A friend of mine just went through a hellish interview for a Rails position and called me immediately to tell me her experience. Her knowledge is based strictly around Rails (not pure Ruby). So going through the technical interview, her presumption was that the knowledge was going to be around Rails specific knowledge. Boy did she get that wrong.
She said the non-technical interviews were somewhat simple. Things she knew right off the bat, but there were things she didn’t know and was completely honest and straight forward with. She thought the technical interview was going to go somewhat okay (she knows RSpec/FactoryGirl/Capybara and is comfortable putting together a basic application). However, the first question was solving Happy Number.
First off, she wasn’t familiar with the Happy Number problem. Imagine someone trying to explain one of these algorithmic problems to you over the phone. It went about exactly as you’d expect…horribly communicated. Not to the fault of the interviewer, but because you simply can’t explain a problem like this without showing what you’re trying to accomplish.
There was supposed to be a spec part of this question, but she never got around to it. It took her nearly 40 – 45 minutes to almost figure it out before time was up and the interviewer simply ended it.
So moral of the story: know your Ruby, regardless of whether or not it’s for a Rails position. Also, know your TDD.