, but here he expresses his thoughts and has the vision to bring about some positive change within his capacity.

19 thoughts on ““To Rush too Much” – the one mistake you must NOT do in interviews”

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